President presents Akademi awards to 34 artists

February 26th, 2008 - 6:14 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pratibha Patil

New Delhi, Feb 26 (IANS) President Pratibha Patil Tuesday conferred the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowships and Awards on 34 artists from the field of drama, dance and music at a function here Tuesday. Eminent scholar and professor of aesthetics Sushil Kumar Saxena was awarded the Akademi Fellow for the year 2007 in recognition of excellence in the field of arts.

The awards are the highest national recognition in the field of performing arts.

Expressing concern over the “fast disappearing” traditional folk arts, Patil said “patrons of arts”, including corporate houses, should be encouraged to support the cultural traditions of India.

She also called for “special efforts” to reach out to the new generation in order to “inculcate in them the appreciation for culture”, and asked artists to play a social role in educating people and to create awareness to eradicate social evil.

Among the awardees was noted Bollywood music director Khayyam.

Other recipients of the awards included vocalists Govardhan Mishra, Vidhyadhar Vyas, V. Krishnamurthy, instrumentalists Nandan Misra, Ramu Prasad Shastri, dancers Geetanjali Lal, Ranajana Gauhar, and Sadanand Kutty.

Artists Harimadhav Mukhopadhyay, Ramesh Mehta and N.C. Thakur were awarded for excellence in theatre.

“Some of our traditional folk arts are fast disappearing for want of patronage,” Patil said at the function organized by the Akademi, the apex body of the performing arts that works for preservation and conservation of cultural heritage.

She said, “We must look at how the ‘patrons of arts’ in our society - whether corporate houses, musical societies, local artist groups - can be encouraged to support the classical and the traditional arts.”

“Our special efforts should be to reach out to the new generation and to inculcate in them an appreciation for our culture,” she added.

Suggesting that artists should also look at the social role they could play, she said: “Dance and drama are a powerful medium and can be used to effectively convey social messages, particularly to fight social evils like female foeticide, female infanticide, child marriages, dowry and addiction to drugs and alcohol.”

She hoped artists could “educate the population on various issues such as health, literacy and the values of truth, tolerance and harmony.”

“I will call on social organisations and corporate houses to promote music and art as a means to bring about awareness, harmony and peace in society,” she said.

Patil said: “Performing arts could be used as a powerful medium for public education, particularly for creating awareness to eradicate social evil and to impart information about welfare schemes.”

She said India occupied an important place on the cultural map of the world.

“We can be proud of our rich and varied culture. We are one of the oldest and continuous civilisations of the world,” she said and added, “It is the duty of each and every citizen of India to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture.”

She said modern means of communication like the Internet and multi-media should be used to promote performing arts.

“I call on the people of the country to participate in the learning, understanding and preservation of our diverse and rich culture,” the president said.

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