Pallavi Durua from Odisha’s Koraput district has been crowned as the first Tribal Queen of India.
Durua emerged the winner from among more than 150 contestants representing 25 states at the ‘Adi Rani,’ a tribal queen contest held on June 24 at Bhubaneswar, capital of Odisha.
Panchami Majhi of Titlagarh and Rashmirekha Hansdah of Mayurbhanj, both in Odisha, were declared the first and second runners-up of the beauty pageant, reported news agency ANI.
The trio will now feature in a short movie on tribal culture, to be produced by a Mumbai-based producer.
The event received support from the eastern Indian state’s departments dealing with Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes and the Tourism.
In the final round, 20 women representing various tribes from around the country, walked the ramp to showcase their rich tribal culture and tradition at the at Utkal Mandap in Bhubaneswar.
Special awards were also given in seven different categories including tribal attire, photogenic face, best skin, best personality, the best presentation of ornaments, the best presentation of own culture and best in talent.
“Many tribal girls like me are not allowed to move around or study. After winning this crown, I hope I can be an example for others and they will also shed the superstitions and face the world,” Pallavi said after winning the crown. She further said that she would advise other tribal girls to pursue higher education instead of working as a laborer.
The unique contest aims at showcasing the rich tribal culture and tradition of India, said Chidatmika Khatua, Chief Secretary General of the award committee.
“We have created history today by conducting a national level program highlighting tribal cultures of our country,” she added.
“A ‘rani’ or a ‘queen’ is not just about beauty. Usually, when we talk about tribes, we represent them through their dance or art form. Through this contest, we have tried to give them their individual identity,” Khatua explained.
For the finale, the girls dressed up in their traditional attire, walked the ramp. This was followed by an introduction and question-answers round. There was also a talent round where the girls were exhibited their singing, acting and dancing talents.
Apart from crowning of the winners, special awards were also given in seven different categories – tribal attire, photogenic face, best skin, best personality, best presentation of ornaments, best presentation of own culture and best in talent.
The jury had guests from national and state-level, headed by Padmashree Tulasi Munda, the ambassador of the event.