Kovind presents Tagore Award to Rajkumar Singhajit Singh, Chhayanaut and Ram Sutar Vanji

President Ram Nath Kovind presenting the Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony for the year 2016 to sculptor Ram Sutar Vanji in New Delhi on February 18, 2019.
President Ram Nath Kovind presenting the Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony for the year 2016 to sculptor Ram Sutar Vanji in New Delhi on February 18, 2019.
President Ram Nath Kovind today presented the Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony to Manipuri dance guru Rajkumar Singhajit Singh, Chhayanaut, a cultural organization of Bangladesh and noted sculptor Ram Sutar Vanji for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said the award was 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, he said.
Pointing to the contributions of the award winners, Kovind said Rajkumar Singhajit Singh, one of the greatest exponents of Manipuri dance, has bridged this age-old art form of Manipur with not only modern sensibilities but with other parts of the country. 
Chhayanaut is an organisation that has promoted and preserved the works and philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore in Bangladesh. 
Ram Sutar is a sculptor and scholar who represents an art tradition that goes back thousands of years to India’s ancient past. These days he is most well-known for the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, located at Sardar Sarovar Dam, Kevadia in Gujarat. Known as the Statue of Unity, it is the world’s tallest statue at 182 metres.   
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Minister for Culture Mahesh Sharma were present at the award function.
Congratulating the awardees, Modi said it was Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore who understood the strength of diversity of the country and inculcated it in his Rabindra Sangeet. A respected figure across the world, the character and message emanating from his works transcend time and circumstance. 
In view of the conditions which prevail in the world today, it has become even more relevant to propagate the poet laureate’s message of harmony and peace, he added.
Sharma said it was a matter of great pride to honour Rajkumar Singhajit Singh, Chhayanaut and 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, caste, creed or gender, the Minister added.
Expressing gratitude for the recognition, the award recipients said they were honoured to receive the award and 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 a cash component of Rs one crore (convertible to foreign currency), a citation in a scroll, a plaque as well as an exquisite traditional handicraft/ handloom item.

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