Indian Supreme Court to hear Sikh jokes case

Indian Supreme Court to hear Sikh jokes case

India’s highest court is to hear an appeal next year seeking to ban jokes about the country’s minority Sikh community.

Harvinder Chowdhury, a Sikh lawyer, said thousands of websites ridicule Sikhs, who number some 25 million, as “stupid, naive and foolish”.

She said the jokes violated the community’s fundamental “right to life and dignity”.

She added: “Enough is enough, as we Sikhs have endured a lifetime of mockery.

“My children want to drop their Sikh surnames, because they face ridicule. These jokes are the bane of Sikhs. They have to go.”

The judges said: “Many people we know take these jokes sportingly.

“They may not be an insult, but only some comic statement for amusement. You want all such jokes to stop, but Sikhs may themselves oppose it.”

She was offered the option to have her case heard by a Sikh judge but declined the offer.

Sikhs have played a significant part in Indian life in inverse proportion to their relatively small population. Freedom fighters such as Bhagat Singh fought the British before independence in 1947 while others have occupied senior positions in India since independence – most notably India’s former Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh.

“I have fought with fellow lawyers in the courts for making fun of Sikhs,” Ms Chowdhury said.

She cited typical jokes made about Sikhs in India, including the following:

Sikh (on the phone): Doctor my wife is pregnant. She is having pain right now

Doctor: Is this her first child?

Sikh: No, this is her husband.

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