Sardarji jokes or Sardar jokes are a class of ethnic jokes based on stereotypes of Sikhs who use the title of " Sardar ", with -ji being an honorific. Although jokes about other ethnic and linguistic communities are found in various regions of India, Sardarji jokes are the most widely circulated ethnic jokes and found across the country.
Some of them also depict Sardarjis as witty or using other people's stereotyped perceptions against them. Santa and Banta are two popular names for the stock characters in the Sardar jokes. Sikhs are a very prosperous and successful people A popular category of Sardar jokes is the "12 o'clock jokes", which imply that Sikhs are in their senses only at night.
Preetinder Singh explains the origin of the "12 o'clock joke" as follows:  The real reason for the "12 O'clock Association" with Sikhs comes from Nadir Shah 's invasion of India. His troops passed through Punjab after plundering Delhi and killing hundreds of thousands of Hindus and Muslims, and taking hundreds of women as captive.
The Sikhs decided to attack Nadir Shah's camp and free the captive women. Being outnumbered by Nadir Shah's huge army, they could not afford to make a frontal attack.
Instead, they used to make midnight guerrilla raids on Nadir Shah's camp, free as many captive women as possible, and return them to their homes in order to "restore the dignity of the Hindu community". In jest, the Hindus would say that the Sikhs are in their senses only at night. This later became the trait of a widespread category of derisive jokes. Singh opines: "Hindus started referring to the relatively neutral 12 o'clock, rather than midnight" to avoid annoying the armed Sikhs, and the "final result was the safe, bald statement, 'It is 12 o'clock' shorn of all reference to its very interesting history When Hindus crack this joke, they are oblivious to the fact that had the Sikhs not intervened, their womenfolk would have been dishonoured and taken into exile".
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Some of the Sardar jokes, self-deprecatory in nature, were made up by the Sikhs themselves. Kamath wrote about "the Punjabi 's enormous capacity to poke fun at himself, a trait that seems peculiar to the Punjabi, especially the Sikh.
In recent years, there have been several cases of Sikh groups protesting against the Sardarji jokes. In Folk Narrative and Ethnic Identity: The 'Sardarji' Joke Cycle , Jawaharlal Handoo notes that the Sikh members in a group generally do not seem to enjoy a Sardarji joke, although they may pretend to enjoy the humour of the joke by smiling or joining the group laughter.
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As he begins the joke with the words "There was a Sardarji", Aishwarya starts giggling. A group of angry Sikhs stormed the PNC office, and demanded that the scene be deleted from the film.
The Pritish Nandy Communications Limited tendered a written apology, stating that they respect the Sikh community and hold it in high esteem, and they had no intention of ridiculing anybody. On February 25, , journalist Vir Sanghvi wrote a column in Hindustan Times , saying that the NCM was curbing free speech on behalf of the "forces of intolerance", while claiming to fight for minority rights.
He wrote that the Sardarji joke is part of the "good-natured Indian tradition", and not an example of anti-minority feeling. He further went on to say that the protesters should develop a sense of humour and that "All truth has the power to offend.
Take away the offence and you end up suppressing the truth". Research has indicated however that suggesting truth in such stereotypes in ethnic jokes is not supported by facts which are contrary to this suggestion. On March 2, , The NCM filed a complaint against the Hindustan Times with the Press Council of India , stating that "the tone, tenor and the content of the article in question has a tendency to hurt the sentiments of Sikh community.
The NCM decided not to proceed with the matter, and the case was closed as withdrawn. Pasricha , the second Sikh police commissioner of the Mumbai Police.
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Based on a complaint filed by a Sikh businessman, the Mumbai Police arrested Parande under section of the Indian Penal Code , for "hurting religious sentiments. They later requested the cyber cell department of the Mumbai police crime branch to "ban jokes on the internet" which portray Sikhs as objects of ridicule.
However, he continued to include Sardarji jokes in his subsequent joke books. In the preface to his 7th joke book, he claimed that most of his Sardarji jokes were "pro-Sardarji". In December , India's second biggest mobile operator Reliance Communications and its head Anil Ambani were charged by Lucknow police with "insulting a religion or faith", after Reliance sent a Sardarji joke as its "joke of the day".
Reliance stated that the it was not responsible for content provided by OnMobile, but apologised its subscribers and the Sikh community in Uttar Pradesh.
OnMobile also issued a public apology. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Redirected from Sardarji jokes. Though some jokes were created by the Sikhs themselves, now it has gone out of hand. Storytelling in Contemporary Societies. The Times of India.
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