India’s iconic singer, tabla maestro snub BJP govt by declining Padma awards

By: News Desk
Published: 02:39 PM, 26 Jan, 2022
India’s iconic singer, tabla maestro snub BJP govt by declining Padma awards
Caption: Eminent tabla player Pandit Anindya Chatterjee and singing legend Sandhya Mukherjee have declined the Padma Shri honour.
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Eminent Indian tabla player Pandit Anindya Chatterjee has declined to receive the Padma Shri honour. Chatterjee is the second person from Bengal’s vibrant musical world, after singing legend Sandhya Mukherjee, who refused Padma honour.

The eminent percussionist, who has done `jugal bandis’ (duets) with classical maestros like Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, said on Wednesday that he had received a phone call from the government in New Delhi on Tuesday seeking his consent to accepting the honour.

“However I politely declined. I said thank you but I am not ready to receive Padma Shri at this phase of my career. I have passed that phase,” Chatterjee who received the Sangeet Natak Akademi award in 2002 said.

A disciple of Pandit Jnan Prakash Ghosh, he has performed at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in the past and was the youngest tabla player to perform in the British Parliament’s House of Commons in 1989.

Chatterjee said he would have accepted the honour with gratitude had it been conferred on him 10 years back. “Many of my contemporaries and juniors were given Padma Shri years ago. Anyway I said with all humbleness, that I am sorry but I cannot accept it (award) now.”

Singing legend Sandhya Mukherjee similarly turned down the offer of the Padma Shri Award offered to her by the Centre on Tuesday evening.

“At the age of 90, having regaled generations of listeners for around eight decades, she deserved something more,” her daughter said.

Besides Mukherjee and Chatterjee, CPI-M leader and former West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee also turned down an offer to award him Padma Bhushan on Tuesday.