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November 24, 2010

Sikh bodies divided over change in Guru Tegh Bahadur martyrdom date

Amritsar:Representative institutions of the Sikh community are divided over a move by the Akal Takht to change the original date of the day Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Sikh spiritual master, was martyred. According to the Nanakshahi Calendar, Guru Tegh Bahadur's martyrdom was to be celebrated on November 24, but Giani Gurbachan Singh, the Jathedar of the Akal Takht, has asked the community to observe it on December 10. Giani Gurbachan Singh said that the change of date was made after the Akal Takht had received several requests from across the world. He said the change was only applicable for the current year only. He also informed that the SGPC is observing the Guru Tegh Bahadur Martyrdom Day today. The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) and several other institutions have made arrangements to observe the martyrdom day today. The Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbhandhak Commiittee (PSGPC) is also observing Guru Tegh Bahadur martyrdom day today. The reason behind the change of date is that Sikhs have just now celebrated the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev on November 21, and the Akal Takht and some members of the Sikh community were apparently not keen on observing a martyrdom day three days later. This is the second time that the martyrdom day of Guru Tegh Bahadur has been changed by the Akal Takht, the Sikh community's highest temporal seat. Sikh bodies, including the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee (SGPC), the main body of the Sikhs has opted to refer to the "Nanakshahi Calendar" to avoid confusion over dates for all Sikh occasions. In view of the Akal Takht's decision, the Punjab Government is now expected to declare December 10 as the martyrdom day of Guru Tegh Bahadur and not November 24. The day will be a holiday. Dr. Pritpal Singh, the convener of the American Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee (AGPC) said: "Any change made in the Nanakshahi Calender, which was adopted in 2003, could not be accepted by the community till due process is taken". He categorically said that the change of original dates of various Sikh occasions creates and spreads confusion.

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