President’s address at the conferment of Sangeet Natak Akedemy Awards
Following is the
text of the President, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s address at the
conferment of Sangeet Natak Akedemy Awards for the year 2005, here today:
“I am delighted to participate in the
Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards for the year 2005. My greetings to the organizers,
dancers, theatre artists, musicians and all other distinguished participants.
The 54 year old Sangeet Natak Akademi has done a commendable job in recognizing
and honouring artists, giving them their rightful place in the field of
performing art. While doing so, it has preserved and promoted the performing
art culture of India. I extend my congratulations to all the deserving
performing artists who are going to receive the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for
the year 2005.
has Universal Appeal
Music elevates the mind, its appeal
is universal and from ages its impact on human behaviour has been perceptible.
Just the other day I was reading a publication on ‘Music Perception, Cognition
and Behaviour’ by Norman Weinberger and I was surprised to learn that all over
the world the impact of music on human behaviour is being studied with so much
of interest. The study also indicated how music can promote physiological and
behavioural relaxation hence is being used in many hospitals as a positive treatment
therapy. Music touches the heart and mind and evolves good human beings and
society. Music indeed reinforces creativity and talents of personnel.
with a Social Responsibility
Our country has talented artists and
today I am happy to be in the midst of those who have rendered sustained,
meritorious service and have given happiness to the hearts of our people and
the nation. I am fully convinced that art, music, dance, drama gives connectivity
to the multiple variants in the society. Music can reduce the mental pressures
and heaviness in the heart. Can I request all, the great musicians, theater
artists, dancers who are present here today that you will take upon yourselves
a mission – a mission of using your performing art for achieving the unity
of minds. I am fully convinced that if this happens, the disturbing acts like
conflicts and terrorism, etc. could be reduced. May be one day all of you
present here will become successful in forming a peace teams of performing
artists who will offer an alternative solution to the military and judicial
approach normally applied to the problems like terrorism etc.
Art has no Boundaries
Whenever I visit any State in India
or when I go on trips to foreign countries, be it South Africa, Korea, Philippines,
Myanmar, Mauritius, I have been noticing that wherever there is music, wherever
there is dance, there is no need for any language. We need not follow the exact
word; it is simply the rhythm that captivates. The communication is set up
automatically and the barriers are broken. I was very happy to see in Singapore
that during a performance in “Singapore India Fine Arts Society” many teams
from multiple races also performed Bharatnatyam along with our own children. In
spite of having different mother tongues; they were all speaking the same
language of dance and music, which united them so easily and seamlessly.
the Performing Art
With the advent of the electronic
media and its strong hold on the masses, the performing arts have to penetrate
through competitive performance. When I was in School, we used to look forward
to dramas being enacted in Schools and even outside and through them I can
recollect many of our traditional folklores which have got embedded in my mind.
Our artists and musicians should make special efforts to encourage the young
minds to participate in innovative classical presentation. I recently
inaugurated a musical programme Parampara – the generation next? – which was a
seminar on endangered musical instruments organized by the Madhumurchana, I
felt it was a great service being done by the organization to the Indian
Culture by preserving and promoting unique art forms. I understand similar
efforts are being made by the Sangeet Natak Akademi in preserving the art forms
which are traditional. I would ask all of you who are in this field to take
upon themselves the responsibility of promoting and nurturing their art forms
so as to achieve a sustainable growth in the field of performing art forms.
Art and Rashtrapati Bhavan
The Mughal Gardens in Rashtrapati
Bhavan with all their flora are a treat to the human mind but its beauty
doubles whenever a cultural programme is organized in the Central Lawns. We
organized a Violin and vocal recital by Dr. L. Subramaniam, a Flute recital by
Pt. Hari Prasad Chaurasia and very recently we had a jugalbandi between Ustaad
Bismillah Khan and Dr. Soma Ghosh, a vocalist. On these occasions, I felt that
the Gardens looked beautiful under the spell of music. To ensure that the magic
of music continues to be there in the Gardens on all days, a Musical Fountain
has recently been added to the Mughal Gardens, where the fountains dance to the
tune of Ustaad Bismillah Khan’s shehnai, Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma’s Santoor, the
music of A. R. Rehman and Shri Duraisamy Iyengar’s Veena. I really believe that
without music, dance and theatre the world would not be the same.
