Thu, 09 Dec 2021 Today's Paper

India confers Padma Shri Awards on Dr. Chitrasena, Prof. Dassanayake

26 January 2020 10:36 am - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


The Government of India has decided to confer Padma Shri Awards on Deshabandu Dr. Vajira Chitrasena and Late Prof. Indra Dassanayake for their pioneering contributions in their individual fields of work and for strengthening India-Sri Lanka ties, the Indian High Commission in Colombo said.
Padma Shri Awards are one of the highest civilian awards in India, and are conferred on the recommendations made by the Padma Awards Committee, which is constituted by the Prime Minister of India every year. The awards seek to recognize achievements in all fields of activities or disciplines where an element of public service is involved.

Dr. Vajira Chitrasena is a living legend of Sri Lankan dance, and is considered to be Sri Lanka’s prima ballerina. She is the first Sinhala woman who made dance in the Kandyan style her full-time profession. Her artistic journey spans over six decades and at the age of 87, she now heads the Chitrasena-Vajira Dance Foundation and is also the Principal of the Dance School.

Her life’s contribution reaches far beyond the sphere of professional dance. She is a pedagogue who has researched dance teaching methods in India, Russia, the USA and Europe. A multi-faceted personality she excelled in choreography, direction, production and teaching.

Adorned with one of Sri Lanka’s highest national awards Deshabandhu among many other awards, Dr. Vajira has uniquely contributed to enriching India-Sri Lanka relations through the promotion of dance and blending the art forms of both countries especially the Kandyan and Odissi dance forms.

She and, her guru and husband Chitrasena, together with the Chitrasena Dance Company undertook various visits to India between1959 to 1998. The connection established by Chitrasena and Vajira with India has continued to flourish and culminated in a remarkable recent collaboration between the Chitrasena Dance Company and Nrityagram, an Indian dance ensemble of Odissi following the duo's visit in 2003 - the joint production ‘Samhara’ which received rave reviews in India, Sri Lanka, the USA and other countries. Combining the highly masculine and earthy Kandyan dance with the distinctly sensual and restrained Odissi, the production drew critical acclaim for its choreography that critics praised for retaining the essential vocabulary of both forms.

Late Professor Indra Dassanayake is the other recipient of Padma Shri Award in 2020. She was a renowned Professor of Hindi at Kelaniya University. Born in India in 1943, she was an alumnus of University of Lucknow.

Prof. Dassanayake was one of the pioneers to introduce and promote Hindi language in educational institutions of Sri Lanka. Incidentally, she participated in the first World Hindi Conference at Nagpur in 1975.

Prof. Dassanayake spearheaded the re-establishment of the Hindi Department of the University of Kelaniya in 1995. Primarily due to her efforts, the Hindi Department of University of Kelaniya has today become the largest Centre of Hindi Studies in Sri Lanka Thanks to her, Hindi is taught in more than 80 institutions and schools of Sri Lanka apart from six major universities at present.

Recognizing her contribution, Prof. Dassanayake was also honoured with the prestigious Dr. George Grierson Hindi Sevi Samman for 2005 at New Delhi in the World Hindi Conference on 18 December 2007. Sadly, she breathed her last at Colombo in September 2019. She is survived by her husband and one daughter.

Previously, in 2002, Government of India had honoured the legendary Sri Lankan musician and Magsaysay award winner WD Amaradeva with Padma Shri for his contribution to strengthening India-Sri Lanka musical ties.


  Comments - 1

  • Suren Sunday, 26 January 2020 06:51 PM

    For establishing Hindi Department! Now all professors rush to make all Sri Lanka Hindi Depts. Government be aware.

Add comment

Comments will be edited (grammar, spelling and slang) and authorized at the discretion of Daily Mirror online. The website also has the right not to publish selected comments.

Reply To:

Name - Reply Comment

A Sri Lankan giving dignified burials to unclaimed bodies for five decades

After their death, most people are memorialized at a service, surrounded by g

Focus on Laggala Gem mining big shots bigger than the law

The truth is now being uncovered regarding an illegal mining racket in state

How and why the TNA was formed twenty years ago

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is now twenty years of age. The premier pol

India lays emphasis on culture diplomacy with Sri Lanka

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wanted to inaugurate the Kushinagar Inter