Purewal Calendar: Created to Divide or to Unite Sikhs?

Some people have created a stormy situation among Sikhs because of Purewal’s Nanakshahi Calendar. Calendar is an important landmark of a community that highlights important religious days, festivals, historical happenings and traditional heritage, but a calendar in which dates do not match historical occasions will turn history into mythology. That was what present Nanakshahi calendar was doing.

This is particularly applicable to Sikhs who rightfully claim to have historical proofs of events in comparison to other religions. The fact is that makers of this calendar have distorted and misrepresented Gurbani, Sikh history and principles. Displaying ego and stubbornness they have created deep divisions among Sikhs.

We want to know while launching the calendar in 2003 why Sikh scriptures and historical sources of 400 years were ignored.

  1. Bhai Gurdas ji writes,Qurbani tina Gursikhan bhaiye bhagat Gurupurab karande”. It proves that Sikh sangat had been celebrating days connected with their Guru sahibans since Guru period. In light of this who gave authority to these persons to change the dates of Gurupurabs of Guru sahibans. By altering the real dates with self-created dates they distorted Sikh history.
  2. Can these academicians tell us about dates incorporated by them and from which historical scriptures these have been taken? We are sad to state that because of this faulty calendar, ardas of three to four Gurupurabs were being done from Harmandir sahib on the same day. The fact is that four academicians associated with this calendar, namely Dr Kirpal Singh, Dr Balwant Singh, Dr Kharak Singh and Surjit Singh Gandhi wrote a book for SGPC called “History of the Sikhs and their religion”. In that book they themselves wrote dates that match with history and do not appear in their calendar, which shows that they want  to malign Sikh history by making a faulty calendar.
  3. From sixth master to tenth master and after that Mata Sunder Kaur ji and Mata Sahib Kaur ji have sent   Hukamnamas to their sangat in Bikrami Samvat. Shall we disown those now?
  4. On doors of Sachkhand Harmandir sahib, Goindwal sahib the dates are in Bikrami samvat. Do they want us to remove those?
  5. Those who are misleading Sikh sangat in name of Bikrami, will they label our beloved Gurus also as wrong since their writings are written with reference to Bikrami samvat? Some examples are given below:
    • Guru Nanak sahib writes in SGGS Ji Awan athatre jaan satanve hor bhi uthsi marad ka chela Will they disown this reference from SGGS as it is in bikrami samvat.
    • Barah Mahan is with reference to Bikrami samvat. Shall we discard that?

Bikrami Samvat calendar was of Iranian origin and adapted by militant tribes of Punjab who made their mark in world history by putting a strong resistance against Alexander the great. They adopted it in 57 BC. This was known as Malva calendar. History states that its name was changed to Bikrami calendar in 858 AD. History also states that Raja Bikramidittaya was a mythological figure only. Bikrami calendar is followed in both Indian and Pakistan Punjab. Official hindu calendar is known as the Saka calendar.

The main reason why Nanakshahi calendar was created is to fix the dates according to the Solar year, so that the Gurupurabs and other important days fall on the same day of the month in accordance with the regular solar calendar that we follow. For example it was fixed that Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s Parkash purab will be celebrated on January 5th, and Guru Arjan Dev ji’s Shaheedi to be celebrated on June 16th every year. The bases of such calculations were flawed, and it resulted in bigger clashes of dates than ever before.

The real question here is, “Why do we want to fix dates according to the Solar Calendar?” Almost all the religious calendars are based on Lunar Calendars, and other religions have no problem with dates varying each year. Why do we have a problem then? Take for instance the Christian Calendar, which is based on Easter. Easter Sunday typically falls on a different date each year.

In any religious calendar world over, there are no other festivals and days but of that community. But this is not the case of Nanakshahi calendar. Days associated with other communities are included in Purewal’s calendar. 27 per cent dates in Purewal’s Nanakshahi calendar have nothing to do with Sikh religious observations.

Author: Rupinder Grewal, California

Note: Official Sri Akal Takht endorsed Sikh Calendar can be found at SGPC Website. [Link]

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