After being associated with BBC for 35 years, 87-year-old Indarjit Singh, member of the House of Lords, quit the broadcaster who had told to drop one episode on a Sikh guru who opposed religious conversion of Hindus. The BBC felt the episode “might offend Muslims”. Lord Singh of Wimbledon has quit BBC Radio Four's Thought for the Day, blasting the over-sensitivity of the corporation's bosses.
Singh has been a Sikh voice on the Today programme for 35 years. According him, the BBC tried to block him from discussing a guru from his religion who fought against the forced conversion of some Hindus to Islam in 17th century India. Singh lashed out at the BBC for its 'prejudice and intolerance' after he was told the broadcast, which did not criticise Islam, may have offended Muslims, reported The Times.
The controversy emerged soon after race row over the BBC’s treatment of Indian-origin presenter Nana Munchetty last week.
“It was like saying to a Christian that he or she should not talk about Easter for fear of giving offence to the Jews,” he said.
Singh alleged that he was let go after he threatened to resign instead of having his religious teachings insulted. He was not informed of anyone listening being offended by his broadcast.
After leaving, Commission for Racial Equality advisor Lord Singh complained about his treatment but a review by BBC director of radio James Purnell rejected his complaint.
Singh said: “The need for sensitivity in talking about religious, political or social issues has now been taken to absurd proportions with telephone insistence on trivial textual changes right up to going into the studio, making it difficult to say anything worthwhile”.
“The aim of Thought for the Day has changed from giving an ethical input to social and political issues to the recital of religious platitudes and the avoidance of controversy, with success measured by the absence of complaints. I believe Guru Nanak and Jesus Christ, who boldly raised social concerns while stressing tolerance and respect, would not be allowed near Thought for the Day today.”