Sardar Shoba Singh lived in Andretta, a small village almost 10 miles from Palampur town. His beautiful cottage still is there with a display of his paintings. Andretta is now artist’s village. While visiting my maternal home I was always thrilled as soon as the bus reached Andretta, once for it was home to Sardar Shoba Singh and such a beautiful town and other, because the bus would start the most difficult yet thrilling drive to my maternal home.
During his 38 year stay at Andretta, S. Sobha Singh painted hundreds of paintings. His main focus was Sikh Gurus, their life and work. S.Sobha Singh’s portraiture of Gurus was a manifestation of his devotion to the divine souls. He said, “I have painted Gurus to inspire people.” he held Guru Nanak as manifestation of his meditation. He looked upon Guru Gobind Singh as his ‘inspiration incarnate’. He also painted impressive portraits of National Heroes and leaders like Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Kartar Singh Sarabha, Mahatma Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri etc.
S.Sobha Singh painted Sohni Mahiwal, one of the most popular love legends of Punjab, first time in 1937. This lone painting gave him enormous fame. It was painted for the fifth time in the year 1979 and is on view at Sobha Singh art gallery, Andretta. S.Sobha Singh also worked on other love tales of Punjab. Heer Ranjha, Sassi Punnu, Shirin Farhad and Mirzan sahiban are other beautiful paintings. One more fantastic creation is the portrayal of famous Omar Khayyam S.Sobha Singh had profound regard for dignity of womanhood. He painted a series of brides representing the folks of Punjab and Himachal. One of the most liked painting is ‘her grace the Gaddan’. He has also executed picturesque sceneries. S.Sobha Singh tries his hand at sculpture also.
Here are few paintings in which Sardar Shoba Singh captured the Himachali beauty!