Her grandfather Maila Baje is an icon for the people of Darjeeling. He is revered for his role in India’s freedom struggle and also for his philanthropic and social contributions. And granddaughter Jyoti Brahmin has kept Maila Baje’s name flying high albeit in a different manner.
Crowned Miss Femina India Earth 2004, Jyoti has won other titles as well and has made a name for herself in the Indian modelling and fashion world.
The Himalayan Times caught up with Jyoti who was in Dharan to inaugurate the Velocity School for Fashion Designing and Personality.
Q: Your hometown Darjeeling and eastern Nepal are contiguous. What do you think of eastern Nepal?
A: Simply beautiful.
Q: What about Dharan?
A: This is my first visit here. I am amazed to see the extent and pace of development here. Dharan is the most beautiful city in Nepal that I have seen yet.
Q: How did the Nepalis of Darjeeling react after you, the granddaughter of legendary Maila Baje, won the Femina Miss India Earth 2004 title?
A: I am first and foremost a Nepali. Along with the rest of the people of Darjeeling, I have a permanent and emotional link with Nepal. I learnt so many things from my grandfather.
Wherever we may be, we are and will always be Nepalis. For generations we have settled in India, so we are Indian nationals.
When I won the title I felt happy on an individual basis that I was able to make a name for myself. Again, I felt doubly happy because I was Nepali.
Q: What do Nepalis living in India have to do to retain their ethnic identity?
A: Work as hard as possible. Whatever field they choose, they should strive to be the best.
Q: Darjeeling lad Prashant Tamang won the third Indian Idol crown. How do you feel about?
A: Thrilled and overjoyed. I am extremely proud of him. He earned plaudits and criticism during the contest, yet he endured everything while retaining his balance and kept moving forward. Prashant is not merely Darjeeling’s, but India’s national hero. This is the biggest thing.
Q: You have come here in connection with fashion designing and personality development training. Where do think Nepal stands in these fields?
A: Both Nepal and India are progressive countries. Both have a long way to go. The only option is that we need to move forward. I see a bright future for Nepal in the world of fashion designing.
Q: What about Nepal’s scenario when compared with India?
A: It is wrong to think that Nepalis cannot make it in the fashion scene. Many Hollywood stars are sporting creations by Indian fashion designers. However, it has only been three or four years since India’s foray into the international fashion designing world. If fashion designers in Nepal do good work, it will be definitely appreciated at the international level.