"If things did not move on and vanish, we should see no beauty anywhere. If youth had only the heat of movement, it would get parched and withered. But there is ever the hidden tear, which keeps it fresh. The cry of the world is not only "I have," but also "I give." In the first dawning light of creation, "I have" was wedded to "I give." If this bond of union were to snap, then everything would go to ruin." ― Rabindranath Tagore, The Cycle of Spring
Tagore Awards for Cultural Harmony for the Years 2014, 2015 and 2016

Tagore Awards for Cultural Harmony for the Years 2014, 2015 and 2016

President presents Tagore Awards for Cultural Harmony

for the Years 2014, 2015 and 2016

NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 18 :

The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, presented the Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016 to Shri Rajkumar Singhajit Singh, Chhayanaut (a cultural organisation of Bangladesh) and Shri Ram Vanji Sutar respectively, at a function held in New Delhi today (February 18, 2019).

Speaking on the occasion, the President said this Award is a celebration of Indian traditions of culture and of our civilisational wealth – whether in literature or music, art or drama, sculpture or handicrafts, design or digital art. Each region in our country has a distinct cultural identity. Yet, in its essence, culture does not divide – it unites and harmonises all of India and all of humanity.

Congratulating the awardees, the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi said that it was Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore who understood the strength of diversity of our country and inculcated it in his Rabindra Sangeet. The Prime Minister said that Gurudev is respected internationally. The character and message emanating from the works of Gurudev transcend time and circumstance. The Prime Minister further added that in view of the conditions which prevail in the world today, it has become even more relevant to propagate the message of harmony and peace of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore.

In his welcome address, the Minister of State for Culture (IC), Dr. Mahesh Sharma said that it is matter of great pride for us to honor Shri Rajkumar Singhajit Singh, Chhayanaut (a cultural organisation of Bangladesh) and Shri Ram Vanji Sutar who have done great work to carry forward the legacy of cultural harmony of Rabindranath Tagore. The awards are open to all persons regardless of nationality, race, language, cast, creed or gender, the Minister added.

Mr Rajkumar Singhajit Singh is a highly accomplished and senior most guru, exponent, chorographer, prolific writer and scholar of Manipuri dance. His name is synonymous with the propagation of Manipuri dance both in and outside Manipur.

Chhayanaut is a cultural organization of Bangladesh which 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. It has also rushed to the aid of people at times of famines, floods or riots, bringing people together to resolve crisis with songs of protest on their lips.

Shri Ram Vanji Sutar is a renowned sculptor and scholar. He has made more than 600 monumental sculptures in last eighty years. He has sculptured the mammoth 182 meter high statue of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, the world's tallest statue (The Statue of Unity) which has recently been installed at Sardar Sarovar Dam, Gujarat.

Expressing gratitude for the recognition, the awardees said that they are honoured to receive the award and are inspired to pass on the message of fellowship and harmony as a symbol of Gurudev Tagore's legacy.

Tagore Award is given annually and carries an amount of Rs. One Crore (convertible to foreign currency), a citation in a Scroll, a Plaque as well as an exquisite traditional handicraft / handloom item. The Award may be divided between two persons / institutions who are considered by the Jury to be equally deserving of recognition in a given year.

Mr Rajkumar Singhajit Singh, Chhayanaut (a cultural organization of Bangladesh); and Mr Ram Sutar Vanji have been selected for the year 2014, 2015 & 2016.

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Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony function

The President of India, Mr Ram Nath Kovind, presenting the Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016 to Mr Rajkumar Singhajit Singh, Chhayanaut (a cultural organisation of Bangladesh) and Mr Ram Vanji Sutar respectively, in the pesence of Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi at a function in New Delhi.

February 18, 2019

Ram Vanji Sutar

A gold medallist from Sir J. J. School of Art, Bombay in sculpture, Shri Sutar started his career in 1954 as a modeller in the Department of Archaeology, South Western Circle, Aurangabad. From 1959 onwards, he has been working as freelance sculptor making monumental statues.

At the beginning of his career, he was involved in restoring several ancient sculptures found in the caves of Ellora and Ajanta. His first and one of the most 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, one of the most celebrated representations of the Mahatma, has 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.

He has made more than 600 monumental sculptures in last eighty years. Many of the statues adorn the Parliament House at New Delhi like statues of Mahatma Gandhi (meditation pose), Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, Chhatrapati Shivaji, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Babu Jagjivan Ram and many more.

He had a great desire to make the world's tallest statue since his early school days when he first saw the pictures of Statue of Liberty. His dream came true when he sculptured the mammoth 182 metres high statue of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, the world's tallest statue (The Statue of Unity) which has recently been installed at Sardar Sarovar Dam, Gujarat.

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The citation

Rajkumar Singhajit Singh is a highly accomplished and senior most guru, exponent, choreographer, prolific writer and scholar of Manipuri dance.

He was trained in the Guru Shishya Parampara under eminent Ojhas Padma Shri and Sangeet Natak Akedemi awardee Guru Maisnam Amubi Singh in Jagoi, Guru Thangjam Chaoba Singh in Cholom traditions. He has not only preserved the chaste culture of Manipur but also expanded its horizon extensively. He has also trained under various Ojhas in the martial arts of Manipur which equipped him for his future role as a versatile and creative artiste.

He moved to Delhi teaching Manipuri dance at the Triveni Kala Sangam, a multi faceted art institution and leading its dance repertory. In 1998, he established his own institution in the Capital, the Manipuri Nrityashram, where he continues to impart training in Manipuri dance. Several of his students have made a name for themselves at the national and international level.

His name is synonymous with the propagation of Manipuri dance both in and outside Manipur. His work as a performer and choreographer spanning over 60 years bears witness to his creativity within the framework of traditional Manipuri dance. 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. His choreography has been enriched by elements incorporated from various forms of performance of Manipur such as Thang-ta, Nata-sankirtana, Lai-haraoba and Rasleela. He choreographed the Manipuri dance segment of the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games 2010 at Delhi. He has performed around the world, participating in national and international festivals drawing great applause.

As a scholar and dancer, his lecture-performances have been a treat for educational institutions and universities both in India and abroad. His book on Manipuri dance and articles in various publications have remained highly valuable source of information all over the world.

In view of his contribution in the field of Manipuri dance, Government of India presented him Padma Shri in 1986 and Fellow of Sangeet Natak Akademi in 2011.

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.

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"There is a Persian story which I was greatly taken with when I read it as a boy ⎯ I think I understood, even then, something of the underlying idea, though I was a mere child. To show the illusory character of time, a faquir put some magic water into a tub and asked the King to take a dip. The King no sooner dipped his head in than he found himself in a strange country by the sea, where he spent a good long time going through a variety of happenings and doings. He married, had children, his wife and children died, he lost all his wealth, and as he writhed under his sufferings he suddenly found himself back in the room, surrounded by his courtiers. On his proceeding to revile the faquir for his misfortunes, they said: "But, Sire, you have only just dipped your head in, and raised it out of the water!" The whole of our life with its pleasures and pains is in the same way enclosed in one moment of time. However long or intense we may feel it to be while it lasts, as soon as we have finished our dip in the tub of the world, we shall find how like a slight, momentary dream the whole thing has been. . . ." ― Rabindranath Tagore, Glimpses of Bengal ― Rabindranath Tagore, Glimpses of Bengal