Asking Sangeet Natak Akademi and other such institutions to admire, nurture and patronise youth artistes in various parts of the country, the President said "at least ten awards may be instituted for celebrating the young artists below 20 years. I suggest a special team should be deputed for spotting the artists by visiting the rural areas".
Conferring the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards 2005 to 36 artistes and conferring 'Fellow' status to six, he said music and dance could be used as an instrument to ensure global peace and act as a binding force.
There were many young artists all over the country, especially in smaller towns and villages. For them to pursue artistic profession even on part time basis was a difficult job, he said asked the Akademi to take the lead in addressing the issue urgently.
"Otherwise, best of the young persons who do not have patrons to promote them, may not get into artistic profession at all. If talented youth from different walks of life are facilitated to enter into art, the richness and diversity of the Indian art forms will get the much needed nourishment", Kalam said amid applause.
Observing that theatre could be used to spread positive messages to the society and the world at large, Kalam said all art forms could ensure global peace and act as a binding force. "Music transcends hundreds of miles and brings peace and happiness". The President, who is himself a music connoisseur, said he had started a series of cultural programmes in Rashtrapati Bhavan to acknowledge the contribution of the renowned as well as the young artistes.
He said along with top artistes like Pandit Jasraj, Ustad Bismillah Khan and Hari Prasad Chaurasia, several young artistes, even in their teens, had performed in these programmes.
The President gave away fellowships of the Akademi Zohra Sehgal, Kathakali guru K Ramankutty Nair, sitar and Surbahar maestro Annapurna Devi, lighting designer Tapas Sen, choreographer and danseuse Chandralekha and folk singer Bindhyabasini Devi.
Those who received Akademi Awards were Balwant Rai Bhatt, Tejpal Singh and Surinder Singh (Singh Bandhu), Suresh Talwalkar, Aashish Khan, C Saroja and C Lalitha (Bombay Sisters), T A Jayaraman, Madras A Kannan, P Sitaram, Nirmala Ramachandran, Saswati Sen, K Vashu Pisharody, Durllav Singh, P Seetha Ramiah, K Sugandhi, Jatin Goswami, Swadesh Deepak, Indira Parthasarathy, Anuradha Kapur, Lokendra Arambam, Raj Bisaria, Rohini Hattangady, Ramcharan Nirmalkar, Hans Raj Hans, Naren Gurung, K Rama Chakyar, John Lalhluna, N Ibemni Devi, Satyaram Reang, Maguni Charan Kuanr, Kanhai Lal Maharana and Sushil Kumar Saxena.