Jay Leno Has Done No Wrongby T. SHER SINGH
I won’t beat around the bush, and get straight to the point.
S. M. Krishna - India’s Minister for External Affairs - is an ass.
He has expressed his country’s “disapproval” of Jay Leno over a quip he made on his show a few nights ago, and has promised to take up the matter with the U.S. government.
Vayalar Ravi - India’s Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs - another ass, declares: “This is not acceptable to us”.
A third moron from the sub-continent - India’s Ambassador to the U.S., Nirupama Rao - is “taking up the matter with the relevant authorities”.
I have viewed the video clip in question.
I liked it. I thought it was funny.
I have checked it out over and over again, but have yet to find anything offensive in it.
Leno is a comedian, and does a stand-up comic routine at the commencement of his show each night.
He is a good comedian, and wields his rapier well in pricking egos and pretensions and a variety of foolishnesses that go on all around us all the time.
This particular quip was directed against Mitt Romney, and it made the point well.
The reference to the Golden Temple, I thought, was complimentary to the Sikhs, not by any stetch of the imagination a negative one.
For those who are too stupid to understand the workings of a joke, or need to dissect a joke to understand it, let me explain.
A joke is based on an exaggeration.
To emphasize a point, one brings in an unrelated but extreme example in order to show how ridiculous the subject of your joke is.
Leno’s goal was to show the most lavish property on earth in order to satirize Romney’s claim that he is an ordinary bloke.
Leno’s writers and researchers, while looking for the most valuable and beyond-the-reach real estate on earth, zeroed in - not on the Taj Mahal, not on the Palace of Versailles, not on the Vatican, not on Buckingham Palace - but the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
I liked that … in addition to the joke itself.
So, what are these idiots in India huffing and puffing about?
So let me see ...
Tens of thousands of Sikhs - innocent men, women and children - get murdered in broad daylight, in the open streets of India’s capital city, with the direct involvement of these very asses, either in the mass murders or in their subsequent cover-up.
And not one of this trinity of buffoons said a word. Or lifted a finger. Before, during or after. 28 years have gone by, and these very same asses continue to sit on their hands.
Where were they when we needed intelligent intervention in, for example, the turban issue in France?
Many think that the Indian politicians merely did nothing.
Not true. It was worse.
Do any of you really believe that any nation on earth - each hungering for trade with the hundreds of millions of lemmings that populate the subcontinent - would even dare to offend India, if it had genuinely expressed displeasure at the mistreatment of Sikhs in their respective nations?
I know, as many of you do too, that these very same asses actually connived at exasperating the challenges we face today.
Our problems today exist, not despite them, but because of them.
Our successes are not because of them, but despite them.
And now, viewing a simple, straightforward, innocent joke on the telly, these twits have suddenly found their voices?
You know why?
There is an election going on in India, and it is opportune for these scoundrels to drum up a controversy out of thin air, fan the flames, and then claim that they are the defenders of Sikhs. And then milk the uneducated peasants for their votes.
[Sorry, but this isn’t the time to mince words.]
Each of these three asses, and their entire party of goondas will be pretending to do something where nothing needs to be done, but they will do absolutely nothing to accomplish ANYTHING meaningful, even though they hold the very reins of power in the country.
Let me give you a short list.
A vast majority of the citizens of their country, India, is starving. Literally. Most of them defecate publicly every day. They are uneducated - yes, even more so than the politicians. They worship animals, and bow in reverence to the phallus - those of you who are weak in Latin, that’s the human, male penis! They see piety and health benefits in drinking their own urine, and that of animals. They brutalize women, children, seniors, minorities ….
And so on.
Nothing, absolutely, nothing, is being done to address any of these stupidities and crimes, because these very three asses, along with their army of cohorts, personally subscribe to these ills.
Yet, they have the time and gumption to find fault with a man who has done no wrong … all, while claiming to do so in the name of Sikhs, who, by the way, are the only people in that silly and sad land who simply will not subscribe to those stupidities.
And the only people there who do have a sense of humour - a self-deprecating variety, unequalled on earth.
I repeat, with all the emphasis I can muster:
Jay Leno has said nothing wrong, done nothing wrong, and has no reason to apologize in this matter.
But what will we do with the dimwits who usurp our voices and lead those amongst us who are simple and trusting, astray?
January 24, 2012
Conversation about this article
1: Gurdyal Singh (India), January 24, 2012, 7:31 AM.
Why did he compare the Golden Temple with the other buildings? [EDITOR: What comparison? Please explain in detail. And please also explain why you think it is wrong? That is, what exactly do you think is wrong in what Jay Leno said or did? Have you seen the clip, or have you merely heard or read it described by others?]
2: Brijinder Kaur (Chandigarh, Punjab), January 24, 2012, 8:25 AM.
Thank you for saying what needed to be said - and for saying it so fearlessly and succinctly.
3: Pritam (Long Island, New York, U.S.A.), January 24, 2012, 8:28 AM.
God bless you.
4: Gurjinder Singh (Maryland, U.S.A.), January 24, 2012, 8:34 AM.
I was not able to see the clip. Please advise the date of this clip or any other location where it can be watched.
5: Happy (U.S.A.), January 24, 2012, 8:47 AM.
People shouldn't make jokes on holy places.
6: G.C. Singh (U.S.A.), January 24, 2012, 8:57 AM.
I would advise the few our Sikh brothers who have launched an online petition not to get so worked up on a joke which was on Romney and not on Sikhs. Some of the commentators in the press have even suggested that to make his point, Jay Leno, instead of choosing the Golden Temple, could have used the image of the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake city. We should also not fall for the crocodile tears being shed by the Hindu politicians about the non-existent "hurt sentiments" of the Sikh community and see through the game which they are playing. The Indian government has never taken up any substantive issue facing the Sikhs and instead routinely goes around in defaming the Sikhs as terrorists in its vicious and never-ending propaganda war against the Sikh Diaspora. Just last year, the Indian prime Minister on a visit to Canada spoke about "Sikh terrorists" waging war for Khalistan on Canadian soil. Indian agencies are spending millions of dollars in overt and covert operations in infiltrating the Gurdwaras and engineering conflicts. These are the real issues that we should be dealing with and not some inconsequential joke of a comedian.
7: Balwant Kaur (Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.), January 24, 2012, 9:03 AM.
Dear Happy ji: Remember "Freedom of Speech"? That is what makes this country great. And India ... not. Let's not throw our fundamental freedoms by the wayside over a joke, even if you consider this one ill-worded (which I don't think it was)!
8: Harpreet Singh (Shillong, India), January 24, 2012, 9:03 AM.
It is on YouTube with the title, "Jay Leno's remark on Golden Temple " http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfGlyjY5bJU&feature=player_embedded.
