So you think Pathan jokes are funny? Read this!

Published: March 19, 2014
Email

We readily share jokes about Pathans but how often do we remember all the Pathans who made us proud?

Pathan jokes are a deliberate but covert effort to encourage racism, increase resentment and discourage unity within the Pakistani nation. PHOTO: REUTERS We readily share jokes about Pathans but how often do we remember all the Pathans who made us proud?

 The screen of my touch phone glowed and it beeped. I picked it up and it said,

“One new message received.”

There was a text message and it read something like this.

Man: “What’s the difference between a radio and a newspaper?”

Pathan: “Yaara (dude), the major difference I can think of is that one can wrap chapattis in a newspaper but not in a radio.”

The moment I finished reading it, my cell beeped again. And this time it read,

“A man was drowning in the sea. Tourists stood on the ship, helplessly watching the man frantically gasp for air. Suddenly a Pathan, standing on the deck, jumped into the raging sea. The crowd was shocked. Soon, he returned to the ship having saved the drowning man. People on board clapped and cheered for his act of valour and the Pathan replied,

“Thank you very much but first tell me, who pushed me in?”

could not believe what I had just read.

My grandfather used to tell me the same joke when I was a child. The only difference was that the central character had been changed from a Sardar to a Pathan!

Until a few years ago, such jokes were associated only with Sardars. We grew up with the stereotype that Sardars have a relatively low Intelligence Quotient (IQ). Today, we think the same about our Pakhtun brothers and sisters. The intention may be to share a laugh but I am afraid that if we don’t change this mindset now, our children will grow up learning to discriminate against and mock the Sikh and Pakhtun community. They will associate Sikhs and Pakhtuns with these jokes and not with their traits such as hospitality, loyalty and bravery.

In case you are now thinking that I am a Pathan writing a blog to defend my identity, I need to explicitly state that I am a Punjabi and a patriotic Pakistani who believes in the motto,

United we stand, divided we fall.”

But first and foremost, I am a human being who condemns hurting the feelings of my fellow countrymen. Even our religion is very clear in teaching that we should not hurt or make fun of others.

It’s a common observation that Pathans make mistakes in sentence building and delivery at times, especially when it comes to the use of gender-specific pronouns – he/she – but we often forget to acknowledge the fact that an educated Pathan can comprehend four languages – English, Urdu, Pashto and Punjabi – whereas most of us normally comprehend two or three languages.

So, my question is,

Are Pathans really dumb?

Well, for one if it hadn’t been for Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, who strengthened the sovereignty of Pakistan by creating our nuclear weapons, Pakistan would have been long lost in the pages of history after 9/11, when the US began targeting Muslim countries in the name of war on terror. The way I see it, the entire nation is indebted to this Pathan.

Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan. Photo: File

Moving along, what is the most favourite sport in Pakistan?

You guessed it right – cricket.

Our current cricket team comprises of many talented players who have led us to victory countless times and who just happen to be Pathans including Boom Boom AfridiUmar GulMisbahul Haq and Younis Khan.

From right to left: Shahid Afridi, Younis Khan, Umar Gul, Misbahul Haq.

Apart from cricket, several renowned squash players who represent Pakistan also hail from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). The world knows Jansher KhanAzam KhanHashim Khan and Jahangir Khan –legends who stood undefeated in multiple international squash championships.

Do you really think these people who brought, and continue to bring, fame and pride to our beloved country, are dumb?

Jahangir Khan. Photo: Express/File

Would you associate such jokes with Saba Khan, the first ever female fighter pilot in Pakistan Air Force’s history, who is also Pathan, or with Abdul Ahad Mohmand, the first Afghani and fourth Muslim to travel to outer space in 1988?

His teleconference with his family made Pashto the fourth language to be spoken in space.

Abdul Ahad Momand (R) and Saba Khan (L).

Coming to politics, you will find late Qazi Hussain Ahmed – a renowned Pakhtun politician – who not only led Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) but also rendered praise worthy services for humanity within Pakistan and in countries like Palestine and Afghanistan.

Qazi Hussain Ahmed. Photo: File

My point is, you can take up any field and you will find Pathans excelling.

Whether it is the unforgettable acting of Dilip KumarRangeelaMarina KhanNadia Khan or the handsome Jamal Shah – just to name a few – or whether it is Rahim Shah’s songs livening up mehndi celebrations, Pathans have rocked the world.

Dilip Kumar. Photo: File

Even the Bollywood Khans have their roots in K-P.

From right to left: Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan

Would you consider the heart throbs of millions of people all over the world to be dumb?

From right to left: Jamal Shah, Rahim Shah, Nadia Khan, Marina Khan

So, the next time you receive a funny text message regarding Pathans, forward it by all means but only after deleting the word ‘Pathan’.

In my opinion, these Pathan jokes seem like a deliberate but covert effort to encourage racism, increase resentment and discourage unity within the Pakistani nation. Ridiculing an ethnic group will only weaken the roots of the country as a whole.

Jokes are supposed to make people laugh but not at the expense of humiliating or hurting someone.

Think about these people I have quoted and the thousand others out there, before you choose to laugh at another distasteful joke. And if you do laugh, remember, the joke’s on you.

Iram Moazzam

Iram Moazzam

A freelance writer who mostly writes for Ms.T, various parenting magazines and travel websites. She tweets as @IramMoazzam (twitter.com/IramMoazzam)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.