Pal Singh the Sikh Canadian inventor of the iconic Mool Nanakshahi Calendar (MNC) passed away in his hometown of Edmonton, Canada on September 22, 2022.
He was born on November 23, 1932. He had many stellar accomplishments:
- He was a science teacher at the Government High School in the town of Shanker (Punjab) in the early 1960s.
- First person in the history of Punjab to be qualified to teach in the UK without additional training.
- His name is at the top of the list of all merit scholarship winners on the honors list displayed in the main school hallway.
- He was the first student to win that distinction in the history of that school.
- He emigrated to the UK in 1965 and worked as a senior engineer at Texas Instruments.
- He moved to Canada in 1974.
- He has authored various research papers establishing the authenticity of the Sikh calendar since the 1960s.
- He was an engineer, author, scholar and a teacher.
His two major publications:
- Jantri 500 YEARS – detailed research on the Sikh calednar, published by Punjab School Education Board in November 1994.
- Hijri (Muslim) Calendar – A book for which he received ‘lifetime achievement’ award.
He spent over fifty years doggedly researching and making sure that the Sikhs have their own independent and accurate calendar, actually giving even more weightage and credibility to their distinct religious heritage. Pal Singh explained that he was interested in the study of calendar science since his youth as a result of his mother’s interest in specific dates. He not only studied the Bikrami Calendar but read books going back a few centuries. Since he had a math background, he developed a software program which was able to accurately calculate dates for future years.
This unique calendar is consistent with passages surrounding the seasons and the twelve months all described beautifully in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib. That is another reason it was called the Mool Nanakshahi calendar.
In his synchronized effort with the Institute of Sikh Studies (IOSS – Chandigarh) and after laboring for several years with other prominent scholars, a proposal[KP1] to implement and adopt a Sikh calendar, called Nanakshahi Calendar was introduced and was accepted by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) in 1996. Subsequently, at the 300th anniversary of the Khalsa panth, it was released by the SGPC after passing a general house resolution in 1999 and accepted by the Akal Takht in 2003, with the exception of three dates. The American Sikh Council (formerly known as World Sikh Council – America Region) fully supported the resolution in 2003.
This new calendar created controversy within the Sikh community. In and around 2010 the SGPC convened a meeting of the eleven-member Nanakshahi committee and two anti-Sikh groups, the Sant Samaj and the Damdami Taksal. Without input from Pal Singh or any consensus from the panth, it instituted drastic changes back to Bikrami calendar.
In order to solve this conundrum within the Sikh faith community, gurdwaras across the US banded together in November 2017 and held a major conference on the implementation of the original Mool Nanakshahi Calendar, which refers to the calendar introduced and first accepted in 1999 which permanently synchronized Mool Nanakshahi (religious) Calendar with Common Era (CE) Calendar.
The American Sikh Council (ASC) is committed to steadfastly carrying on Pal Singh’s dream and making it a success. Every year more and more gurdwaras across the America, Canada and the diaspora are implementing the Mool Nanakshahi Calendar (MNC).
Thanks to Pal Singh’s incredible work and perseverance the Sikh religion has its own independent calendar even though the anti-Sikh forces continue to try and subsume the Sikhs into the quagmire of Brahminical Sanatanism.
Pal Singh’s monumental work will never be forgotten by the Sikh panth. May Akal Purakh rest his soul in peace and give his loved ones the strength to bear this great loss.