9: K. Singh (Boston, MA, U.S.A.), January 24, 2012, 9:04 AM.
The video was aired during the Thursday, January 19, 2012 episode of the Tonight Show.
10: Mohinder (U.S.A.), January 24, 2012, 9:19 AM.
These comedians are jokers. What more can you expect from them.
11: Jessie Kaur (Indiana, U.S.A.), January 24, 2012, 9:21 AM.
I have only three short points to make: 1) When you start analyzing the joke by taking it apart, you end up creating a new joke: of yourself! It's a bloody joke, for heaven's sake. If you don't get it, just pretend you do by laughing limply, and then quickly change the subject. 2) By being silly, you are encouraging others to create new jokes - and it'll all be at your (that is, our) expense. 3) You are giving free publicity to Jay Leno. Desis like India's idiot Ministers who had never even heard of Jay Leno before, now get introduced to him. My suggestion: please go back to T. Sher Singh's article, re-read it, and then spend some quiet time thinking about it. You'll learn something.
12: Baljit Singh (Birmingham, England), January 24, 2012, 9:41 AM.
There is a reason why the political goondas from India want to beat this drum: it fits into their strategy of depicting Sikhs as "terrorists" who are prone to irrational and disproportionate behaviour. So, on their egging us on, those amongst us who are quick to action or do not stop to think before they act, jump on the band-wagon. And, guess what - you're doing exactly what our detractors want us to do. My suggestion: forget the joke, whether you like it or not, and go back to work as if nothing happened. And thump some sense into the next guy who raises it as an issue in your presence!
13: Gurmeet Kaur (Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.), January 24, 2012, 9:44 AM.
Yesterday, as I followed the story and noticed how quickly India stepped in to "help" its 2 percent minority express its "hurt sentiments", I couldn't help but be "proud" of its genuine caring gesture and media prowess in such a quick turnaround. My heart was filled with gratitude for its overnight transformation. Well, for those who are angry at Jay Leno's quip, you probably didn't get my satire either. So let me spell it out for you. Each hour, as I came across yet another Indian channel provoking Sikhs against the U.S.A., I could see where all of this was coming from and leading to. My dear fellow Sikhs, don't you see the same Indian Government who made a military target out of The Golden Temple in 1984, murdering tens of thousands of innocent Sikhs, and who have yet to atone for their crimes - is concerned about a comedian depicting it irreverently in a comedy show? BTW, go see for yourself that he meant no harm. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfGlyjY5bJU
14: Inni Kaur (Fairfield, CT, U.S.A.), January 24, 2012, 10:15 AM.
15: Yuktanand Singh (MI, U.S.A.), January 24, 2012, 10:16 AM.
Messages #11 and 13 sum up my views. We need to relax. It was just a joke. The idea was to show a most expensive looking house, unwittingly comparing the one-of-a-kind house of worship with private homes. Caricature is acceptable in comedy. But caricature of a house of worship is offensive to some Sikhs, particularly of a gurdwara, when the Sikhs are not so well known. If Sikhs were well known, Harmandar Sahib was as widely known as the Taj Mahal, and was revered world wide, then the same Sikhs who are upset would have taken it in their stride. I like Jay Leno for his humor. He should be advised in a calm manner of what he did, rather than the petitions, etc. He is shrewd enough to help our image or to hurt it further. But this would be influenced by how he knows us.
16: Kirpal Singh (Pittsburgh, U.S.A.), January 24, 2012, 10:19 AM.
The damage has been done. All leading media outlets - newspapers, blogs, internet sites, TV and radio networks - have reported what they describe as "Sikh ire" over Jay Leno's remarks. Indian government machinery was put into high gear immediately. They sent out all the necessary press releases pertaining to their ministers' and ambassador's remarks, saying "we will ..." do such and such, which of course means they haven't done anything, will not do anything, and have no intention of doing anything. All they want is to attach the word "Sikh" to a manufactured over-reaction. Also, they have sent press releases out to the entire Indian ethnic media worldwide through their local consular operations. Each desi outlet has dutifully given it prime coverage. We have two tasks: kill all the petitions and protests, wherever we can, and refrain from joining the fray. Secondly, back to square one: we need to build the infrastructure of our own media and institutions which can automatically jump into the fray the moment such incidents occur, not in reaction to what others have already done to exploit the situation. Our enemy - the desis in India - are committed, well-equipped and intent on destroying us. Is all lost? Of course not. Remember, Hitler and his military machine were invincible ... but were wiped out within a few years of their dominance. Today, things can move even faster. And our enemy, this time around, has two things going against it: it's deeply immoral; and it is infinitely stupid behind the facade of being a juggernaut. Chardi kalaa! Let's just do our bit to help them along, and over the cliff!
17: Yuktanand Singh (MI, U.S.A.), January 24, 2012, 10:29 AM.
Perhaps, someone should send Jay Leno a link to this page.
18: Dr.Birinder Singh Ahluwalia (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), January 24, 2012, 10:34 AM.
I may completely agree with the title of the narrative/article, but I profoundly disagree, in a few instances, the manner in which it is written or the usage of certain vocabulary in the article. The author is a well known, reputable and respected journalist - thus, he is more than capable of relaying the message he wanted to convey without resorting to derogatory verbiage (as per acceptable journalistic standards). Everyone is cognizant of opportunistic and facetious nature/ actions embraced in politics and/or by politicians (in almost all countries) and Indian democracy is not immune to such tactics, but we as people of certain background and as citizens of a responsible and decent nation(s), should always conduct ourselves in a manner reflective of our values and principles, without having to resort to unparliamentary language. This is not to say that the Indian government officials or it's politicians are not being disingenous or facetious or rather outright silly in doing what they are doing and in doing so they are bringing ridicule on their entire nation (as also some Sikhs who are part of this charade with the Indian Govt.) I think Indians are better than this (as also some Sikhs who are parading along with them) - there are more imminent challenges facing India and it's citizenry (and some of them have been highlighted by the author) than trying to dissect, mis-propagandize/ mischaracterise Jay Leno's joke which may be construed as something in bad taste by one extreme - but to be interpreted as being disrespectful to the Golden Temple is a stretch by any sense of sane imagination. Though it will not be a bad idea for a person who is aspiring to be the U.S. president to spend some time in the Golden Temple (even during vacation or as part of his summer retreat, as many do), I am sure he will enjoy the experience and ultimately become a better President of the most powerful nation on this planet today - Hmmmmm ... not a bad idea for Mitt or Newt or Rick or Ron to do this before their next debate ...
19: H.S. Vachoa (U.S.A.), January 24, 2012, 10:45 AM.
