Rajkumar Singhajit Singh, Chhayanaut, Ram Sutar chosen for Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony


New Delhi, October 26, 2018

The doyen of Manipuri dance Rajkumar Singhajit Singh, Chhayanaut, a cultural organization of Bangladesh and noted Indian sculptor Ram Vanji Sutar have been chosen for the Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively.
The jury, under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, comprising Chief Justice of India, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, former Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami and Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, after detailed discussions on October 24, took the decision unanimously, in recognition of their outstanding contribution to cultural harmony, an official press release said.
Rajkumar Singhajit Singh has distinguished himself both as an outstanding teacher, performer and choreographer. His work over the years bears witness to his creativity within the framework of traditional Manipuri dance.
His choreography has been enriched by elements incorporated from various forms of performing arts of Manipur such as Thang-ta, Nata-Sankirtana, Lai-haraoba and Rasleela.
The award 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.
Chhayanaut, established in 1961, has played a leading role in promoting Tagore’s works and Bengali culture, music and literature not only within Bangladesh but across the world. It has built a close bridge of understanding and cultural exchange between Bangladesh and India, especially West Bengal.
Chhayanaut was part of the movement for an independent Bangladesh and provided a platform for cultural expression and assertion of Bengali identity. When Rabindra Sangeet was banned in East Pakistan, Chhayanaut continued to promote liberal expression through secret renditions of Tagore songs and discussions.
The jury's decision recognizes the contribution of the organization in upholding the liberal progressive tradition of the universal humanism of Gurudev and in promoting the spirit of cultural harmony.
Ram Vanji Sutar is one of the greatest living sculptors of India. He has created more than 50 monumental sculptures in the past 40 years. At the beginning of his career, he was involved in restoring several ancient sculptures in the caves of Ellora and Ajanta.
His first notable work was the 45 feet Chambal monument at the Gandhi Sagar Dam in Madhya Pradesh. This gigantic masterpiece carved out of a single block depicts mother Chambal with her two children -- Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan symbolizing the brotherhood of the two states.
His iconic bust of Mahatma Gandhi is one of the most celebrated representations of the Mahatma, as is his bronze bust of Tagore. The jury's decision recognizes his outstanding contribution to the preservation of Indian culture and its artistic tradition.
The annual award was instituted by the Union Government during the commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of Tagore.
The first Tagore Award was conferred on Pandit Ravi Shankar, the Indian sitar maestro, in 2012 and the second was conferred on music conductor Zubin Mehta in 2013. The award carries an amount of Rs 1 crore, a citation in a scroll, a plaque as well as an exquisite traditional handicraft/ handloom item. The award is open to all persons regardless of nationality, race, language, caste, creed or sex.

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