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Petition against an Incorrect Version of Oriya Panchangam Biraja Panjika in Orissa

Biraja Panjika is a very popular almanac followed in the famous Biraja Temple and in the districts of Jajpur Jajpur, Bhadrak, Balasore, Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar in Orissa. This is a very popular Oriya Panchangam. Currently there are two versions of Biraja Panjika that are being sold and the petition in the High Court is to ban the incorrect version.

The original Biraja Panjika is based on Bhasvati, an 11th-century work of Puri-based astronomer Satananda.

The Telegraph reports

Dushasan Pahil, an official appointed by the Indian Meteorological Department’s Positional Astronomy Centre, said the incorrect ephemeris was being sold under the name Biraja Panjika.

Pahil said the incorrect version was creating chaos in the worship of goddess Biraja, the reigning deity of Jajpur.

“The Biraja deity has so dominated the heart and minds of the people that any deviation in the prescribed rites and rituals is likely to hurt the sentiments of thousands of people reposing faith in the time-ordered traditions of the Sri Biraja Temple,” the petition said.

In Calcutta, Manoj Lahiri of Bisuddhasiddhanta Panjika said planetary positions of the sun and the moon were “paramount” in the calculation of tithi (lunar day), nakshatra (stars) and the number of days in a month. “Any almanac that does not take into account reformed positional astronomical data in its calculations which almanacs like ours do will be unscientific. This may lead to differences of as much as five-six hours in calculations.”

Usually courts in India do no entertain such petitions. Earlier during such a petition the court had said, “The allegations are all disputed questions of fact, which cannot be decided under extraordinary jurisdiction of this court in a writ petition.”