Chennai: Yoga expert, folk art exponent bag Padma Vibushan

Archaeologist Ramachandran Nagaswamy and engineer Rajagopal Vasudevan among awardees.

Chennai: Legendary composer Ilayaraja, who heralded traditional Tamil music into films at a time when Hindi songs were dominating in Kollywood, was on Thursday night conferred with Padma Vibushan, the second highest civilian award in the country.

Ramachandran Nagaswamy, renowned archaeologist and epigraphist who is known for his work on temple inscriptions and art history of Tamil Nadu, was conferred the Padma Bhushan, while Yoga expert V Nanammal, folk singer Vijayalakshmi Navaneethakrishnan, engineer Rajagopal Vasudevan and wildlife conservationist Romulus Whitaker were named for Padma Shri awards.

The Padma awards were announced on Thursday night on the eve of the Republic Day Celebrations. The awards will be presented to the dignitaries at a function in March by President Ram Nath Kovind.

The award for Ilayaraja was welcomed with joy by the Tamil film fraternity and his fans who termed it as an “honour for the award.” Film stars from Rajinikanth to Kamal Haasan to political leaders welcomed conferment of Padma Vibhushan on Ilayaraja, who himself accepted the award with much humility.

“I consider the award as an honour bestowed upon the people of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana,” the legendary music composer said. Illayaraja has composed music for over 1,000 films in Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and Hindi.

Nagaswamy, who served as the founder-Director of the Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department, is a legendary figure in the field and several people welcomed conferment of Padma Bhushan though some said he deserved much more.

Vijayalakshmi, considered the encyclopaedia of Tamil folk, has spent all her life works towards collection, documentation and preservation of Tamil folk and tribal music. A retired professor of the Department of Folk Arts and Culture at the Madurai Kamaraj University, Vijayalakshmi has recorded more than 10,000 audio casettesof authentic folk music. Nanammal is India’s oldest yoga teacher and 600 students of hers have become teachers in the field and though she is 98 years old, she is still involved herself in teaching yoga and established Ozone Yoga Centre in 1972.

Romulus Whitaker is a wildlife conservationist and herpetologist preserving biodiversity in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, while Rajagopalan Vasudevan is a Madurai-based professor who developed and patented an innovative method to reuse plastic waste to construct roads.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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