Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and many other panthic Sikh organisations observed June 21 as Gatka Day instead of International Yoga Day.
Gatka, an ancient martial arts, was performed in Fatehgarh Sahib, Talwandi Saboo, Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Ludhiana and many other cities of Punjab.
President of SAD (A) Simranjeet Singh Mann, who had given a call for Gatka Day, said: “Yoga is an exercise meant for Hindus while our Sikh Gurus gave approval to Gatka centuries ago. So, there was no second thought on choosing Gatka Day over Yoga Day.”
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Asked why a day to observe Gatka Day was not chosen earlier, Mann said, “Sikhs have been practising gatka since ages but we had to announce a day for it as yoga is against Sikhism. We chose this day and a large number of Sikh organisations have accepted this. Functions were held in India as well as abroad. Next year, the functions will be more elaborate.”
He said Gatka Day was celebrated in Canada, UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand as well.
The main function was held at Fatehgarh Sahib where Mann was present. Sikh preacher Baljit Singh Daduwal, who has been declared Jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib by Sarbat Khalsa, played gatka in Sirsa.