Man denied entry to Kolkata’s Quest mall for wearing a Dhoti

Dhoti is a proud Indian traditional attire. A major section of rural Indian men still wears ‘Dhoti’ every day. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that it is sort of an unofficial national attire for men. Not to mention, even urban men love to wear dhotis every now and then. However, in a shameful incident, in one of the biggest malls in Kolkata, a man was denied entry into the mall because he was wearing a dhoti.

On Saturday, Film maker Ashish Avikunthak was refused entry in Kolkata’s Quest mall because his choice of attire violated the mall’s so called dress code. Apparently, the mall does not allow people in dhotis and lungis to enter the premises.

When PTI approached Avikunthak and asked him, what did he have to say about the incident; he said: “What have I to say about the whole incident? Please go through my Facebook post which has narrated the entire consequence.”

In his facebook post, the film maker narrated the entire incident, triggering an outrage on the social media. He wrote: “Denying entry into the neo-colonial clubs of Kolkata is nothing new. But today I was denied entry into the …. mall because I was wearing dhoti (which I have been wearing for the last 26 years). On resisting and questioning I was told that we have orders because of security reasons to prohibit entry of people in lungi and dhoti. I was eventually allowed in because I could argue in English and assert myself.”

Avikunthak’s companion, Debaleena Sen had also narrated the incident with pictures and videos to support it. “The guards outside stopped him and confirmed with someone over the Walky-talky and then let him enter only because the man in question argued in ENGLISH,” she had mentioned in her post.

“When inside we approached the management team there and the man clearly stated that they DO NOT ALLOW people wearing dhoti and lungi to enter,” she added.

However, the mall employees have denied all the charges, stating that the security personnel at the gate had asked Mr. Avikunthak to wait and went to the supervisor to seek his opinion. He was then allowed in.

Only last month, in a similar incident, a Meghalayan woman, Tailin Lyngdoh was asked to leave the Delhi Golf Club because she was dressed in a traditional Khasi attire which apparently looked like a maid’s uniform to the club staffers.

How can our traditional attires become a reason to restrict somebody from entering public premises? This is sheer racism, and we cannot deny it. Ask any frequent pub/club goer, whether Indian clothes are welcomed or even allowed there? The response will be an unequivocal NO. The rules and regulations of those elite clubs can be attributed on a colonial hangover. But what about these public places like malls? Have we still not recovered from the age old colonial mind-set? Let’s raise our voice against these reprehensible voices still blatantly followed in our country.

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