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     Volume 4 Issue 38 | March 18, 2005 |

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Never had I had the occasion, more probably courage, to find out why Sardarjis are the butt of jokes that often lay bare the aridity of one's upper chamber. One would have expected such prejudice to stop after Manmohon Singh was unwillingly catapulted to the highest public office in India in recognition of the economist's virtuosity. But no!

A teacher was lecturing on population: "In India, after every ten seconds a woman gives birth to a child."

A concerned Sardar stands up and is almost hysterical, "We must find and stop her!"

Some of the jokes that transpire through the net perhaps let the Sardars have the last laugh.

Sardar tells a girl "Come to my house tonight, nobody will be there..."

Girl goes to his house at night and really nobody was there. Not even the Sardarji.

One thing for sure you can count on is their honesty. And logic also plays a great part in their life.

Sardar: "Why are all these people running?"

Man: "This is a race. The winner will get the Cup."

Sardar: "If only the winner will get the cup, why are all the others running?"

Makes sense, but you would have never thought of that. Or this…

Teacher: "I killed a person. Convert this sentence into future tense."

Honest Sardar: "The future tense is you will go to jail".

They are humble too.

Sardarji was filling up an application form for a job. He was not sure with what to fill the column that said "Salary expected". After much thought he wrote: "Yes!"

Their lifestyle shows they are very compassionate with their employees, a rare quality these days.

Sardar told his servant: "Go and water the plants."

Servant: "It's already raining."

Sardar: "So what? Take an umbrella and go."

And never doubt their earthly ingenuity.

Sardar found the answer to the most difficult question ever, "What will come first, chicken or egg?"

Sardarji's common sense: "Oye yaar! Whatever you order first will come first."

Admirable is their dealing with the opposite number.

Sardar proposed a girl. Girl said, "I am one year older than you".

Sardar said, "Oye, no problem Soniye, I'll marry you next year".

One of the reasons why they are such a great race is because of the lessons they derive from their ancestors.

Sardar's wish: "When I die, I want to die like my grandpa who died peacefully in his sleep, not screaming like all the stupid passengers in the car he was driving."

They are not necessarily short-sighted, but in their innate yearning to strike up a conversation they have often opened their mouth when one would have wished they had not.

Sardar at an Art Gallery: "I suppose this horrible looking thing is what you guys call modern art?"

Astounded art dealer: "I beg your pardon sir. That's a mirror."

Yet another of their virtues is their extreme gentleness with children.

Sardar was writing something very slowly. Friend asked: "Why are you writing so slowly?"

Sardar: "I'm writing to my six-year old son. He can't read very fast."

Then there is another made-up story that recalls a Sardarji and over twenty of his family and friends trying to enter a movie house in the States. They were making quite a din.

The usher rushed out quickly to stop them in their track: "What do you lot want?"

Sardarji was unperturbed and widened his smile: 'We want to see the movie, gorey'. Silently he continued, '…you baboon!'

Usher: 'But why so many of you at a time?'

Sardarji: 'Can't you even read? Look what it says above the doorway UNDER 18 NOT ALLOWED'

It's all about reputation. At some time someone somewhere began this thing about Sardars being low on IQ. There is absolutely no reason why such a notion should be true. But the saga continues.

The Scots have for long been dubbed as extra thrifty. Now we all know that it is impossible for every Scot to be of a similar singular disposition. But that stops no one from cracking how a Scot will wring a bottle to squeeze out the last drops of a beverage. Their reputation is chasing them.

You can be sure the Sardars and Scots have their own jokes about the rest of us.

Talking of reputation, it has been published in several reports, credible or not is unimportant, that Bangladesh is the most corrupt country in the world; that Dhaka is the worst city to live in Asia, and so forth. The fact is these claims have received worldwide acceptance. These are reputations that will last for decades to come. We cannot erase such questionable standing with some emissary making a counter-claim during a whirlwind tour of some rich countries.

A nation has to work hard and together in the right direction under the right leadership at all levels and under an appropriate climate to writhe out of the quagmires of (not in any order) corruption, terrorism, bigotry, nepotism, politicisation, fraud, wilful environmental degradation… the list could go on.

But amidst this horde of snags there is but one word that best describes the cause of our continued plight, it is INSINCERITY.

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