The Sangeet Natak Academy was established by the then Ministry of Education, Government of India by a Resolution dated the 31st of May, 1952 as the National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama, and was inaugurated by the first President of India, Dr Rajendra Prasad on the 28th of January, 1953. It was created as the apex body in the country for carrying out the task of preservation and promotion of the performing arts of India. One of the important activities of the Academy has been to give recognition and honours to artists as it would help in setting standards in these arts, and restore the art and artists to their rightful place in Independent India.
The institution of Sangeet Natak Academy Awards is now more than fifty years old and the large body of practitioners, gurus and scholars in the performing arts honoured by the Academy represent the nation’s highest achievement in music, dance and drama. The Awards in Hindustani and Carnatic music were instituted as early as 1951, even before the Academy was set up and these were known as Presidential Awards. With the formation of the Academy, the Awards came to be known as Sangeet Natak Academy Awards, and the investiture became the responsibility of the Academy. The Presidential Awards for 1952 and 1953 were subsequently incorporated in the list of Sangeet Natak Academy Awards.
The most prestigious and rare honour of Sangeet Natak Academy Fellowship (Academy Ratna Sadasyata) was restricted to 30 eminent persons at any given time till last year. However, consequent upon the amendment of the Rules and Regulations in the meeting of the General Council on the 29th of January, 2010, ten more seats of Academy Fellows have been increased to be filled up in a phased manner over five years – two seats per year. The first Fellow of the Academy was elected in 1954, and till date, the Academy has honoured 123 eminent personalities as Academy Fellows (Academy Ratna).
The General Council of Sangeet Natak Academy at its meeting held in New Delhi on the 29th of January and 12th of February, 2010 elected Shri Lalgudi G Jayaraman, eminent Carnatic Violinist from Chennai, Shri Shreeram Lagoo, eminent theater actor from Pune, Ms Yamini Krishnamurti, eminent Bharatanatyam exponent from New Delhi, Shri Kamlesh Dutt Tripathi, eminent scholar of Sanskrit Theatre from Allahabad, Pandit Jasraj and Smt. Kishori Amonkar, both eminent Hindustani vocalists from Mumbai as Fellows of the Academy. The Academy Fellowship carries purse money of Rs 3.00 lakh in cash, a Tamrapatra and an Angavastram.
As regards the Sangeet Natak Academy Awards, the number of awards to be given annually is 33 at present and, till date, over 1000 artists have been honoured. The Academy Awards carries purse money of Rs. 1 lakh in cash, a Tamrapatra and an Angavastram.
It is a matter of gratification that the Academy Fellowship and Academy Awards are recognized as the highest national honor conferred on practicing artistes, gurus and scholars, and have come to stay as the most coveted honors to which the artistes aspire. What makes these Academy honours unique is perhaps the fact that they are conferred by a body consisting of specialists in different fields of performing arts and representatives from different States and Union Territories of the country. These honors in recognition of sustained and meritorious achievement and service to the performing arts have been receiving wide public attention. They also give an idea of the growth and development of the performing arts and our understanding of the same in the post-independent India.
Yet, in a democratic nation formed by a union of States and Territories having multiple cultural steams, the task of selecting artistes for recognition, representing the acme and essence of the nations’s creativity, is a difficult one. The task becomes all the more humbling when it is realized that, on one hand, we have inherited such a rich mass of tradition in this country of sub-continental dimensions the depth of which we are still trying to fathom, and, on the other hand, considerable creative energies were unleashed during the last six decades that interacted with the tradition as also with the influence from outside. In such a scenario, the Sangeet Natak Academy is striving to ensure that its various schemes and programmes, particularly the prestigious honors that it confers, address themselves adequately to the tradition as well as its changing manifestations, and suitable strategies are adopted from time to time to withstand the juggernaut of globalization so that the variegated expressions of India’s cultural identity continue to flower and flourish.
The Sangeet Natak Academy is presently an Autonomous Body of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India and is fully funded by the Government for implementation of its schemes and programmes.
Aims and Objectives
- To co-ordinate the activities of regional or State Academies of music, dance and drama.
- To promote research in the fields of Indian music, dance and drama and for this purpose, to establish a library and museum, etc.
- To co-operate with such similar Academies as there may be and other institutions and associations for the furtherance of its objects and for the enrichment of Indian culture as a whole.
- To encourage the exchange of ideas and enrichment of techniques between the different regions in regard to the arts of music, dance and drama.
- To encourage the establishment of theater centers, on the basis of regional languages, and co-operation among different theater centers.
- To encourage the setting up of institutions providing training in the art of theater, including instructions in actor’s training, study of stage-craft and production of plays.
- To encourage and assist production of new plays by awarding prizes and distinctions.
- To publish literature on Indian music, dance and drama including reference works such as an illustrated dictionary or handbook of technical terms.
- To give recognition to and otherwise assist meritorious, theatrical organizations.
- To encourage the development of amateur dramatic activity, children’s theater, the open-air theater and the rural theater in its various forms.
- To revive and preserve folk music, folk dance and folk drama in different regions of the country and to encourage the development of community music, martial music and other types of music.
- To sponsor music, dance and drama festivals, seminars, conferences on an all-India basis and to encourage such regional festivals.
- To award prizes and distinctions and to give recognition to individual artistes for outstanding achievement in the fields of music, dance and drama.
- To take suitable steps for the maintenance of proper and adequate standards of education in music, dance and drama and with that object to organize research in the teaching of the said subjects.
- To foster cultural contacts between the different regions of the country and also with other countries in the fields of music, dance and drama.
To Know the List Of Awardees Please Click Here