Takht Damdama Sahib high priest jathedar Balwant Singh Nandgarh has toughened his stand against the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) by giving a call to Sikhs to observe December 28 as ‘sad day’ to remember the martyrdom of the four sons of Guru Gobind Singh.
He wants Sikhs to be humble in memory of the martyrs despite being aware that the Akal Takht has decided to celebrate the birthday of Guru Gobind Singh on the same day, by rejecting the Nanakshahi calendar.
Nandgarh is among the top five high priests of Sikhs. He is the only jathedar who is strongly backing the Nanakshahi calendar. His move to ask Sikhs to recite Gurbani in memory of the four sons of the tenth guru is being taken as his counter to the Akal Takht’s decision to celebrate the guru’s birthday on the same day.
Two days back, Nandgarh had claimed that the Shiromani Akali Dal had sent two of its men to him, asking for his resignation. He announced that he would not resign under pressure and challenged the SGPC to sack him.
“The entire Sikh community observes the ‘sad week’ in December in memory of the family members of the 10th guru. This year too, every Sikh family should recite the ‘Chaupai’ (religious sermon) at 10 am and ‘Kirtan Sohila’ in the evening on December 28 in memory of the martyrs,” said Nandgarh in his edict issued on Monday.
Meanwhile, challenging the SGPC’s authority to take the decision, Paramjit Singh Ranu, president of Sehajdhari Sikh Party, said, “The SGPC itself is on ventilator. The case filed by my party on its authority is pending in the high court. The SGPC is not working as a house right now and is working only as an executive committee or as an administrator. They are supposed to run only the day-to-day affairs. If they take any major policy decision on Nandgarh or any other issue, it will not be in the spirit of the Gurdwara Act.” He said he had nothing to do with the Nandgarh issue.