As early as 2001, Nanakshahi calendar architect Pal Singh Purewal comprehensively and painstakingly explained how leading historians had erred with respect to martyrdom dates of Sahibzadas and the Battle of Chamkaur. World Sikh News reproduces the article in response to the nasty, unsubstantiated and personal vendetta-filled propaganda against the Mool Nanakshahi calendar on social media.
In my note on the martyrdom dates of the Sahibzadas, I have already discussed the ‘Problem of Date Conversions in Sikh History’. Here, I am providing additional information and supporting material to show that Vaisakhi of 1699 CE Julian was on 29th March, and not on 30th March as popularized by Dr. Ganda Singh.
Extracts from The History of the Sikhs (The Sikh Gurus) -Dr. Hari Ram Gupta
“The battle (Chamkaur) was fought on December 22, 1704.” p.294
“In a few hours on a single day, the 39th birthday of the Guru, the two tender princes, Ajit Singh and Jujhar Singh, still in their teens, three of the five beloved ones and thirty two other Khalsa, closely watched by the Guru, laid down their lives at the altar of faith and freedom.”
“On the shortest wintry day the sun went down soon, and darkness spread on the horizon after 8 o’clock.”— ——— p. 295
“The Guru and his three Sikhs dressed themselves as Mughal soldiers and managed to escape at about 2 o’clock in the morning one by one. It was the seventh day of the moon-lit half month (Magh Shudi 7 Samvat 1761). The moon had set a little before midnight and afterwards there was complete darkness.” —— p.296
Dr Hari Ram’s goofs:
- He has converted Poh 8 the date of the battle at Chamkaur Sahib to 22 December, which is wrong. It was 7 December on Poh 8. On 22 December in 1704 CE Julian it was 23 Poh. Dr. Gupta has simply taken the equivalent date to 8 Poh from modern panchangs or followed some other historian who converted the 8 Poh using present day panchangs.
- 22 December 1704 Julian was not the shortest day. Dr. Gupta has simply taken the winter solstice day as it occurs in the present times. In 1704 Julian, the winter solstice occurred on 10 December. On December 9,10, and 11 the day at Chamkaur Sahib was 10 hours and 8 minutes long, rounded up to the minute, and then it started to increase.
- On 8 Poh / 7 December the moon rose around midnight, and not set at midnight. Guru Sahib did not leave in darkness when the moon had set, but when the moon was up.
- The great goof is on pages 295 / 296 where he mentions the date of battle as the 39 th birthday of Guru Sahib and on the next page he gives the date as Magh Shudi 7. It cannot be a misprint. How can a historian of his caliber make such a goof, is beyond explanation. By the way, Magh Sudi 7, Samvat 1761 was on 20 January 1705 Julian, and Guru Sahib’s birth date is 23 Poh / Poh Sudi 7, not Magh Shudi 7. In the span of three pages the learned author gives two dates, differing from each other by almost a month, for the Battle of Chamkaur Sahib.
The generally accepted dates are:
Shaheedi Elder Sahibzadas – 8 Poh
Shaheedi Younger Sahibzadas – 13 Poh
The Shaheedi Jor Melas are celebrated on these dates – 8 Poh and 13 Poh
The correct conversion to the Julian calendar dates
(the calendar prevalent in England at that time):
8 Poh converts to 7 December
13 Poh converts to 12 December
Shift of Bikrami dates in the Common Era
8 Poh occurred on
7 December, 1704 Julian
8 December, 1751 Julian
18 December, 1752 Gregorian (New calendar adopted in England from September 14, 1752)
20 December, 1852 Gregorian
21 December, 1878 Gregorian (see extract from Mufid Alam Jantri (Urdu), Lahore For the first time in 1941 it occurred on 23 December.
In the changed Common Era calendar, which is in use now a days, 8 Poh usually occurs on 22 or 23 December and 13 Poh on 27 or 28 December, depending on whether Poh sangrand occurs on 15 th December or on 16th December.
In 1878 CE (see extract from Urdu Jantri for that year given later) 8 Poh occurred on 21 December and 13 Poh on 26 December. These Bikrami dates will go on shifting in the Common Era calendar. In about 600 years 8 Poh of Bikrami will move to January.
