Nadhra Shahbaz Khan is Associate Professor of art history at the Lahore University of Management Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan. A specialist in the history of art and architecture of the Punjab from the sixteenth to the early twentieth century, her research covers the visual and material culture of this region during the Mughal, Sikh, and colonial periods.
Keeping the hereditary nature of art practices in the subcontinent, her study also includes prehistoric cultures as well as Buddhist, Hindu, Jain and Sultanate art and architecture. Her interest lies in investigating levels of human agency behind artefacts and architectural spaces, both as creators and consumers to understand their political, religious and socio-economic ambitions at different historical intersections. She is the author of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s Samādhi in Lahore: A Summation of Sikh Architectural and Decorative Practices, a monograph published as the University of Bonn’s SAAC series (Studies in Asian Art and Culture) in 2018. She has published several research articles in international journals and is the recipient of the LUMS Research Award 2018-19.
Khan has held research fellowships at SOAS, London (Charles Wallace 2010–2011), INHA Paris (2015), Princeton University (Fulbright 2014–2015), and Oxford University (Barakat Trust 2014–2015). She has been awarded the highly competitive CAA-Getty International Program travel grants twice—2012 and 2019. She has been working with the Aga Khan Cultural Service–Pakistan (AKCS–P), as Consultant Historian for their Lahore Fort project since 2016.
Guruduara Dera Sahib, Lahore, is one of the most important Sikh holy sites in Pakistan. The building of the gurdwara stands next to the Shaheedi Asthān or memorial of Guru Arjun Dev, the fifth Sikh Guru, hence is also known as the Gurduara Panjvin Patshahi. In the first part of the presentation, the focus will be the gurduara building, highlighting different ornamental features dateable to nineteenth century as well as a brief overview of later additions to the complex. The second part will look at historical accounts of the gurduara by various nineteenth century historians as well as archival material to trace the additions, modifications on the one hand and the continuity or interruption of traditional practices on the other.