Indrani Rahman was the first woman to represent India at the Miss Universe Contest in 1952.
On June 28, 1952, Indrani at the age of 22 participated in the Miss Universe contest after being crowned as the first Miss India the same year. It was her confidence which made her participate in international beauty pageants followed by Sushmita Sen and Lara Dutta receiving laurels at the Miss Universe pageants in the later years.
She even wore the swimsuit in the contest with a twist. Wearing a Gajra (a flower garland) with a bindi on the forehead was an Indian twist of fashion.
Quick Brief :
Name – Indrani Rahman (Born as Indrani Bajpai )
DOB – 19 Sep 1930
Birthplace – Madras, India (Now Chennai)
Died – 05 Feb 1999 ( aged 68 )
Place of death – New York, USA
Occupation – Indian classical dancer, Choreographer
Spouse – Habib Rahman (Chief architect to the Govt. of India)
Parents – Ramalal Bajpai (Father), Ragini Devi (Mother)
Children’s – Artist Ram Rahman (Son), Sukanya Rahman (Daughter)
Awards – Femina Miss India (1952), Padma Shri (1969), Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1981)
Background And Personal Life :
Indrani Rahman was born on 19 Sep 1930 into a wealthy and privileged family. Her father Ramalal Bajpai was a Chemist by training, who later went to the USA for higher education.
In the USA he met and married Esther Luella Sherman. Esther later adopted Hindusim and changed her name to Ragini Devi.
The Couple later moved to India in the 1920s. Ramalal took a job as an assistant Editor in ‘Young India’. Meanwhile, Ragini Devi became a passionate proponent of Indian classical dance. This happened while Ragini met to a ‘Rajadasi’ Tetti Tayamma (Gauri Amma)of Mysore. Ragini then enhanced her skills under the direction of Gauri Amma and become proficient in Indian classical dance.
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Indrani Rahman was born in Chennai to this couple (Ramalal Bajpai & Ragini Devi) and grew up in a multicultural environment. Indrani took her coaching from her mother since childhood. Later, become skillful in the Indian classical dance of Bharat Natyam, Kuchipudi, Kathakali and Odissi.
Later, In 1952 she got married at the early age of 15. Indrani at the age of 22, a mother of two children, became the first miss India and the first woman to participate in Miss Universe contest.
Later Years :
She later settled in New York in 1976. Accompanying with her mother, she continued to popularise the Indian classical dances performing all over the world.
Also performed for US President John F. Kennedy and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, during Nehru’s official visit to Washington, D.C.
Later She became a faculty member of the dance division at the Julliard School at New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in 1976. And even taught in various American universities, until she died in Manhattan, USA in 1999.
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