“There is a sort of heightened political correctness,” Lord Indarjit Singh, the veteran Sikh host of BBC Radio who quit after it censored his talk on Sikh guru Guru Tegh Bahadur because it ‘might upset Muslims’. In a conversation with news agency ANI, Lord Singh said that there is a pressure and people are fearful of upsetting the Muslim community.
“There is nothing in that which upsets the Muslims as it is an example of how all human beings have a history of intolerance toward each other. We should learn from it and instead of learning from history we are trying to bury it,” Lord Singh said. He added that his talk on Guru Tegh Bahadur was agreed upon by the show producer and it was ready to be broadcast the next morning. However, a senior producer said he would not allow the talk to go ahead as it may upset Muslims.
Lord Singh, while expressing his exasperation at denial of atrocities carried out by the Mughals in the 17th century, said, “This is a factual, historical incident that commemorates the martyrdom of someone who is prepared to give his life defending freedom of belief of the Hindu community. This should be commemorated by all people of every religion but she (BBC producer) had some imaginary fear of some Muslim extremist being upset or something.”
Lord Singh who has been a famous voice of the Today programme for over three and a half decades, said that the BBC tried to block him from discussing Guru Tegh Bahadur who fought against the forced conversion of some Hindus to Islam in 17th century India. He says that this attempt to censor religion is wrong and comes from misplaced sense of political correctness that we shouldn’t say something that might offend anyone by some stretch of the imagination.
Lord Singh adds that he took up the matter with higher ups who carried out little investigation and while they promised to sort things out, BBC’s inaction prompted him to quit.
Guru Tegh Bahadur was the ninth of the ten Sikh Gurus of the Sikh religion. He not only prevented forceful religious conversion of Kashmiri Pandits to Islam but was also publicly beheaded by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in Delhi for refusing to convert to Islam. He was condemned for ‘waging a war’ and was told only Islam could save him. When he refused, he was beheaded. In Delhi, Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib and Gurudwara Rakab Ganj Sahib mark the places of his execution and cremation of his mortal remains.