Calendar controversy to fore again

Amritsar, Punjab: Sant Samaj urges Takht to revert to Bikrami Calendar. The controversy surrounding the Nanakshahi Calendar has taken a new turn with the Sant Samaj urging Akal Takht to revert to the Bikrami Calendar in wake of the confusion created ever since the new version came into being. At present, a large section of the Sikh community is following the amended Nanakshahi Calendar while others continue to stick to its original version.

Members of the Sant Samaj had recently met Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh, demanding that Bikrami Calendar should be implemented to resolve differences within the community as it was acceptable to all.

The Bikrami Calendar is based on lunar charts and under it, the dates of ‘gurpurbs’ and ‘sangrands’ keep on changing every year. However, the original Nanakshahi Calendar, which came into being in 2003, is based on solar charts, and it had fixed the dates of all major ‘gurpurbs’ except for three and all 12 ‘sangrands’.

Following reservations expressed by the Sant Samaj in 2010, amendments were made in the Nanakshahi Calendar. As per these, the Sikh community reverted to the Bikrami Calendar for observing all ‘sangrands’ and four gurpurabs — Gurta Gaddi Diwas of Guru Granth Sahib, Martyrdom Day of Guru Arjan Dev and birth and death anniversaries of Guru Gobind Singh.

Therefore, the amended version is basically a mix of original Nanakshahi Calendar and Bikrami Calendar, but now the Sant Samaj is demanding that the community should fully revert to the Bikrami Calendar.

Their demand has already divided the Sikh community. Even as radical outfit Dal Khalsa has termed the demand made by the Sant Samaj as an attempt to derail the agitation launched by Gurbaksh Singh, a group of Sikh organisations recently met the Akal Takht Jathedar and urged him to revert to the original Nanakshahi Calendar, which is purely based on solar charts.

The issue has also given some tough time to the SGPC, which has been grappling to get the amended Nanakshahi Calendar implemented among all Sikh organisations in the world.

Among the organisations that continue to stick to the original Nanakshahi Calendar are Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and the American Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. It is due to the calendar row that Pakistan had denied visas to the members of an SGPC jatha for observing the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev in 2011 and 2012.

On the other hand, the SGPC says, “We introduced changes in the Nanakshahi Calendar for the unity of the community and these have been accepted by the Sikh Sangat world over.”

AKAL TAKHT AND THE THREE CALENDARS:

  • The controversy revolves around Bikrami, original Nanakshahi and amended Nanakshahi calendars
  • Bikrami Calendar is based on lunar charts and dates of ‘gurpurbs’ and ‘sangrands’ keep on changing every year
  • The original Nanakshahi Calendar came into being in 2003
  • It is based on solar charts and it had fixed the dates of all major ‘gurpurbs’ except three and all 12 ‘sangrands’
  • Following reservations by the Sant Samaj in 2010, amendments were made in the Nanakshahi Calendar
  • The Sikh community then reverted to Bikrami Calendar for observing all ‘sangrands’ and four gurpurabs
  • The amended version is a mix of original Nanakshahi Calendar and Bikrami Calendar
  • But now, the Sant Samaj is demanding that the community should fully revert to the Bikrami Calendar

Major faux pas:

The architect of the original Nanakshahi Calendar, Pal Singh Purewal, has criticised the amendments. He has stated that as a result of these changes, Guru Gobind Singh’s birth anniversary would be celebrated twice in 2014, 2017, 2022 and 2025 while it would not fall in 2015, 2018 and 2023. We introduced changes in the Nanakshahi Calendar for the unity of the community and these have been accepted by the Sikh Sangat world over.

Source: The Tribune

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