On one hand, there is a decline in the
interest of the younger generation towards classical art forms. On the other
hand, many young artists from all over the country, especially from small
villages and towns, who in spite of the interest in art are finding it difficult
to enter and pursue the performing art forms? I understand that there are
many entry barriers, which they are faced with. I think I am in the right
forum today and so I urge all the artists present and the Sangeet Natak Akademi
to encourage the young and budding artists and get them early recognition,
so that they can enter into the rich art culture of our country which indeed
needs nourishment in the form of young performers.
Television channel for Indian Classical Music
To enable the younger generation to
listen to music from endangered musical instruments, I would suggest that the
electronic media can record the musical programme of legendary personalities
who have played instruments like Sarod, Jalatarang, Rudra Veena etc. These
recorded music can be played in the TV channels at the prime time on specified
days in a week, so that the younger generation can hear and get interested in
the particular instrument through repeated listening. This will be a great
service done by the electronic media for preservation music played by unique
instruments. Both DD and Private Channels can participate in such programmes.
As a next step music lovers and artists can also think in terms of creating a
dedicated channel for classical music in multiple languages.
Today organizations are making sports
personalities their brand ambassadors. In the similar fashion, great musicians
who have performed programmes using unique instruments like vichitra veena,
surbahar, santoor, tabla tarang can be sponsored as brand Ambassadors by
organizations. Such sponsorships will enable the musicians to undertake
training of youngsters who have an aptitude to learn a particular instrument
even though they may not have adequate finances to take it up as a hobby. The
sponsorship will also help to create certain amount of scholarships to
musically inclined students as a full time professional training activity.
I understand that Baluswami Dikshithar,
brother of one of the trinity of carnatic music Muthuswamy Dikshithar, is
the pioneer, who brought violin into the fold of Carnatic music and fused
it into Indian classical music system. It showed the breadth of vision and
elasticity of our traditions arts to surpass time and absorb the best of times.
Chowdaiah continued this great tradition and made a unique contribution to
violin through his seven string violin which has been carried out through
intense research. Similarly, Ustad Bismillah Khan has the ability to produce
intricate sound patterns on the shehnai which before his time, were considered
impossible on this instrument. He has been a source of inspiration to succeeding
generations of shehnai players and has groomed many in this fine art. Pandit
Shivkumar Sharma's father was the first to realize the potential of the Santoor
as a viable classical instrument. He did considerable research on it. As he
started learning the instrument, Pandit Shivkumar Sharma took it upon himself
to fulfill his father's wishes and bring the instrument to the classical arena.
To achieve this goal, he made innovations in the form and technique of Santoor.
The instrument that Pandit Shivkumar Sharma had 25 bridges, with 4 strings
each. He increased the number of bridges to 29 and reduced the number of strings
to 3 per bridge, a total of 87. This brought greater clarity and took less
time to tune. Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar introduced important changes to Rudra
Veena. I had heard Rudra Veena being played by Ustad Asad Ali Khan in the
Rashtrapati Bhawan who is probably, one of the last known musicians playing
this instrument. Like Rukmini Devi Arundale gave life to Bharatanatyam all
the legendary Maestros whom I have described have given life to the instruments
of their liking. The legendary personalities of classical Indian music assembled
here can carry out research in their areas of specialization to improve the
quality of the instrument which will bring deeper interest in a particular
instrument by the younger generation.
Whenever I think
about one billion people of our country and how to connect them, one thing
always come to my mind. Our civilization has given us certain unique binding
and integrating factors like the performing arts. The various dance forms, the
Hindustani and Carnatic classical music and various theatre art forms are great
Recently when I
was in Bangalore for the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of the Art of Living
Foundation, I had a beautiful musical experience. In that gathering of over two
million people 3,800 musicians played Saint Thyagaraja’s Kriti `Endaro
mahanubhavulu... andariki vandanamulu using variety of instruments from veenas
to nagaswarams, flutes, violins, saxophones, morsinghs and thavils for over
fifteen minutes. How all the instruments were synchronized? I saw music
becoming angelic. Such is the power of music to unify the minds of people.
I once again congratulate the
recipients of Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards. My best wishes to all the members
of the Sangeet Natak Akademi and hope that they are successful in preserving,
nurturing and promoting the traditional art forms of our nation.
May God bless you.
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(Release ID :16696)
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