Maulana Kalbe Sadiq was told explicitly that it would be possible for him to enter the club premises only if he changed into a shirt-pant or a suit. The organisers’ pleas fell on deaf ears and Maluana Sadiq had no choice but to leave the club, much to the embarrassment of the arrangers.
Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik on Sunday reprimanded Lucknow’s elite Mohammad Bagh Club for denying entry to internationally respected Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Sadiq simply because he was dressed in a kurta-pyjama.
Expressing shock and dismay over the news that appeared in the local media in Lucknow, Naik has sought an explanation from the club authorities within 24 hours.
The governor wondered how, 68 years since attaining independence, an Indian institution could shut it doors to anyone wearing a dress that many a freedom-fighter had worn and was widely considered as the national dress.
Run by a board largely comprising senior army officials, the club, which is an inheritance of the British Raj, continues to follow several bygone traditions. It strictly adheres to a dress code which has no room for the Indian kurta-pyjama.
On Saturday, Maulana Kalbe Sadiq was invited as chief guest at a function organised for cancer patients by Ishwar Society, a local voluntary society, in collaboration with Akansha, another social body run by the wives of Indian Administrative Service officers. As head of Akansha, state chief secretary’s wife Surabhi Ranjan was co-hosting the event.
As soon as Sadiq alighted from his vehicle to enter the hall where the event was being held, he was stopped by the on-duty staff.
Maulana Sadiq was told explicitly that it would be possible for him to enter the club premises only if he changed into a shirt-pant or a suit. The organisers’ pleas fell on deaf ears and Maluana Sadiq had no choice but to leave, much to the embarrassment of the arrangers.
Taking suo motu cognisance of the news that was flashed by all major dailies on Sunday morning, Governor Naik shot off a letter to the club’s secretary, seeking a detailed explanation on the issue. He has also sought a copy of the dress code adopted by the club.
Asked to comment on the incident, Maulana Sadiq said, “Well, I was stopped by the club staff and told that I would not be allowed in because I was not dressed as per the club dress code which did not permit kurta-pyjama or the qaba (religious cape) that I am always draped in.”
He lamented, “Though no one misbehaved with me, what I found shocking was that even after 68 years of independence, some institutions were refusing to recognise a truly Indian garb. Instead, they understand and show respect to a dress which our British oppressors once wore.”