Vadodara born astrophysicist Dr Karan Jani, who was allegedly denied entry to a Garba event in the USA as for not looking like ‘Hindu’, is yet to receive an official statement of apology by the organisers, Shakti Mandir. However, Jani said he has received a call from the organizers who tendered a verbal apology to him. “Havent got an official statement (of apology). The chairman had called to apologise and blamed it on the volunteer. Raj Patel and Bobby Patel – these are the ones who called. But I don’t know what their exact status is in the temple (that was hosting the Garba),” said Jani while speaking to The Indian Express.
On Friday, Jani shared on Twitter how he and his friends were denied entry at the Garba venue because they didn’t look Hindu and the last name on their IDs didn’t sound Hindu. Jani through his tweets had said, “I was told by that organizer, a senior person, things in Gujarati which are so crude & demeaning that it can’t be shared on the public forum. Just to ensure we don’t dare to enter the temple again. Such fuss just for Garba in Navratri – With friends – to celebrate Indian culture. Our IDs had Indian Emblem. Yes, emblem with “Satyamev Jayate” right? Apparently, it didn’t have our religion. Our caste. It was embarrassing. I had tears in my eyes saying them: “I come here to play Garba for the last 6 years. How could you not let us in because of the last name.”
His friends, one of whom was Konkani, who were there for the first time to play Garba were allegedly pulled out of line and was told, “We don’t come to your events, you are not allowed to ours.” When she told the official that her “last name is Murdeshwar. I’m Kannada-Marathi,” the official replied, “What is Kannada? You are Ismaili”.
Jani’s father Pankaj Jani who is in Vadodara said, “He has been going at the same venue for years and this is the first time that something of this sort has happened. He was asked to leave because they thought he did not look Hindu. This entire episode is sad. He is a Gujarati and from Vadodara and loves to play Garba. But the organisers called and have apologised to him.”
Jani is a scientist based in the US with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) project, which had won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2017.