President Ramnath Kovind will confer the Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony for 2014, 2015 and 2016 to doyen of Manipuri dance Rajkumar Singhajit Singh, Chhayanaut (a cultural organization of Bangladesh) and renowned sculptor Ram Vanji Sutar.
The Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony will be presented to them on Monday at Pravasi Bhartiya Kendra, New Delhi.
The Ministry of Culture had announced the winners of the award for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016 in October, last year. The awardees were decided by a jury headed by PM Narendra Modi and included Chief Justice of India Rajan Gogoi.
Rajkumar Singhajit Singh
Born on 3 November 1932 in Imphal, Manipur, Rajkumar Singhajit Singh is a highly accomplished and senior most guru, exponent, choreographer, prolific writer and scholar of Manipuri dance.
The Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony recognizes his contribution in keeping the tradition of Manipuri dance alive and vibrant, promoting harmony through dance and also pays tribute to Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, who, deeply influenced by Manipuri dance, made it an integral part of the education curriculum at Visva Bharati.
– The Citation
He has not only preserved the chaste culture of Manipur but also expanded its horizon extensively, the citation stated.
He has been working as a performer and choreographer since more than 60 years.
As a pioneer of Manipuri ballet, he broke new ground by presenting the first full length dance drama ‘Brabhruvahan’ in 1964 using all aspects of Manipuri performing arts as well as typical Manipuri music and costumes.
He also choreographed the Manipuri dance segment of the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games 2010 at Delhi.
He has been awarded the Padma Shri in 1986 and Fellow of Sangeet Natak Akademi in 2011.
This is currently the largest informal school of music in the subcontinent with over 4,000 students, unmatched by any such endeavour elsewhere in the region.
The Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony recognizes the contribution of the organization in upholding the liberal progressive tradition of universal humanism of Gurudev and in promoting the spirit of cultural harmony. – The Citation
The cultural organisation which was established in 1961 was part of the movement for an independent Bangladesh.
During the liberation war, Chhayanaut singers organized performances to inspire freedom fighters and refugees.
After the country’s independence, the organisation has been involved in seeking creative ways to broaden and intensify the practice and celebration of mainstream music and culture.
Chhayanaut has played a leading role in the promotion of Tagore’s works and Bangla arts and literature not only within Bangladesh, but all across the world.
Apart from this, it has also served people at times of famines, floods or riots, bringing people together to resolve crisis with songs of protest on their lips, the citation said.
Chhayanaut started Bengali New Year celebrations through open air concerts which has now turned into a national festival, also celebrated by Bengalis all over the world.
Ram Vanji Sutar
Ram Vanji Sutar was born in Dhule District of Maharashtra on 19 February 1925.
The Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony recognizes his outstanding contribution to the preservation of Indian culture and its artistic tradition.
– The Citation
During the initial days of his career, he restored several ancient sculptures found in the caves of Ellora and Ajanta.
His first work was the 45-feet Chambal monument at the Gandhi Sagar Dam, Madhya Pradesh. This gigantic masterpiece carved out of a single block depicts mother Chambal with her two children.
According to the citation, iconic busts of Mahatma Gandhi sculpted by him have been installed in more than 350 cities all over the world including France, Italy, Argentina, Barbados, Russia, England, Malaysia, Caracas, Germany, Australia, China, Egypt, Poland, South Africa.
In the span of last 80 years, Ram Vanji has made more than 600 monumental sculptures.
He also sculptured the world’s tallest statue, The Statue of Unity which has recently been installed at Sardar Sarovar Dam, Gujarat.
He has been honoured with the Padma Shri in 1999 and Padma Bhushan in 2016.
Tagore Award For Cultural Harmony
To commemorate the 150th Birth Anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore in 2012, the government of India constituted the Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony.
The award recognises Tagore’s contributions to humanity through his works and philosophy.
The annual award is presented to individuals, associations, institutions or organizations for their outstanding contribution towards promoting values of Cultural Harmony.
The awardees are given Rs. 1 crore, a citation in a Scroll, a Plaque and an exquisite traditional handicraft / handloom item.
The First Tagore Award was conferred upon Pt. Ravi Shankar, the Indian Sitar Maestro in 2012. In 2013, it honoured the internationally-acclaimed classical music conductor Zubin Mehta.