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Amid row, SGPC releases Nanakshahi calendar

Citing that Sikhs should have a separate calendar as they have distinct identity, the SGPC adopted the Nanakshahi calendar created by Canada-based Sikh scholar Pal Singh Purewal in 2003.

punjab Updated: Mar 06, 2018 12:12 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
SGPC,Sikh identity,Nanakshahi calendar
Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh (right) and SGPC members releasing the Nanakshahi calendar 2018-19 in Amritsar on Monday. (HT Photo)

Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh on Monday released the Nanakshahi calendar, prepared by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), for Samat 550 (2018-19).

Citing that Sikhs should have a separate calendar as they have distinct identity, the SGPC adopted the Nanakshahi calendar created by Canada-based Sikh scholar Pal Singh Purewal in 2003. Since then, it has been courting controversies on certain issues, including dates of religious festivals and gurpurbs.

In 2010, the SGPC amended the calendar under pressure from Damdami Taksal chief Harnam Singh Dhumma and the Sant Samaj. The original version was modified as per the lunar-based Bikrami calendar, but its nomenclature was not changed. Sikhs abroad, however, continue to follow Purewal’s calendar.

The latest controversy was over date of celebrations of the 351st gurpurb (birth anniversary) of Guru Gobind Singh, the 10nth Sikh master. As per the 2010 version of the calendar, gurpurb fell on December 25, 2017, coinciding with the sombre occasion of martyrdom anniversaries of the Guru’s sons and mother.

The row intensified the demand by a section of Sikh bodies that the original version of the calendar be followed to avoid confusion.

On Monday, the SGPC kept the unveiling ceremony of the calendar secret. Only the media group owned by the Badal family was invited for the calendar release held at the Akal Takht secretariat in the presence of SGPC general secretary Gurbachan Singh Karmuwala, chief secretary Roop Singh, additional secretary (dharam parchar) Balwinder Singh Jaurasingha and spokesperson Diljit Singh Bedi.

“The calendar released by the prepared by the SGPC is basically a Bikrami calendar and does not symbolise the distinct identity of the Sikhs. It has a lot of shortcomings. This is unfair that ignoring the sentiments of the community, the SGPC again imposed the Bikrami calendar on the Sikhs,” said Advocate Jaswinder Singh, president of the Akal Purakh Ki Fauj.

First Published: Mar 06, 2018 12:11 IST