Chhayanaut, a leading cultural outfit of Bangladesh, was honoured with India's prestigious Rabindranath Tagore Award for cultural harmony for the year 2015 by Indian President Ram Nath Kovind on February 18.
Chhayanaut is a cultural organisation of Bangladesh which has played a leading role in the promotion of Tagore's works and Bangla arts and literature not only within Bangladesh, but all across the world.
It also has rushed to the aid of people at times of famines, floods or riots, bringing people together to resolve crises with songs of protest on their lips.
While handing over the award at a function held at Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra in New Delhi, President Kovind said cooperation between Bangladesh and India in recent years in connectivity and developmental projects and in people-to-people engagement is blessed by the ethos of 'Gurudev'.
Chhayanaut President Sanjida Khatun received the award, which carries Rs one crore, a citation and an exquisite handicraft item, said Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi.
In her award acceptance speech which began with a Tagore song, Sanjida Khatun said Chhayanaut was honoured to receive the recognition named after Rabindranath from the Indian government.
"You've given us more than an award. You've inspired us to continue to pass on our cultural heritage and strive for fellowship and harmony," she said.
Speaking on the occasion, the Indian President said this Award is a celebration of Indian traditions of culture and of our civilisational wealth - whether in literature or music, art or drama, sculpture or handicrafts, design or digital art.
"Each region in our country has a distinct cultural identity. Yet, in its essence, culture does not divide - it unites and harmonises all of India and all of humanity," Press Information Bureau (PIB) of India quoted him as saying.
Congratulating the awardees, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it was Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore who understood the strength of diversity of our country and inculcated it in his Rabindra Sangeet.
The Prime Minister said Gurudev is respected internationally. The character and message emanating from the works of Gurudev transcend time and circumstance.
The Prime Minister added that in view of the conditions which prevail in the world today, it has become even more relevant to propagate the message of harmony and peace of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore.
The Indian President also presented the Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony for the years 2014 and 2016 to Rajkumar Singhajit Singh and Ram Vanji Sutar respectively, on the same day.
In his welcome address, Minister of State for Culture (IC) Dr Mahesh Sharma said it is a matter of great pride for them to honor Rajkumar Singhajit Singh, Chhayanaut and Ram Vanji Sutar who have done great work to carry forward the legacy of cultural harmony of Rabindranath Tagore.
The Tagore award for Cultural Harmony was introduced in 2012 and the first two recipients were sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar and composer Zubin Mehta in 2012 and 2013.
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