Imagining Guru Nanak – Portraiture from Four Centuries

By Sonia Dhami
Fig.6: Detail of Rumaala, Embroidery on Silk, 19th century, China, Bhalla Family Collection
Guru Nanak is not a prophet from ancient times. He is someone whose impact on world history is recent and whose message is fresh and contemporary. Today, 550 years after the birth of Guru Nanak, we sadly find that the Guru has become largely associated with Sikhs and their faith, to the extent that we somehow think Sikhs have an exclusive right on him. I recently visited Pakistan and was humbled to witness for myself the deep devotion that the Nanakpanthi (the Nanak Nam Leva community) has for Baba Nanak (“Baba” is a term used for older men). Its members constitute a large part of the Hindu community throughout Pakistan. It is they who have done years of seva (voluntary service) at the scores of gurudwaras (temples) left abandoned after the departure of the Khalsa Sikhs in 1947 when India and Pakistan were brutally sundered. [More]

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