Sunday, September 25, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

S.G. Thakur Singh

S.G. Thakur Singh was born in 1899 at Verka, a suburban village of Amritsar. He never had proper education owing to poor family circumstances. His heart being set upon painting and drawing from a very early age, he apprenticed himself to Mohd. Alam, a skilled Mohammden painter of some repute, to learn the rudiments of the art. Later he accompanied Mohd. Alam to Bombay where the latter had secured a job as a stage painter in a certain theatrical company. In 1917, when he was just 18 years old, he was awarded a cash prize of Rs. 500 at an exhibition held at Simla. He worked for various theatrical companies at Calcutta. It became apparent that he would excel as a painter.

In 1924, Thakur Singh was awarded a prize of Pounds 800 for this painting "After Bath" at the British Empire Exhibition held in London. This prize indicated recognition of a well-formulated and lucid style applied with complete conviction.

During his stay at Calcutta, realisation dawned upon him that something ought to be done to raise the standard of the artists of the Punjab. With the help of his friends, he succeeded in organising the Punjab Fine Arts Society at Calcutta, whose first exhibition was held in 1926. With the same view in mind, he returned to Amritsar in 1931 and organised the Indian Academy of Fine Arts and the Thakur Singh School of Arts. He was nominated a member of the Punjab Legislative Council in 1953.

S.G. Thakur Singh-s work consists largely of landscapes and portraits. His work is acade-mic in the true sense of the word. He took pride in being an academician. Even the minutest details had been worked out with great care.

What impresses the onlookers most about Thakur Singh-s paintings are the three qualities-tranquillity, orderliness and harmony, which set the tone of all his paintings. He was a stalwart exponent of the academic tradition. He died on February 2nd, 1976 .

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The etymology of the term 'gurdwara' is from the words 'Gur (ਗੁਰ)' (a reference to the Sikh Gurus) and 'Dwara (ਦੁਆਰਾ)' (gateway in Gurmukhi), together meaning 'the gateway through which the Guru could be reached'. Thereafter, all Sikh places of worship came to be known as gurdwaras.
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