Sangeet Natak Akademi

The Sangeet Natak Akademi (संगीत नाटक अकादेमी) was set up in 1953 for the promotion of performing arts. Setting up of Sangeet Natak Akademi is one of the main recommendations of the National conference on Dance, Drama, and Music, held in New Delhi in 1951.

Functions and Powers

The Sangeet Natak Akademi is an Autonomous Body under the Ministry of Culture. It acts at the national level for the:

  • promotion and growth of Indian music, dance and drama;
  • maintenance of standards of training in the performing arts;
  • revival, preservation, documentation and dissemination of materials as well as instruments relating to various forms of music, dance and drama
  • recognition of outstanding artists

The Akademi is also responsible for the establishment and maintenance of institutions and projects of national importance in the field of performing arts. Important institutions established by the academy are:

  • The Jawaharlal Nehru Manipuri Dance Academy in Imphal, the premier institution in Manipuri dance and music established in 1954
  • The National School of drama, New Delhi established in 1959
  • The Kathak Kendra (National Institute of Kathak Dance), New Delhi established in 1964
  • The Sattriya Kendra, Guwahati established in 2001
  • Projects of National importance supported by the Akademi are:
  • Kuttiyattam – the age-old Sanskrit theatre of Kerala
  • Chhau dances of eastern India
  • Sattriya traditions of Assam

In 2001 UNESCO declared Kutiyattam as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Awards and honours

Sangeet Natak Akademi Award

The Sangeet Natak Akademi Award is the highest recognition given in India annually to practicing artists. The award consists of Rs. 50,000, a citation, an angavastram (a shawl), and a tamrapatra (a brass plaque). The awards are given in the categories of music, dance, theatre, other traditional arts and puppetry, and for contribution/scholarship in performing arts.

Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship – ‘Ratna Sadsya’

The Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship is the highest honour in the performing arts conferred by the Government of India. The Akademi Fellowship carries prize money of Rs 3.00 lakh in cash, a Tamrapatra and an Angavastram. Fellowship is restricted to 30 eminent persons at any given time till 2010. In 2010 ten more seats of Akademi Fellows have been increased to be filled up in a phased manner over five years – two seats per year. Hence, at present, there are only 32 living Fellows.

Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puruskar

The Sangeet Natak Akademi has instituted “Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar” from the year 2006 to be awarded to young practitioners upto the age of 35 years, in the fields of music, dance and drama.