“Clubbing”- a Modern Version of “Dogs and Indians Not Allowed”?


“Clubbing”- a Modern Version of “Dogs and Indians Not Allowed”?

Clubs, as they are called, are for the elite. For those who can afford to be members. They should either be able to buy the memberships worth hundreds of thousands of rupees. Or, they should be spoilt rotten by multi-national companies who are willing to give them these memberships as the ultimate status symbols. Depending on the person’s financial standing, he has a membership in the upper rung elite clubs. And even among these elite clubs, there are levels and rankings. To attend the Annual Ball of the top most club, or to be able to mention that “I go to such and such club’s gym” is a social statement in itself. One has to go through a rigorous process of interviews and recommendations and what not to get admitted into these cliques.

 

Acceptable, somewhat, to this point. Go ahead and enjoy what you have earned, and flaunt it if you must. That, though, would be another debate as to what this flaunting does to the collective psyche of a nation that already grapples with economic disparity that is unprecedented in its own history.

 

So to this point, ok. People have to live with certain facts of life. Elitist mentality is one of those facts of life. But to everything, there have to be limits. And the list of rules outside certain clubs and specially their dining areas go beyond these limits.

 

To begin with, the dress codes. While women can come in any shabby unkempt state wearing the national dress (which, I think, is good because who can forever look like the Kardashians). But the men cannot come wearing a Kurta Shalwar unless they are wearing a waistcoat over it. So if you happen to go to this club, they will politely tell you to leave or lend you an over-sized waistcoat worn by countless other unfortunate souls who have found themselves in a similar predicament. A casual polo tee is apparently more “respectable” compared to the national dress. Sneakers are accepted in a certain club, but not Kolhapuri chappals or sandals without straps. In a nutshell, if you MUST wear the desi garb, take those stiff-collared waistcoats out of the closet (pun intended). Also, jeans are not allowed, but a dilapidated pant might be allowed.

 

Some might argue that the dress coding is indicative of simply the fact the clubs want to maintain certain decorum and a certain ambience. But the whole exercise reeks of a psyche not so simplistic. If something wildly provocative that might be offensive to certain sensibilities is prohibited, it would be understandable. But shalwar kameez and Kolhapuris? This is our indigenous dress that we are talking about. And this attitude of the clubs goes towards reinforcing the “gora complex” that has inherently been passed down in generations as a cultural aftermath of the Colonial era.

 

The rules like not smoking or not using mobile phone are still acceptable. But when it writes, specifically, that “maid servants are not allowed”, I inwardly cringe each time at this blatant show of imperialism in our society where a social hierarchy is carefully maintained. Any change that threatens to topple elitism is not welcomed by the crème de la crème of the social pyramid.

 

Whom are we to blame for this? The administrations of certain clubs that were formed in the Colonial era are milking the exclusivity they offer. This benefits the market value of the clubs. So it is not just the food and the sports facilities they are offering. What they are offering is that sense of smug satisfaction which people get when they announce which club they are a member of. I have personally had an educated girl say to me “what is wrong with these clubs? They are giving memberships to every Tom, Dick and Harry. Why, now even Sindhis get memberships! Har kisee ko de dete hain.” I cannot forget the look on her face when I casually mentioned that I am, in fact, a Sindhi.

 

Clubs, per se, are great facilities. Particularly in an unsafe city like Karachi where our children can no longer safely play on the roadside, clubs offer these safe havens. Food is good and reasonable. Sports facilities and other services are all available within the walls of the clubs. It is a luxury that is a need.

 

The problem begins when the acquisition of this luxury (or need) becomes a reason for us to look down upon others or to marginalize certain parts of society. It is time we rose above such complexes. The dress that is a distinctive sign of being Pakistani is acceptable and honorable. And the woman who is good enough to cook my bread and take care of my child surely deserves more respect than being categorically forbidden from entering an elite ghetto. The clubs will change their rules according to my and your attitudes. It is time.



Farahnaz Zahidi Moazzam

A freelance writer, activist and blogger who blogs at http://chaaidaani.wordpress.com/


  • Mishal

    I feel that clubs deliberately try to maintain an elitist stance because it is the irony of human psychology that the more you are told you can’t have something, or belong to something, the more you want it.

  • Musalmaan

    The fact is that we acquired Pakistan in the name of Islam and forefathers gave all the sacrifices not to do clubbing, corruption & all types of ayyashi we Pakistani muslims are doing. Whatever is happening in Pakistan, drone attacks, people are suiciding b/c of lack of food, natural disasters: earthquake, flooding and above all the corrupt/criminal on head of us are due we being away from Quran / Islam. Though majority are muslims but just by name, not practising the islam the way it is inscribed in quran or by the way shown by our beloved prophet (role-model) Mohammad (pbuh).
    It is really to sad to know that muslims in Pakistan are just going after this finite world and not realizing the world that is coming next is much better and ever after and that is what Allah (swt) mentioning everywhere in Quran.

