Santa and Banta were fixing a bomb in a car, Santa said, “What would you do if the bomb explodes while fixing?” Banta replied, “Don’t worry, I have one more.”
Well, we all are acquainted with Santa and Banta since our childhood; as kids we’ve forwarded these jokes to our friends from our mother’s mobile set or even narrated them in exchange of a candy at our friend’s birthday party. But what we never pondered upon is the identity of these people! We’ve never thought why they are a caricature of ‘SARDARS’ only and not somebody else. Jokes are meant to be taken for granted, shouldn’t be taken seriously or personally but then why Santa-Banta are associated with the characteristics of a Sikh? Isn’t this hypocrisy? The unsaid rule avers, “A Sikh should never feel bad about these jokes (which most of the times they don’t mind, because of their jolly-holly nature) but we can all make fun of him by saying Sardar Ji ke 12 baj gye!”
Just to understand the significance of 12’o clock in a Sikh’s life, I dogged upon the pages of history and it lead my eyes to witness some shocking facts. Surprise, surprise! I never did feel grateful to the lessons of HISTORY AND CULTURE OF PUNJAB in these two years, which I do now due to the story it unfolded to me.
Starting from the 17th Century when India was ruled under the Mughal Dynasty, the Sikhs became synonymous to the word ‘Protectors’. Sikhism was originally started by Guru Nanak Ji as a religion of people striving for equality, justice and unity. A religion of devotion perpetually transformed into a religious group to safeguard the rights of the Hindus from the atrocities of Mughal or Persian Ruler. With the accession of throne by Aurangzeb, the peaceful environment of India (since Akbar’s rule) turned upside down and the Non-Islamic people were forced to accept Islam as their only religion. Women were mistreated and people were humiliated. Kashmiri Pandits were anomalously forced to convert their beliefs.
The ninth Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji came forward to protect the Hindus, who were bereft of their basic rights. His valor spoke boldly in front of Aurangzeb where he challenged the latter that if he could covert Guru Ji to Islam, all the Hindus will accept the same. The ruler willfully agreed to the challenge and invited Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji to Delhi. He was tortured mercilessly; made to sit on hot iron plates and ducked into a cauldron of boiling water. Two of his companions were tormented simultaneously. Bhai Mati Dass was swayed into two and Bhai Sati Dass was wrapped in cotton to pour hot oil on his body. They inflicted pain on Guru ji by boiling him in hot oil in a hope that the latter would give in and accept Islam. It is said that during this excruciating process Guru Ji did not even utter a word or cried in anguish. Aurangzeb was furious to see the calm and composed Guru Ji and therefore beheaded him. Thus our ‘Hind Di Chaddar’ sacrificed his life for the sake of Hindu religion making his motto forever “Bhai kahun ko deit nehn, Nehn bhai manat aan” i.e., Fear not and Frighten no one.
This made Guru Gobind Ji stringent in his resolve in making his followers great warriors of social injustice. Sikhs were few in number when they were fighting Mughal emperors and therefore they attacked the enemy strategically in the wake of night. At that time, India was loot and plundered by Nadir Shah, a Persian ruler who was taking away with him not only the treasure but also more than 2000 Hindu women. The determined Sardar Jassa Singh, the commander of Sikh army figured a plan to protect India from this loot. He attacked Nadir Shah at 12’o clock midnight and rescued all the women. Similarly Sikh carried on such attacks at midnight because they were few in number and used the darkness to their advantage. Therefore a belief was born that Sikhs can never be defeated at the art of fighting at midnight. Thus Sikh have always shielded not only the culture but also the respect of a woman; not only of Hindus but also Muslims.
Oblivious to the fact, we indifferently make fun of their sacrifice. Jokes do bring a little-beautiful curve on our faces but shouldn’t equating someone on the basis of these jokes be curtailed? It is sad on our part that we’ve molded the history to color our mundane life and exemplary on their part to take it sportingly. They go unabashed being witness to these 12 hour joke but might feel disheartened at these impersonal remarks made on the sacrifice of our great Gurus. They have not only protected humans but also humanity. As Guru Ji said, ‘Sis diya par Sirar na diya’ meaning ‘I gave up my life but not my faith or secret’. Let not their sacrifice go worthless and let not they be called insane at 12!
About The Author
According to me, a person without the hunger for knowledge requires to have a new birth. I simply believe in four beautiful words, ‘Humility’, ‘Positivity’, ‘Passion’ and ‘Knowledge’.