With three days to go before the Sikh New Year begins on March 14, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) is expected to work overtime to get the calendar ready for ‘Nanakshahi Samat 547’.
“We will try our best to get the calendar ready within 3-4 days,” said SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar after a brief meeting with Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh on Wednesday.
He told the media, in an informal meeting, that the calendar would be prepared in accordance with the directions of the Akal Takht.
On whether the new calendar will have a Nanakshahi look or will be in accordance with the Bikrami calendar, Makkar refused to give a concrete answer, just as the Jathedar had done two days ago.
He said, “The calendar will incorporate the spirit of gurbani and of Sikh history and religion.”
The Jathedar indicated that the committee, to be constituted by him to resolve the Nanakshahi calendar controversy, may be expanded to include one or two more members. “If any group or organisation wishes to have a member on this committee, then it can forward the representative’s name to the Akal Takht. It will not be possible to include the representative of each and every Sikh organisation as the number of such groups is very large.”
This statement was made after it was pointed out that a number of groups supporting the continuation of the Nanakshai calendar were apprehensive that the Takht had already taken the first step to scrap the calendar. This group had also claimed that most representatives to be included in the calendar committee were from pro-Bikrami organisations.
On the rejection of the proposed committee by the US Sikh Gurudwara Committee, the Jathedar said, “I can only appeal to them to join and express their views.”
A week to send names
He added the final shape to the 16-17 member committee would be given after the names from various organisations reach him. He has given a week to the SGPC and other groups to send the names of their representatives.
The groups include the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee and the Sant Samaj, besides the Takhts at Hazoor Sahib in Nanded and Patna Sahib. Certain individuals have also been named to the proposed committee, including Pal Singh Purewal, the Canadian scholar who designed the original Nanakshahi calendar of 2003.
The committee, once formed, will be expected to give its report to the Akal Takht by November-December this year, so that the Sikhs have a new calendar in place before March 14, 2016.
SGPC to frame rules of working of new panel
The Jathedar indicated that the SGPC that will frame the rules of the working of the calendar committee and will decide on the dates and venues of the meetings.
Meanwhile, the SGPC will be celebrating the Sikh New Year on the night of March 13-14 at the Dewan Manji Sahib Hall in the Golden Temple complex, Harmandir Sahib, its manager, Partap Singh. It will be a religious programme with the Akal Takht Jathedar in attendance.