Indian classical vocalist Prabha Atre has refused to accept the Swarbhaskar Puraskar declared by Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) while alleging that the civic body had defamed her over the issue of holding the function.
However, Pune Mayor Dattatraya Dhankawade said he would personally request the vocalist to accept the award.
“I have received a lot of awards at the national level. In my 83 years, I am suffering for the first time like this for no reason and that too at my birthplace and at the hands of my own people. In so many years, there has been no efforts to praise and felicitate me… instead I have been defamed. I have great respect for Pandit Bhimsen Joshi. But in the backdrop of the entire issue, I have decided not to accept the award,” Atre said.
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The civic body on June 13 last year had announced Swarbhaskar award in the name of Pt Bhimsen Joshi for Atre. The award consists of a cash prize of Rs 1,11,000 and citation. However, the mayor recently said that the felicitation function had got delayed due to inability to get chief guests suggested by the veteran singer.
The vocalist said she had to make a written clarification as the PMC made public the issue of award function. “I am surprised that the private e-mails with the mayor were made public. This kind of behaviour of PMC was immature, irresponsible and unethical,” she said.
Dhankawade said, “We have great respect for Atre. There was no intention to defame her and the information on the reasons for delay in holding the function was made public only because deputy mayor Ulhas Bagul had urged the civic body to give the award in a week or he would give it on his own.”