Ever since I was a kid I have been hearing jokes about Sikhs. Being from an Army background where we mixed with all communities, we always had Sikh friends and therefore avoided repeating any such jokes, which I felt were completely unfounded. In fact I always had a soft corner for Sikhs and not just because we had friends from the community. However people who did not know any Sikhs personally seemed to feel that there was nothing wrong in making fun of the community. It wasn’t just Sikhs. They targeted Parsees and South Indians too. In fact my husband has a very good friend who is half Parsi and half Sardar. He was a target of so many jokes that he got fed up and started cracking the jokes himself as a defense measure! But precisely because the Sardars had that liberal attitude, the jokes against the community never died down.
And now the community is protesting at last. About time too. Ideas Publishing house actually published a Sikh joke booklet! This upset the community greatly and they went to the cops. In fact Sikhs have also asked the police to ban sardar jokes on the net. I am all for this because these jokes have no basis in fact. They originated in Punjab ofcourse, and some say that they were started by the Punjabis because they were jealous of the Sikhs who were brave, strong, extremely intelligent and enterprising. I do not know the truth of this rumour but this did the rounds in army circles.
Its strange that in our country we make such a hue and cry when certain communities and castes are targeted and made the butt of jokes, but making jokes about Sikhs never raised any protests. I think this reflects on the liberal attitude of the community and also the fact that they are confident that the jokes are absolute nonsense and do not in any way show the community in a true light. However, there are limits and I think in today’s day and age of political correctness and the widespread reach of the internet, it is important that we are sensitive to the feelings of ALL communities, be they Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, Parsis, Christians or Jains.
You can listen to what some Sikhs have to say about being the butt of jokes here.