Going by the announcement of the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikhs, people are celebrating Guru Gobind Singh's birth anniversary (gurpurb) on Sunday, but the high priest of Takht Damdama Sahib, Talwandi Sabo, near here, jathedar Balwant Singh Nandgarh, is firm on celebrating the day on January 5, according to the original Nanakshahi calendar.
Nandgarh has also reiterated his accusation against the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) which, he says, is behind the controversy over the calendars as the saffron outfit considers the Sikh religion as part of the Hindu religion, so it wants to impose the Bikrami calendar on the Sikhs.
Talking to mediapersons at his house on Saturday, Nandgarh said that the original Nanakshahi calendar is the symbol of independent identity of the Sikh religion and adopting Bikrami calendar will threaten this identity. He announced not to be part of the Nagar Kirtan to be taken out on Sunday and he would observe the day next month.
He said that adopting the Bikrami calendar will be against the preaching of the gurbani and will also amount to changing the history. "Christians have their own calendar, Muslims have their own while Bikrami calendar is followed by Hindus so Nanakshahi calendar is the identity of the Sikh religion and it must be preserved," he said.
He said that going by the Bikrami calendar, the martyrdom day of four sons of Guru Gobind Singh will also be observed on his birth anniversary.
Asked on the support from various sections he was getting, Nandgarh said that like-minded people and organsiations will submit memorandums to Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh on January 1 and it will be clear that day who are supporting the Nanakshahi calendar and who are not while a meeting of these organisations will be held on January 2 on this issue.
Nandgarh has locked horns with the SGPC over the issue of reverting to the Bikrami calendar and was also asked by the messengers of the state government to resign from his post. After Nandgarh went vocal opposing the move to revert to the Bikrami calendar, the Punjab government had, on December 17, withdrawn his security cover as well.