Abiding by the orders of the Akal Takht, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) will be releasing the calendar for 'Nanakshahi Samat 547' (for 2015-16) on Saturday, the first day of the first month of Chet, marking the
beginning of the Sikh new year.
Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan is likely to release the calendar at the Akal Takht Secretariat in the Golden Temple complex.
Indications are that a ‘Bikrami’ version will be released. However it will be titled ‘Nanakshahi Samat 547’ to indicate to a layman that the Nanakshahi calendar has not yet been dumped.
“It will be a Bikrami calendar in letter and spirit. The dates of all events will be in accordance with the dates on the traditional lunar-based Bikrami calendar, which is already in circulation,” a SGPC source indicated, confirming that the
new calendar had been printed and was ready for release.
On March 9, the Akal Takht had directed the SGPC to prepare a calendar for 'Nanakshahi Samat 547' which should “incorporate the spirit of gurbani and of Sikh history and religion”.
These directions were given after a meeting of the Sikh high priests, which had decided to form a committee to resolve
the Nanakshahi controversy. However as the proposed committee will be giving its report by December 2015, the Akal Takht had asked the SGPC to get the 2015-16 calendar ready.
Prior to 2003, when the Nanakshahi calendar was first adopted by the Sikh 'panth', the SGPC used to print its own version of the Bikrami calendar, in which all events related to Sikh history and religion were incorporated. Even then the SGPC would refer to its calendar as 'Nanakshahi Samat' — as Guru Nanak Dev's birth formed the baseline for fixing the dates of all Sikh events.
The 2003 Nanakshahi calendar was prepared by Canadian scholar, Pal Singh Purewal. This was amended in 2010, to incorporate the dates of certain important events in accordance with the Bikrami version. This amendment had led Purewal to remark that the ‘SGPC had killed the spirit of the Nanakshahi calendar’.
The names of representatives of various Sikh groups including the SGPC are yet to reach the Jathedar for the formation of the committee to resolve the calendar controversy. SGPC sources indicated that Purewal may opt out of this committee, even as the jathedar is very keen to have him on the committee.
Meanwhile, a religious function is being held at around midnight at Dewan Manjit Sahib Hall in the Golden Temple complex to mark the Sikh new year and Giani Gurbachan Singh is likely to attend the function.