To undo the damage, we need to come out against India's false representation by lodging a complaint with the U.S. Government against the Indian diplomatic corps and activities, citing our continuing stand on freedom of speech and against a foreign entity's interference in our (American) internal affairs.
20: Tejinder Singh (London, England), January 24, 2012, 11:06 AM.
I was surprised at the speed with which the Indian Government and media reacted to Jay Leno's news. Never before have they prompted to any Sikh issue in such a manner. I wonder when they will react to the pain and suffering of Sikhs affected by the barbaric genocide of 1984.
21: Gurmeet Kaur (Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.), January 24, 2012, 11:20 AM.
Well said #16. SMART (Sikh Mediawatch and Resource Task Force) started with this intent but overtime changed its direction to become SALDEF. Unfortunately, now no one is proactively handling all of Sikh media needs. On the Leno issue - there is still time for us to undo some of the damage. 395 online articles/ newspapers are carrying this news. A lot of them allow comments. Let us get active and register our thoughts along with a link to this article. Just Google "Jay Leno Sikhs" to get a list. Every little bit counts.
22: Brajesh Kumar Dhindsa (New Delhi, India), January 24, 2012, 11:20 AM.
Not too long ago, there was a S.M. Krishna - also, the External Affairs Minister for India - who stood up before the United Nations Security Council to make a speech, and then proceeded to read the speech belonging to the Portuguese Foreign Minister ... and had no clue he was delivering someone else's speech for a full three minutes! And only when someone else interrupted him and yanked the wrong speech out of his hands! Is this the same nincompoop?
23: Gurjender Singh (Maryland, U.S.A.), January 24, 2012, 11:20 AM.
If you have not read it yet, the following is the copy of the U.S. State Dept.'s response. Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the State Department, told BBC News that though United States and Indian officials had not communicated about the issue, the United States Constitution protected Mr. Leno's freedom of speech. Ms. Nuland said she hoped that Mr. Leno would "be appreciative if we make the point that his comments are constitutionally protected in the United States under free speech and, frankly, they appeared to be satirical in nature." She added that "Sikh-Americans have contributed greatly to the United States" and noted that President Obama celebrated the birthday of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, at the White House not too long ago.
24: Baldev Singh (Bradford, United Kingdom), January 24, 2012, 11:34 AM.
Freedom of speech and a sense of humour are two fundamental ingredients of being a Sikh.
25: Jeet Singh (New Jersey, U.S.A.), January 24, 2012, 11:43 AM.
I thought the author was merely resorting to the same freedom of speech that Jay Leno was exercising, and which we all so correctly want to protect. I went back and re-read the article above. Couldn't find a single word that hasn't been used in parliament or by Shakespeare!
26: Baljit Singh Pelia (Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.), January 24, 2012, 11:57 AM.
Finally Sikhs have a voice of their own, and it is loud and clear. I am impressed at the swift condemnation of the Indian apparatus that was trying to project the Sikhs as fundamentalists and intolerant by picking on a comedian that we all like to watch. The truth is, we have no problem taking self-deprecating humor, much like Jews and Texans. A joke is a joke. Having watched this Jay Leno clip, I do not see anything offensive. If anything, picking the Golden Temple out of the many available depictions of the best home on earth is a matter of pride. Isn't the Darbar Sahib the home of our hearts anyway, where all are welcome? T Sher Singh ji, I applaud you, you have hit the snake on its head with this article. The vernacular used is quite appropriate for dealing with the Gunda Raj that has taken over after the British exit from the subcontinent. These thugs and criminals deserve to be in prison for the crimes and corruption they have committed or allowed under their rule. Having seen the response, I am confident just like the recent Arab Spring, that the day is not far when there will be a Sikh Vaisakhi that will liberate the subcontinent of these corrupt and vicious politicians of every ilk.
27: Harinder (Uttar Pradesh, India), January 24, 2012, 11:58 AM.
Sher ji, I fully endorse your stand and opinion.
28: Baldev Singh (Bradford, United Kingdom), January 24, 2012, 12:01 PM.
At some point, we should invite Jay Leno to Darbar Sahib, and let him see that indeed it is the ultimate place on earth, as his joke implies.
29: H.S. Vachoa (U.S.A.), January 24, 2012, 12:09 PM.
I recommend that sikhchic.com start a "petition", and send it to NBC to declare that Jay Leno did nothing wrong.
30: Kanwarjeet Singh (Franklin Park, New Jersey, U.S.A.), January 24, 2012, 12:30 PM.
How dare Jay Leno say anything about Sikhs or the Sikh place of worship? S.M. Krishna has done an excellent job of arousing the sleeping Sikhs. It is Sikhs who get always targeted. They are all against us. Everyone is against us. We are the victims ..... Okay, now that I have your attention and since we all have vented out our frustrations of daily life, let us think about it. Let us not make a mockery of who we are. There is nothing wrong with what Jay Leno said or did or portrayed. In fact, I was glad to see some Sikh coverage on the American media. These Krishnas and Ravis have nothing better to do. These are the same people who have Prof. Devinderpal Singh Bhullar locked up as a criminal, the same people who do not condemn the killings of innocent Sikhs on the streets of India but condemn Jay Leno ... and so on and on, ad nauseum. These are the same people who sponsor terrorism and then label Sikhs overseas as terrorists. They are no better than the right wing BJP/RSS, worse perhaps. By the standards we are judging Jay Leno, Khushwant Singh would be in the same boat! My single question to all those who are so worked up about this issue - including Krisha and his jokers - how come none of you idiots speak up when the Hindi film industry or Indian media is making a mockery of Sikhs and their identity?
31: Baldev Singh (Bradford, United Kingdom), January 24, 2012, 12:37 PM.
T.Sher Singh has summed up what all educated, decent Sikhs were thinking, in a superb, brutally honest article, especially mentioning the most important question, "Why?" Of course, it's because there is an election going on in India! This fact should be made clear to the U.S. media.
32: Baljit Singh Pelia (Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.), January 24, 2012, 1:15 PM.
We need to contact Jay Leno somehow and apprise him of the real views and support of the Sikh diaspora for him regarding this issue. I like the petition idea by H.S.Vachoa ji.
33: Ari Singh (Sofia, Bulgaria), January 24, 2012, 1:29 PM.
Creating a furor over Jay Leno's remarks will be making a joke of ourselves!
34: Ravinder Singh Khalsa (Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.), January 24, 2012, 1:49 PM.
It was a joke that didn't even make fun of the Sikhs but what India is doing is exploiting the situation. Instead of focusing on a joke which potentially raises the profile of Sikhs in the U.S., we should be focusing on the genocide of the Sikhs in India in the 80's and 90's and the continued persecution and infiltration (overt & covert) of Sikh institutions. Our key Sikh institutions such as the Akaal Takht and S.G.P.C. have been taken over by the Indian government. What are we doing about that?
