WSO Expresses Concern Over Nanakshahi Controversy

Ottawa – January 6, 2010: The World Sikh Organization (WSO) expresses concern over the recent process of amending the Sikh community’s Nanakshahi calendar. The Nanakshahi calendar marks the major Gupurabs or Sikh holidays which are celebrated with enthusiasm and fervor worldwide. The current Nanakshahi calendar was researched and developed over a period of several years and finally announced in 2003. The calendar has received acclaim and acceptance from the wider Sikh community as it established fixed dates for important Gurpurabs and eliminated the yearly conjecture and guessing about these days.

It is unfortunate that the Nanakshahi calendar which is so widely accepted and regarded as a symbol of Sikh identity, has within the span of a few weeks been radically changed. Although legitimate concerns about the calendar may have existed, in the interest of Panthic unity, they should have been addressed with due process including consultation with experts and the input of the larger Sikh community. Any major decisions regarding issues involving the entire Sikh community, such as amendments to the Nanakshahi calendar, should occur through an open and transparent process.

WSO International President Ram Raghbir Singh Chahal said today, “decisions taken in haste and without proper process and procedure lead to serious divides in the community. Decisions affecting the entire Sikh community must involve the input of experts as well as consultations with the wider Sikh community. That has not taken place here. Proper procedures and process would go a long way in unifying the worldwide Sikh community. ”

The World Sikh Organization (WSO) is a non-profit international organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of the Sikh Diaspora, as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights for all individuals, irrespective of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic status.

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For more information, please contact:
Jasbeer Singh, Media Relations, at 780-457-3333 or (780)235-6000;

e-mail [email protected] or;

Gian Singh Sandhu, at 250-305-2440, e-mail: [email protected]

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