In India, humor is incomplete without a Sardar joke. But, unfortunately, we don’t seem to get enough of them, whether dinner table conversations or comedy shows on television. And, what’s even worse, we leave no opportunity to reduce any Sikh we know to a mere joke. So it’s time we tell you how the ‘Barah Baj Gaye’ phrase got associated with the Sikhs. If you’ve ever cracked Sardar jokes, you’ll feel deeply embarrassed after reading this.
If the legend is believed, the story dates back to the 18th Century when Nader Shah, India’s Shah of Persia, was invaded. Nader Shah’s army reached Delhi in March 1739, and a massacre followed. Countless Hindus and Muslims were killed, and the women were held captives. Then, when his armies were crossing through Punjab, the Sikhs devised a plan to attack them and free the women.
But since Nader Shah’s army was massive compared to them, they decided to visit his camps only at night and free as many women as they could as stealthily as possible. They even helped those rescued women return home safely because they knew how important a woman’s dignity was.
With ‘guerilla’ tactics, they attacked the Muslim camps and liberated the Hindu women from the clutches. The usual time of such attacks was either at noon or midnight. However, the attacks were so ferocious that the Muslims began dreading the expected attacks of the Sikhs at 12 o’clock, midnight, or noon.
But over time, the Hindus started referring to this kind gesture in the form of the 12 o’clock joke without realizing that their women wouldn’t have survived had it not been for those Sikhs. So they went out of their way to help their brothers and what they got in return was an insensitive joke of ‘Barah Baj Gaye’ that stereotyped their community on a ridiculous level.
We think it is time to stop joking about this incident. Do you? Tell us how you feel after reading this.