We've heard them, we've laughed at them and we've even cracked them on occasion. Sardar jokes have long been a staple of comedy in India. Baarah baje jokes, in fact, form a solid chunk of those.

But how many of us have ever wondered about the origin of these baarah baje jokes? Because I bet if you knew where the 12 o'clock story meets the Sikh tradition, you wouldn't make another such joke for the rest of your days.

Source: Mid Day

The real reason behind the Sikh 12 o'clock association comes from Nadir Shah's invasion of India. In the 1700s, his troops passed through Punjab after plundering Delhi and massacring thousands of Hindus and Muslims and taking women captive along the way.

Source: Sikh Archives

The Sikhs strategised to attack Shah's camp and free the captive women. But since they were grossly outnumbered by his huge army, the Sikhs refrained from a frontal attack.

Instead, they used to surprise them with midnight guerrilla raids on their settlements and free as many women as they could, and return them to safety.

Source: Sikh History

Over the years, the Hindus saying in jest that the Sikhs are in their senses only at midnight, gave rise to the now common derogatory brand of Sikh jokes with the baarah baje theme.

And in the modern context, the ever-ready-to-poke-fun-at-themselves Sikhs engage in similar self-deprecatory jokes as well. 'Cause that's just how the fun-loving bunch rolls!

Source: Matteofeo

But the truth remains that if it weren't for the Sikhs, countless Indian women would've been dishonoured and exiled. And those that make these jokes in ignorance ought to know just how much we owe them.

I sure hope that with this, jokes aside, we as a nation grow more conscientious towards giving the Sikh community the respect it really deserves.