When we talk about Indian women representing their nation in Miss Universe, the likes of Sushmita Sen and Lara Dutta come to mind. But a lesser-known name is that of Indrani Rahman, who represented her country in the inaugural Miss Universe pageant of 1952.
Indrani was a successful classical dancer who was well trained in Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathakali and Odissi. While competing for the coveted title, she was married and had two kids.
She entered the world of dance following in the footsteps of her American-born mother, Esther Luella Sherman, who later took the name Ragini Devi. Ragini was born in Minneapolis and was deeply interested in Indian art forms.
Like her mother, Indrani became a well-acclaimed dancer. She even performed for US President J F Kennedy and Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru during the latter’s official visit to Washington DC. In 1961, she became the first dancer to be a part of the Asia Society tour.
Indrani’s daughter Sukanya Rahman has published a book named ‘Dancing in the Family’ which describes the journey of these women in the arena of dance.
Watch the glorious story of the three generations of powerful women here: