When Art, Freedom of Expression and Politics Collide: Shubh Cancelled in India - Still Rollin World Tour

Shubh's India Tour cancelled over Inkquisitive's 'Panjab' Artwork

Shubh Issues Statement on India Tour cancelled over Inkquisitive’s ‘Panjab’ Artwork


Canadian Punjabi sensation Shubh’s journey through the music industry took an unexpected turn when his highly anticipated concerts across India was abruptly cancelled. The 26-year-old singer/rapper faced severe backlash after resharing a post of a map of India, by Inkquisitive on social media, an act that excluded regions like Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, and the North Eastern states. This incident not only cancelled 10 dates in India but also ignited a broader conversation about freedom of expression and the delicate boundaries of artistic creativity.


The controversy erupted when the post shared by Shubh resurfaced. This omission sparked outrage and accusations, particularly from The Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha members (BJYM – A youth wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party) further fuelled the fire by tearing down Shubh’s posters, branding him a ‘Khalistan Supporter.’ BJYM President Tajinder Singh Tiwana vehemently opposed Shubh’s presence in Mumbai, citing concerns about India’s unity and integrity.


In the artwork, sections of Northeast India, Punjab included, were depicted in black and a police officer holding a plug in his hand. The narrative behind the artwork reflects an incident where an internet shutdown was implemented in Punjab in March 2023 when authorities were searching for Amritpal Singh Sandhu, a Sikh preacher accused of disrupting communal harmony and who was wanted by the Government of Punjab. This action resulted in a blackout, effectively isolating whole of Punjab from the outside world.


In response to the controversy, BookMyShow cancelled Shubh’s India tour and promised full refunds to ticket holders. The electronic accessories brand boAt also withdrew its sponsorship, citing concerns over the artist’s earlier comments and the controversy surrounding the map post. Several celebs, including Virat Kohli, KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya unfollowed Shubh on Instagram in reaction to the controversy.


Shubhneet Singh, better known by his stage name Shubh, is an India-born Canada-based rapper and singer. Shubh, known for his significant presence in the music scene, found inspiration in fellow artists like Sidhu Moosewala and AP Dhillon. His music journey began with the release of “We Rollin” in September 2021, a track that has amassed over 206 million views on YouTube. With hit singles like “No Love,” “Elevated,” and “Baller” under his belt, Shubh’s artistry has been recognized on global music charts, including the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 and UK Punjabi Charts.


Acclaimed artist Amardeep Singh, renowned as Inkquisitive, found himself embroiled in this contentious controversy surrounding his artwork. Initially unveiled on March 2023, the artwork was conceived with the noble intention of shedding light on the ‘blackout in Panjab, a northern state in India.’ However, the message behind the piece swiftly became entangled in a web of misunderstandings, triggering a torrent of allegations and online harassment. The artwork purpose was clear, to draw attention to the deliberate darkness engulfing Panjab.


Inkquisitive clarified that his artwork was unrelated to Khalistan and instead symbolized a power and internet outage in Punjab. Despite this clarification, the controversy continued to gain momentum, emphasizing that no harm or offense was ever intended.


This episode serves as a poignant reminder of the delicate nature of art, where interpretation can veer far from the artist’s original intention. It also underscores the power of social media in magnifying misunderstandings and fuelling controversies, even when art seeks to address critical issues. Despite the challenges and misconceptions, Inkquisitive remains steadfast in his commitment to raising awareness about important matters through his art, unwavering in his pursuit of justice and enlightenment.


Freedom of expression stands as a cornerstone of thriving in a free and open society. It is not just a fundamental human need but a vital prerequisite for achieving happiness. The repercussions of its absence extend beyond individuals, impacting entire social communities.


Statement from Shubh – Released on his Instagram Page:


“As a young rapper-singer hailing from Punjab, India, it was my life’s dream to put my music on an international dais. But the recent happenings have tumbled my hard work and progress, and I wanted to say a few words to express my dismay and sorrow. I’m extremely disheartened by the cancellation of my tour in India. I was highly amped up and enthusiastic to perform in my country, in front of my people. The preparations were in full swing and I was practicing with my heart and soul for the last two months. And I was very excited, happy, and ready to perform. But I guess destiny had some other plans.”


“India is MY country too. I was born here. It is the land of my GURUS and my ANCESTORS, who didn’t even blink an eye to make sacrifices for the freedom of this land, for its glory, and for the family. And Punjab is my soul, Punjab is in my blood. Whatever I am today, I am because of being a Punjabi. Punjabis do not need to give proof of patriotism. At every turn in history, Punjabis have sacrificed their lives for the freedom of this country. That’s why it’s my humble request to refrain from naming every Punjabi as a separatist or anti-national.”


“My intent in resharing that post on my story was only to Pray for Punjab as there were reports of electricity and internet shutdowns throughout the state. There was no other thought behind it and I definitely didn’t intend to hurt anyone’s sentiments. The accusations against me have deeply affected me. But as my guru has taught me ” l ” “Manas Ki Jaat Sabai Ekai Pachanbo” (All the human beings recognized as one and same) and taught me not to be afraid, not to be intimidated which is the origin of Punjabiyat. I will continue to work hard. My team and I will be back soon, bigger and stronger together.”




See link for Shubh’s statement here


See link for Inkquisitive’s statement here


Shubh – Still Rollin World Tour UK 2023


Still Rollin India Tour was part of his larger World Tour, with performances in multiple countries including the UK, UAE, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the USA.


Exciting news for fans in UK, as Shubh is set to grace the London and Birmingham with his ‘Still Rollin Tour’ in October 2023. Be sure not to miss his electrifying live performances – check out the tour dates and ticket details below:


Sunday 29 October 2023: Indigo at The O2, London, UK


Monday 30 October 2023: Forum Birmingham, Birmingham, UK


Event Promoter: https://www.rockonmusicuk.com/


Check out Shubh’s music video – ‘We Rollin’ here