Before controversy magnet, bowler Harbhajan Singh could recover from allegations of misconduct, he has attracted the wrath of a Punjabi cultural group.
At the IPL awards night in April, during an act with superstar Shah Rukh Khan, Bhajji jokingly said, ‘Bhangra toh langra hai’ (‘Bhangra is lame’). This comment did not go down well with members of the Punjab Heritage and Culture Society, who saw the promos of the event on air recently.
“The remark has hurt the sentiments of Punjabis,” said Gurminder Singh Sidhu, president of the organisation. “Bhangra is synonymous with the spirit and culture of Punjab and making a mockery of it tantamount to hurting people’s feelings,” he added.
The group has asked the cricketer to issue an immediate apology, in absence of which a court case will be filed against him. Despite repeated attempts, Bhajji remained unavailable for comment.
However, former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu came to his defense saying, “Bhajji’s like a younger brother and I am sure he won’t hurt Sikh sentiments deliberately. He made a tongue and cheek remark that’s been blown out of proportion.”
Singer Daler Mehndi said, “Had he said this during an interview then maybe it could have been taken seriously, but to take him to task now is just wrong.”
Harbhajan’s many controversies
March 2010: Fined for excessively audible or repetitious swearing during a match
September 2009: Challaned by Chandigarh Traffic Police for driving his Hummer without a registration number
October 2008: His Ravana-Sita dance with actress Mona Singh annoys religious groups
June 2008: Slaps cricketer S Sreesanth after an IPL match
January 2008: Faces three-match ban after racism charges