Chennai: Clubs in Tamil Nadu are waiting for a law by the state government that would make it illegal to ban the entry of dhoti-clad people in such places. But club officials say it is not just about perpetuation of a colonial-era rule but being prudent about potentially "embarrassing" situations when "members can easily lose their dhoti" after consuming too much alcohol.
After the issue became a major public debate, state Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa had Wednesday announced in the assembly that the government would come out with a law preventing clubs from insulting Tamil culture and tradition.
The issue cropped up after Justice D. Hariparanthaman of the Madras High Court and two senior advocates were denied entry by the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) Club for wearing dhotis. The three had gone to the club on an invitation to attend a book release function.
The chief minister condemned the TNCA Club over the incident and said the act of denying entry to people wearing dhotis was demeaning to Tamil culture and civilisation. "It is a sartorial despotism," she said.
Jayalalithaa said a notice would be issued to the TNCA Club on the issue.
"We are waiting for the law," a TNCA official told IANS, but was not willing to say whether the club has received the notice from the government.
TNCA president N. Srinivasan said the club would abide by the law.
An official of another high-profile club in the city said the managing committee will meet and take a decision on the issue.
"However, this is a topic of discussion at most of the tables in the club," he said, preferring anonymity for himself and the club.
"Such a law may not stand in court. It is a tricky issue and the law has to be carefully drafted because every organisation, including temples, has a dress code," an industrialist told IANS preferring anonymity.
He said the rule should not be looked as a "vestige" of the colonial rule as club members do consume alcohol.
"The rule is basically to avoid embarrassing situations like a member losing his dhoti in an inebriated condition," he said.