Monday, 5 January 2015

Article - Natya Kala Acharya award: Acceptance speech by Leela Samson

(We are delighted to share the incisive and thoughtful speech made by Leela Samson after accepting the Natya Kala Acharya award conferred by the Music Academy, Chennai, on January 3, 2015.)

Sri N. Murali, President and members of the Executive Board of The Music Academy Madras, Mr. Masanori Nakano, Consul General of Japan in Chennai, senior gurus present here and those not here physically, under whose shade and inspiration we live, friends from foreign lands who have made our art forms their passion, rasikas of music and dance and friends…

I am deeply honored to be the recipient of the award and title of ‘Natya Kala Acharya’ that has been bestowed upon me today. This honour done to me is, without an iota of doubt, the honouring of those many wonderful individuals who lit my path and helped fire my imagination.

Nature - the greatest teacher has taught not merely the nature of the universe, but also the nature of men. My parents and family were inspirational in the high values and simplicity that they lived by. Good, honest friends are a perennial source of strength along the journey. They are the ones who help pick up the pieces of your life, when the dream shatters. Gurus are our mainstay; those who cared to point us in pertinent directions and not merely teach material, teachers who waited patiently for results without forcing an accepted norm of beauty, teachers whose reprimand, however harsh and hurtful made me reflect deeply on the matter at hand – to these many preceptors I bow every day of my life. Some of them are with us and continue to remind us of the rules of engagement with the art and of a time gone by; others have moved into the other world only to return, I believe as artists and gurus - to delight us once again with their art of exceptional quality. 

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