Bhubaneswar: Eminent puppeteer Maguni Charan Kuanr, elated over his selection for the Padma Shri award, Thursday said he will try to draw the attention of President Droupadi Murmu to the plight of the artistes in the villages.
The 85-year-old artiste was among the four persons from the state who were selected for the coveted award, the three others being noted litterateur Antaryami Mishra, Sambalpuri folk singer Krishna Patel and conservationist Priyabrat Sahu.
Kuanr recalled how he had urged the then President APJ Abdul Kalam for help to keep the art form alive, during a meeting while receiving an award.
He said he has sold his wife’s ornaments for the art form.
Kuanr, who hails from a family of traditional puppeteers, said he was initiated into the art form of ‘Kandhei Nach’ (doll dance) by his father Baishnab Charan Kuanr.
Among other Padma awardees, Patel has lent her voice to renowned Sambalpuri folk song ‘Rangabati Rangabati’ along with Jitendra Haripal, who has already received the Padma award for the song.
A popular name in western Odisha, Patel has sung over 500 songs. She was less than 21 years of age when she sang the ‘Rangabati Rangabati’ song.
Eminent Odia litterateur Antaryami Mishra, who has received the award for his contribution to research in Odia language, grammar, culture and history for the last 50 years, has so far authored around 30 books.
Another Padma awardee from the state, Ayurveda practitioner Patayat Sahu, has grown more than 3,000 medicinal plants in his Nandol village in Kalahandi district without the help of fertilisers, chemicals or pesticides.
Sahu said he learnt traditional healing practices from his grandfather, who was a ‘vaidya’ (traditional healer) and that he does not charge anything from his patients.
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