This is not as widely known a competition as the Miss universe or the Miss World but perhaps in substance and significance far outpaces those beauty pageants. This is Miss Culture Worldwide. And do you know who the winner of this crown of the latest edition of the competition (2018) is? The winner is a Bangladeshi girl. Her name is Priota -Priota Iftekhar. The famous magazine Begum-famed Nurjahan Begum and Rokanuzzaman Dada Bhai are her grand-mother and grand-father respectively.
Held in the capital Harare of Zimbabwe, her victory was an icing on the cake because it was in the early hours of December 16, the Victory Day of Bangladesh that she won the laurel. She won the crown by beating competitors from 50 countries from across the world. Reportedly, hers was a theme of women freedom fighter in which she dressed in a simple shari to imitate Taramon Bibi, a valiant woman freedom fighter. When all other contestants attired themselves in resplendent dresses, Priota embellished her simple attire with a Sabina Yasmin patriotic song, background noise of shooting and the Joy Bangla slogan.
As reported, the audience took sometime to appreciate the theme so dear and sacred to the people in Bangladesh but once they realised that it was a recreation of the 1971 liberation war through which the country came into being, they broke into rapturous applause. Culture in its exquisite display won their hearts and Priota walked tall and triumphant. The glory of Bangladesh awashed the podium.
Those who lament that no one from Bangladesh has won a title of the Miss World or the Miss Universe, should be pleased to know that more than physical beauty, the inner glow of competitors is in demand even in those two contests. At least such is the claim of organisers of the competitions. If this is so, in the competition of the Miss Culture Worldwide, a competitor carries the cultural baton of a nation. The richness and beauty of tradition and culture is on display -so that other nations irrespective of their differences and diversities can treasure it as a heritage of the humankind.
On that count, Bangladesh's victory was most appropriate and satisfying. Priota has proved a point. The point is that the birth of Bangladesh is a unique event -one that will continue to inspire nations throughout ages to fight for their just and inalienable rights. The girl has taken the national flag to a new frontier of human civilisation. Right now its import cannot be fully realised. But after 50 or 100 years its significance will dawn on nations with far greater meaning and substance.
Of all types of branding of a country, the best is the cultural branding. Bangladesh has emerged as the best brand at Harare courtesy of Priota. She has made the nation proud. But it is a tribute she could not do without given the lineage she boasts. Her service will promote the country's image with her presence, visit and other promotional programmes all across the globe throughout the year 2019. Her sojourn will carry the baton of Bangladesh far and wide.
Sports icons, celebrities from entertainment and cultural arenas are chosen ambassadors for commodity brands. Here Priota is going to promote the country. Her efforts will encourage others to do their bits in order to raise the red and green flag high. Best of wishes to Priota.