Thiruvananthapuram: Renowned Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan was Wednesday conferred with Kerala Goverment's prestigious music award, 'Swathi Sangeetha Puraskaram,' for his outstanding contribution to Indian music.
The award, instituted in memory of legendary music composer Maharaja Swathi Thirunal, carries a cash prize of Rs one lakh, citation and a medal, and was presented to the maestro by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, at a function at the Durbar hall of the Secretariat here.
Chandy said the state government had identified a two- acre land at nearby Veli for setting up the proposed music academy of the maestro.
"Government has launched some proceedings. We have identified two acre land at Veli and are planning to give this land for the academy."
"Conferring the award on Amjad Ali Khan is a proud moment for the state," he said.
Khan said, "it is a great honour and privilege to receive the award."
Remembering great musicians like Muthuswamy Dikshitar, Tyagaraja and Swathi Thirunal, he said their contributions helped Indian music flourish. "It is due to their commitment, our Indian music exists."
Referring to music, he said the sound of sitar, sarod and tabla connects to God. But language does create 'barriers'.
"Because we do not deal with language, we communciate with sound. Other kind of music is based on texts and krithis."
"Language does create barriers and can be manipulated. But I thank god, I belong to sound (community)," he said.
Profusely thanking the chief minister and state government for the award, he said he felt at home in Kerala and knew that he would get all support from the state.
He also said it would a take year for the academy to become a reality. "We have identified a place," he said, adding, the plan was to take 'only committed' students. "It is not for entertainment."
The citation described Amjad Ali Khan as the "most distinguished sarod maestro who has rendered meritorius services to preserve and promote the tradition of Indian classical music in general and Senia Bangash Gharana in particular.