S.Rajam’s (Music Appreciation notes)

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Sonal Mansingh

Sonal Mansingh, 74-year old veteran Odissi and Bharatanatyam exponent and social activist, was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in July 2018 by the President of India Ramnath Kovind. Under Article 80 of the Constitution, the President can nominate 12 members to the Rajya Sabha "from amongst persons who have special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as literature, science, art and social service." The nominated members have a six-year term.
Very few Indian classical artists have been nominated to the Upper House -- the first artist and woman to be so honoured was Rukmini Devi Arundale who served from 1952-62, followed by the nomination of sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar (member from 1986-92). Filmstars Vyjayantimala Bali and Hema Malini, who are also renowned Bharatanatyam artists, have also served as members of the Rajya Sabha.
Sonal Mansingh—a much decorated artist and recipient of  the Padma Vibhushan from the Government of India—who has been in the field for about six decades and runs her dance institution the Centre for Indian Classical Dances (CICD) in New Delhi, says that the nomination to the Rajya Sabha is a validation of Indian art, culture and tradition. One hopes that her dynamic presence will be a catalyst to government bodies to give more importance to the preservation and propagation of the classical, folk and tribal arts which constitute India's rich cultural heritage.

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