They receive a cash award of Rs. 3 lakh each, besides angavastram and tamrapatra

Vice-President Hamid Ansari presented the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi fellowships and awards for the year 2010 to four eminent personalities and 38 artistes and scholars from the disciplines of music, dance and theatre at a ceremony here on Friday in the presence of Union Culture Minister Kumari Selja.

The highest honour of Akademi fellowship, Akademi Ratna Sadasyata, was conferred on distinguished vocalist Girija Devi, renowned dance guru Nataraja Ramakrishna, Dhrupad maestro Rahim Fahimuddin Dagar and mridangam exponent T.K. Murthy. They received a cash award of Rs. 3 lakh each besides an angavastram and a tamrapatra. The fellowship of the Akademi is a rare honour bestowed on a limited number of artists and scholars at a given time.

The eminent representatives of music, dance and theatre honoured with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for 2010 received cash awards of Rs.1 lakh each, an angavastram and tamrapatra.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Ansari said: “The role of the Akademi in preserving the rich traditions of performing arts and culture, cherishing them and promoting them assumes all the more significance in this era of change and globalisation. Given the technological changes enabling the dissemination of these arts to a diversified audience, the challenge is to take it beyond the dictates of the market.”

“There are no perfect answers to this but continuous efforts have to be made to ensure that the rich traditions in the field of music, dance and drama that make us ‘Indian' continue,” he added.

In the field of music, nine artistes — Chhanu Lal Mishra and Yashpaul for Hindustani vocal music, Budhaditya Mukherjee (sitar) and Nityanand Haldipur (flute) for Hindustani instrumental music, Suguna Purushothaman and Mysore Nagamani Srinath for Carnatic vocal music, Nagai R. Muralidharan (violin) and Srimushnam V. Rajarao (mridangam) for Carnatic instrumental music and M. V. Simhachala Sastry (Harikatha) for Other Major Traditions of Music — received the awards.

In the field of dance, Malabika Mitra (Kathak), Kalamandalam Kombil Gopala Vasudevan Nair (Kathakali), Phanjoubam Iboton Singh (Manipuri), Rathna Kumar (Kuchipudi), Aruna Mohanty (Odissi), Manik Borbayan (Sattriya), Uttara Asha Coorlawala (Creative & Experimental), Kalamandalam Raman Chakyar (Other Major Traditions of Dance & Dance Theatre - Koodiyattam), and S. Rajeswari (Music for Dance – Bharatanatyam) received the awards.

In the field of theatre also, eight persons were honoured: playwrights D. Vizai Bhaskar (Telugu) and Atamjit Singh (Punjabi), directors Veenapani Chawla and Urmil Kumar Thapaliyal and actors Dilip Phabhavalkar, Banwari Taneja, Maya Krishna Rao and Swatilekha Sengupta.

For their contribution to Other Traditional/Folk/Tribal Music/Dance/Theatre forms, Harbhajan Singh Namdhari (Gurbani Kirtan of Punjab), Nazeer Ahmad Khan Warsi & Naseer Ahmad Khan Warsi (joint awards in Qawwali), Dwijen Mukherjee (Rabindrasangeet, West Bengal), T. Somasundaram (Folk dance of Tamil Nadu), Krishna Kumari (Bakha folk music of Jammu & Kashmir), Chandatai Jagdish Tiwadi (Bharud folk theatre of Maharashtra), K. Chinna Anjanamma (Tolu Bommalata – Shadow Puppetry of Andhra Pradesh), K.V. Ramakrishnan and K.C. Ramakrishnan (joint award for Pava Kathakali – Glove Puppetry of Kerala) received the Akademi awards.

Ashok D. Ranade was honoured with the award for his scholarship in music and Jaidev Taneja for his overall contribution to theatre.

These coveted national honours are decided by the Akademi's General Council, the apex body consisting of eminent artistes, scholars and nominees of the Government of India and of different States and Union Territories of the country.

The Sangeet Natak Akademi, established by the Union Government on May 31, 1952, is the national academy of music, dance and drama. It was created as the apex body in the country for preservation and promotion of the performing art traditions of India.

One of the important activities of the Akademi has been to give recognition and honours to artistes in order to set standards in the performing arts and to restore art and the artists to their rightful place in independent India.