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President of India presents KCK International Award for excellence in print Journalism

Journalists and journalism played an exemplary role in the social renaissance movement as well as the freedom struggle of the country

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India, March 21, 2017: The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee presented the KCK International Award for Excellence in Print Journalism organized by Rajasthan Patrika in New Delhi on Monday.

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Speaking on the occasion, the President said that journalism has had a long history in our country. It has been closely associated with our struggle for independence and social reforms. Journalists and journalism played an exemplary role in the social renaissance movement as well as the freedom struggle of the country. The history of Indian journalism has been that of progressive reform, social renaissance and anti-colonialism. Beginning with the Samvad Kaumudi brought out by Raja Rammohun Roy in 1819 to Samachar Chandrika and Mirat-Ul-Akhbar, the Harijan and Young India edited by the Mahatma and later, through various other publications, the contribution of print journalism to an evolving Indian society and nationhood was immense.

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The President said that print journalism has its own impact because journalists through their columns/ stories/ comments etc. find a permanent place in the minds of readers. He stated that media has expanded with increasing use of technology and the influence of social media has also increased over the years.

The President said that he was glad to have the opportunity of conferring the KCK International award for excellence for print journalism on the distinguished awardees. He hoped that this would inspire others to follow their path and wished them all success in their future endeavours. (IANS)

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Rukmini Devi: The Woman Who Revived Bharatnatyam

The women who chose dancing over being the President of India

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Rukmini Devi could have been the President of India had she accepted an offer by the then Prime Minister in 1977. Wikimedia commons
Rukmini Devi could have been the President of India had she accepted an offer by the then Prime Minister in 1977. Wikimedia commons
  • Rukmini Devi met Anna Pavlova, a ballerina, who inspired her to dance.
  • She revived the art-form of Bharatanatyam which was earlier associated with only the Devadasi community.
  • The women who refused the offer to become president, so she could continue with dance.

Bharatanatyam, an Indian classical dance form, one of the most widespread in India today. Several institutes of Indian art forms have Bharatnatyam as a special course. It is adored, respected and is extremely popular in the Indian society. However, not many people know that once it was considered ‘vulgar’, and a ‘low-caste practice’ as it was limited to Devadasis.

Not until a married woman from a Brahmin family adopted the dying art form and eventually revived it, was Bharatnatyam came to be accepted in ‘Bharat’. She was Rukmini Devi, the women who established Kalakshetra Academy.

You may also like: Traditional dance representing cross-cultural connection of India and Paisley 

Anna Palova was the one who inspired Rukmini Devi for the art of dance. Wikimedia commons
Anna Palova was the one who inspired Rukmini Devi for the art of dance. Wikimedia Commons

A ballerina

Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova was in Bombay in 1928. Rukmini Devi and her husband, a prominent British theosophist Dr. George Arundale, had gone to see her performance.

Later, the couple was on the same ship as her to their journey to Australia, where Pavlova was to perform next. Rukmini and Anna become close friends during the journey. Soon Rukmini started learning dance from Anna’s leading solo dancers, Cleo Nordi.

Eventually, on the advice of Anna, she started discovering Indian dance forms which were dying. Her life would remain dedicated to the objective of reviving these arts.

Bharatnatyam is an art form revived by Rukmini Devi. Wikimedia commons
Bharatnatyam is an art form revived by Rukmini Devi. Wikimedia Commons

The first performance

It was at the Annual Conference of Madras Music Academy, in 1933, that Rukmini Devi saw, for the first time, a performance of Sadhir (Bharatnatyam).

And in 1935, she gave her first public performance at the Diamond Jubilee Convention of the Theosophical Society.

This event was noted in history. It received widespread attention. There was some confusion and remaining anger within conservative sections of the society.

Though the major mark was, it opened gates for an average Indian girl to enter the dance form and cherish it. It somehow was the beginning of a reverse effect.

Read more: Ramli Ibrahim: A Malaysian steeped in Indian classical dances 

Revival

Bharatnatyam was earlier associated to the Devadais. Wikimedia commons
Bharatnatyam was earlier associated with the Devadasi. Wikimedia Commons

Bharatnatyam is a form which is at the center of global attention, Rukmini Devi had an unmistakable role in this.

  • She was successful in eliminating the extraneous ‘Sringaar’ and eroticism from the dance form, which was a legacy of Devadasis.
  • She introduced various new elements. For example musical instruments like violin, set and lighting design elements, innovative costume, and jewelry that was inspired by temple sculptures.
  • Dance dramas based on epics like Ramayana and Gita Govinda were a result of Rukmini Devi’s associated with noted scholars and artists with whom she collaborated.

Kalakshetra Academy

Rukmini Devi, along with her husband, established Kalakshetra academy of music and dance. It functioned under the Gurukul system.

Today, the academy is a deemed university having a 100-acre campus. It is considered one of the best and most reputed universities for learning classical Indian art forms.

Names like Radha Burnier, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay and Yamini Krishnamurthy have emerged from Kalakshetra.