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Aditi Mangaldas declines Gujarat award

At the Gujarat State Sangeet Natak Akademi award function, scheduled next week in Gandhinagar, at least one awardee will be missing.

At the Gujarat State Sangeet Natak Akademi award function, scheduled next week in Gandhinagar, at least one awardee will be missing. Kathak exponent Aditi Mangaldas, who was chosen for the ‘Gaurav Puraskar’ in the field of dance this year, has declined the award. She says, “While I deeply honour the Akademi, I would not like to accept the award since it has been bestowed by a state Government whose policies I do not agree with.”

The 47-year-old dancer was informed about the award through a letter, which was sent to her Sainik Farm home in Delhi, and which she went through on September 17 after her return from a trip to Germany.

“The Sangeet Natak Akademi called me to get my address when I was in Germany. I did not know the reason, so I simply gave them the details. However, once I saw the letter I immediately knew what action I wanted to take,” says Mangaldas.

The dancer, who also runs the Drishtikon Dance Foundation, informed the Akademi about her decision through an email posted on Tuesday. “I told them that it was impossible for me to accept the award because of the nature of activities that the present state Government has indulged in. How can one celebrate true art through violence?”

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Born in Mumbai, Mangaldas spent several years in Gujarat and completed her graduation from St. Xavier’s College in Ahmedabad . “The environment in the state has drastically changed since then. Several divisions have emerged in terms of ideologies and there is an intolerance where people have stopped respecting each other,” rues Mangaldas, a recipient of the Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini Award.

While she has not tried to contact other performing artistes who are to receive the awards this year, Das hopes that her decision is accepted well by people of the state. “I am sure fellow Gujaratis, who share my feelings, will support my decision,” she says.

She, however, continues to perform in the state. She has a contemporary dance performance scheduled in Banaskatha near Ahmedabad next week.

First published on: 19-09-2007 at 11:49:31 pm
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