Trend: National awards are becoming notional and notional awards are becoming national.
When relevance is lost, when anyone with push and pull can get their own children or students or favourites, national awards like the SNA or other state awards, then these awards become meaningless. 30-40 years ago, we used to think that ultimate honour and sign of professional arrival, for a performing artiste, were the SNA awards. It was given in the name of the President of India. The ceremony was simply done in Delhi’s only halls of note: the Sapru House or Mavalankar Hall or the Constitution Club. When not available, a shamiana (wedding-type tent) used to be constructed in the lawns on Rabindra Bhavan itself, where the 3 Akademis are housed (the elegant and airy building itself designed by famous dancer Indrani Rahman’s architect husband Habib Rahman) in 1960s and 70s and the likes of great historian and culture/education ministers like Maulana Azad or Prof. Nurul Hassan or cultured talents like K.P.S. Menon or Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay (who were also its Chairman) used to bestow the awards, when and if the President could not do so.
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