Nine years after being awarded a Padma Shri in 2011, veteran vocalist Pt Ajoy Chakraborty has been conferred the Padma Bhushan.
A torchbearer of the Patiala gharana, 68-year-old Chakraborty told TOI he is “happy” with the news and wants to continue doing more work to propagate Indian classical music.
“I am happy and feel this is a result of the blessings of my guru, Pt Gnan Prakash Ghosh. I hope I can carry on with the work that I want to do,” he said.
Explaining this “work”, he referred to this passion of grooming youngsters. “Nowadays, my performances have become very secondary for me. I want to groom more students. My daughter, Kaushiki, has become famous all over the world. I would have been happier if she had more competition. I want 10 more Kaushikis to come up. I come across many with a lot of potential. If their parents are sorted, I think they have it in them to go far. It requires talent, fire in the belly and good support from the guardians for them to go far.”
Asked what needs to be done on behalf of the government to promote Indian classical music, he said: “There should be more people in positions of power who love Indian classical music. The media, too, has to do its bit.”
Pt Manilal Nag was conferred the Padma Shri. The 81-year-old sitarist said: “It is a milestone for the Bishnupur gharana. This award is a recognition of the 400-year-old classical and dhrupad tradition of Bengal that dominated the country’s music scenario in the first half of the last century. I have disciples all over the world. I love to share my joy with all of them while my family feels proud that a long-awaited reward is finally here.”
Sushovan Banerjee, known as ‘ek takar doctor’, also received the Padma Shri. The 81-year-old has been treating patients for a Re 1 fee since 1964 in his Bolpur clinic Nevedita Seva Sadan.
Banerjee, who graduated from RG Kar Medical College, completed a PG degree in pathology from Calcutta University with a gold medal before heading to London for a diploma in haematology.
“I had been working as a senior register in a London for four years before I decided to come back to my country to serve the poor. I got a call from the home ministry on Friday night that I had been chosen for Padma Shri. I am absolutely elated at my work being recognised,” he told TOI.
Banerjee has refused lucrative offers from many organisations, choosing instead to stay in his native Bolpur to tend to the poor and tribals.
Source: Times of India