This is my 100th blog and never ever in my wildest imagination I would have thought that on this occasion I would be writing something like this. I am appalled and disgusted to know that a human being ( accidentally a transgender ) was thrown out of Bombay Gymkhana, an elite South Mumbai Club, which is 135 years old. Institutions and people should and must grow with age and get mature, but this club seems to be a well-preserved, fossilised relic of the past. During British rule this club allegedly had a policy of not allowing dogs and Indians inside its holy precincts. It is said that they used to proudly display this policy on a sign board fixed at the gate. British nationals have gone, but their mindset and mentality remains and their tradition goes on unabated and uninterrupted at Bombay Gymkhana.
On April 02, 2010, the CEO of Bombay Gymkhana Brig( Retd. ) R. K. Bose barged into a party hosted by Mr. Ajay Hattangadi, a member of the club and ordered that Laxmi Narayan Tripathi should be asked to leave the party and premises of the club immediately otherwise membership of Mr. Hattangadi will be cancelled. No need to say that everyone in the party walked out in protest. Only fault of this human being, who was accidentally born as a transgender, is that she belongs to sexual minority or third sex. Though this transgender celebrity has been invited by the United Nations Organisation and had represented her community at many other international forums and platforms. But Bombay Gymkhana is not impressed or concerned. They simply wanted her out. Now they are saying that club has certain policy and has rights to allow or not allow or restrict the admission of a guest.
I have certain points to make and certain questions to ask :
1 – If this is the case then why in first place they allowed her to enter. They gave permission for the party and went through the guest list also, which was submitted to them prior to the event. They should not have agreed to her presence in the first place.
2 – If a person is qualified to be present at a functions organised by United Nations Organisation, why can’t she/he attend a function at Bombay Gymkhana ?
3 – Management of the club says that guests should be dignified enough. May I ask and may I know their definition of dignity ? Are they more sacrosanct than the UNO ? Are they holier than all the international organisations, which invite Laxmi Tripathi as a guest speaker ?
4 – Can Mr. Bose clarify his and his club’s position in front of the nation ? Why can’t a transgender be a guest and enter the Bombay Gymkhana ?
5 – Is it a crime to be born as a transgender ? Can anyone choose ones sexuality ? Does it depend on our wish ?
6 – If the government of the day had changed the name of the city from Bombay to Mumbai, and it is now used internationally, why this fossilised relic is still sticking to the old name ? What is so romantic or nostalgic about Bombay ? Or they simply want to defy and disrespect every thing Indian ?
I am ashamed. It is not insult of Laxmi Narayan Tripathi only, it is insult of humanity. It is insult of human dignity. I am pained that electronic media, which claims to champion humanitarian causes vociferously, is silent on this issue. May be they have Sania-Shoaib to worry about. Barring Mumbai Mirror no other news paper raised this issue prominently. Among the celebrities only Celina Jaitly raised her voice on twitter. Rest of the world is silent as if nothing had happened.
Let us make clear that Bombay Gymkhana is not the world in itself. It is not an independent and autonomous entity. It is not an island with self-proclaimed rules and regulations. It should not be allowed to act in inhuman and arbitrary manner. They should be forced to see that times have changed and if they don’t want to change with time, they have no right to exist in our midst.
I am not a member of this club. I am not a VIP either. In fact I am a small, ordinary person. But I proclaim that unless and until this fossilised relic apologises for its barbaric and inhuman behaviour, I will never ever set my foot inside its unholy precincts.
I congratulate Mumbai Mirror and Celina Jaitly for raising this issue.
Filed under: Denunciation