35: Keerat Kaur (Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.), January 24, 2012, 1:59 PM.
First and foremost, a copy of this article should be sent to NBC and Jay Leno's team. Has anyone done that? They need to know that the people objecting to the joke are but a lunatic fringe.
36: Baldev Singh (Bradford, United Kingdom), January 24, 2012, 3:04 PM.
I have just contacted Jay Leno's publicist, Mr Guttman (a soft-spoken and humble sounding gentleman) and explained to him about the 'electioneering' going on in India and that NO true Sikh would be offended by this and asked him to read this article on sikhchic.com and ask Mr Leno to read it as well.
37: Harman Singh (California, U.S.A.), January 24, 2012, 3:11 PM.
Well said, T. Sher Singh ji. You have given voice to what many of us have been thinking. Your words are actually mild and show restraint.
38: Ajay Singh (Rockville, Maryland, U.S.A.), January 24, 2012, 3:20 PM.
I agree that the Indian response to the joke is a sham and I agree with Sardar T. Sher Singh ji in that regard. However, I do think the joke is in poor taste. When it comes to religion, it is best not to make jokes in any shape or form. What if he made a joke of Osama bin Laden's turban style and equated it to the Sikh turban? I just don't like the Darbar Sahib being connected to any joke in any context. I will write a letter to NBC expressing my discomfort with this joke.
39: Jaswinder Singh (Brier, Washington, U.S.A.), January 24, 2012, 3:31 PM.
I Like H.S. Vachoa's comments (#29). The petition idea is good. I can see why the Indian politicians are shedding crocodile tears, because they are concerned about all the free publicity Golden temple got from it and they want to make sure someone else won't repeat it.
40: Harpreet Singh (California, U.S.A.), January 24, 2012, 3:40 PM.
Now that we have all concluded that there is nothing offensive and it is in fact Govt. of India propaganda, can we get beyond that and get a video/transcript on Facebook/Youtube to counter the damage being done by the Indian machinery? Anybody? SALDEF, are you listening? Please let Sikh Coalition take care of the advocacy. This is a crucial moment and you can fill the gap!
41: Gurcharan Singh Kulim (London, United Kingdom), January 24, 2012, 3:54 PM.
It is strange as to why India flapped its wings so fast and suddenly over this inconsequential jibe in a far-away land. Some Sikhs from California hyped it up by launching an online petition and then further publicising the issue through the U.K. and other media. Personally, I thought it was a silly joke; but it was best ignored. Sikhs should have utilized this opportunity to invite Leno to Amritsar and shown him Sikh warmth and hospitality. But, now that it has been hyped up ... we cannot afford to split the community, nor can we afford to allow jibes like that to be taken as the ticket to take pot shots at Sikhs. Without properly thinking this one out, some Sikhs have gone along and thus done us harm.
42: Rupinder Mohan Singh (U.S.A.), January 24, 2012, 3:56 PM.
Thank you, T. Sher Singh, for adding your voice. The real comedy here is the panicked and overblown backlash by self-interested politicians and those who are insecure about who we are. It's embarrassing. I would also like to humbly submit: The Top 10 Reasons Why Mitt Romney SHOULD Make Darbar Sahib His Summer Home. http://americanturban.com/2012/01/23/the-top-10-reasons-why-mitt-romney-should-make-darbar-sahib-his-summer-home/
43: Gurmukh Singh (London, United Kingdom), January 24, 2012, 5:03 PM.
I'm always concerned when Sikhs react like fanatic Muslims about such trivial non-issues. Rather, we should be spending more time educating people about Sikhi and Sikh big-heartedness. I understand Jay Leno has offended the Sikh sentiments in the past but this time we are overreacting. However, I would question the wisdom of sending this article and comments, unedited, to Jay Leno.
44: Raj (Canada), January 24, 2012, 5:14 PM.
We shouldn't over-react. Everyone knows Indians will take advantage of any situation to defame and demonize Sikhs. Like kids say, stay cool. Reacting one way or another will bring this issue to the forefront, which serves no good purpose.
45: R. Singh (Canada), January 24, 2012, 5:40 PM.
This is a cry for setting up a new a new comedy school in India! So far there has never been any reaction or effort to curtail all those stupid, offensive, humourless, degrading "jokes" about Sikhs in general, but they claim to defend our honour by taking aim at a satire aimed at Mitt Romney and inclusion of Darbar Sahib as the most desired place on earth? Who needs enemies, with friends like these? Thanks for putting our outrage in words, Mr T. Sher Singh, for most of us are still perplexed.
46: Roma Rajpal (U.S.A.), January 24, 2012, 5:43 PM.
It is very hard to understand why someone would fine offense after seeing Leno's Jan 19 video clip. It was funny. They needed an image of a place that has exceptional beauty to make the joke on Romney, so they used the Golden Temple's image. Who can debate that it is one of the most magnificent places in this world? What is there to object? This has nothing to do with Sikhs or religion, the joke was clearly intended to poke at Romney. It is embarrassing to read about how many Indians and Sikhs claim to be upset and asking Leno to apologize. Of course it is ridiculous how the Indian government has acted in all of this. This article was surely needed, courageously written, and you made great points. Thank you, T.Sher Singh!
47: R. Singh (Canada), January 24, 2012, 5:47 PM.
All this talk about splitting the community over a joke - let us not get carried away. This is not a community matter to begin with, let alone a matter for a diplomatic offensive by anyone out there. This is an imaginary tsunami in an non-existent tea-pot!
48: Morrissey (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), January 24, 2012, 6:43 PM.
It's too late - it's gone viral. Now the bigots are out of the woodwork and crawl out from under the rocks to spew their anti-immigrant hate from behind the skirts of their keyboards.
49: Mandip Kaur Sandher (Morriston, Ontario, Canada), January 24, 2012, 6:50 PM.
This manifested world is the playful game of the Supreme Lord God; reflecting upon it, we find that it is not different from Him [GGS:485]. The Native American name 'Winnipesaukee' means either "Smile of the Great Spirit" or "beautiful water in a high place." The joke is on us if we don't get the Game Player moving the chess pieces for the love of the Comedy/Sport we all signed up for!
50: Jasdeep Mann (U.S.A.), January 24, 2012, 6:59 PM.
I don't see anything disrespectful towards the Sikhs in the joke. Most Sikhs I know have a great sense of humor and wouldn't see anything wrong with it. This is one of those things that makes the nitpickers look foolish and its being generated by those that don't have the best interest of Sikhs at heart. Our community has much bigger and more serious issues that need our energy and resources. Let's be smart and focus on the real issues, and not get distracted.
