All doors should open for tra­di­tional In­dian wear

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - Ab­hi­nav Verma ab­hi­nav.verma@htlive.com

Rak­sha Band­han and In­de­pen­dence Day are just round the cor­ner, to be fol­lowed soon by the fes­tive sea­son, just the time when every­one brings out their eth­nic fin­ery. If you were to go to a mall or a restau­rant in tra­di­tional In­dian wear, would you be stopped?

Ab­surd as it may sound, the ques­tion comes up be­cause of two re­cent in­ci­dents: film­maker Ashish Avikunthak stopped at a Kolkata mall en­trance (left) for wear­ing dhoti-kurta; and a Khasi woman, a din­ner guest, be­ing asked to leave Delhi Golf Club be­cause the club thought her tra­di­tional jain­sem was a maid’s dress. Three years ago, a Madras High Court judge and two ad­vo­cates were de­nied en­try into the Tamil Nadu Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion of­fice for wear­ing dho­tis. And in 1982, writer-politi­cian Shashi Tha­roor was not al­lowed en­try at his own sis­ter’s wed­ding at Madras Gymkhana, be­cause he wore a silk kurta with no col­lar.

Seventy years af­ter In­de­pen­dence, is In­dia still un­able to ac­cept its tra­di­tional wear? “One should be al­lowed to en­ter any­where wear­ing a na­tional dress,” says chefrestau­ra­teur Sabyasachi Go­rai. “In coun­tries like Ire­land or New Zealand, peo­ple wear their na­tional dress and are al­lowed en­try ev­ery­where.”

Sumit Goel, owner of Gas­tro­nom­ica, is of the same view. He says, “What­ever the dress code, if some­one is dressed in tra­di­tional In­dian at­tire, they should be al­lowed ev­ery­where. A few years ago, my friends and I had gone to El­e­vate, Noida, where we were re­fused en­try be­cause we were in In­dian wear. But an African tourist, who was wear­ing her tra­di­tional dress, was let in.”

So, when is it jus­ti­fied to bar a guest from a restau­rant or a mall? “Only if some­one dis­re­gards deco­rum or cre­ates trou­ble for other guests,” replies Sau­rav Sharma, owner of MRP. “It’s not up to malls or restau­rants to judge any­one on the ba­sis of their clothes.”

Pri­vate clubs have al­ways cre­ated... dis­tinc­tions be­cause of cloth­ing. Now pub­lic spa­ces are also threat­ened and a cul­ture of seg­re­ga­tion based on class is be­ing prac­tised ASHISH AVIKUNTHAK, FILM­MAKER (AS POSTED ON FACE­BOOK)

PHOTO: FACE­BOOK/ DEBLEENA SEN

Tailin Lyn­g­doh (above left) was asked to leave Delhi Golf Club for wear­ing a jain­sem; Shashi Tha­roor was stopped by Madras Gymkhana for wear­ing a silk kurta with no col­lar

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