The biggest mistake made by the producers of the play
Behzti in Birmingham that included violent and immoral behaviour in a Sikh temple was to ask leaders of the local Sikh community to acknowledge it, under certain circumstances, as acceptable theatre. What imaginable circumstances could there possibly be that would enable these representatives to stand up in front of their entire local community and say "We have agreed on your behalf that this public performance is acceptable, providing we can hand out leaflets and have an announcement made at the start saying that it is fiction". To even contemplate using the community leaders in this way is despicable. Just inviting them to discuss it put them in an intolerable position.

The arguments now being made that we are subjected to censorship are rubbish, as are the arguments that because we have freedom of artistic expression that anything that can be expressed should be expressed, provided it is well written and well performed. There is a time and a place for everything. If Birmingham is the place and this is the time for such a play, then I would expect the writer of this play to say there is evidence that behaviour of this nature has taken place in an environment of this kind. But apparently we have been told the reverse: that there is no such evidence.

If there were such evidence then it should be aired, but why in a theatre which is a place for commercially provided entertainment?

The violence which has resulted in the theatre management closing the production is regrettable. It is the predictable reaction of at least a part of a community whose culture and history is different from the European, where limits to the freedom of speech where religion is concerned are more strict than the European. We should bear in mind that not so long ago our rules in this island were as strict or stricter and the penalties were being burned alive or execution or hanging.

I am told the play is of great quality  and worth, an important work with something to say on behalf of Sikh women. However, if the author did not anticipate the events of the past few days then I query how much she understands her own community and the complexity involved in opening a constructive dialogue on the evolution of religious and social ideas and customs. If on the other hand this was anticipated, and accepted as a possible outcome to be used if the shock of the play itself failed, it would be helpful if those concerned were honest did not hide behind the absurd complaint that we in this country suffer from censorship. The theatre has been closed because of the violent reaction by a segment of Sikh opinion that has been greatly offended, to a degree they find intolerable. This is not a question of right or wrong, it is JUST A FACT.

As for the pompous prick who has accused the theatre management of cowardice for stopping the performances, he has a quite extraordinarily inflated sense of his own importance and remarkably poor judgment.