Delhi Govt Honours Amjad Ali, Ruskin Bond, Girija Devi

New Delhi
Delhi Govt Honours Amjad Ali, Ruskin Bond, Girija Devi
Eminent writer Ruskin Bond, renowned Sarod exponent Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and noted classical singer Girija Devi were conferred 'Lifetime Achievement Awards' by Delhi government at a glittering function here today.

The award, each comprising a citation and Rs 11 lakh, was presented to Bond, Khan and Devi by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit for their "outstanding, extraordinary and distinctive" contribution in their respective fields.

"Delhi government and people of the city are happy to bestow our love and affection to you," Dikshit said conferring the awards for the year 2011-12.

66-year-old Amjad Ali Khan was awarded India's second highest civilian honour Padma Vibhushan in 2001. He was honoured with Padma Shri award in 1975 and Padma Bhushan in 1991.

Devi, known as the queen of Thumri, is a classical vocalist who represents the Benaras Gharana. Devi, 81, was awarded Padma Shri in 1972 and Padma Bhushan in 1989. Her 'gayakee' incorporates elements of both the 'Seniya' as well as 'Benaras Gharana'.

Bond, 78, who has endeared himself to children and adults alike with his stories and novels, is an Indian author of British descent. He was also awarded Padma Shri in 1999 for his contribution to children's literature.

He has written over hundred short stories, essays, novels and more than thirty books for children in his over five decade of writing career.

Accepting the award, Bond said the award meant "a lot" to him as Delhi played an important part in his growing up.

"The award means a lot to me. It has come from people of Delhi as this is the city where it all began when I was an eight year old boy. Delhi did play an important part in my growing up," he said.

Remembering his stay in Atul Grove road in central Delhi, Bond said all the city has transformed a lot, the area he lived with his father in the 1940s has not changed much.

Speaking on the occasion, Khan dedicated the award to his wife Subbalakshmi and two sons, Amaan Ali and Ayaan Ali, saying his family was behind his success.

"The credit for the award goes to my wife and two sons who always motivate me. In fact they deserve the award," he said reminiscing his long journey as an exponent of Sarod.

"I feel life has just begun and I have to do a lot," he said amid thunderous applause from the audience which included Aman and Ayan among others.

In her acceptance speech, Devi thanked Delhi government for conferring the honour and said awards and recognition inspire people in various fields to excel further.

"I am really happy to receive the award. Renowned artistes, writers, musicians should be awarded so that young generation gets inspired," she said.

The popular Astitva band, comprising youngsters, also performed at the function.

The city government had instituted lifetime achievement awards in 2004-05 and previous recipients of the honour include Carnatic vocalist M S Subbulakshmi, historian Kapila Vatsyayan, actress Zohra Sehgal, vocalist Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, theatre personality Habib Tanvir and chess player Vishwanathan Anand.

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