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Bbc Regrets Over Nihals Comments

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http://www.telegraph...-religions.html

Sikh leaders accused the corporation’s Asian Network of displaying “irresponsible and misleading” attitude and suggesting that their religion was simply a “hotchpotch” of other faiths.

It followed a phone-in broadcast in March in which the presenter DJ Nihal Arthanayake – best known as a Radio 1 DJ – touched on the relationship between Sikhism, which was founded in Punjab in the 15th Century, and the other two predominant religions in India at the time.

A text message from a listener was read out complaining about the “incredibly offensive” way the presenters had suggested that Sikhism was “made up from other religions ie Islam and Hinduism”.

The DJ, known simply as Nihal on air, replied: “I’m sorry with all due respect, it is, absolutely it is.”

He added: “It came around in the 15th and 16th Centuries in India, how could it not be influenced?”

He went on: “A Muslim laid the stone to the holiest places, with all due respect I know more about your religion than you do.”

The comment was a reference to the tradition that a Muslim divine was asked to lay the foundation of the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the centre of Sikh worship.

But the Network of Sikh Organisations, headed by Lord Singh – who is himself a regular on the BBC, as a contributor to Radio 4’s Thought For the Day – complained, accusing the programme of a “skewed” approach.

They asked: “Is the BBC similarly willing to take the view that Islam is a religion made up of Christianity and Judaism?”

The corporation initially responded that they would “bear in mind he complaint” in future but did not apologise.

Following a second complaint, the channel’s head of news, Kevin Silverton, wrote to the Network admitting that the discussion had been “less than satisfactory”.

“The Nihal phone-in deals with difficult subjects on a daily basis and very occasionally we don’t get the tone exactly right.

“In this case at the end of an hour of challenging debate, the presenter was unusually forthright about a point of view that some listeners have contacted us about concerning the influence other religions had on Sikhism … We’ve stressed to him and the team the importance to retain an impartial tone on these kind of matters and to back up assertions with solid research where at all possible (considering the live and unpredictable nature of such a show).

“We will monitor both these points closely.”

Lord Singh said: "They initially handled it very arrogantly, they didn't accept anything.

"Then they thought about it and said that they should have been more sensitive – but then it goes on say we do so much with all communities and we have great balance.

"It's not a very good 'sorry'."

He said that the programme had displayed "ignorance" in mistaking comparisons with Islam and Hinduism for influence.

"We are pretty sensitive at the moment, first of all we suffered a lot from the turban being confused with the Muslim turban worn by Bin laden, we've suffered a lot from name-calling, I've suffered from that myself."

A spokeswoman for BBC Asian Network said: “We have reviewed the transmission from the Nihal phone-in on March 13 and agree that this short excerpt was less than satisfactory.

"The debate show deals with difficult subjects on a daily basis and very occasionally we don’t get the tone exactly right.

"We have spoken to the team about this matter and continue to strive to be as balanced as possible and sensitive to people’s religious beliefs, always wanting to avoid any offence.”

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Fair play to Lord Singh.

I'm going to do something quite mischievous today. I'm going to send in a text message into his show saying "Nihal is clearly a hot-potch of other DJ's, i.e. Tim Westwood and...er....Bobby Friction".

It's not offensive, it's not bitter and he can't do us for it because it's taking the mick. Also it's better than sending in something abusive which he could turn around and use to portray himself as the victim. :biggrin2:

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WOAH WOAH hang on a minute that txt message that was sent in 2 that show was by ME!! I'm glad that I have caused a slight storm, as nihal didn't even show any respect 2 sikhi, wen he reffered 2 it as mix of other religions. Some of u may remember I opened a thread on here about it. Well I aint "lord" singhs biggest fan, but nuff respect mr singh 4 taking up this issue. Also its funny as it seems asian network seems 2 have taken my/our side over nihals, by admitting that passge of radio was not 'satisfactory'. See we little ppl can kinda make a difference, if indeed anything genuinely happens from this, like nihal actually learning wat sikhi is. Coz I luv the counter argument we have at our disposal, that islam must be a mix of judaism/christianity.

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Just to clarify , the real credit goes to the members of this forum where the original information was pasted up on the day of the broadcast.

This was then taken up by the Sikh Media Monitoring Group and led to the apology from the BBC (after an initial denial of course).

Please continue to flag up these issues and together we can prevent misleading information being broadcast to the masses.

Lord Singh kindly provided the comment for the article, after the apology was given.

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That's not even an appology!!!

I too rate Lord Singh for taking this matter up though. I still think Sikh Council UK or Sikh Fed Uk should pursue this matter further though as it will send a very strong message.

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They've just had Jasminder on the radio saying Sikhi and Hinduism is the same. Nihal sits back and let's him come out with his nonsense, and the smirk on his face after Jasminder's diatribe was clear to hear even on the radio.

They've done it again. What a load of crap. I've sent a text message in to make my objections clear.

He would never allow a random caller to say Islam was an "hot-potch" of the pagan Arabian, moon-worshipping culture of the time as well as Christianity, but he sits back and allows a caller to say such things about the Sikh faith.

EDIT: He was obviously never going to read it out as it was criticising him in a calm and non-threatening manner, but I'm sure he read it to himself. As long as he's aware that listeners are aware of the situation regarding the original "hot-potch" issue (and the BBC's reaction to it), and that his shows are being listened to very carefully for future indiscretions, then I guess that's a start.

