Guru Gobind Singh’s birth anniversary: Akal Takht rejects SGPC plea to extend parkash parv date
The apex gurdwara body wanted to celebrate gurpurb on January 5 as Dec 25 coincides with the martyrdom days of Guru’s sons
Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs, on Monday rejected the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) plea to extend the date of parkash parv (birth anniversary) of Guru Gobind Singh.
Confusion prevailed among the Sikhs over the date of birth anniversary of the 10th Guru due to the calendar row. During the executive meeting of the SGPC held at Patiala on November 6, its president Kirpal Singh Badungar had appealed to the Akal Takht to extend the date of the parkash parv to January 5 as December 25 coincides with the martyrdom days of Guru’s sons.
Takht Patna Sahib jathedar Giani Iqbal Singh opposed the SGPC plea saying that gurpurb was fixed on “Poh (Sudi 7)”, which falls on December 25 this year according to the Bikrami calendar. Last time, it was on January 5.
During a meeting held at the Akal Takht secretariat on Monday, the Sikh clergy, led by Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh, resolved to celebrate gurpurb on December 25. In the “gurmata” (resolution) passed by the Sikh clergy, the apex gurdwara body was also directed to cooperate with management of Takht Patna Sahib in celebrating the parkash parv on December 25 to conclude the year-long celebrations of 350th birth anniversary of the 10th Guru.
Without commenting on the rationale cited by the SGPC behind postponement of gurpurb, the Akal Takht also asked the SGPC to make arrangements for observing the martyrdom day of Guru Gobind Singh’s younger sons — Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh — and mother Mata Gujri at Fatehgarh Sahib.
Sikhs observe “Shaheedi Saptah” (martyrdom week) in the last week of December every year. This year, it will start from December 22 (martyrdom day of Guru’s elder sons —Ajit Singh and Jhujhar Singh) and conclude on December 28. The martyrdom day of Guru’s younger sons — Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh and Mata Gujri falls on December 27.
‘TO PROBE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST DHADRIANWALE’
Taking note of allegations levelled by Sikh seminary Damdami Taksal and ally Sikh organisations against preacher Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwale that he has distorted historical facts and misinterpreted the Sikh ethos, Akal Takht jathedar asked the complainants to send evidences in form of CDs to the temporal seat. “A probe panel will be constituted. If charges are proved against Dhadrianwale, strict action would be taken against him,” said the jathedar.
The Akal Takht also directed “gatka” (Sikh martial art) performers to refrain from stunts. The order comes days after a Sikh boy died while showing stunts during the gatka performance.
CRUX OF THE ROW
The standoff over the date of celebrations of the 351st parkash parv of Guru Gobind Singh has its genesis in the lack of clarity on calendar. The Nanakshahi calendar that was introduced by the SGPC in 2003 had fixed January 5 as the date of the birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Gobind Singh.
However, the SGPC rolled it back under pressure from Damdami Taksal chief Harnam Singh Dhumma-led Sant Samaj, which was in alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) during the SGPC polls in 2010. The original version was replaced with the new one which was modified as per the Bikrami calendar, but its nomenclature Nanaksahi calendar was not changed.
This year, the parkash parv, which is celebrated on “Poh (Sudi 7)” as per Bikrami calendar, falls on December 25, coinciding with the sombre occasion of martyrdom anniversaries of his family members. Therefore, an appeal was made for extending the date of the birth anniversary celebrations to January 5.