In a U-turn, the Akal Takht has decided that the Gurpurb of Guru Gobind Singh will be celebrated on December 28, 2014, instead of January 7 next year.
In a release issued here on Monday, Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh said the decision to revert to the ‘original’ date (December 28) was taken to end all confusion that was caused after the date was changed to January 7.
With this move, the Akal Takht has gone back to the date as fixed in the amended Nanakshahi calendar of 2010, which is also the same in the traditional Bikrami calendar.
While amending the calendar in 2009-10, the dates of certain important events were fixed in accordance with the Bikrami calendar. The events for which dates were fixed included Holi (Hola Mohalla) and Diwali, besides the birth anniversaries of Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh.
The decision to fix dates was taken as in the original Nanakshahi calendar of 2003, the dates of Holi, Diwali and the birth anniversaries of the first and last Sikh gurus were different from those in the Bikrami calendar. This had then led to much confusion among the Sikhs, particularly those staying outside Punjab who still continue to follow the traditional calendar.
The jathedar had last week changed the Gurpurb date to January 7 to avoid this event clashing with the martyrdom day of the two younger sons (‘chhote sahibzade’) of Guru Gobind Singh. The martyrdom day falls on December 26, just two days before the guru’s birth anniversary. However, this event is observed over three days, hence the date clashed with Gurpurb.
The jathedar’s decision had led to criticism from radicals who support the 2003 Nanakshahi calendar and those, such as Damdami Taksal chief Baba Harnam Singh Dhuma, who support the amended calendar. The radicals had demanded that instead of fixing the event for January 7, the jathedar should have gone by the original Nanakshahi calendar, in which this event falls on January 5.
Sikhs in Pakistan, Canada and the US normally abide by the 2003 Nanakshahi calendar and they will celebrate Gurpurb on January 5, not on December 28. The jathedar’s decision last week had caused so much confusion that the Punjab government had planned to declare Gurpurb holiday on January 7. On the other hand, Sikhs outside Punjab had decided to stick by the December 28 date.
The U-turn by the jathedar seems to have been taken under pressure from different sources. The jathedars of Takht Patna Sahib and Takht Hazoor Sahib had told the jathedar that Sikhs in their respective areas still abide by the Bikrami calendar -- the amended Nanakshahi calendar -- in which the date was December 28.