SRINAGAR: Ritika Raina, the daughter of a migrant Kashmiri Pandit cop is the VLCC Femina Miss India Jammu & Kashmir 2020, a report appearing in media said. Currently working as a financial analyst with a foreign bank in India, Ms Raina is preparing for her masters.
A graduate from Symbiosis in Pune, Ms Raina has been singing, dancing and gardening while students but has never been associated with the beauty and wellness sector. Her first photo-shoot has been the one that led her to become the Ms Jammu 2020.
Ms Raina hopes to start an NGO with a focus on teaching and promoting the handicrafts with the help of technology. This, she believes, will create job opportunities for the women.
In a detailed post on her Instagram, Ms Raina has offered details of her life. The family lived in Kashmir and faced “forced migration” in 1990 following which their house was “set on fire”. The family later sold their land in Kashmir and built a house in Jammu.
“As I grew up, I realized the pain of losing our own house, which made me empathic towards the homeless; all the difficulties we have faced made me grounded and grateful for whatever I’ve received till now,” she has written.
For most of the nineties, her father was posted in Srinagar and would visit his family once or twice a year. This, she has said, made her internally strong and independent externally.
Ms Raina has said she participated in the beauty contest at the behest of her father who has been very impressed by the 1994 Sushmita Sen becoming Ms India. “Her story of being afraid to participate in Miss India 1994 because of tough competition and then winning the international title inspires me the most”, she was quoted saying. Interestingly Ms Sen has also strong Kashmir connection at a personal level.
Ms Raina is now readying herself for the competition at the national pageant.
However, Ms Rina is not the first KP girl to get into pageantry. Megha Kaul won the same contest for Jammu and Kashmir in 2019. Hailing from Hanand village near Chowalgam in Kulgam – currently living in Jammu, Dr Megha Kaul entered the state pageant at the event held in Pune, Maharashtra. Even though the beauty failed to place in the Top 12, she still won Miss Talented competition, to nobody’s surprise.
Megha completed her MBBS from Government Medical College Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh before she began her journey in Miss India. Daughter of Saroj and SK Kaul, Dr Megha was the student of MHAC School Nagbani, before completing her MBBS.
In 2018, it was Malika Kapoor, a computer engineer, who was crowned Ms Jammu and Kashmir. A year earlier, it was Sana Dua, a lawyer who won the status. In recent years, Ms Dua was the only contestant from Jammu and Kashmir to end up as the runner-up at all India level.