Janamsakhis are stories about the life of Guru Nanak (1469–1539). They have been circulating orally, in
writing, and in paintings and illustrations. B40 is one such documented artistic expression held at the British Library in London. Its fifty-seven beautiful iconotexts narrate the life of the first Sikh Guru from his first day at school to his final moments. Along with the artwork, there is the rich text by Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh explaining the stories from a twenty-first-century perspective. She insightfully explores the question – how are the Janamsakhis relevant to the political, societal, economic, and environmental state of the world at present.
Below are some illustrations by Alam Chand Raj in which Guru Nanak’s transcendent materiality and world-affirming existentialism are exquisitely written out.