Wednesday, March 12, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Decks cleared for Nanakshahi calendar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 11
The SGPC’s Dharam Parchar Committee, which met here today under the Chairmanship of Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, has endorsed the Nanakshahi calender thus clearing the decks for its implementation. Informed sources said it would be most probably enforced from Baisakhi this year.

The committee has set up a five-member panel to resolve the hot issue pertaining to the performing of “ seva” inside the “ Darbar Sahib” by women. The committee has been asked to submit its report by May 15 after holding consultation with all concerned. Recently, the Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, wrote a letter to the SGPC chief in this connection.

Informed SGPC sources said the resolution welcoming the calendar was passed by the committee at today’s meeting. The issue of the calendar has been hanging fire for the past several years. On the condition of anonymity, a member of the committee, said all details of the calendar, which was ready, would be given a final look once more before its enforcement on the Baisakhi day. He said there were a consensus among all panthic organisations over the contents of calendar.

The Dharam Parchar Committee says the calendar had not been prepared with the intention of creating any social or religious divide. Its main objective was to remove confusion among Sikhs about the dates of important events related to life of Sikh gurus, Sikh history and related matters. All traditional festivals such as Baisakhi, Divali, Dasehra and Holi would be celebrated as per the existing tradition.

The member said the calendar would mainly deal with three aspects. First dates with regard to life of Sikh gurus, Secondly regarding heros of Sikh history and thirdly dates concerning important events of the Sikh history. It would be structured on “ Bara Mahan” that is a part of Gurbani. In other words, it would start from the “desi” month of Chet followed by Baisakh, Jeth, Har, San, Bahdon etc. And all seasons in the year will also be described as per the “Bara Maha”.

The calendar will be having completely scientific base and appeal to reason. It will be based on solar system. At present, a large number of calendar are in operation and there was not uniformity between one and another because these have been based on different theories and systems.

The member said the Nanakshahi calendar would resolve many problems specially faced by Sikhs settled abroad with regard to the exact dates of Sikh religious functions.

The member said other significant decision taken at the meeting was to hold an elaborate debate on the issue of “seva” by women in Darbar Sahib.

The five-member panel would organise seminars, conferences and indoor meetings of Sikh scholars and others concerned in this connection in the coming weeks for building up a consensus on this issue. “This issue would be resolved to the satisfaction of all and hopefully the decision will be taken in favour of women”, said the member.

At present, the SGPC was sandwitched between two streams of opinions on the issue, one supporting the seva by women and other opposing it. Though there was no discrimination, gender bias or any philosphical obstruction against women in Sikh religion but no record was available regarding at what stage of the history, women stopped or forced to stop the “seva” inside the Golden Temple. It is being felt that when Sikhs were facing worst time in 18th century and had to take shelter in jungles, at that stage the one particular sect of followers of the Sikh religion had taken the responsibility of “seva” of Golden Temple. The followers of that sect used to lead bachelor existence. Perhaps at that stage of history women were disallowed to enter for “seva” in the Golden Temple, according to a Sikh scholar.

The members of the panel will be Jathedar of Takht Sri Damdama Sahib, Bhai Balwant Singh Nandgarh, two women members of the SGPC — Bibi Kartar Kaur and Bibi Amarjit Kaur, two Sikh scholars — Dr Kharak Singh, Dr Darshan Singh.

Various religious aspects of the proposed All-India Sikh Gurdwara Act were also reviewed at today’s meeting. But this review could not be completed, it is learnt. Meanwhile, the SGPC has decided to hold its Budget session on March 29 at Teja Singh Samundari Hall.

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