April 1, 2004
You might think it runs in the family. Miss India-World 2004 Laxmi Pandit returned the crown on Wednesday, saying she had ‘‘misrepresented’’ herself as a married woman to secure accommodation and did not want to carry the taint to the Miss World pageant. Exactly like her sister Kalpana who lost her Miss India-Universe crown 15 years ago after misrepresenting her nationality.
Kalpana Pandit won the contest in 1989 and was slated to take part in the Miss Universe contest but was uncrowned when it was found that she held a US passport. The contest is open only to Indian citizens who are single.
In an affidavit submitted to organisers, Laxmi said she was unmarried but had ‘‘represented’’ to her landlord and the sub-registrar to be married as it was the only way she could get the premises on rent. She added since her ‘‘incorrect representation’’ has tarnished her image, she does not ‘‘desire to represent India at the Miss World pageant’’. She said she feared her ‘‘incorrect statement’’ would be used to disqualify her and affect India’s chances of winning.
Back home, the town can’t but believe the sisters are jinxed. They are hardly strangers, coming as they do from the famous Nanjangud B.V. Pandit family, manufacturers of Ayurvedic tooth powder and Madurai agarbathi. She completed her MBBS course in October 2002 and left for Mumbai to complete her house surgeon internship.
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