51: P.J. Singh (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada), January 24, 2012, 9:03 PM.
Well done, T. Sher Singh ji. You should be commended for writing such a bold article and exposing these politicians. Sir Winston Churchill was against India gaining independence and never liked Gandhi. His views are so appropriate today. "Power will go to the hands of rascals, rogues, freebooters; all Indian leaders will be of low caliber and men of straw. They will have sweet tongues and silly hearts. They will fight amongst themselves for power and India will be lost in political squabbles. A day would come when even air and water would be taxed in India".
52: N. Singh (Canada), January 24, 2012, 9:30 PM.
On a related but different issue, I think you might be amused by this incident which appeared on BBC News a few days ago: "Top Gear India Special Criticised For 'Toilet Humour'" http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-16526687. If I were in the Indian government, I would concentrate on solving these issues rather than worrying about Jay Leno's jokes. The article will give you an insight into why Indians dislike the Sikhs so much ... we as a community are way better than them - there's no comparison! - and they are scared that the whole world will know it! P.S.: Well said, Sardar T. Sher Singh!
53: Joginder (Pathankot, Punjab), January 24, 2012, 9:48 PM.
Your remark in the article: "Our successes are not because of them, but despite them" is very appropriate. I'll be quoting it quite often, but without giving you credit! But your comments on some Hindu rituals like cow, snake and phallic worship, and classing it all with urine drinking, etc. is unnecessary. I have Hindu relatives, and they are a mixed bag. But not one of them allows these Hindu religious rituals and beliefs to interfere with normal day-to-day life. A cousin is married to a Himachali and those folks have told me some really good Paharri (desi - hill-billy) jokes. As for the rest of your article, I agree whole-heartedly, including the use of words like asses and bastards to describe some of this country's politicians.
54: Baldev Singh (Bradford, United Kingdom), January 24, 2012, 10:17 PM.
This incident and this article, hopefully, will spur Sikhs into action.
55: Amarjeet Singh (Singapore), January 24, 2012, 10:25 PM.
I'd rather the Indian officials investigate the mass killings of innocent Sikhs in 1984 and prosecute the perpetrators. Leave Jay Leno for us to deal with him. He is a funny man. I've not met even one Sikh who's upset about the joke. India's corrupt politicians and bureaucrats jumped on the bandwagon to gain some brownie points.
56: M. S. Sandhu (New Delhi, India), January 24, 2012, 11:34 PM.
For God's sake ... We Sikhs have a better sense of humour than to be offended by a harmless comment like that! If anything, Jay Leno highlighted the grandeur of Darbar Sahib. People like Krishna and Ravi should get a life!
57: Gurinder Jhutty (U.S.A.), January 25, 2012, 1:23 AM.
I know he is a comedian ... but we are talking about the Darbar Sahib!
58: Harpreet Singh (Shillong, India), January 25, 2012, 1:23 AM.
We should try to raise awareness about Sikhism so as to prevent such frivolous references in the future.
59: A.J. Singh (San Francisco, California, U.S.A.), January 25, 2012, 2:09 AM.
Thinking about the whole issue with a cool mind, I am convinced that if Mitt Romney actually made the Darbar Sahib his summer home for 2012, he would undoubtedly be enriched with wisdom to tackle the American electorate. Well said, Jay Leno!
60: Ari Singh (Sofia, Bulgaria), January 25, 2012, 4:24 AM.
After reading the article in the media that some Sikh group in the U.S.A. is suing Jay Leno, I was frankly dismayed. Now, we will be seen as an easily manipulated and humourless community!
61: Sangat Singh (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), January 25, 2012, 5:07 AM.
No such furor or battle drums were sounded, nor any serious hackles raised, when the Golden Temple replica was being constructed in Mastuana, Sangrur. It did not appear with a mere rub on Alladin's lamp. Why was nothing done to stop the construction? Yes, I suppose fiery speeches were made that this sacrilegious replica of the holiest shrine shall stop forthwith. Same thing happened with Sacha Sauda when Gurmeet Ram Rahim imitated Guru Gobind Singh by replicating the imaginary photos and wore look-alike robes. Now, in election season, all the politicians are making a bee line to Sacha Sauda to seek his blessings. I believe another miniature replica of Harimandar Sahib was installed by the S.P.G.C. at the Wagah border, which is now in state of neglect. This much for respect. Are you ready to throw the first stone at Jay Leno?
62: M. Kaur (Sydney, Australia), January 25, 2012, 6:00 AM.
Yes, we should not jump to conclusions, but the reference was about a very sacred place. It could have been avoided.
63: Inderpreet (Mexico ), January 25, 2012, 9:18 AM.
Jay Leno's jokes are meant for the educated people and not for some illiterate Indian politicians who just know how to take advantage of innocent people and situations. A big thanks to T. Sher Singh ji for showing the real face of Indian politicians to the world. They do nothing for the suffering poor people of India. I agree with every word written about them. Jay Leno did nothing wrong in making the comparison since The Golden Temple is the most beautiful and spiritual place on the face of this earth. Bravo, T. Sher Singh ji.
64: Harpreet Kaur (Patiala, Punjab), January 25, 2012, 10:17 AM.
I have just read of the plans of some fringe group(s) to sue Jay Leno and/or NBC over the innocent joke he made the other day. Well, these idiots can belong to only one of two possible groups - there simply isn't any additional category I can imagine that they could be affiliated with: 1) Too stupid to understand the implications of what they are doing, but having the best of intentions; and 2) Driven by malicious intent, for whatever reason, to harm the Sikh community. In either case, these people are dangerous and need to be contained and/or avoided. Once they identify themselves publicly, we should mark them in our minds with an unremovable die, to remind us that we should skirt around them as we do rabid dogs, and let the animal control crew handle them. A final point: I hope the money they use does not come from any community or gurdwara coffers. If they want to be stupid, they need to use their personal funds to do so. I hope their local sangats will keep an eagle eye on these buffoons.
65: Charanjit Singh Sandhu (Oakville, Ontario, Canada), January 25, 2012, 10:59 AM.
Leno presented a picture to show how rich Romney was. To people living in the U.S. who lack knowledge about much of the world, including Sikhism, they saw a structure made of gold and essentially laughed at the correlation made between Mitt Romney's wealth and this appealing gold palace. As a Sikh, this is our holiest shrine, but had Leno or NBC made fun of the style of the shrine or the type of people that visit it or their beliefs, then that would be reason to reach out to NBC/Leno and express our grievances. But they didn't. It being election time in India, it is not at all surprising, though still unforgivable, that the politicians would use this to prey on Sikh sentiments. Heck, it's cheaper than buying liquor and flooding drugs and intoxicants in the villages. All of a sudden these politicians care about Sikhs? Have these politicians fought to bring people like Tytler, Kumar, Modi and Nath to justice? Yet, they are making a huge deal of a non-domestic item and making Sikhs in the U.S. look like they have no sense of humor. There are big issues facing the Sikh community, this is not one of them.
