(This story was first published on 9 November 2019. It is being reposted from The Quint’s archives on the occasion of Guruparb.)
The founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, was not in favour of his sons succeeding him. While the younger one – Lachman Das – wasn’t inclined towards spiritual matters, the elder one had a religious leaning far more extreme than his father’s.
It is said he would have wanted his childhood friend Mardana, a born-Muslim and a partner in many of Nanak’s spiritual journeys, to have been his successor if not for his untimely death. And it was soon after his sudden demise in Baghdad that an aggrieved Guru Nanak moved to Kartarpur and lived for 17 years.
That’s when he met Bhai Lehna, who went on to become his successor eventually. Here, we reconstruct some key moments from Nanak’s life at Kartarpur based on Haroon Khalid’s fictionalised book Walking With Nanak.
Nanak came to Kartarpur in 1521-22, after about three decades of travelling around the world, including to places like Varanasi, Haridwar, Mecca and Baghdad.
Back with his family at the present-day border town, Nanak is believed to have worked on a piece of land given to him by a devotee. In the evenings, he would address an ever-swelling group of followers with his sermons and songs, which was followed by the community meal – langar.
(Based on Haroon Khalid’s fictionalised book ‘Walking With Nanak’.)