New Delhi: The Sikh community is perhaps the most hardworking, industrious and religiously fervent and culturally vibrant community in India. It has contributed thousands of soldiers, entrepreneurs, technocrats and others to the Indian society. Besides, Punjab is regarded as the grain bowl of India.
Yet, the community has been made a butt of uncharitable – and very often absolutely nasty – jokes and gags. The Sardars, in spite of their big role in nation-building, are being shown in poor light. Everything ridiculous and even the incredible is being attributed to them.
It is being forgotten that every community and section of the society has its own shortfalls and weak points. But no other community perhaps has suffered as much ignominy and reckless ridicule as the Sardar community has.
But it is also to their credit that many of their have taken the digs in their stride. Great authors like the late Khushwant Singh has compiled books containing these jokes. The late actor-comedian, Jaspal Bhatti, was another example of sporting spirit of laughing at oneself.
However, a woman advocate, Harvinder Chowdhary, has decided that enough is enough. A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed by her in the supreme court, which has agreed to take it up for hearing.
Chowdhary appeared in person and argued that there have been over 5,000 websites meant only for Sardar jokes, like Santa Banta. She also submitted to the court 50 specimens of jokes downloaded from the websites.
She pleaded with the court to issue a writ of mandamus to the respondents to ban websites spreading jokes on sardars/Sikhs projecting them as persons of low intellect, stupid and foolish, etc.
The petitioner said in the court that she was aware that the petition was very strange but was prepared to answer that question. She also contended that the community was being ridiculed even abroad on account of these jokes.
The case was adjourned for six weeks for the petitioner to file more records, with the next hearing fixed for January 4, 2016.