The Government of India has announced the winners of the Padma Awards for the year 2019. The great singer, Late Bhupen Hazarika has been conferred the nation’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna. ‘Sudhakanta’, as he was known, was honoured posthumously, seven years after his death. The Assamese legend has been credited with introducing the culture and folk music of Assam and Northeast India to Indian cinema. He has previously been a recipient of Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Padmashri and Padmabhushan. Hazarika was also awarded with the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke Award. The maestro, who was also a lyricist, composer and a poet, has given the music world gems such as Manuhe Manuhor Babey, Ganga behti ho kyu, Dil hoom hoom kare, Ami ekekhon nawore jatri, O Videsi Bandhu and countless others in Assamese as well as in Hindi.
One Padma Bhushan, conferred for distinguished service of higher order and six Padma Shri, conferred for distinguished service, were announced in the field of classical music and dance. Pandit Budhaditya Mukherjee, well known sitar and surbahar maestro of the ‘Imdadkhani gharana’ has been nominated for Padma Bhushan. Hindustani Music scholar and vocalist Pandit Rajeshwar Acharya, eminent tabla player Swapan Chaudhuri, Bharatanatyam exponent and a descendant of the Tanjore Quartet brothers Narthaki Natraj, French Kathakalidancer Milena Salvini, and Sarod maestro Pandit Rajeev Taranath have been honoured with the Padma Shri. Folk singer Teejan Bai will be honoured with the Padma Vibhushan.
Besides classical music, musicians from the folk and cinema fields were also included in the list of Padma Awards. The list includes folk singer Pritam Bhartwan,Carnatic vocalist K G Jayan, playback singer Shankar Mahadevan, folk singer Anup Ranjan Pandey, famous percussionist Anandan Sivamani, folk singer Hiralal Yadav and flautist Thanga Darlong.
The Padma Awards are one of the highest civilian honours of India announced annually on the eve of Republic Day. The award seeks to recognize works of distinction and is given for distinguished and exceptional achievements/service in all fields of activities/ disciplines.