New Delhi, Feb 26 (UNI) President Pratibha Patil today conferred the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship and Akademi Awards for 2007 on 34 eminent persons here.
Eminent scholar and Professor of aesthetics Dr S K Saxena, selected for 2008 Padma Bhushan, was honoured with the Akademi Fellowship for his contribution to Indian music and dance over a lifetime as a philosopher and writer.
He received a purse money of Rs one lakh, besides a citation, an angavastram and a tamrapatra.
The Akademi Awards were presented to 33 other persons, including veteran theatre director N C Thakur, film music director Khayyam and Kathak Dancer Geetanjali Lal. The award carries a purse money of Rs 50,000, a citation, angavastram and tamrapatra.
The award categories comprised music, dance, theatre and traditional, folk, tribal music, dance and theatre. The Overall Contribution honour went to Prof Mukund Lath for his contribution to ''our'' understanding of the performing arts of India.
Prof Lath was, however, not able to attend the ceremony due to ill health.
Addressing the gathering, the President called upon youth to show commitment and dedication for learning and excelling in music, dance and theatre to preserve performing arts.
''Our special efforts should be to reach out to the new genaration and inculcate in them an appreciation for our culture and promoting performing arts... They must show commitment and dedication,'' she added.
Ms Patil called for setting up of Youth Talent awards and grant of sponsorships and scholarships by the Akademi.
She said the aim of the Akademi should be to encourage talent from all parts of the country and also to reach the performing arts to as large a number of people as possible.
''Culture is our living tradition which we need to preserve, propagate and develop it,'' she pointed out.
Recommending use of modern technology in promoting the arts, the President observed that the Akademi must ensure that its various schemes and programmes, address themselves adequately to traditional arts in the changing environment.
''Internet and multi-media system in addition to innovative use of the electronic media for promoting arts,'' she added.
Calling on people to participate in learning and preservation of Indian culture, the President said each citizen must honour the cultural legacy inherited by the nation.
As some of traditional folk arts are fast disappearing for want of patronage, corporate houses, musical societies and local artist groups must be encouraged as ''patron of arts'', she said at the ceremony which was attended by Union Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni among others.
Past recipients of Akademi Fellowship and Awards include eminent personalities like Alauddin Khan, Hafiz Ali Khan, Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, Omkar Nath Thakur, T Balasaraswati, Rukmini Devi Arundale, Kelucharan Mohapatra, Sachin Deb Burman, Satyajit Ray, Sombhu Mitra, P L Deshpande, C C Mehta, Mohan Rakesh and B V Karanth.
The Fellowships and Awards are decided by the Akademi's General Council, the apex body consisting of eminent artistes, scholars and representatives of different states and Union Territories.
The Sangeet Natak Akademi (National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama), established by the Government of India on May 31, 1952, is the apex body in the country for the task of preservation and promotion of the performing arts.
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