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Miss India-Canada pageant founder dead

December 31, 2006 15:01 IST

Kush Agnihotri, the founder of the internationally acclaimed Miss India-Canada Beauty Pageant, is dead.

He was 52. He died of cardiac arrest on December 25.

There was an unending line of mourners at the Benisasia funeral home, where the body was placed.

Relatives, friends and admirers walked past the open casket with folded hands and some said prayers. 

"Hard to believe," said Hari Panday, President of ICICI Bank (Canada).

Panday said that he knew Agnihotri for 16 years.

"Kush invited me to be the emcee for the event held in celebration of Dev Anand's fifty years in show business. Later, I emceed two pageants for him," he said.

Agnihotri is survived by his wife Kusum, son Sanjay, 28, and daughter Shelley, 27.

'As a pioneer in the community, Kush Agnihotri brought Indian heritage and culture to Canada and helped it thrive over the years,' the family said in the obituary that they issued.

'In the early 1980s, he began organising events for the growing community. He was one of the first Indian film distributors, South Asian radio show producer and host and creator of a South Asian directory, and was the first South Asian model in Canada.'

He established the Miss Canada-India Beauty Quest in 1990.

Agnihotri was cremated on December 29 at the Riverside Crematorium in Toronto.


Ajit Jain in Toronto