Padma awards 2021 – A disappointment

Legendary Natyacharya V. P. Dhananjayan Padma Bhushan awardee writes why he is disappointed with Padma Awards 2021 and provides some suggestions

Legendary Natyacharya V. P. Dhananjayan Padma Bhushan awardee writes why he is disappointed with Padma Awards 2021 and provides some suggestions
Legendary Natyacharya V. P. Dhananjayan Padma Bhushan awardee writes why he is disappointed with Padma Awards 2021 and provides some suggestions

This year’s Padma awards was a disappointing one especially in the field of Art & Culture. Even Dakshin Bharat seems to be ignored for no reason whatsoever. The classical field is totally neglected. Through public media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) people have been expressing their resentments in giving awards posthumously which have no meaning or significance whatsoever. Still, the government did not pay much attention to their opinions.

The nomination procedure has been made very cumbersome for deserving people to apply for Padma awards. Until recently prominent persons or Institutions sent in their recommendations to concerned authorities nominating highly deserving achievers in the different fields, even unaware of the nominee.

A highly qualified jury selected the awardee after the Home Ministry shortlisting the nominations. Calling for applications from any candidates irrespective of their achievement criteria the online applications has reached more than 50,000 every year. It may be a Herculean task for the Home Ministry office to scrutinise and make a shortlist of the nominees. A well-deserving person may not be inclined to do self-nomination.

So it is humbly suggested that the Home Ministry stop the online registration and revert to the old system.

Further, I would like to suggest the following:

  1. An equal and judicious allotment to every Union State may be awarded at least One Padma Vibhushan, one Padma Bhushan and more Padma Shri considering the size and population ratio of the State.
  2. Classical and regional folk art forms of each Union State should be recognised every year by giving Padma awards to great achievers in the respective field.
  3. Padma awards should carry certain privileges and benefits financially or otherwise. As of now, there are no such benefits except the Royal hospitality and regal investiture ceremony with a citation and insignia medal and a nice shawl presented by the Raashtrapthai.

Will this message reach the hierarchy? Let us wait and watch.

1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

Padma Bhushan awardee Sri. V.P.Dhananjayan, son of A.Rama Poduval and Madhavi Amma, was born in Payyanur (Kerala) in the year 1939. A child poet in Malayalam, he was brought to Smt. Rukmini Devi's Kalakshetra, Chennai at the age of 13 in the year 1953 by the famed Guru T.K. Chandu Panikkar. He received diploma and post graduate diploma in Kathakali and Bharatanaatyam with distinction and served the alma mater (Kalakshetra) as one of the most prominent performing artists and teacher till 1968. Dhananjayan was the leading dancer in the Kalakshetra dance drama productions and became synonymous with the character Sri Rama in the Ramayana series of Kalakshetra.

Founded Bharatakalanjali in the year 1968 along with his wife Shanta Dhananjayan also an alumni of Kalakshetra. Bharatakalanjali under the able stewardship of Dhananjayan and Shanta has become one of the well known institutions in Tamizhnaadu for Bharatanaatyam. They created several prestigious and internationally acclaimed dance productions. "The Cultural panorama of Tamizhnaadu" directed and produced for the Government of Tamizhnaadu won him special recognition from the Chief Minister Thiru. M.G. Ramachandran. They also received several other State and public recognitions including Kalaimamani, Central Sangit Natak Academi, Kerala State Sangeeta Nataka Academy's Fellowship, Nrityachoodamani (Sri Krishna Gana Sabha) and several prestigious National and International awards, titles and recognitions. MA.Chidambaram Chettiyar (MAC Charities) award of Rs.50,000/-, silver casket and citation (2002), the "Swati Ratna" puraskaar for Madras Malayalee club, for their contribution to the propagation of Maharaja Swathi Tirunal's compositions through Bharatanaatyam (April 2004).
V P Dhananjayan
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