Something very different this Vaisakhi

Sikh groups in Malaysia, Singapore and Britain will be celebrating Guru Nanak's birthday in conjunction with the Vaisakhi celebration. They intend to push forward an important message to fellow Sikhs - the vital connection between the Khalsa and the first Sikh Guru

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By Hb Singh and Kawal Jeet Kaur | Vaisakhi 2022 |

Sikh groups in Malaysia, Singapore and Britain are celebrating Vaisakhi 2022 on two counts: the creation of the Khalsa and the birthday of Guru Nanak.

Now, everyone is familiar with the former. Most Sikhs would have heard of the story of Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Sikh Guru, establishing the Khalsa Brotherhood in 1699. This historic event took place in the month of Vaisakh (which corresponds to the month April in the Gregorian calendar).

But the second count – celebrating Guru Nanak’s birthday in this time of the year – is something new and probably alien to many Sikhs. The birthday of the first Sikh Guru has usually been celebrated with pomp and splendour in the month of Kathik (sometime in October or November).

“The evidence before us tells us that Guru Nanak was born in the month of Vaisakh. The time has come for us to acknowledge that fact,” a key organiser of the Malaysian leg of the event told Asia Samachar. “We want to draw the attention of fellow Sikhs to the fact that Guru Gobind Singh had unveiled the Khalsa on Guru Nanak’s birthday.”

In Singapore, the group will be holding a prayer event at the Silat Road Gurdwara on April 15 (more details below). In Malaysia and Britain, two separate groups are celebrating it on April 16. It is understood that some gurdwaras in India and other countries will also be celebrating Guru Nanak’s birthday in conjunction with this year’s Vaisakhi celebration.

“A few of our friends have decided to celebrate it with Sukhmani Sahib ji prayers at Silat Road Gurudwara from 2pm to 4pm. We invite you to join in and participate in this auspicious occasion,” read an invite sent out by the Singapore organisers.

The new injection to the Vaisakhi celebration will surely thrust Sikhs to understand better the connection between Guru Nanak’s birthday (gurpurab) and the establishment of the Khalsa (Khalsa Sirjina).

Five of the six popular janam sakhis point to a Vaisakh birth date for Guru Nanak, with the exception of the Bhai Bala janam sakhi which points to a Kathik birth.

SEE ALSO: Explainer: Guru Nanak’s birthday [6 Questions You May Have On Your Mind]

SEE ALSO: From Frankfurt to Tampa, Vaisakhi anew

At the same time, seven prominent Sikh and non-Sikh writers have argued that Guru Nanak was born in Vaisakh. They include historian Karam Singh, Sikh scholar and scholar and encyclopaedist Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha (author of Mahan Kosh), Prof Sahib Singh (author of Sri Guru Granth Darpan or the Punjabi translation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib) and M.A. Macauliffe (author of the The Sikh Religion, Vol 1-VI).

In his well-researched book Katak Kay Vesakh (ਕੱਤਕ ਕਿ ਵਿਸਾਖ), historian Karam Singh (1884-1930) had concluded that Guru Nanak’s birth date was in Vaisakh, blaming the Bhai Bala janamsakhi for the Kathik fiasco.

In the recent past, steps to remedy the anomaly began with the implementation of the Mool Nanakshahi calendar.

The Mool Nanakshahi calendar was first introduced by Sikh schol­ars and the Shi­ro­mani Gur­d­wara Parbandhak Com­mit­tee (SGPC) in 1999, on the 300th an­niver­sary of the Khal­sa. It was adopted by the Akal Takht on the premise that it was histor­i­cally and sci­en­tif­i­cally accurate and conformed to the Gurbani.

On 14 April, 2003, the SGPC implemented and launched copies of the Mool Nanakshahi calendar from Takhat Sri Damdama Sahib on the occasion of Vaisakhi, in the presence of a large community gathering. At that time, SGPC was headed by Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar and Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti was the Akhal Takht jathedar.

FOR MORE STORIES ON GURU NANAK’S BIRTHDAY, CLICK HERE

The new calendar was a significant departure from the lunar-based Bikrami calendar. The dates on the 2003 Mool Nanakshahi calendar were based on the fixed solar calendar system, with the exception of three dates, which were reverted back to lunar Bikrami dates, due to cultural and political concerns. These were Guru Nanak’s birthday, Bandi Chhor Divas and Holla Mahalla.

These three dates were eventually synchronised to the solar calendar system in 2017, at the Chicago Mool Nanakshahi Cal­en­dar Implementation Con­fer­ence. At the conference, the Bikrami lunar calendar was discarded entirely from the Mool Nanakshahi calendar and all the dates which were variable from year to year under the Bikrami system, were fixed and synchronised in accordance with the solar calendar system. This included the Gurpurab of Guru Nanak on April 14.

The 2017 Mool Nanakshahi calendar continues to gather support across the world as Sikhs yearn to follow fixed dates which are an accurate representation of Sikh history.

EVENTS UNDER NOTE:

Punjab: 14 April 2022 (Thursday), 10am-2pm, at Kendri Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Chandigarh

Germany: 14 April at Gurudwara Sikh Center in Höchst, Frankfurt

USA: 14 April 2022 at Wheaton Gurdwara Sahib in Wheaton, Illinois

Singapore: 15 April 2022 (Friday), 2pm-4pm, at Silat Road Sikh Gurudwara

Malaysia: 16 April 2022 (Saturday), 6.45pm-9pm, at Gurdwara Sahib Parliament, Kuala Lumpur

Britain: 16 April 2022 (Saturday), 6pm-8pm, at St Andrew’s Church, Ilford

USA: 17 April, 2022 (Sunday), 9am to 2pm, at Tampa Gurdwara (USREF), Thonotosassa, Florida, US

(Do you know of another such event? Do send us an email or Whatsapp to be included)





RELATED STORY:

Adopt Mool Nanakshahi Calendar, stop confusion, says Sikh Chicago meet – WSN (Asia Samachar, 7 Dec 2017)



ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs / Punjabis in Southeast Asia and beyond.Facebook | WhatsApp +6017-335-1399 | Email: asia.samachar@gmail.com | Twitter | Instagram | Obituary announcements, click here 

2 COMMENTS

  1. About time!
    Also, “Sooraj eko root anek…” – all Sikh dates must be solar-fixed dates as per the principle of the Panth approved Nanakshahi Calendar of 2003. In UK, approval by Sikh jathebandis in 2003 was overwhelming (I chaired the nationwide meeting at Derby in UK.)

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