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Ihro Note : Nanakshahi Calendar - A Historical Blunder

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Prof Anurag Singh of the International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO) Sikh Affairswas asked to prepare a Note on the Nanakshahi controversial calendar so that the IHRO may take a stand and do lobby to get it through so as to clear the mist among the Sikh people worldwide - DS Gill Chair IHRO.

Nanakshahi Calendar : A Historical Blunder

The so-called Sikh Calendar, presented to the Sikh world as Nanakshahi Calendar by learned fraternity of Chandigarh, known for creating controversies and backing the adversaries of Sikh Panth, Gurbaksh Singh Kala Afghana openly, backed Sardar Pal Singh Purewal, Government’s sponsored campaign to distort the Sikh history, and introduce a new Calendar in the sacred name of Guru Nanak.

Here it is pertinent to mention the following two facts:

  • The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandak Committee (SGPC) neither passed any resolution for replacing the existing Sikh Calendar nor entrusted the job to Pal Singh Purewal.
  • Pal Singh Purewal Singh’s Jantri 500 Years was published by Punjab School Education Board in 1994 during the tenure of Chief Minister Beant Singh,whereas the Board is supposed to publish the text books for the school students with the quota of paper supplied to it. This was the first and last book, meant for researchers, published by the board.

Here, I may add that when this very Jantri of Purewal was extensively quoted to question the wisdom of Mr Purewal, all the copies of this Jantri were exported to Canada. With this Jantri of Purewal, the Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh, in its meeting dated November 27, 1995, prepared the Sikh Calendar within two hours, and presented to the SGPC through Dr Kharak Singh, member Dharm Parchar Committee of the SGPC to replace the traditional Sikh Calendar with distorted dates and history of the Sikhs in this so-called Nanakshahi Calendar.

In the Calendar, Pal Singh Purewal and his associates have taken the shelter of mendacious assertions and perfidious lies and till date neither Purewal nor his associates, could either confront or controvert or weaken in any manner the following historical facts pointed out by me and other scholars exposing the misleading lies of Mr Purewal:

  1. Before introduction of this distorted Calendar, a Sikh Calendar was/is used, and Nanakshahi Samvat was also used. This fact has been highlighted in 1993, long before the so-called Nanakshahi Calendar was introduced, in the Oxford Dictionary of World Religions (EdJohn Bowker): “The Sikhs’ religious Calendar is a modified form of the Bikrami Calendar.” (p 188). The first perfidy of Mr Purewal was exposed, who claimed that he is the architect of the Sikh Calendar.
  2. Secondly, the tall claim of Mr Purewal that he is the maker of Nanakshahi Calendar, which is original, was also exposed asit nothing but a carbon copy of the National Calendar of India, introduced in March 1957 by Indian Government as a Civil Calendar, and is based on Saka Calendar, on which the Hindu Religious Calendar is also based. In the Nanakshahi Calendar and the National Calendar of India, five months are of 31 days and seven months are of 30 days. Whereas in Saka Hindu Calendar the month of Chet is of 31 days in during leap year and in Nanakshahi the month of Phagan is of 31 days. Mr Purewal has confirmed this fact in his book Jantri 500 Years,saying “The Saka year that starts in Common Era leap year will also be a leap year. The year will always begin on March 21 is a leap year. This way the months of the Saka Era will maintain constant relationship with those of CommonEra.” (p iv). In this way, Mr Purewal cleverly introduced the National Calendar of India, based on Saka Calendar (on which the Hindu Religion Calendar is based) as Nanakshahi Calendar. Interested readers may consult The Hindu Religious Year — by M.M. Underhill (1921).
  3. Thirdly, Mr Purewal spread the canard that Bikrami Calendar is a Hindu calendar and was introduced by a Hindu King of India Vikramaditya Bikrami Calendar had no connection with any Hindu king Vikramaditya, nor Vikramaditya is the name. This is mere a title which was assumed by eight monarchs of India. The first monarch so named was Chandraguptya II (376-414 AD)and this emperor was in constant war with the western India. It is accepted fact that Bikrami Calendar was introduced by the Malwa people of North-west Punjab in 57 BC, i.e., 433 years (57+376) before the first Vikramaditya title was assumed by Chandraguptya of Ujjain (Ancient Malwa and Vikramaditya Tradition by Dr D.C. Sircar, 1969). Thus, Bikrami Calendar was introduced in 57 BC on the land of five rivers in Punjab by a valiant community known as Malwa people, who were inhabitants of the valley of river Ravi. A section of these people migrated to Jaipur, Tonk region of Rajasthan, under pressure of foreign invasions. It was known as Malwa Samvat, which is evident from the historical records. “The era handed down by the Malwa republic” (Ancient Indian History & Culture www.kanpuruniversity.org/syllabus/ma.pdfPolitical History of Ancient India 325 H.C. - 319 AD. Rise of Mauryas- D.R. Bhandarkar, 1921 (Nos 5, 6, 9). Malwa people carried forward this Calendar to Rajasthan. Originally it started with the month of Katak. Hence, this Calendar is of East Iranian origin and is in use only in North-Western India. The Sikh Gurus accepted this Calendar and modified it according to Sikh ethics to make a Sikh Calendar in true sense, while in Hindu traditions it is known by the name ‘Vikarmi Samvat’ as Hindus normally use ‘V’ in place of ‘B’. In Sikh religious and historical literature it is known as Bikrami Samvat in accordance with the dialect used in Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Dasam Granth and related literature.

- Prof Anurag Singh

Email: anuragsingh153@yahoo.com

Cell Phone: +91 9872823277 (Ludhiana)



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