Former Akal Takht Jathedar, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, during whose tenure the Nanakshahi calender was launched in 2003, has sought to remind the opponents of this calender that it had the "sanction of all the five Sikh Takhts and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and even Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had approved of it ".
In a statement issued here on Thursday, Vedanti lambasted those who were calling for withdrawing this calender on the pretext that it had 'led to confusion among members of the Sikh community'. The opponents of the calender have submitted a memorandum to the Akal Takht pleading for bringing back the lunar-based Bikrami calender.
The memorandum submitted by the 'Sant Samaj', a conglomerate of leaders of different Sikh religious bodies, is pending with the Akal Takht. One of the signatories of the memorandum is Baba Harnam Singh Dhuma, head of the Damdami Taksal, a Sikh seminary.
Referring to his tenure as Akal Takht Jathedar, Vedanti pointed out that the solar-based Nanakshahi calendar, prepared by Canada-based Sikh scholar Pal Singh Purewal, passed through various phases before being given the final recognition.
Vedanti sought to ridicule those who were claiming that the calender did not have the sanction of Takht Patna Sahib and Takht Hazoor Sahib in Nanded.
"The then Jathedars of the two Takhts outside Punjab were present in the meeting that gave approval to the Nanakshahi calender in 2003. I, as Akal Takht Jathedar, chaired this meeting", claimed Vedanti while pointing out that views of different Sikh religious and social groups were also sought and they all felt that as the Sikhs were a separate 'quam', they had the right to have their own calender.
The former Jathedar also referred to the launch ceremony of the calender held at Takht Damdama Sahib in which the Jathedars of all the five Takhts were present. He claimed that Parkash Singh Badal, who was not the chief minister at that time, along with the then SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar, attended the ceremony.
" Even Giani Gurbachan Singh (now Akal Takht head), who was the then Harmandir Sahib head granthi, was also present during the ceremony", he added.
Without referring to Baba Dhuma's opposition, the former Jathedar said, "Even the then Damdami Taksal head, Baba Thakar Singh favoured the 2003 Nanakshahi calender. His representative Bhai Mokham Singh gave 'Baba ji's consent at a meeting held before the calender's final approval.
"If the Nanakshahi calender is 'misleading' as some people have claimed, then all those, including myself and the chief minister, should be summoned before the Akal Takht and awarded 'tankha' (religious punishment) for atonement of our wrong doing. However if our stand is deemed correct, then those calling for withdrawal of the calender ought to be summoned before the Takht", stated Vedanti.