New Delhi, Feb 26 : President Pratibha Devisingh Patil today presented the Sangeet Natak Akademi fellowship and awards for the year 2007 here.
Stating that the Sangeet Natak Akademi has been contributing a lot to preserving Indian heritage since its foundation in 1952, Patil said the annual awards are the highest national recognition given to artistes from various fields of the performing arts.
"We must encourage the Sangeet Natak Akademi to continue its work in the field of art and culture," she added.
"India is known all over world for its cultural heritage and its our duty to preserve it. We must look at how the "patrons of arts" in our society - whether corporate houses, musical societies, local artist groups - can be encouraged to support the classical and the traditional arts, she said.
She urged the Sangeet Natak Akademi to encourage budding young artists through Youth Talent awards and through grant of sponsorships and scholarships in cases where young artists don't have adequate financial resources.
"Our special efforts should be to reach out to the new generation and to inculcate in them an appreciation for our culture. Our artists and musicians should attract them to learning music and dance," she said.
"Indian art and music must also look at the social role that they can play. Dance and drama are a powerful medium and can be used to effectively convey social messages particularly to fight social evils like female foeticide, female infanticide, child marriages, dowry and addiction to drugs and alcohol," she added.
They can also educate the population on various issues such as health, literacy and the values of truth, tolerance and harmony. I would call on social organizations and corporate houses to promote music and art as a means for bringing about awareness, harmony and peace in society, she said.
The President congratulated this year's winners and urged them to preserve art and use it as a unifying force in the country.