Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar, Union Ministers of State for Culture Arjun Ram Meghwal and Meenakashi Lekhi, and Sangeet Natak Akademi Chairperson Sandhya Purecha with awardees during the Sangeet Natak Akademi Amrit Awards, in New Delhi on September 16, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI
Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar on Saturday presented the one-time Sangeet Natak Akademi Amrit Awards to 84 artists from varied fields of performing arts.
The award was constituted to honor the Indian artists aged above 75 years who have not been accorded any national honor in their career so far.
Speaking at the award ceremony, Mr. Dhankhar said this is the first time in the nation’s history that these artists are being recognized for their work.
“All these artists are those who have never been given their due in the last 75 years. By giving them respect, we give respect to the Indian culture; it increases India’s glory in the world,” he said.
The Vice President added that it is important to help such artists in a “structured manner” through several schemes launched by the government.
“There are very few countries in the world whose culture is not more than 500-700 years old. But India’s culture is 5,000 years old. Hence, it is important that we appreciate these artistes, take care of them, protect them, nurture them , and help them in a structured manner. I am aware that there are several innovative government schemes under which artistes are receiving help,” Mr. Dhankar said.
A total of 84 artistes, including 70 men and 14 women, received the award at the ceremony.
The list of awardees includes Krishen Langoo (theatre and music) from Jammu and Kashmir, John Claro Fernandes (playwriting) from Goa, Mahabir Nayak (folk music and dance) from Jharkhand and Tsering Stanzin (folk music) from Ladakh.
Three artists from Andhra Pradesh, two from Arunachal Pradesh and six from Maharashtra also received the prestigious award. Three from Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat and two each from Punjab and Delhi were also selected.
Four award recipients each are from Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal, Manipur, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka while five each from Assam and Rajasthan also received the prize.
The awardees received ₹1 lakh, besides a ‘Tamrapatra’ and ‘Angavastram’.
Sandhya Purecha, chairman of Sangeet Natak Akademi, said that the Akademi is awarding those artists who have given a lifetime to preserve and protect Indian arts and culture.
“All of you represent the diverse cultural fields and arts of India. All of you are experts in your respective fields and have maintained the continuity of the Indian culture through your practices. You have made an important contribution to keeping the Indian heritage alive. This is a reward for that contribution,” Ms. Purecha said.
The award ceremony was also attended by the Minister of State for Law Arjun Ram Meghwal and Minister of State for Culture Meenakashi Lekhi.
The Sangeet Natak Akademi has also organized a four-day festival from September 16 to 20 at the Akademi complex featuring the recipients of the awards.