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Posted at: Mar 15, 2015, 2:14 AM; last updated: Mar 15, 2015, 2:14 AM (IST)

End of road for Nanakshahi calendar, virtually

End of road for Nanakshahi calendar, virtually

Akal Takht Jathedar Gurbachan Singh (C) at the release of the calendar for the Sikh New Year in Amritsar on Saturday. Photo: RK Soni

Perneet Singh

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 14

With the Sikh high priests today releasing a calendar on a new pattern for the Sikh New Year, though in the guise of Nanakshahi calendar, it is virtually the end of the road for the Nanakshahi calendar that was introduced in 2003 and was later amended in 2010.

Some Sikh organisations such as the Dal Khalsa have dubbed the new calendar as Bikrami calendar, which they say is based on lunar charts.

Though after releasing the calendar, Akal Takht Jathedar Gurbachan Singh tried to project it as Nanakshahi calendar, the dates of major Sikh events mentioned in it neither match with the original Nanakshahi calendar nor the amended one.

Some “arbitrary changes” also seem to have been made in the dates of a few events related to Sikh gurus. The Akal Takht Jathedar said the calendar had been prepared by a committee constituted by the SGPC. It was meant for the current year only, he said.

When asked as to which calendar it was, he merely said it was Nanakshahi Samat 547 calendar that had “gurpurb” dates as per “Gurbani and historic sources”. He declined to acknowledge it as Bikrami calendar.

Unlike previous years, the calendar this time is not bilingual. It is primarily published in Gurmukhi and doesn’t mention the dates in Roman numbers. The calendar has “Nanakshahi Samat 547 (2015-16)” written atop it.

Surprisingly, the SGPC goofed up on the very first day of the year by celebrating Gurta Gaddi Diwas of Guru Har Rai today (first day of Chet month) as per the amended Nanakshahi calendar, while the New Year’s calendar released by it mentions the event’s date as March 18 (fifth day of Chet).

The birth anniversary of Guru Ram Das, which used to be celebrated on October 9 every year as per the amended Nanakshahi calendar, will this time fall on October 29. The death anniversary of Guru Amar Das will be on September 28, instead of September 16 during the previous years.

Similarly, the dates of Gurta Gaddi Diwas of Guru Amar Das, death anniversary of Guru Angad Dev, death anniversary of Guru Hargobind, death anniversary of Guru Harkrishan, Gurta Gaddi Diwas of Guru Teg Bahadur, birth anniversary of Guru Teg Bahadur, birth anniversary of Guru Arjan Dev, birth anniversary of Guru Angad Dev and Gurta Gaddi Diwas of Guru Hargobind are different from those in the last two years when the amended Nanakshahi calendar was being followed. The new calendar also doesn’t make a mention of Hindu festivals.

Akal Takht, SGPC pass the buck

  • Akal Takht Jathedar Gurbachan Singh said they had released the calendar which was published by the SGPC
  • SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar said they simply followed the directions of the Akal Takht that asked them to publish the calendar as per "Gurbani and historic sources"
  • "I am not an almanac expert. We've done what we were told to," the SGPC chief said
Criticism pours in

  • Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwar Pal Singh said the SGPC move has made irrelevant the committee constituted by the Sikh clergy over the calendar row
  • SAD (Delhi) secretary general Harvinder Singh Sarna said the "attempts of the Badal family to abolish Nanakshahi calendar will not succeed"
  • Panthak Talmel Sangathan, an umbrella organisation of Sikh outfits, also accused the SGPC of "misleading community by terming Bikrami calendar as Nanakshahi"
  • In a press note issued this evening, organisation's convener Kewal Singh said the SGPC earlier made "arbitrary changes" in the original Nanakshahi calendar in 2010 while the calendar released today was in fact "Bikrami calendar"
  • He said the new calendar could not be called Nanakshahi calendar
  • He dubbed today's move as an act of "deceit" 
  • He appealed to all Sikh organisations and community members to reject the calendar and adopt the original Nanakshahi calendar of 2003 to observe Sikh events
The calendar row

  • The original Nanakshahi calendar, which was implemented in 2003, is based on solar charts
  • It has fixed the dates of all major "gurpurbs", except for three, and all 12 "sangrands"
  • Amendments were made to it in 2010 on the insistence of the Sant Samaj
  • As per these amendments, the Sikh community reverted to Bikrami calendar for observing all "sangrands" and four "gurpurbs"
  • Therefore, the amended version was basically a mix of original Nanakshahi calendar and Bikrami calendar
  • Prior to Nanakshahi calendar, Sikhs observed various events as per Bikrami calendar which is based on lunar charts and the dates of "gurpurbs" and "sangrands" keep on changing every year under it


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