Nankana Sahab and Gurudwara Janam Asthan

I was going to write a post on Nawab Wajid Ali Shah and his contributions to Hindustani Classical music and dance. But I’ve decided to take a detour for now. Perhaps I will return to Wajid Ali Shah later, or just incorporate him into my forthcoming survey of the history of Hindustani music.

I had the opportunity to take a day trip to Nankana Sahab yesterday (about 50 miles west of Lahore). My mother had some work in the District Hospital there.  Since my students had just written their assignments on Guru Nanak (along with Meerabai, Tulsidas and Surdas), my parents thought I might want to come along and see the city.  It was also a chance to see some of Pakistan outside the major metropolitan centers of Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad.

Guru Nanak was born in Nankana Sahab in 1469 (the city was then known as Rai Bhoi di Talwandi). Since he was born in what is presently Pakistani territory, one can argue that he was a historical Pakistani. Of course, technically no one was Pakistani before August 1947- all four of my grandparents were born in British India, no matter which side of Wagah they happened to be on.  In any case, Guru Nanak is a major figure on both sides of Punjab and it is my opinion that Punjabi Muslims should be more comfortable claiming him as part of their heritage as well (they aren’t but that is a separate debate I’m not going into here). Continue reading “Nankana Sahab and Gurudwara Janam Asthan”