London Kendra
Staff of The Bhavan in London honoured at National Indian Arts Awards
Dr. Nandakumara and The High Commissioner of India H. E. Shri Ranjan Mathai
Two long-serving staff members of The Bhavan in London have been honoured at the first ever National Indian Arts Awards hosted by Indian arts development trust Milapfest at the Nehru Centre on October 8. The High Commissioner of India H. E. Shri Ranjan Mathai presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to Executive Director Dr. M. N. Nandakumara and the Sangeet Acharya Ratna Award to Resident Karnatic Music Teacher Smt. Sivasakthi Sivanesan.
Milapfest established the awards in order to recognise the dedication of arts professionals working in the field of Indian arts and to celebrate the hard work and passion of young artists. Milapfest's Executive Director Prashant Nayak explained: "The establishment of these awards will create a better understanding of how such selfless work empowers and enriches the younger generation, and how it helps build bridges between communities and people."
The two Bhavanites are worthy winners whose selfless commitment propels the Bhavan to fulfil its mission of teaching and promoting traditional Indian arts and culture in the UK.
Dr. Nandakumara - known affectionately as Nandaji - has spent virtually all of his working life at The Bhavan. Born in Mattur in Karnataka, renowned as a village where the ancient language of Sanskrit is spoken, he taught Sanskrit at The Bhavan whilst taking his PhD in devotional literature at SOAS, the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. He commenced full-time work at The Bhavan in 1984 and took the helm as Executive Director in 1995. Sivasakthi Sivanesan has been teaching Karnatic vocal and vina at The Bhavan since 1983. An outstanding performer in her own right, she passes on the knowledge of centuries of music through teaching in the traditional guru-shishya way, and, in the words of two students Pairaviy and Shangary Rajendran, "combines devotion, knowledge, commitment and discipline".
The awards were supported by Arts Council England whose Deputy Chief Executive Ms. Althea Efunshile extolled the role of arts and culture: "They are about the search for personal fulfilment; about strong families and friendships; about bringing joy to our learning; and about promoting the bond between grandparents, parents and children, through the way that we hand on our culture, revere the memory of where we come from and celebrate the world we now all share."
Other awards presented were Nritya Acharya Award to Smt Pushkala Gopal; Tarang Musician of the Year to Jasdeep Singh Degun; Samyo Musician of the Year to Sanjuran Keerthikumar; Young Musician of the Year to Yarlinie Thanabalasingham; and Young Dancer of the Year to Parbati Chaudhury.
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