There continues to be confusion over the date of the parkash gurpurb (birth anniversary) of the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.
As per the practice over the years, the date of the birth anniversary celebrations falls in the last week of December, which this time is coinciding with the sombre occasion of martyrdom anniversaries of his family members.
President of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), Kirpal Singh Badungar, had recently proposed to the Akal Takht to thus change the date of the birth anniversary to January 5. According to the Nanakshahi calendar that was introduced by the SGPC in 2003, Guru Gobind Singh’s birth anniversary falls on January 5.
However, this has been opposed by Giani Iqbal Singh, jathedar of Takht Sri Patna Sahib, one of the five temporal seats of the Sikhs, that is in the city where Guru Gobind Singh was born.
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).
Besides, martyrdom day of the Guru’s younger sons—Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh—and his mother Mata Gujri falls on December 27. No celebrations are held during this period of mourning.
However, this year the parkash gurpurb, which is celebrated on ‘Poh Sudi Seven’ as per Bikrami calendar, falls on December 25.
Giani Iqbal Singh has however agreed to attend the meeting of Sikh clergy that is scheduled on November 13. A final decision on the dates is expected to be taken by the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs.
Speaking about the issue, Jaswinder Singh, president of Akal Purakh Ki Fauj (a Sikh body), said, “People are in a dilemma about the conflicting dates because the occasions invoke diametrically opposite emotions among the devotees. We are expecting the Akal Takht to come up with a solution.”
Sikh scholar Waryam Singh, former secretary of SGPC, said this confusion is recent phenomenon. “Earlier, Sikhs used to celebrate gurpurb as scheduled because the Shaheedi Saptah was mostly observed in the places of the martyrdom. However, of late, people have started observing Shaheedi Saptah with greater prominence.”
The Nanakshai calender was introduced with the aim to resolve this. However, 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 SGPC polls in 2010.
The original version was thus replaced with the new one which was modified as per the Bikrami calendar.
Kiranjot Kaur, member of SGPC, said, “The original Nanakshahi calendar was calculated in a manner that was suitable to tackle the problems faced in the Bikrami calendar. Had the original version not been discarded, the present controversy on the date of gurpurb would have not taken place.”
Meanwhile, Harnam Singh Dhumma, who has long advocated to observe the days as per the Bikrami calendar, is silent over the issue.
27 May 2018
28 May 2018