May 22, 2014 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Amritsar, Punjab (May 22, 2014): A day after the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC) claimed that ‘Sikh Sangat’ of Pakistan had agreed to start following amended version of Nanakshahi Calendar, a number of Sikh bodies and other personalities, on May 21, targeted SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar for misleading the community on the sensitive issue.
According to The Tribune: Paramjit Singh Sarna [f]ormer DSGMC president said he had a word with Daya Singh, Head Granthi of Nankana Sahib, who told him that the Sikh Sangat at the historic shrine had not approved the amended calendar as was being projected by the SGPC.
He further said Makkar merely addressed a gathering of Sikhs at Nankana Sahib, while accusing the SGPC chief of “misleading” the Sikh community.
Moreover, he stated that the new body of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) was yet to be formed and therefore the question of the PSGPC taking any such decision didn’t arise.
Terming Avtar Singh Makkar a “failed head” of the premier institution of the Sikhs, the Dal Khalsa too lashed out at him for “misleading the Sikh diaspora on the issue of Nanakshahi Calendar and creating division” among members of the PSGPC.
Reacting to the SGPC claim that the Sikh Sangat of Pakistan had given its approval to the amended version of the calendar, Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwar Pal Singh said Makkar and his team, who are on a tour to the neighbouring country, had “twisted the facts and played a political stunt”. He said that according to their UK chapter head and member of the advisory board of the PSGPC, Manmohan Singh, no such decision to lend support to the amended version had been taken by the Pakistani panel.
“A desperate Makkar has cheated the Sikhs,” Kanwar Pal said, adding that the present SGPC chief, like his bosses (read Badals), was playing divisive politics over there. He wondered as to why the Badals were so desperate to convince the Pakistani gurdwara body to fall in line. He said the Sikh community was divided on the issue of Nanakshahi Calendar with Jathedar Balwant Singh Nandgarh, the PSGPC, the AGPC and scores of socio-religio-political groups, including theirs, still sticking to the original version of 2003.
The Dal Khalsa leader urged the Akal Takht Jathedar to build consensus on the issue instead of playing a partisan role.
“The Jathedar should rise above the negative politics of Badals and play a positive role to stop further bickering within the community on this issue.”
He said the so-called changes in the Nanakshahi Calendar had diluted the uniqueness of the Sikh almanac.
Meanwhile, noted Sikh scholar Ashok Singh Bagarian has asked the Sikh leadership to clarify whether the amended Nanakshahi Calendar was based on solar charts or lunar charts.
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