66: Roger Mangat (Merced, California, U.S.A.), January 25, 2012, 12:19 PM.
Nice article. Those complaining should get a life ... and a sense of humor.
67: Bobby (London, England), January 25, 2012, 12:44 PM.
Sikhs depend on fundamental rights and freedoms in the West because they allow us to practice our religion and voice our opinions, despite the ignoramuses that are to be found in every society. For any Sikh to take any Taleban-type knee-jerk action to intimidate someone for a harmless and innocuous joke, is hypocritical. Whoever is filing these petitions or lawsuits is behaving foolishly and is bringing a bad name for us all. I urge all Sikhs who agree with this to do their bit to silence or disarm the fools.
68: Gurbux Singh (Chatsworth, Los Angeles, U.S.A.), January 25, 2012, 1:14 PM.
Thank you, Sher Singh ji, for calling a spade a spade. Which part of the joke do the ignoramuses not understand? A joke is a joke is a joke. People who do not see the humor in the joke, need to get a life.
69: Navneet Anand (Bangalore, India), January 25, 2012, 1:26 PM.
Superb write. I wish I could sue Dr. Dhilon and these jerks for dragging the name of Sikhs through the mud. We've always been known to be magnanimous and have the most finely honed sense of humour anywhere. These idiots are quite bereft of this fundamental Sikh and Punjabi quality. Pity. This writeup nails it. I've been saying it since I saw the clip - that was a super-compliment to Sikhs. Leno's crew needed a really majestic and kingly image to make their point, and they zeroed in on The Golden Temple! Like someone said wisely, we should be doing an ardaas for Leno - he has directed the attention of millions to the Guru and His abode - the Guru has worked through him. :D God bless these idiots.
70: K.D. (Thane, Maharashtra), January 25, 2012, 1:37 PM.
I agree! Everything done is just to get votes. Once they win, they'll even forget the issue. Ignorant Indians want to sue Jay Leno ... They ban Salman Rushdie ... All in the name of religion. But one thing: I only wish you had not depicted all of India as barbaric or in the stone-age, because it is not true!
71: Kanwarjeet Singh (Franklin Park, New Jersey, U.S.A.), January 25, 2012, 1:46 PM.
Okay, this story has now gone viral. The Indian propaganda machine has done a great job of negating all the efforts we put into showing the correct side of Sikhi. Almost every site is carrying this story of Leno being sued and Sikhs are associated with this fiasco. I would request every single sensible one amongst us to go and post at these sites, simply stating that Sikh majority has nothing to do with this and the strings are being pulled by election-obsessed Indian politicians. Here is what I am posting at these sites: "I am a Sikh and the first I heard about this incident was from the Indian media. The same non-Sikh minister (equivalent to a U.S. senator in rank) who did nothing to prosecute the murders of tens of thousands of innocent Sikhs in India in the 1980s is strangely suddenly keen on using this issue and protesting an innocent and innocuous joke ... 99% of Sikhs in America and the world over will simply laugh at the joke and forget about it. This is not an issue at all with us. Unfortunately the persons who are filing the law-suit are acting foolishly and quite contrary to the wishes of the Sikh-American community."
72: Guri Singh (Oakland, California, U.S.A.), January 25, 2012, 2:17 PM.
Mitt Romney is welcome to visit Harmandar Sahib. I think that is what he should do to get back at Jay Leno. On a minor note: India should concentrate on prosecuting the people behind the 1984 genocide. And India should stop buying Airbus planes to show France, if they want to show they care about their Sikh citizens. Go, Leno!
73: Jasdeep Singh (Fremont, California, U.S.A.), January 25, 2012, 2:28 PM.
I absolutely agree with the article. We should not make a big deal about the joke. Leno was making a joke about Mitt Romney's wealth. Political satirists make jokes about the hot news of the day; that day Romney was in the news for trying to portray himself as a common man. We should be very careful about the Indian Govt's attempts to get us labeled as religious extremists, like Muslims. Our persecutors (Indian Govt.) are pretending to be our defenders. The Government minions who attacked the Darbar Sahib in 1984 and still are not returning our historic artifacts taken from Sikh Reference Library and other places in the Darbar Sahib were very quick to register their feigned objection with the U.S. Govt over Jay Leno's joke. There is very clear evidence that the Govt. of India sent a fake intelligence report to the U.S. regarding 'Taliban's plan to use Sikhs to blow up planes', due to which U.S. started searching our turbans. Indian Govt. is always desperate to start an animosity between us and the western world so that they can weaken us abroad - where we are beyond their intimidating tactics which so easily work with the locals. I think we should be careful to not get trapped in Indian Govt.'s shrewd policies. We need to strategize and act firmly but sensibly.
74: R. Singh (Canada), January 25, 2012, 3:09 PM.
M. Kaur ji: We are going out of our way to explain our ethos to a post-9/11 world. But we are complaining about any reference to a 'sacred' place! I hope we realize there is a difference between filthy jokes in India and tasteful political satire in this case, where The Darbar Sahib has actually been portrayed as a great destination, even for rich politicians in America. There was no attempt at taking away the 'sacredness' from The Darbar Sahib, at any given time. Moreover, it is not in the hands of mortals to add or take away sacredness from anything.
75: Gurteg Singh (New York, U.S.A.), January 25, 2012, 4:38 PM.
The negative reaction to the law suit filed by fringe elements and self-styled leader Randeep Dhillon of "Bol Punjabi", Bakersfield, California, U.S.A., has already started portraying Sikhs along with Muslims as intolerant and uneducated about U.S. laws. Even a cursory glance at the law and some of the key precedents in the area reveal that such a law-suit has zero chance of success.
76: Harpreet Singh (California, U.S.A.), January 25, 2012, 4:39 PM.
I think the damage has been done. "Sikhs for Justice" a reputable organization, that has done tremendous work in fighting for 1984 victims, has lodged a complaint with FCC. The complaint actually thanks the Minister of Overseas Indians! The Government of India has succeeded beyond its dreams and has actually succeeded in dividing the diaspora. Be that as it may, we somehow need to get the point across that Sikhs are not fanatics. Any ideas?
77: Anhad (Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.), January 25, 2012, 5:34 PM.
