After a Khasi woman was turned out of Delhi Golf Club, should its lease be canceled for discrimination?

In the Golf Club incident, the problem is not just race but of class as well.

Meghalaya’s Tailin Lyngdoh who has travelled from UK to UAE wearing mostly her traditional Khasi attire ‘jainsem’, had no idea about the humiliation she have to face when she went on to attend a Lunch held in Delhi Golf Club in the same attire. In a sheer case of discrimination, the professional governess was told to leave the Delhi Golf Club as her dress resembled that of a ‘maid’ in a hall full of elites on Sunday.

The incident attracted huge backslash and rightly so. It is just another example of how this society still treats people on the basis of their attire, color, appearance, caste and class. Notably, Lyngdoh was one of the invitee, so, it was nothing less than a rude shock to the 51-year-old woman.

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After this case of racism came to the light, people came in full support of Lyngdoh. The criticism made the Delhi Golf Club to tender an apology on Tuesday. As per DGC management, action was taken and an apology has been made to the member who brought the guest.

But then, this is just not a case about discrimination. Nitesh Rana, an Advocate in Supreme Court shows us a larger picture.

“The lady was humiliated that is one issue, but there’s a large picture. The land is of 65 to 80 acres, which is a public property. And there are not even 3000 members over there. So the 65 acres of land is enjoyed by just 3000 people. So, the question is – how many golfers have they created in past hundred years?” asked Rana.

Criticizing the widespread nepotism and unfair ways of providing membership, the lawyer said, “This is a free country. However, the practice for membership is – if a grandfather was a member, father becomes a member and then his son. What are the criteria of enjoying the public property? At least there should be a fair competition for the membership. There must be some criteria.”

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On the current issues, he said, “The lady, who is a citizen of this country, has all the rights to go wherever she wants to. How can any citizen be stopped from entering at public place in free India? It’s public leased land being enjoyed by a few people. It’s nothing but feudalism and colonialism. Government must terminate the lease with immediate effect and give back to public or abolish membership system and make it open for everyone,” he said.

“The unfortunate incident at Delhi’s Golf Course is highly condemnable and it is one of the very few cases reported in the media. Whereas different forms of racism (mostly subtle) that people from Northeast have to face need to dealt with long term measure. While strict legal action should be taken against the offenders in the given case, various other measures such as spreading awareness and educating people to realize the diversity and respect the differences need to be taken up on urgent basis,” said Maisnam Arnapal, an English Professor at Gargi Collge from Manipur.

“Media and the education sector have a great role to play here. In the Golf Club incident, the problem is not just race but of class as well. The class elitism that certain people indulge in has its worst repercussion on the lower caste and racial minorities,” he added.

Angellica Aribam, National General Secretary of the NSUI who hails from Manipur, said “the unfortunate incident at Delhi Golf Club needs to be used as a precedent so that others don’t repeat such bias. Cancelation of the lease of the elite Club could be the beginning of such a step. Also, it is saddening that the government has failed to implement the Bezbaruah committee report that was submitted to the Ministry of Home Affairs in the wake of the Nido Tania murder case. It has been three years now since it is gathering dust in the Ministry. No affirmative action of any kind is taken to combat racial crimes, all the government does is pay lip service. The demand for an anti-racial law by the north-eastern fraternity has also fallen on deaf ears”.

Radha Mishra

Playing with words -- is all I do. A full-time learner who has an incessant thirst for knowledge. More realistic than optimistic. I find solace in nature and shopping gives me momentary happiness.

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