Sing along for dhoti dance in TN or end up in jail

Jayalalithaa gives a legal cover to dhoti

Chennai : Ushers at recreation clubs, malls, restaurants and auditoriums in Tamil Nadu have no choice, but to gear up to welcome men in sparkling white dhotis into their premises, failing which they could end up in jail and see their wallets flatten.

Over a fortnight after a dhoti-clad Madras High Court judge was denied entry into the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association Club in Chennai, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Wednesday introduced a Bill in the State Legislative Assembly imposing hefty penalty on those who resort to such humiliating colonial practice in the future.

“Whoever violates the provisions of Section 3 (of the Bill) shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year and with fine which may extend to Rs.25,000,” the Tamil Nadu Entry into Public Places (Removal of Restriction of Dress) Bill, 2014 read. The Bill was passed unanimously in a State where male politicians, barring exceptions like former Union IT Minister Dayanidhi Maran, have made the dhoti and the white ‘khadi’ shirt their trademark.

The Bill said, “It was brought to the notice of the government that some clubs are denying entry to persons wearing dhoti or any Indian traditional dress into public areas under their control of management on the ground that they are not wearing dress or apparels in keeping with the western culture. It has become imperative in the context of happening in the

past to remove such restriction.”

Earlier on July 16, Jayalalithaa responding to an outcry from opposition leaders over Justice Hariparanthaman not being allowed to attend a book launch ceremony due to his traditional attire, told the Assembly that the act of the club’s staff amounted to belittling Tamil culture and civilisation. She had said that the act was against the Constitution and democratic traditions. “It is unfortunate that such practices are followed in India even after the passing of 67 years since the country was freed from the clutches of the British,” she said and vowed to end the practice.

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