The prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi for performing arts in Delhi has always been known to nurture upcoming talents. Five people from India’s Northeast have been honoured with the Akademi’s Bismillah Khan Yuba Puraskar for 2013 and 2014 respectively.
Anwesha Mahanta and Mridusmita Das were awarded for their contribution to Sattriya dance. Delong Padung of Arunachal Pradesh was awarded for his contribution to folk music. Supongsangla Jamir of Nagaland was awarded the Yuba Puraskar for her contribution to the field of choral music and lastly Yumnam Bhumeshwor Singh of Manipur received the award for excellence in the musical tradition Natya Sankirtana Pung.
Anwesha Mahanta said on the occasion, ‘I feel so honoured and blessed to receive this award; my years of learning and research on the great heritage of Sattriya Dance under the guidance of my mentor Padmashri Bayanacharya Ghanakanta Bora has bore fruit. The award is an ode to his teachings. It’s also an honour to the Sattra, which has always inspired me with its deep philosophy of culture and socialization of arts. I offer my respect and gratitude to my parents who have been constantly supporting me in pursuing my vision. I also thank all the art lovers, connoisseurs and scholars, for showering immense love and recognition to my work and understanding of dance’.
The award was presented along with a cash prize of Rs 25,000 by the Sangeet Natak Akademi chairman Shekhar Sen and Tripura Governor Tathagata Roy.