Sir Sobha Singh-one of the greatest painters of Punjab
He was born on 29 November 1901 in a Ramgarhia Sikh family in Sri Hargobindpur, Gurdaspur district of Punjab. His father, Deva Singh, was in the Indian cavalry.
At age 15, Sobha Singh entered the Industrial School at Amritsar for a one-year course in art and craft. He joined the British Indian army as a draughtsman and served in Baghdad, Mesopotamia (now Iraq ) . He left the army to pursue painting. In 1949 he settled down in Andretta, a remote and then little-known place in the Kangra valley, beginning his career as a painter.
Sobha Singh has not painted the martyrdom of Sikhs in their struggle against Mughal rulers. He believed Such paintings would never allow men to forget tyranny and hatred, and blood cannot be cleaned with blood. The paintings of wars and religious intolerance widen the gulf among men. But the paintings of the martyrs of peace cover up the cleavages among human beings. Such a painting is comparable to a lighted candle, which sends its glow to a limited area, but its reality becomes very significant.
His paintings of Sohni Mahiwal and Heer Ranjha were very popular, his series on the Sikh guru's have dominated to an extent that his paintings dominate the public's perception associated with Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh.
The portrait he made in honour of the 500th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak in 1969 is the one most people believe to be the visage of Guru Nanak. Sobha Singh painted pictures of other Gurus as well Guru Amar Das, Guru Tegh Bahadur and Guru Har Krishan.
His murals are displayed in the art gallery of Indian Parliament House in New Delhi. The panel depicting the evolution of Sikh history features Guru Nanak with Bala and Mardana on one side; and Guru Gobind Singh in meditation on the other. Sobha Singh also dabbled in sculpture, and did the busts of some eminent Punjabis such as M.S. Randhawa, Prithviraj Kapoor and Nirmal Chandra, and an incomplete head-study of the Punjabi poetessAmrita Pritam. The originals of his works are displayed in his studio at Andretta.
Sobha Singh died in Chandigarh on 21 August 1986.
Indian Government issued postal stamp in honor of Sir Sobha Singh in 2001.
Asked why he does not paint the hardships of life suffered by common people, he replied It is already painted everywhere. The stark poverty, suffering, misery, pain and tyranny are there in every nook and corner for all to see. Is there any need to paint. it on paper? I only want to paint beauty and the goodness of life, which are getting rarer day by day. With me, the concept of 'Satyam, Shivam Sundaram' becomes 'Sundram, Shivam and Satyam' (Beauty, Goodness and Truth) in that order. One of Sobha Singh's Greatest Masterpieces - "Guru Nanak" in the "Aashirwad" pose. This was created during late 50's.The hand of Guru Nanak was recreated by a renowned palmist Pundit Agnihotri of Hamirpur after a thorough study of the 'Janam Patri' of Guru Nanak.For more information on Sardar Sir Sobha Singh:http://www.sobhasinghartist.com/http://chdmuseum.nic.in/art_gallery/sobha_singh.htmlhttp://www.123himachal.com/sobhasingh_gallery.html
This site was written and edited by Dr M.S.Randhawa http://www.unp.co.in/f16/sobha-singh-55056/