In Nanakshahi calendar, we have accepted the dates of 8 Poh and 13 Poh as the Shaheedi dates of Elder and Younger Sahibzadas respectively, and these will occur on 21 and 26 December correspondingly, forever.
Please note the dates corresponding to 8 Poh in the following two extracts from Jantris, and in the left column the entry corresponding to the Shaheedi Jor Mela for that date:
It can be seen in the above calendar for December 1991, that 8 Poh was on 23 December, and the Shaheedi Mela at Chamkaur Sahib is given as on 23 December.
In the above calendar for December 2001, the Shaheedi Mela is shown on 8 Poh / 22nd December. From both these calendars it can be easily inferred that the criterion for determination is Poh 8 and not any date of December.
Note: The above pages have been extracted from Khalsa Heera Jantris for 1991, and 2001 published by Bhai Chatar Singh Jiwan Singh, Amritsar.
In this extract from Mufid Alam Jantri (Urdu) 1878CE, published from Lahore, the first column from the right shows weekday, the second gives dates of December, the third dates of the Hijri calendar, and the fourth shows Bikrami solar calendar dates. Here Poh sangrand is shown on Saturday, 14th December, and 8 Poh is shown on Saturday 21st December.
The above 2 tables have been extracted from Indian Ephemeris by Swamikannu Pillai. This was the book used by Dr Ganda Singh for conversion of dates up to 1799 CE from Bikrami and Hijri calendars. The book has two drawbacks. In the main table the dates of the Bikrami solar months are given according to Arya Sidhanta, but in Punjab the dates were reckoned according to Surya Sidhanta. Secondly, the determination of dates is according to the rule prevalent in Tamil Nadu. The rule is this – if the Sankranti occurs after sunset then the day 1 of the month will be on the next day, otherwise on the same day. As given on the top of the page for 1699 CE the Surya Sidhanta sankranti is shown as 29.61 and Arya Sidhanta sankranti as 29.52.
Calculation of sankranti time:
Date of Surya Sidhanta Sankranti is 29 March and time is .61 day from mean sunrise (6.00 am) Ujjain time.
61 day x 24 =14 hours and 39 minutes from sunrise
= 20 hours and 39 minutes from midnight Ujjain
= 21 hours 6 minutes Indian Standard Time
= 9:06 p.m on March 29, 1699 Julian
Both Surya Sidhanta sankranti and Arya Sidhanta sankranti were on March 29, but after sunset1. That is the reason why Swamikannu Pillai has given 1 Vaisakh on 30 March, 1699 Julian, applying the sunset rule, as prevalent in Tamil Nadu. But, in Punjab day 1 of the solar month is on the day of sankranti, whether sankranti takes place before sunset or after sunset until next sunrise (sunrise to sunrise rule). Therefore, Vaisakhi was on 29th March in Punjab. In all cases where sankrantis occur after sunset, Swamikannu Pillai’s dates (for that matter Dr Ganda Singh’s as well)2 for the solar months of the Bikrami calendar will differ by 1 day from those prevalent in Punjab. The Vaisakhi of 1756 Bikrami (1699 CE) was on 29th March.
From the second table for December, 1704 Julian, which is extracted from the same book, it can be seen that 8 Poh was on 7 December and not on 22 December. In 1705 CE Julian too, 8 Poh was on 7 December. It may be noted here that in 1704 Julian, Poh sankranti occurred during the daytime before sunset (actually sankranti time was close to noon), therefore, the dates for Poh given in the above table are applicable to Punjab as well as Tamil Nadu.
- In Pillai’s Indian Ephemeris, 6.00 p.m. Ujjain mean time is used throughout for sunset, and 6.00 a.m. for sunrise.
- The first time I saw Swamikannu Pillai’s Indian Ephemeris was when I met veteran historian Dr. Kirpal Singh, at his residence in Chandigarh, in 1995. He showed me the set of 6 volumes he had up to the year 1799. (My ‘Jantri 500 Years’ from 1469 CE to 2000 CE had already been published in 1994. During the meeting Dr. Kirpal Singh told me that he had seen a set of Pillai’s work with Dr. Ganda Singh.