Saturday, 1 July 2017

When You Accuse The Delhi Golf Club Of Being “Classist” I See A Hypocrite

You, yes you... the one posting angry social media posts about Delhi Golf Club being classist. Does your domestic help eat in the same glossy china as you do? Who are the steel plates in your kitchen cabinet for? Oh, for the poor ones who come from outside? You never know what kind of germs they are bringing, right? What with their dismal living conditions, poor access to sanitation and hygiene, and widespread contagious diseases. Your rich visitors are clean as heaven, aren't they?
Oh, and how does your brain justify to itself that ₹1000 is pocket change when you buy movie tickets, but the same amount becomes enormous if you have to pay the medical bill of one of your workers? And I'm very sure the young maid who looks after your child while you have dinner at a fancy restaurant almost never gets to enjoy a hearty portion of the same meal with you. Maybe it's just the money talking. Research claims that the richer you get, the meaner you become. Having wealth makes you much less compassionate.
Do you know, the manager of a fast food restaurant gave a good scolding to some poor kids after I asked them to accompany my friends and I for lunch? They weren't stealing. Their meal had been paid in full and they were sharing the table with us. But no, the manager couldn't have his premises get filled with such "filth." Of course he made sure that we had walked some distance away before he started his tirade.
Did I also tell you, just a couple of weeks back our maid was refused entry in an elite club of a small city whose name I will not reveal here. The incident was singularly humiliating, not just for the maid, but for us as well, who treat her like a part of the family. She "looked" like a maid, was their argument—the exact argument that the Delhi Golf Club made when they asked Tailin Lyngdoh to leave their premises. We were part of a large group in a formal setting and hence didn't feel it was appropriate to make an issue out of it. But we were angry and put off by such condescending behaviour by the club. The Delhi Golf Club incident was like déjà vu and it certainly became a topic of discussion for us.
Now you see, it would be wrong to single out just elite clubs and call them "classist." The class divide runs deep in our culture. The distinction between "master" and "servant" is clear among all sections of the society. Our servants don't sit at the same table as us. No matter for how long they have been serving a family, they are never allowed to forget their aukat (status)Dignity of labour? That happens only in foreign countries. And God forbid if the concept of minimum wage got enforced in India. The entire country will be out on the streets protesting against a basic human right. The poor aren't recognised as humans in India—you see, they are just rodents.
Elitist institutions like the Delhi Golf Club and the Gymkhana Club thrive on the master-servant divide. They ensure that their rich members never lose their sense of being powerful and superior. How could they ever justify a ₹7.5 lakh waiting fee if they couldn't cater to the class divide?
The problem lies with us, not them. We the people. Each one of us is guilty of pandering to our lust for power and greatness by treating our servants like vermin. We have a long way to go before the class divide ceases to exist. Until then, people will get evicted from elite clubs for "looking like a maid." So when someone accuses the Delhi Golf Club of being "classist" I see a hypocrite. Don't you?
This post first appeared here.

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