The funds allocated for the development of fine arts in the country are too meagre, said Leela Samson, chairman of Sangeet Natak Akademi, at the inauguration of Mudhra’s 19th Fine Arts Festival at Ramakrishna Mission School on Friday.

“I hope, someday, the nation wakes up and artistes’ voices come out as one,” Ms. Samson said. She emphasised the need for a national archives for music and drama and digitisation of arts.

On the occasion, mridangam exponent Umayalpuram Sivaraman was conferred the Mudhra Award of Excellence.

“You cannot even see his hands move but amazing complex rhythms come out (of his mridangam). As a dancer, it moved me to see that the movement of his hands were the essential minimum; yet the greatest music emerged from it,” Ms. Samson said. Mr. Sivaraman said Carnatic music should be taken to a global level.

The fine arts festival will be held from December 6 to January 5 at Infosys Hall in Ramakrishna Mission School.

On Friday, the inaugural ceremony was followed by a concert by violinist duo Ganesh-Kumaresh.