All You Need To Know About Delhi Gymkhana Club
A club that was formed in 1913 during the time when there were protests on moving India’s capital from Kolkata to Delhi, now claims to be the country’s oldest. We are talking about the Delhi Gymkhana Club. The club that hosts the city’s who’s who, was recently in news. The New Delhi Municipal Corporation, on February 8, sealed a portion of the club that was constructed a year ago.
According to the officials, the newly constructed portion was constructed without authorisation, was violating building norms and did not have fire approvals. The municipal corporation is on a drive after the Supreme Court-appointed committee ordered sealing of all illegal commercial establishments across the city.
Here are some interesting facts about Delhi Gymkhana Club:
*The coming of the club: Delhi Gymkhana Club was formed in 1913 to serve the civil servants and military officers converging in Delhi during the discussions on whether or not the capital should move from Kolkata to Delhi. This club was used to meet informally, to play sports, drink, dance and dine. It was then named Imperial Delhi Gymkhana Club.
*Shifting address: The club was first constructed in Delhi’s Civil Lines area and the Polo Club at the Kingsway Camp was a part of it. It was later in the 1930s that the Delhi Gymkhana Club and the Polo Club became two separate entities.
*Architecture: It was after the separation in 1930 that the Gymkhana Club was constructed in Safdarjung Enclave area. It was architect Robert T Russell who designed the club. He has also the renowned architect for Delhi’s Connaught Place and the Teen Murti House. The design of the club complements the other flat-roofed bungalows around with sprawling lush green lawns.
*After Independence: Soon after India’s Independence, the word Imperial was removed from the name of the club and Usha Nath Sen, the then-Indian civil servant was elected as the first president of the club.
*Membership: At present, the membership is open to everyone above the age of 21 years. The person who wants to become a member has to fill a form and clear the eligibility criteria. This application has to be proposed and seconded by a permanent member of the club. There is also a membership fee that has to be submitted by both government and non-government applicants.
*Controversies: This is not the first time the club has made it to the news. Earlier in July 2014, the government had held the club for its failure to pay luxury tax dues amounting to Rs 2.92 crore for over three years. It was in August same year, that the club was fined for using unauthorised bore wells and violating environmental rules. While the Delhi Pollution Control Committee had ordered the closure of the club, the National Green Tribunal asked the club to pay a penalty of Rs 5 lakh to avoid closure.