Use art to honour unsung heroes of India: Venkaiah Naidu


43 artistes presented Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship, Sangeet Natak Awards for 2018

43 artistes presented Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship, Sangeet Natak Awards for 2018

Forty-three eminent artists were presented the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship and Sangeet Natak Awards for 2018 while the Lalit Kala Akademi’s Fellowship and National Awards for 2021 were given to 23 people by Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu at a joint ceremony in New Delhi on April 9.

The Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards are national honours bestowed by the Government on performing artists as well as teachers and scholars in the field of performing arts. The awards are given in the categories of music, dance, and theatre. In addition, one category is reserved for traditional, folk, and tribal dance, music, theatre and puppetry. An award each was also given for overall contribution and scholarship in Performing Arts.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Naidu pitched for recognising the unsung heroes of the country, saying art forms such as cinema and music should be used to highlight their sacrifices. He lamented that people know about Robert Clive, but little was known about freedom fighters and historical figures such as Maharana Pratap, Chhatrapati Shivaji, Komaram Bheem and Alluri Sitaram Raju.

Many unsung heroes made sacrifices but their stories remain largely unknown to the masses as they did not get enough attention in history books, Mr. Naidu said. “Recognising the unrecognised is our duty. Our cinema, other art forms, music and literature should pay enough attention to this aspect. It is very much important to rejuvenate our great cultural past and the sacrifices made,” he said.

“Unfortunately, due to the colonial mindset, our textbooks, our history has not given proper and enough importance to these unsung heroes. It is time to recognise them and I am happy that the new education policy is focusing in that direction,” he added, calling for correcting such “distortions”.

Contribution to dance

Tabla maestro Zakir Hussain, Sattriya dancer Jatin Goswami, Odissi exponent Sonal Mansingh and Thiruvidaimarudur Kuppiah Kalyanasundaram were given fellowships for their contribution to the field of dance.

Among the thirteen persons honoured for music are Hindustani vocalists Mani Prasad and Madhup Mudgal, santoor player Tarun Bhattacharya, Tejendra Narayan Majumdar for sarod, and Carnatic vocalists Alamelu Mani and Malladi Suribabu.

Bharatanatyam dancer Radha Sridhar, Mohiniyattam dancer Gopika Varma, Kuchipudi dancer Ramalinga Sastry, are among the ten dancers who got the award.

Among the eight theatre artistes who have been conferred the award are Suhas Joshi and Teekam Joshi for acting, Rajiv Naik and Laltluangliana Khiangte for playwriting, and Sanjay Upadhyay for direction.

Musicians Malini Awasthi (folk music), Gazi Khan Barna (folk music), Arjun Singh Dhurve (folk dance) Mohammad Sadiq Bhagat (folk theatre), Anupama Hoskere (string puppetry), and Hem Chandra Goswami (mask making) are awardees in the other categories.

Sculptor Himmat Shah, reputed painters and artists Jyoti Bhatt and Shyam Sharma were awarded the prestigious Lalit kala Akademi fellowship. Diwan Singh Bajeli was awarded in the field of overall contribution in performing arts.

Art and civilisation

Culture Minister G. Kishan Reddy said art is the indicator of a civilized society. “Today we can all look back with pride and see how far we have come in 75 years of Independence. All of India joyfully celebrates ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ and pays homage to the unsung heroes of our freedom struggle,” Mr. Reddy said.

“Amongst them were several artists who fought for the freedom of India in their own peaceful and creative way. Plays and musical dramas told the stories in a manner that the common man could easily relate to. Similarly poets and painters too raised their voices against British rule,” he added.

The Union minister further said, “We all agree that art is the indicator of a civilized society. Not only does it forge a cultural identity but also serves to unify people. This is especially true for a diverse country like India. Our early freedom fighters recognised this and used its power to change the course of history”.

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