Amritsar – The Sikh clergy’s latest move to change the date of Guru Gobind Singh ji’s Gurpurab (birth anniversary) this year has created an unprecedented confusion among the Sikh community over celebrating the Gurpurb, besides bringing to the fore the shortcomings in the amended Nanakshahi Calendar.
The Sikh high priests were forced to deliberate on the matter and decide a fresh date as the Gurpurb was coinciding with the martyrdom day of Guru Gobind Singh’s younger Sahibzadas on December 28. Therefore, they fixed January 7 as the new date for the event.
But they also clarified that those who wished to celebrate the Gurpurb on December 28 were free to do so. Besides, there are those who follow the original Nanakshahi Calendar who will celebrate the event on January 5. The Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) and the American Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (AGPC) follow the original calendar abroad. In India, outfits like Dal Khalsa and SAD (Delhi) led by Paramjit Singh Sarna adhere to it.
The cracks in the Sikh community have already surfaced over the issue with the Takht Shri Patna Sahib making it clear that they would celebrate the ‘gurpurab’ on December 28. On the other hand, the SGPC has urged both the Centre as well as the state government to declare a holiday on January 7 in view of the Sikh clergy’s decision to celebrate the Gurpurb on that day.
Avtar Singh Makkar, SGPC chief, said the Sikhs were in dilemma over celebrating the Gurpurb on December 28. He said he had written to Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, urging them to declare a holiday on January 7.
The original Nanakshahi Calendar, which was implemented in 2003, is based on solar charts and it has fixed the dates of all major Gurpurbs except for three and all 12 ‘sangrands’. Prior to the Nanakshahi Calendar, Sikhs were observing their events as per the Bikrami Calendar, which is based on lunar charts and the dates of Gurpurbs and ‘sangrands’ keep on changing every year.
The original Nanakshahi Calendar was not accepted by Takht Sri Hazur Sahib, Takht Sri Patna Sahib and Sant Samaj. In 2010, the amended Nanakshahi Calendar was implemented. After the amendments, the community reverted to Bikrami Calendar for observing all ‘sangrands’ and four Gurpurbs. Therefore, the amended version is basically a mix of original Nanakshahi Calendar and Bikrami Calendar.