A Sikh student gave a brilliant response to the so called “Sardar jokes” on Sikhs. The Sikh reminded the sacrifice of Sikhs throughout Indian History and the contribution of Sikhs in Indian society today.
12 O’clock Joke: For all of you who thought of the ’12 o Clock joke’ as a slam against Sardars, just read the following story.
I was standing at railway Station (New Delhi) when my attention went towards a Sikh youth standing near me wearing a Black turban having a long beard and wearing a kirpan over his shirt looking similar to what some people might think of as a terrorist.
After a while, one local train arrived, which was totally packed. The Sikh youth tried to board the train but failed to do so. Just then a voice was heard from the back coach, ‘Sardarji Barah Baj gaye’ (Sir it’s 12 o’clock!)
The Sikh youth turned to look at the person who had said the words, who to me seemed a young mischievous type of person, but instead of showing any anger the young Sikh made a knowing smile towards him.
The smile he made was so enigmatic that it seemed as if some type of truth lay behind it. Not able to resist my temptation to ask the young man a question, I walked towards him and asked why he had smiled at the person who had teased him. The Sikh youth replied, “He was not teasing me but was asking for my Help”.
I was surprised by his answer, he went on to tell me that there was a lot of history behind the phrase, which he offered to share with me if I wanted to listen. I was eager to know the history so I asked and the Sikh youth began to relate his story:
During the 17th Century, when India was ruled by the Mughals who called it Hindustan, the Hindu people were often humiliated and even treated like animals. Mughals all too often treated Hindu women as just another piece of property. The Emperor Aurangzeb, who had been raised and educated by the fundamentalist Ulama, decided that all Hindus were to be converted to Islam.
Aurangzeb, who had jailed his own father and stolen the throne intended for his older more moderate brother, whom he accused of being a Hindu rather than a Muslim cooked up a plan with his Subedar of Kashmir to force the highly revered Hindu Pandits of Kashmir to convert to Islam. Thinking that if they were converted then the other Hindus all over their kingdom would follow suit.
They offered them a simple choice — convert or die by the sword. The Pandits knew that they would probably meet a death far worse than dying at the tip of a Mughal sword, for the Mughals had become masters of torture who could extend a person’s agony and death for days. When the time that the Pandits had been given to decide was almost up, they by the hundreds walked to meet with Guru Tegh Bahadur at his Darbar in the city now known as Anandpur.