By Anurag Chauhan
In the vibrant tapestry of 21st-century India, where diversity and cultural richness flourish, it is both shocking and disheartening to discover that archaic vestiges of colonial-era mindset still persist. The Doon Club, founded in 1878 during colonial rule, stands as a stark reminder of these prejudices, clinging to policies that infringe upon the dignity and rights of Indians who proudly embrace their traditional attire.
The club’s insistence on forbidding Indian clothing within its premises not only reeks of elitism but also reveals a troubling disregard for the values that modern India holds dear. It is unfathomable that in a nation led by Prime Minister Modi, who consistently dons Indian attire even during international events, there remain enclaves where such clothing is deemed inappropriate. This glaring contradiction between leadership and practice casts a shadow over the club’s purported ideals.
The Doon Club’s refusal to allow Indian clothing within its premises is not merely a matter of dress code, but rather a reflection of a larger problem – a mindset rooted in a colonial hangover that propagates the superiority of Western culture over our own heritage. At a time when India celebrates the Amrit Kaal and embraces its diverse traditions, it is shameful that such clubs persist in perpetuating discriminatory policies that echo the colonial era’s divisive tactics.
In an incident that occurred 15 days after the 77th Independence Day, on Rakshabandhan, my friends and I were stopped from entering the Doon Club for wearing Indian clothes. This highlights the club’s archaic mindset. This occurrence serves as a potent reminder that the battle to promote our rich cultural attire is far from over. The fact that such incidents can still transpire in modern India is a testament to the uphill battle we face against outdated biases.
It is essential to recognise that the issue at hand is not about the clothes themselves, but rather about the harmful mentality perpetuated by these exclusive clubs. The juxtaposition of deploring Indian attire while admiring Western clothing reflects an unfortunate hierarchy that betrays the values of equality and inclusivity that should define our nation’s identity.
In a country that champions individual freedom and cultural diversity, the Doon Club’s policies appear as an anomaly. As Indians, we must stand united against such practices and demand that institutions like the Doon Club revise their policies to align with the principles of modern India. By rejecting the notion that Indian clothing is somehow inferior or unacceptable, we take a stand against the remnants of colonial thinking and reclaim our identity.
In conclusion, the Doon Club’s refusal to embrace Indian clothing within its premises is a glaring testament to a mindset that should have been eradicated with the end of colonial rule. It is incumbent upon us to challenge and dismantle these discriminatory practices, not just for ourselves but for the generations that follow. By doing so, we reinforce the values of a united, diverse, and forward-looking India, casting aside the shadows of the past and emerging stronger and more united than ever before.
(Anurag Chauhan is an award winning social worker and an Arts impresario promoting India’s rich cultural heritage. )