Renowned Sikh scholar and architect of The Nanakshahi Calendar, Pal Singh Purewal, passed away at 1AM today. (Photo - Connect News/Jarnail Basota)
Renowned Sikh scholar and architect of The Nanakshahi Calendar, Pal Singh Purewal, passed away at 1AM today. He was 90 years old and had been ill for some time. He breathed his last in Edmonton, Canada.
Pal Singh Purewal's great contribution to Sikh history was the Nanakshahi calendar. In fact, in the old Bikrami calendar, many gurpurbs came twice a year and many gurpurbs did not come even once a year. Due to this, Pal Singh Purewal started working on the Nanakshahi calendar. For nearly fifteen years he worked in preparing the Nanakshahi calendar. Sardar Purewal studied 120 books of astronomy, including many calendars of the world, including the Gregorian calendar, to prepare the original Nanakshahi calendar. This calendar was approved and implemented by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. It remained in force for about seven years. Based on the dates of the Nanakshahi calendar, all gurpurbs were celebrated all over the world. Due to the implementation of the original Nanakshahi calendar, Purewal gained worldwide fame. But later, under political pressure, the Sant Samaj objected to the Nanakshahi calendar and demanded that the Sikhs should have a separate calendar like other religions. The executive committee of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) was convened to scrap Pal Singh Purewal’s Nanakshahi calendar and implement the old Bikrami calendar, which drew sharp criticism in the country and abroad.
Pal Singh Purewal also prepared the Islamic calendar for Pakistan for which both Sia and Sunni agreed. At the time of the implementation of this calendar in Pakistan, the then Governor of Pakistan Punjab inaugurated it. As a mark of respect, the library of Dyal Singh College in Pakistan was dedicated to the name of Pal Singh Purewal.
Pal Singh Purewal belongs to village Shankar, Phillaur tehsil in Jalandhar district. He was a teacher by profession. After living in England for nearly seven years, he moved to Edmonton Canada in 1972. Apart from Punjabi, Hindi, English, he was also well versed in Sanskrit, Persian and Arabic languages.
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