Sardarji jokes

sweet and sour

We have Bawaji jokes portraying Parsis as a bunch of crackpots. We have jokes about Marwari Banias who are so busy making money that they are unaware of their wives cuckolding them by having clandestine love affairs with other men. Most of all we have Sardarji jokes about Sikhs who have more to their credit then other communities as being feeble-minded. What is notable is that most of these jokes are made by members of the community itself. Only those who have self-confidence are able to laugh at themselves.

Unfortunately, Sikhs have lost much of their self-esteem and have become think-skinned like other communities and take offence at anyone trying to make fun of them. So it needed audacity to publish jokes about them. This has been now done with the publication of ‘Bantaism--the philosophy of Sardar Jokes’ by Bhai Niranjan Singh Amrikawala (Rupa). You can take it from me that there is no philosophy behind this compilation: it is only a ruse to deter some ill-tempered Sardarjis taking them to court.
I reproduce a couple of samples of Sardar jokes from the compilation: “Banta Singh was sitting alone, enjoying a cup of tea at a restaurant. He couldn’t help overhear the conversation at the next table, where a young man and woman, clearly in courtship, were seated. The guy asked his lady friend, ‘How many cups of tea can a person drink on an empty stomach?’ She thought for a while, stirring some sugar into her tea demurely, before replying, ‘I guess three would be my answer’. Her friend smiled and said slowly, ‘You are wong’. ‘You asked me, and I told you,’ said the girl, a little irritated, ‘so what is the correct answer?’

‘Don’t get excited,’ said the guy. ‘Think about it. The correct answer is.... One’, he said, ‘Once you have the first cup your stomach is no longer empty!’ She laughed, and Banta Singh pondered over their conversation as they left the shop, hand in hand.

Such a nice joke. Something the wife would really enjoy, he said to himself. That evening after supper he placed the matter squarely before her. ‘Well, Jeeto, how many cups of tea can you have on an empty stomach?’ ‘I don’t like tea,’ she replied. ‘After five years of marriage don’t you even know that about me? Shows how much you care’. The conversation was not going as planned. He parried as best as he could, telling her it was only a joke he had heard. ‘Arrre re re. What I mean is, if you did like tea, how many cups could you drink on an empty stomach?’

‘Swaal paida nahin honda jaddon (the question does not arise when) I don’t like it only.’ It took quite some persuasion, but finally he managed to cajole an answer out of her. “Two,” she said. Banta Singh could barely contain his exasperation. ‘You stupid woman,’ he hissed under his breath. Aloud he merely said, ‘Tsk tsk tsk. Too bad. If only you had said “three” I would have told you such a nice joke...’

The marathon

And: “The sardar from the village was unfamiliar with the concept of a running race. On a visit to the city he chanced upon the marathon, when he suddenly saw hundreds of people dashing down the road for no apparent reason. He asked his friend what was going on. The friend explained the concept of a race, and the incentives. He said the top three finishers would get gold, silver and bronze medals respectively.

‘But then...’ asked the sardar, ‘why are all the others running?’ Why indeed?
The odds of winning a lottery are miniscule, yet millions of people buy tickets religiously. The joke also highlights the stupidity of competition (life corroding competition, as Gandhi called it). It calls into question the multitude of races one participates in all through life, unwitting and witting; with classmates, siblings, colleagues, spouse, even children. The moment you leave the race, you realise the absurdity of it - the ab-Surdity, if you must.”

For a community which has less than 2 per cent of the population of the country to produce a prime minister regarded as able, righteous and humble is a matter of pride for the community. The man who plans India’s future Montek Singh Ahluwalia is also a Sardarji. And till last year so was the commander-in-chief of the Army, General J J Singh. so envy is inevitable. And out of envy are born jokes to even the score.

Widows Santo and Banto were discussing about their husbands.

Santo said: “Banto, widows are better than us?”

Banto asked: “How?”

Santo replied: ‘At least they know for sure, where their husbands are.”

(Contributed by J P Singh Kaka, Bhopal)

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