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