The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee conferred the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowships (Akademi Ratna) on violinist N Rajam, Grammy award-winning percussionist T H Vikku Vinayakram and veteran playwright Ratan Thiyam for the year 2012, on 28 May 2013. The awards were given away at a ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.
Apart from these three personalities, other 34 artists were given away the Akademi awards (Akademi Puraskar). These artists were from different spheres such as theatre, music, dance and traditional arts. For the overall contribution to the performing arts, Nandini Ramani and Arun Mahadev Kakade were also given away the awards.
About the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowships (Akademi Ratna)
• Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship and Awards are given by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's National Academy of Music, Dance & Drama.
• It is the highest national recognition given to practicing artists.
• The Akademi Award, also known as Akademi Puraskar has been conferred on people since 1952 and the Akademi Fellow honour also called Akademi Ratna has been conferred since 1954.
• Akademi Fellowship carries a prize amount of three lakh rupees and the Akademi Awards carry a prize amount of one lakh rupees, besides Tamrapatra and Angavastram.
• The Fellowships are restricted to forty living recipients at any given time. New Fellows are elected upon the demise of an existing Fellow.
• Karaikudi Sambasiva Aiyer, Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, Allauddin Khan, Hafiz Ali Khan, and Prithviraj Kapoor were the first awardees of Sangeet Natak Akademi fellowships.
About the Sangeet Natak Akademi
• Sangeet Natak Akademi was established by the Government of India in 1953 and is India's National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama.
• It is responsible for promotion and preservation of the performing arts of the country.
• One of the important activities of the Akademi is to honour artists of outstanding individual achievement in the fields of music, dance and drama.