If anything, this has really spurred me into learning about other faiths, particularly Hinduism, so I can at least argue and debate with somebody who attempts to confuse and mislead. His (the caller's) assertion that the Mool Mantar was very similar to the first verse from the first page of the Vedas (or something similar) sounded believable even to me - imagine the seeds of doubt that have been sewed into the mind of someone learning about Sikhi or even wavering in their belief?

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whats the number to text in?

  • Call 08459 440 445 during the show, Weekdays, 13:00 - 15:00[08459 numbers charged at a local rate]
  • Text 81869 during the show, Weekdays, 13:00 - 15:00[Texts will be charged at your standard message rate. Check with your network provider for exact costs]
  • Email nihal@bbc.co.uk

Got it from their website.

I also sent an email around the same lines of my text, but with a little more detail and proper punctuation and grammar. If I'd gone off at him half-cocked and with anger, he'd have deffo read my text to humilitate me. But, like I said, I responded maturely and calmly and he kept his gob shut.

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  • Call 08459 440 445 during the show, Weekdays, 13:00 - 15:00[08459 numbers charged at a local rate]
  • Text 81869 during the show, Weekdays, 13:00 - 15:00[Texts will be charged at your standard message rate. Check with your network provider for exact costs]
  • Email nihal@bbc.co.uk

Thanks...i too sent in a text!

i'm at work when the show goes on, so never get to listen to it live...but if anything objectionable is ever said in the future, please do post it on here so ppl like me can text in and give our views too...Thanks

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I'm going to do something quite mischievous today. I'm going to send in a text message into his show saying "Nihal is clearly a hot-potch of other DJ's, i.e. Tim Westwood and...er....Bobby Friction".

and Brandon Blockhead.

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oh man jus had a look on twitter, and its got ppl very riled up, and jus saw that sikh channel will be havin a discussion on this now, shud i feel guilty now? Even tho he insulted sikhi, and i txt in and then insulted me by sayin that he knew more than me about sikhi, but nihal is gettin sworn at by angry sikhs, i never wanted this reaction. But apparntly like kaljugi sed he above, that he allowed a caller 2 say sikhi is part of hinduism TODAY, AND THAT ON A DAY LIKE THIS where this article has been written!

damn man nihal jus aint gettin the idea is he.

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They've just had Jasminder on the radio saying Sikhi and Hinduism is the same. Nihal sits back and let's him come out with his nonsense, and the smirk on his face after Jasminder's diatribe was clear to hear even on the radio.

They've done it again. What a load of crap. I've sent a text message in to make my objections clear.

He would never allow a random caller to say Islam was an "hot-potch" of the pagan Arabian, moon-worshipping culture of the time as well as Christianity, but he sits back and allows a caller to say such things about the Sikh faith.

EDIT: He was obviously never going to read it out as it was criticising him in a calm and non-threatening manner, but I'm sure he read it to himself. As long as he's aware that listeners are aware of the situation regarding the original "hot-potch" issue (and the BBC's reaction to it), and that his shows are being listened to very carefully for future indiscretions, then I guess that's a start.

If anything, this has really spurred me into learning about other faiths, particularly Hinduism, so I can at least argue and debate with somebody who attempts to confuse and mislead. His (the caller's) assertion that the Mool Mantar was very similar to the first verse from the first page of the Vedas (or something similar) sounded believable even to me - imagine the seeds of doubt that have been sewed into the mind of someone learning about Sikhi or even wavering in their belief?

yo paaji, jus listened 2 todays show, to be fair, nihal did question jasminder if that is true and sed that hinduism n sikhi r diffrnt religions, then jasminder blabbered on and said they are the same. Maybe nihal is slightly shook from the recent complaints.

here is the show - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01hmzb5 (listen from 25 mins onwards).

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and Brandon Blockhead.

:biggrin2:

On a related note, issues such as these do serve to highlight what a poor job people in positions of imparting Sikh thelogy and knowledge have done.

We all talk about English-speaking parachaaraks, etc., but when is someone going to take to the Gurghar stage on a Sunday and tell the sangat exactly what the differences are between Sikhi and Hinduism? When are we going to be told why Sikhi references the Hindu trinity throughout scriptures? When are people going to be educated regarding the use of certain terminology in the faith?

Learning about one's own faith is a life-long journey. To discover enough about Sikhi to be able to confidently defend (if needs arise) and explain it to someone on a deeper level (i.e. more than what a standard text-book tells us) is not something that can be done in a matter of weeks or months. Then to be expected to know enough about ANOTHER faith (which is another life-long journey) in order to refute someone else's arguments by drawing on what you know about your own faith and THEIR'S is absolutely mind-boggling.

The average man who hasn't got time to devote his life to learning about theology simply desires the facts, and that's why it's the job of our parchaaraks to tell us these facts in a direct and forward manner. Leave the history lessons for a while and tell us the about the issues that are causing people confusion.

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that dumb ex-sikh kurri "ruby" @ 43mins onwards who became muslim marrying a sri-lankan, PATHETIC! dumb janani. islam helped her thru loss of her grand dad, oh dear o dear, and her parents were followers of radhaswami sect, pathetic!

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