Indian national calendar

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Mohar of Gorkha king Prithvi Narayan Shah dated Saka era 1685 (AD 1763).

The Indian national calendar, sometimes called the Shalivahana Shaka calendar. It is used, alongside the Gregorian calendar, by The Gazette of India, in news broadcasts by All India Radio and in calendars and communications issued by the Government of India.[1]

Originally through historical Indian influence, the Saka calendar is also used in Java and Bali among Indonesian Hindus. Nyepi, the "Day of Silence", is a celebration of the Saka new year in Bali. Nepal's Nepal Sambat evolved from the Saka calendar. The Saka calendar was also used in several areas in the modern-day Philippines prior to colonisation as suggested by the Laguna Copperplate Inscription.

The term may also refer to the Hindu calendar; the Shalivahana era is also commonly used by other calendars.

The historic Shalivahana era calendar is still widely used. It has years that are solar.

Calendar structure[edit]

The calendar months follow the signs of the tropical zodiac rather than the sidereal zodiac normally used with the Hindu calendar.

# Name (Sanskrit) Length Start date (Gregorian) Tropical zodiac Tropical zodiac (Sanskrit)
1 Chaitra 30/31 March 22/21 Aries Meṣa
2 Vaisākha 31 April 21 Taurus Vṛṣabha
3 Jyēshtha 31 May 22 Gemini Mithuna
4 Āshādha 31 June 22 Cancer Karkata/Karka
5 Shrāvana 31 July 23 Leo Simha
6 Bhaadra 31 August 23 Virgo Kanyā
7 Āshwin 30 September 23 Libra Tulā
8 Kārtika 30 October 23 Scorpio Vṛścik‌‌‌a
9 Agrahayana 30 November 22 Sagitarius Dhanur
10 Pausha 30 December 22 Capricorn Makara
11 Māgha 30 January 21 Aquarius Kumbha
12 Phalguna 30 February 20 Pisces Mīna


Chaitra[2] is the first month of the calendar. Chaitra has 30 days and starts on March 22, except in leap years, when it has 31 days and starts on March 21. The months in the first half of the year all have 31 days, to take into account the slower movement of the sun across the ecliptic at this time.

The names of the months are derived from older, Hindu lunisolar calendars, so variations in spelling exist, and there is a possible source of confusion as to what calendar a date belongs to.

The first day of the week is Ravivara (Sunday).[3] The official calendar reckoned by Govt. Of India has Sunday to Saturday as the week.[1]

Days of the Saka calendar[3]
Weekday Saka Gregorian
0 Ravivara Sunday
1 Somvara Monday
2 Mangalavara Tuesday
3 Budhavara Wednesday
4 Brahaspativara Thursday
5 Sukravara Friday
6 Sanivara Saturday

Years are counted in the Saka era, which starts its year 0 in the year 78 of the Common Era. To determine leap years, add 78 to the Saka year – if the result is a leap year in the Gregorian calendar, then the Saka year is a leap year as well. Its structure is just like the Persian calendar.

Adoption[edit]

Senior Indian Astrophysicist Meghnad Saha was the head of the Calendar Reform Committee under the aegis of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. Other members of the Committee were: A. C. Banerjee, K. K. Daftari, J. S. Karandikar, Gorakh Prasad, R. V. Vaidya and N. C. Lahiri. It was Saha's effort, which led to the formation of the Committee. The task before the Committee was to prepare an accurate calendar based on scientific study, which could be adopted uniformly throughout India. It was a mammoth task. The Committee had to undertake a detailed study of thirty different calendars prevalent in different parts of the country. The task was further complicated by the integration of those calendars with religion and local sentiments. India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, in his preface to the Report of the Committee, published in 1955, wrote: "They (different calendars) represent past political divisions in the country ... . Now that we have attained Independence, it is obviously desirable that there should be a certain uniformity in the calendar for our civic, social, and other purposes, and this should be done on a scientific approach to this problem."[4] Usage started officially at 1 Chaitra 1879, Saka Era, or 22 March 1957.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Government Holiday Calendar". Govt. of India Official website.
  2. ^ "National Identity Elements - National Calendar - Know India: National Portal of India". knowindia.gov.in. Retrieved 2020-06-14.
  3. ^ a b Quint, The (22 March 2019). "Happy 'Saka' New Year 1941: Story Behind India's National Calendar". TheQuint. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
  4. ^ "Meghnad Saha, A Pioneer in Astrophysics". Vigyan Prasar Science Portal. Archived from the original on 23 February 2015.
Sources

External links[edit]