I could not agree with you more, T. Sher Singh. The Golden Temple was not even the butt of the joke in this case. It's really pathetic how seriously a few Sikhs take themselves. I hope more late-night talk shows and comics address this "outrage" and shine some light on how Sikhs should be required to carry a sense of humor on them at all times ... in addition to the 5K's of course!
78: Baljit Singh (Brampton, Ontario, Canada), January 25, 2012, 6:02 PM.
These Indian political idiots never said anything when Sikhs had turban issues in France. Where were these jokers then? Their Prime Minister visited France a few years ago to do some business deals for aircrafts. He was asked a question about the turban issue in France and he did not even respond to it, saying it was a French matter. What a bunch of idiots! Now, they're ready to hi-jack a non-issue merely for the sake of the elections. They should all be ashamed of the anti-Sikh pogroms, of massacres of Muslims and Christians ... nothing has been done so far to bring the criminals to justice. Many of them are "leaders" within their party. What a shame!
79: Yuktanand Singh (MI, U.S.A.), January 25, 2012, 6:19 PM.
Such late-night incidents could be beneficial. But, in absence of evidence to the contrary, let us not forget also that Mr. Leno, perhaps, could not care less about our ethos or who we are. This incident could lead to a segment on his show to raise awareness. The media does show turbans, but so far, mostly in relation to terrorism. In a way, the blood of innocent Sikhs murdered in hate crimes is on the hands of American media. Additionally, people with callous disregard are best approached by those who look more like them. For example, scenes from America with guests like Guruka Singh Snatam Kaur and her husband Sopurkh Singh are better suited for a segment aimed at those who do not know us, than the large stiff turbans and scenes of kirtan, gatka, or bhangra, from India.
80: Gurinder Singh (Stockton, California, U.S.A.), January 25, 2012, 6:42 PM.
Jay Leno had once purportedly referred to Sikhs as 'diaper heads'. So he is not that innocent. He makes our life difficult by such racist remarks. We have faced discrimination after 9/11. I had to face it at Little Rock, Arkansas Airport twice, immediately after 9/11.
81: Shanu Kaur (London, England), January 25, 2012, 7:00 PM.
Couldn't have put it better myself. Great piece.
82: R.S..Minhas (Millburn, New Jersey, U.S.A.), January 25, 2012, 8:08 PM.
Jay who? :) The very same Government of India that sent tanks to attack The Golden Temple now feeling offended by Leno's joke? Lord have mercy!
83: Harbhajan Kaur (Santa Barbara, California, U.S.A. ), January 25, 2012, 9:39 PM.
Dear Gurinder ji (# 80): Just as the Golden Temple joke has got totally warped in the minds of some simpletons, I would be extremely vary of accepting the diaper-head comment as being directed as an insult towards Sikhs. But let's assume he did say it and it was indeed mal-intentioned and directed against Sikhs! Big deal. So what? Have we become so thick-skinned that we can't ignore a rude remark or an insult? Why would anyone think that such an insult would diminish us? If anything, it diminishes the fool who utters it. My principle has always been (picked up from these very pages a while ago): if a dog barks at you, you quickly cross the road to the other side and walk away, as if nothing has happened. The one thing you DON'T do is drop down on all fours and bark back at the dog! Surely, there has to be some expectation of a benefit when we choose a certain course of action or reaction ... there's no point doing something which has no hope of achieving results, and has every potential of making things worse for us. Finally, those of you who have lived in India or visited the silly country, have you not suffered worse insults - over and over again - from desi boors. Here, we are fortunate in being proud citizens of the greatest nation on earth - not perfect, but better than any other. There's no point in allowing a few village idiots amongst us - and Lord knows we have our share! - to go berserk over this innocuous situation. We need to find a way of sedating these loose cannons.
84: M. Kaur (New York, U.S.A.), January 25, 2012, 9:49 PM.
While I entirely agree with the premise of the article and wonder at the humorless, knee-jerk reaction of the so-called champions against free speech and humour in India and the U.S., a thought comes to mind and it is this - were the researchers at NBC's Tonight Show actually aware that this was a religious place or did they happen upon a 'building with the most bling' and use it to illustrate a point? This is the second time in the past few months that NBC has stirred up sentiments like this, the first being the opening of the Islamic inter-faith center at Ground Zero where a couple of Sikhs were shown front and center at the ribbon-cutting ceremony alluding a link. And although the Leno show may have not intended any harm, my concern is that NBC-Universal is perhaps a tad bit lackadaisical in the accuracy of their research. Had they known that this was a very sacred religious place, perhaps they would've shown something else. Re the article above: I thought it was awesome - hard-hitting, funny and all true, but maybe the generous sprinkling of epithets could have been avoided.
85: Jasdeep Singh Mann (U.S.A.), January 26, 2012, 12:46 AM.
I would like to request everyone to read about the "Echo Chamber" syndrome in order to understand what just happened to us. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echo_chamber_%28media%29 This "news" is all over the blogs and the response being generated by those who don't know any better or care to know is sad and scary. I urge everyone to use Google news and search for "Jay Leno Sikhs" and start responding and providing our Sikh point of view on these blogs and news articles. More than ever this should be a wake up call to fund more community organizations that can counter the negativity against us.
86: Kamal Kaur (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), January 26, 2012, 7:15 AM.
T. Sher Singh: beautifully put! I agree wholeheartedly! Wish the entire world could read your article!
87: R. Singh (Canada), January 26, 2012, 7:20 AM.
Gurmukh Singh ji, just Muslims do not hold the monopoly on having fanatic groups. They just happen to be in the news. We are blessed with our own groups who have their own take on things. The Christians and the Jews have their own crazies. As for Hinduism - it takes the cake. And the Indian channels are doing a fine job of riling people with their over-the-top, silly journalistic pretensions. The main problem here is scarcity of mainstream Sikh views, for most of us have relegated our spokesmanship to those who have no skills to handle public relations issues.
88: Jaspal Singh (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), January 26, 2012, 8:43 AM.
Only if 'our community' put this much effort into social issues (drugs, alcohol, killing of female fetuses) in India!
89: Mahanjot Singh (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada), January 26, 2012, 9:46 AM.
Bravo, T. Sher Singh ji, for the superb article that indeed calls a spade a spade! I have always admired your writings but this candid and blunt article takes my admiration to an altogether different level! Also, in reading all the comments above, it makes me feel proud of my affiliation with the greatest and most tolerant religion in the world ... alas, some of our own are bent-upon tarnishing and maligning our image and this needs to be snubbed by one and all. Also, very importantly, we urgently need to make the presence of articles such as yours be known to the mainstream media, especially Jay Leno and the NBC team, so that the stereotypical image that's being portrayed can be corrected.
90: Jaz (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), January 26, 2012, 11:43 AM.
