Delhi honours culture luminaries
India Blooms News Service
New Delhi, June 23 (IBNS): Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, author Ruskin Bond and classical singer Girija Devi were presented Lifetime Achievement Awards on Friday by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.
Established in 2004, the Lifetime Achievement Awards by the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi have been conferred upon eminent personalities for their contribution to music, theatre, dance, visual arts, literature and sports.
“These awards are a small token of the love and respect that the people of Delhi have for your contribution. We are really blessed to have people like you amongst us,” chief minister Dikshit said, addressing the awardees.
Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, an internationally acclaimed Indian classical musician who plays the sarod, dedicated the award to his family, saying that the “tremendous honour” would not have been possible without their support.
“My wife Subhalakshmi, my sons Amaan and Ayaan have been the force that has kept me going for so many years. They are the people who encourage me the most to keep playing for the people. This award is due to them,” he said.
Ruskin Bond, the Indian-born author of British descent revered for his works in children’s literature, said that the city of Delhi played a very important role in his formative years and it meant a lot to receive an award that represented the city’s appreciation for him.
“During the early years of my career as a freelance journalist I lived in Delhi on a street called the Atul Grove Road. I have fascinating memories of the place and during a visit to the place this time, I was pleased to see it hasn’t changed much.
“But there is no doubt that the city of Delhi itself has grown tremendously over the years, as have I, and it is always great to come visit. This award means a lot because it comes from the people of Delhi,” the 78-year-old writer who now lives in the hills of Mussoorie said.
Girija Devi, the octogenarian Indian classical singer of the Banaras gharana who is noted for her Thumri performances, said she was humbled to receive the award and appreciated the organisers for the initiative.
“It is very important for an artist to be recognised appreciated for his or her work. It is very good initiative and a testament to the fact that good work always yields a good result. Indian classical music needs more such awards,” she said.
The awards also saw a gripping performance by Delhi-based band Astitva who entranced audiences with the rendition of an eight-minute song of Vedic chants arranged on rock tunes, besides an ode to Delhi and a version of the national anthem.
(Reporting by Divyanshu Dutta Roy)