    • Guest

      I don’t understand why muslims always preaches abt the life after death which is theoritical and we belief.Live in present and do enjoy ur given life.Because after death we are not even sure that is their anything else.Otherwise just kill urself and dream abt the life after death which these suicide bombers are doing .U always enjoy what is there in ur hand and not what will be there in ur hand.

  • NASAH

    Please — you should not have used the pre-partition colonial use of the phrase — ” Dogs and Indians not allowed”. It is in poor taste.

    The post partition use of the title — should be — “Dogs and Pakistanis not allowed”. Looking at your picture I must say — the private clubs have a right to enforce the their dress code.

    “jisko ho jaan-o dil aziz uss ki galee meiN jaye keoN” — and it is not poet Aziz who wrote that line.

  • Jeeja-ji

    grapes are sour lady!!!! Reading the last two lines make me realise ur cringe.You might hv been denied entry into some social club.Well its the clubs rule and they are same for everybody.Either you take it or you leave it.And for your kind information clubs were invented by British to socialise but all clubs had their own rules.If they club says chappals are not allowed then they are not allowed ,follow it.Stop whinging lady!! Every day is not holi-day.

  • hindustani

    You People cannot LIVE or Tolerate and try to Humiliate, make Fun or Curse Indian In anything or everything.

    What Does The Great Nation India HAVE to DO with the Filthy Elite CLUBS of Pakistan.

    The Caption was Used By British to Humiliate Indians before Independence and to Which Pakistan was also India Then.

  • Dr. Afridi

    I am not a Bhindian

  • Baloch

    What is the moral of this long dull article. I bet she dont know why she wrote this article.

  • S Nasrullah

    Most unlikely, honestly speaking, and looking at the morose and the moribund Nation unwilling to accept the gravity of the situation and steel their resolve to pick up the gauntlet. Their ambition is Gourmet, Clubs, Fine Dining, Fancy dress and Fancy Phones without the affordability. Allama Iqbal had said: ” Muhabbat mujhe un jawanoan se hai ….. Sitaroon pe jo dallte hain kamand” and the youth of this nation nearly qualified the bar, gunning for the Miras and the Veena Maliks.

  • Guest

    No,we don’t know abt the questions u asked and I don’t want to know it.But only thing I know is enjoy the present life because this is in our hand.life after death may be beautiful than this but we can only belief it to be true.Is there any proof of it.Tomorrow I might be killed in a road accident.I don’t want to think abt it but want to enjoy the present.If I go out of this life I shuld be able to see straight in god’s eye and say I have enjoyed my life the fullest.I don’t care wat comes next(heaven or hell).Don’t make ur house on beliefs but make it in present.

  • NASAH (USA)

    Ms. Moazzam — every time I read the title of your column — I cringe at the flippant crudeness of your phrase “Dogs and Indians” — perhaps you never read the demeaning bloody history of colonized India and Pakistan — I know it because I have lived under that bloody brutish british rule.

    You may like to apologize and promise us you will never use this phrase again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sheena.arora.5074 Sheena Arora

    This is for all not for just one. See all of you are just a bunch of big time ‘CHUTIYS’, as you all chutiyas are neither a part of ruling government nor you belong to vvip or bourgeoisie. Most of the chutiyas here do not and surely will not command or dictate a mere 500 army, so not militaristic back ups or legacy either. You talk talk talk as you never get anything but have read some newspapers and watched some TV.
    And you thought now you can give your chutiya class strategic or political views. You know nothing and believe me you can never get to the top 1% of the population, who rules countries and worlds.
    And don’t take me otherwise I am not saying you are poor middle class people I am just saying you all are chutiya class people.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sheena.arora.5074 Sheena Arora

    This is for all not for just one. See all of you are just a bunch of big time ‘CHUTIYS’, as you all chutiyas are neither a part of ruling government nor you belong to vvip or bourgeoisie. Most of the chutiyas here do not and surely will not command or dictate a mere 500 army, so not militaristic back ups or legacy either. You talk talk talk as you never get anything but have read some newspapers and watched some TV.
    And you thought now you can give your chutiya class strategic or political views. You know nothing and believe me you can never get to the top 1% of the population, who rules countries and worlds.
    And don’t take me otherwise I am not saying you are poor middle class people I am just saying you all are chutiya class people

  • ACuriousWindow

    WoW !!! So funny…! A simple article about social ills, that had nothing to do with India, gets so badly dragged into the Pak-India complex !!!
    Yes the title is ill thought,, but am sure the author had no idea it will get so much heat from the hate mongers on each side of the Wagh border…! so funny…!