Agree 101% ... Jay Leno has done no wrong and his comments were not directed at The Golden Temple but about Mitt Romney. All these other buffoons trying to criticize him are just as uneducated as the Indian politicians. And who is that illiterate trying to sue Leno over the remarks? O please, send him back to India, where he can be with his kin. For those of you who cannot understand a joke, it actually was a compliment to the Sikhs! T. Sher Singh, you are a true Sikh!
91: Nirmal Singh Nilvi (Texas, U.S.A.), January 26, 2012, 11:59 AM.
Nobody on the Jay Leno show identified the image (of Darbar Sahib) by name or place. The connection was made, from a momentary glimpse of the image, only by Sikhs or those who know of it. Leno's multi-million world-wide viewers had no idea what the building really was, its location or use. The displayed image created instant awe and a wow! The reaction of the complainers is hard to comprehend. Any other religious mind (say Christian) would have glorified the connection, felt proud and taken credit for it. It is unfortunate to find some cogitating, moaning and litigating souls who have nothing better to do. It is gratifying to read so many silent/ hidden but mature voices that abound in Sikhi. Each of these voices deserves kudos. I particularly enjoyed #89 (Harbhajan Kaur) for her persuasive style of reasoning. While I agree with the sentiments and tone of the article, I echo Dr. Birinder Singh Ahluwalia's words (# 18) regarding the use of certain words. Thanks, Sher Singh ji, for awakening napping minds.
92: EM Custom Home (British Columbia, Canada ), January 26, 2012, 3:00 PM.
It's time that the Sikh Coalition and its spokeswoman Simran Kaur took a common sense approach to this issue, instead of passing out a petition against a ... joke!
93: Gurjender Singh (Maryland, U.S.A.), January 26, 2012, 3:06 PM.
Thank you again, T. Sher Singh. After reading more than 90 comments, and the requests and suggestions of many commentators, please advise if sikhchic.com is planning to send any letter or correspondence of clarification to Jay Leno or NBC. [EDITOR: No, we are not. That is not our role or mandate. Nor do we have the resources. It is up to the institutions that have this mandate - such as The Sikh Coalition, SALDEF, United Sikhs, SikhRI - to do the needful.]
94: Ripudaman Brar (India), January 27, 2012, 12:11 AM.
Please - somebody send this article to Jay Leno so that the world will see the truth about India's so-called "democracy". Where were these Indian politicians when 10,000 Sikhs were murdered in Delhi? Where were these do-gooders when India's army carried out a full-fledged armed assault on the very same Golden Temple? Where were their passion when we wanted them to intervene with France over our basic right to wear turbans? I respect countries like the U.S.A. where people have the right to speak freely. The U.S. is a far more civilized country than India, I have to admit!
95: Abhhet Singh Sethi (Mumbai, India), January 27, 2012, 1:50 AM.
The only reason the Indian Government has made an issue out of this is to attain much needed Sikh votes in the upcoming Punjab State Assembly Elections. UPA (the ruling party) is just trying to reassure us that they are on our side, they care about us and our interests are taken care of. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
96: Karam Lamba (Ahmedabad, India), January 27, 2012, 5:36 AM.
What's wrong with the joke? At least people will know that this is the only holy place open to ALL people - even presidents and presidential candidates! This article should be in the mainstream press.
97: Susan Bradley (Creston, Iowa, U.S.A.), January 28, 2012, 11:59 AM.
If it makes anyone here feel any better, the notion that hordes of Sikhs were up in arms about this rather innocuous joke didn't square with my (admittedly limited) image of Sikhs, based on the acquaintances I've had. Remember, we white Americans aren't the most culturally aware people on the planet. It's quite likely that Leno show staffers didn't have a clue what the building was and, even if they knew it was something called the Golden Temple, it probably wouldn't have occurred to them that the joke could be offensive to Sikhs. Few, if any, Catholics would have been insulted by the joke had they shown a photo of St. Peter's Basilica rather than the Golden Temple. I think most of the time, when a white American says something stupid about your religion, it's safe to assume that it's pure ignorance rather than malicious prejudice. If you calmly, sweetly explain, we'll usually be receptive and (the more intelligent amongst us) will be contrite. Embarrassed, even.
98: Gurdev Singh Bir (Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A.), January 28, 2012, 4:01 PM.
To Susan (#98) - as has already been said in a majority of the comments above, nothing offensive to the Sikhs was said. The politicians in India, who are wolves in sheep clothing, are simply trying to create a tempest in a teacup for their own ends.
99: Kanwarjeet Singh (Franklin Park, New Jersey, USA), January 28, 2012, 6:16 PM.
Dear Susan - this entire episode has been painful and hurtful for most Sikhs. By episode, I am referring to how the so-called situation was handled and not Leno's remarks. Jay Leno has made some unkind remarks about Sikhs in the past (which we did not criticize, by the way). However this particular case of showing the Golden Temple asRomney's summer home was not even worth making the news, leave alone criticizing. It was plain humor which was well received and mostly ignored by most Sikhs. The whole episode was first condemned and brought into the media by politicians in India looking to cash in on Sikh votes as there are elections in the Sikh dominated state of Punjab, India, currently underway. In fact most of us Sikhs have been extremely critical of why this was even an issue to start with. As you rightly pointed out, it looks like a case of ignorance with no intended malice. I kindly direct you to all the comments above and you will see how Sikhs are in fact responding to the whole fiasco. It has been rather embarrassing for us to read the comments of some politicians from India who claim freedom of speech in India but do not care to defend it. These same people do not understand why the U.S. so easily and ardently protects this freedom.
100: Susan Bradley (Creston, Iowa, U.S.A.), January 29, 2012, 12:18 AM.
Sorry, I guess I didn't make it clear that I do understand that it's the way this has been exploited by Indian politicians that has upset most Sikhs.
101: Randy (Sarasota, Florida, U.S.A.), February 01, 2012, 9:53 AM.
I don't know much about Sikhs, having never met any. All I know is what I hear in the media. Usually it's a case of a school prohibiting the wearing of kirpans, or violence against Sikhs by American bigots who confused them with Muslims after 9/11. I have heard that free food is given to the poor at every Sikh place of worship, and that it is always vegetarian in case the person receiving it is from another religion that has restrictions on meat. So this tells me that Sikhs are compassionate and tolerant of others. If I were Sikh, I would want to be known for these qualities, not for knee-jerk and phony outrage over a joke.
102: S. Kaur (Canada), February 03, 2012, 3:22 PM.
And we expect the world to take us seriously when we raise REAL issues. That's just great ...
103: Kulnain Walia (Houston, Texas, U.S.A.), February 10, 2012, 10:41 AM.
Famous and profound quote by Voltaire (1694 - 1778): "I do not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."