The list of Padma awards seems to be facing a dual charge this year — late recognition and obvious omission.
While veteran playback singer S. Janaki decided to turn down the “late honour,” many in the classical arts fraternity here are disappointed that hardly any classical musician — Hindustani or Carnatic — was recognised this time.
Classical musician Sudha Ragunathan said artistes were hurt at this “unbelievable omission.” “You wait with excitement to see which of your colleagues is honoured this year, and then the final list has no one in the category. This is a huge disappointment.”
Carnatic vocalist Aruna Sairam said: “The contribution of artistes to society and a nation’s psyche is immeasurable. Despite the lack of support, so many artistes pursue music and dance with immense passion, and the least that the government can do is to recognise their work.”
Observing that the arts also contribute to India’s image as a nation, she said: “We may be advanced in technology, but it is our culture and spirituality that we are known for, globally. Neglecting classical artistes is not healthy for us. Such recognition will motivate artistes to go the extra mile.”
The absence of classical musicians in this year’s list has serious implications, according to Chitravina N. Ravikiran. “The arts are like oxygen for a country. Recognising artistes on time goes a long way in preserving the arts.”
No dearth of artistes
Adding that there was no dearth of artistes, he said: “For instance, mridangam exponent T.K. Murthy is such a stalwart who will turn 90 in a few years and he is yet to be recognised with a Padma award. There are many, many musicians in the Hindustani and Carnatic traditions who have not been recognised on time. And I am not speaking as an artiste, but as someone passionate about our arts and culture.”
Terming the decision “unfair,” vocalist P. Unnikrishnan said: “So many musicians have carved a niche for themselves, and are dedicating their life to music. Their immense contribution has to be valued, and on time.”
Many artistes expressed their shock about legendary composer M.S. Viswanathan not figuring in this year’s list as well. Playback singer Srinivas said: “He is one of the most revered composers in film music and he is yet to be recognised with a Padma award. How atrocious is that!”
Bharatanatyam exponent Padma Subrahmanyam said: “MSV is a legend and one of the most creative minds of our times. It is disheartening that he has not been awarded this time too.”