Mohini Giri, womenÃ¢ÂÂs rights activist and former chairperson of the National Commission for Women (NCW) on Thursday gave up her Gymkhana Club membership to protest against the “”extreme class distinction“” visible at the elite club. “”I am proud to be an Indian where our constitutional entitlement is of equality. It is without any regret whatsoever that I am resigning from a club where I have been a member for the last 50 years. Life is always a learning experience. Now I know that we have to still walk a long path for true democracy,”” she wrote in her letter addressed to the Delhi Gymkhana Club Honorary Secretary Air Cmde (retd) Harjit S.Sassan.
Ms Giri along with the staff of her NGO Guild of Service had on January 18 been stopped by the Delhi Gymkhana Club staff from entering the Chinese Room saying that “”maids and drivers“” were not allowed inside the club. It was only after lot of persuasion that the staff was allowed inside. Ms Giri, daughter-in-law of former President V.V.Giri, had taken up the matter with media and it was widely reported. The Delhi Gymkhana Club management imposed a monetary fine on her for this action which she refused to pay. In her resignation letter Ms Giri said that the persons who were stopped from entering the Chinese Room were her guests and goes on to give the background of the guests with her. “”It shocks me to know that the Club is still suffering from a hangover of a colonial rule and carrying forward the unfortunate legacy of a class distinction in democratic country. At 78th year of my life I am learning that in India, despite democracy, to speak out against class bias and injustice invites punitive action. This is very clear from your action which smacks of petty revenge.””
“”I am afraid most Indian may not be able to meet the criteria of the Club. Clothes and general demeanor cannot be used as indicative of status. Had Mahatma Gandhi entered the club in his famous dhoti, he perhaps would have been thrown out too,”” she wrote.”