NEW DELHI -- A refreshing change from the tired, worn-down tropes of cliched sardarji jokes, the web comic "Sikh Park" is a colourful, quirky, and lighthearted glimpse into the life of the community, that does not shy away from taking gleeful digs at its idiosyncrasies.
A spoof of the notoriously popular animated series 'South Park', the comic created by adman Dalbir Singh was initially a means for him to talk about racial discrimination faced by the community abroad. But along the way as it gained in popularity, it began dealing with things a more 'desi' audience could empathise with-- from pop culture and music to politics and food.
The content of the strip now, Singh says, is more of what happens in the everyday life of a Sikh family.
"Initially 'Sikh Park' was mostly for the NRIs. So racial discrimination was was one of the main issues we dealt with in the beginning. This included screening at the airport among other things. Then after moving to India, it was more Indianised and what everybody can relate to," Singh says.
It was after quite a bit of brainstorming that Singh struck upon the name for the strip.
"So I was living in Canada. A friend of mine was coming up with a website which was about art and culture of the Sikhs.
So I was helping him design the website and that's when I thought that since we are talking of art and culture, it should also have a humour section as well. We wanted to make it like a traditional newspaper. The first name that we thought was Karol Bagh. But because I was living in the west, I was not sure whether people would understand this. So we thought of Karol Park. And ultimately after jamming we got the name Sikh park." .
The similarities with 'South Park' though, end with the artwork. 'Sikh Park' has none of the intentionally crude, over-the-top humour that the animated show revels in, instead favouring a slightly more toned down yet equally amusing style that has made it widely popular with online audiences.
"I have never seen the South Park series. I have lived in various countries like Morocco where the TV was always broadcast in the local language. So, I never enjoyed it. I have never seen an episode of South Park," Singh said.
Though he admits he is a fan of crude, politically incorrect humour, there are some lines Singh won't cross.
"I always like crude, politically incorrect humour. But you can't do it with religion because people, especially Sikhs, are sensitive when it comes to that. So I avoid talking about religion especially when there is the whole tolerance debate going on," he says.
"I believe that Indian TV lacks a sophisticated cartoon for adults. It cannot go for children. So I like humour which you cannot talk about to kids," he adds.
His style of humour is one which is relatable, and relies on slice-of-life observations on everyday situations.
"All the NRIs liked it because it was one thing that they can own up to. For example the character of old man speaking some thing politically incorrect makes him sound funny. If you see a 40-year-old man singing like Honey Singh it won't be as funny as seeing an old man do the same," he says.
Singh plans to diversify the comic into a different format in the coming days.
"I am not interested in making a book and publishing it.
What I am interested in, is making an animated series out of it. But of course I have not done enough for it," he says.
Also On HuffPost:
Suggest a correction