Celebrating Tagore, celebrating artistes
- Deepa Chakravarthy
e-mail: apoorini@gmail.com

May 7, 2012

The Sangeet Natak Akademi instituted a one-time honour to 100 artistes called the ‘Tagore Samman’ (50 Tagore Ratna and 50 Tagore Puraskar) to persons aged 75 years and above, who have made a significant contribution in the field of performing arts.

Chennai, hailed as the cultural capital, has added one more feather in its cap by hosting the first Sangeet Natak Akademi event in South India in commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941). In Chennai, on the 2nd May 2012, the Akademi’s Tagore Fellowships to twenty well-known personalities including scholars and Tagore Awards to eighteen renowned practitioners of performing arts were conferred. Earlier, in Kolkata on 25th April 2012, the prestigious Tagore Fellowship was conferred on twenty nine eminent personalities and scholars, and the Tagore Awards were received by thirty four art practitioners and gurus in the field of dance, drama and music. It is indeed worthy to note that this is probably the first time the Akademi events were organized in two places outside the Capital city.

For the Chennai ceremony, Governor K Rosaiah presided as the Chief Guest and presented the awards to all the awardees. In his speech, he spoke about how Tagore had envisioned a deep sense of nationalism cutting across geographical boundaries that led him to establish Shantiniketan, which housed an amalgamation of art forms - painting, poetry, music, dance and drama, all under one roof with the sole purpose of studying the mind of Man in its realization of Truth. He also congratulated the artistes who received the prestigious awards carrying the name of Tagore.

Leela Samson, Chairperson of Sangeet Natak Akademi, had earlier in her welcome address explained the reason why the Akademi wished to celebrate some veterans with the Tagore Awards and recognize their contributions in their art. She highlighted how these eminent personalities have raised themselves under dire circumstances and how they have essayed their lives keeping exemplary values making them all key guardians to our rich traditions. She added that the Tagore Ratna and the Tagore Puraskar that were conferred on these artistes was a way of recognizing these personalities as national treasures.

Helen Acharya, the acting Secretary of Sangeet Natak Akademi, announced the awards while Shanta Serbjeet Singh, Vice Chairperson of Sangeet Natak Akademi, gave the vote of thanks. As Master of Ceremony for the occasion, Sadhna Shrivatsav made the whole evening alive by her vivacious stage presence. The evening concluded with the Madras Youth Choir giving a musical presentation in Bengali, Hindi, Tamil and Kannada.

Recipients of Sangeet Natak Akademi Tagore Ratna in Chennai:
B Rajanikanta Rao; Guruvayur Dorai; Kalanidhi Narayanan; MK Saroja; M Nagabhushana Sharma; MS Gopalakrishnan; Mankompu Sivasankara Pillai; Maya Rao; Natesan Ramani; Nedunuri Krishnamurthy; PK Narayana Nambiar; PV Krishnamoorthy; Pasumarthy Venugopala Krishna Sarma; R Nagarathnamma; RK Srikantan; Sripada Pinakapani; TR Kamala Murthy; V Ramamurthy; Vellore G Ramabhadran; Vyjayantimala Bali

Recipients of Sangeet Natak Akademi Tagore Puraskar in Chennai:
Anasuya Devi, BM Sundaram; Bhagavathula Yagna Narayana Sarma; Bhagavatula Seetarama Sarma; Chatla Sreeramulu; Chemancheri Kunhiraman Nair; K Chellaiah; KM Raghavan Nambiar; Kumarapillai Velukutty Nair; Mayavaram Saraswati; NS Jayalakshmi; Nattuvan Paramasiva Menon; Patraayani Sangeetha Rao; R Visweswaran; S Swaminathan; SRG Rajanna; Shrikrishna S Haldanakar; Tanjavur Sankara Iyer

Deepa Chakravarthy is a Mohiniattam artiste.