The Sangeet Natak Akademi - India's national academy
for music, dance and drama - is the first National
Academy of the arts set-up by the Republic of India.
It was created by a resolution of the (then) Ministry
of Education, Government of India, dated 31 May
1952 notified in the Gazette of India of June 1952.
The Akademi became functional the following year,
with the appointment of its first Chairman, Dr P.V.
Rajamannar, and the formation of its all-India council
of representatives, the General Council. The first
President of India, Dr Rajendra Prasad, inaugurated
it on 28 January 1953 in a special function held
in the Parliament House. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad,
then Union Minister for Education, in his opening
address at the inauguration of the Akademi, said:
“India's precious heritage of music, drama
and dance is one which we must cherish and develop.
We must do so not only for our own sake but also
as our contribution to the cultural heritage of
mankind. Nowhere is it truer than in the field of
art that to sustain means to create. Traditions
cannot be preserved but can only be created afresh.
It will be the aim of this Akademi to preserve our
traditions by offering them an institutional form…”
“In a democratic regime, the arts can derive
their sustenance only from the people, and the state,
as the organized manifestation of the people's will,
must, therefore, undertake … maintenance and
development [of arts] as one of [its] first responsibilities…”
The Akademi's charter of functions was expanded
along the original lines in 1961, when the Sangeet
Natak Akademi was reconstituted by the Government
as a society and registered under the Societies
Registration Act of 1860 (as amended in 1957). These
functions are set down in the Akademi's Memorandum
of Association, adopted at its registration as a
society on 11 September 1961.
Since its inception the Akademi has been functioning
as the apex body of the performing arts in the country,
preserving and promoting the vast intangible heritage
of India's diverse culture expressed in the forms
of music, dance and drama. In furtherance of its
objectives the Akademi coordinates and collaborates
with the governments and art academies of different
States and Territories of the Union of India as
also with major cultural institutions in the country.
The Akademi establishes and looks after institutions
and projects of national importance in the field
of the performing arts. The National School of Drama,
set up in 1959, was the first of their two national
institutions of dance -- Jawaharlal Nehru Manipur
Dance Academy in Imphal and Kathak Kendra (National
Institute of Kathak Dance) in New Delhi - were set
up in 1964 respectively. National Projects of Support
to Kuttiyattam - the age-old Sanskrit theatre of
Kerala - Chhau dances of eastern India and Sattriya
traditions of Assam have been lauched subsequently.
After ten years of intensive work under the Kutiyattam
project, the UNESCO declared Kutiyattam as a Masterpiece
of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in May
2001.It organizes performances of music, dance,
The Akademi Awards are the highest national recognition
conferred on eminent artistes. The Akademi also
confers Fellowships and Scholarship, their numbers
being restricted to 30 living recipients. The Fellowship
and Awards caries purse money of Rs. 3,00,000/-
and Rs. 1,00,000/- respectively besides a shawl
To subsidize the work of institutions engaged in
teaching, performing or promoting music, dance,
or theatre; the Akademi gives grants-in-aid for
research, documentation, and publishing in the performing
arts; organizes and subsidizes seminars and conferences
of subject specialists; documents and records the
performing arts for its audio-visual archive.
The Akademi's audio-visual archive comprising audio/video
tapes, photographs and films is the largest in the
country and is extensively drawn upon by the scholars
for research on the performing arts. The Akademi
maintains a reference library consisting of books
in English, Hindi and some regional languages. The
Akademi has a gallery of musical instruments in
Rabindra Bhavan, New Delhi, where more than 250
musical instruments are displayed. It also has a
documentation unit, which has collected and recorded
works of maestros in the field of music, dance and
theatre on audio and video to help researchers in
the field and a gallery of musical instruments;
and publishes literature on relevant subjects on
a small scale.
As the apex body specializing in the performing
arts of the country, the Akademi also renders advice
and assistance to the Government of India in the
task of formulating and implementing policies and
programmes in the field. Additionally, the Akademi
carries a part of the responsibilities of the state
for fostering cultural contacts between various
regions in India, and between India and the world.
The Sangeet Natak Akademi is presently an Autonomous
Body of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India
and is fully funded by the Government for implementation
of its schemes and programmes.
Aims and Objectives
• To co-ordinate the activities of regional
or State Academies of music, dance and drama.
• To promote research in the fields of Indian
music, dance and drama and for this purpose, to
establish a library and museum, etc.
• To co-operate with such similar Academies
as there may be and other institutions and associations
for the furtherance of its objects and for the enrichment
of Indian culture as a whole.
• To encourage the exchange of ideas and enrichment
of techniques between the different regions in regard
to the arts of music, dance and drama.
• To encourage the establishment of theatre
centres, on the basis of regional languages, and
co-operation among different theatre centers.
• To encourage the setting up of institutions
providing training in the art of theatre, including
instructions in actor's training, study of stage-craft
and production of plays.
• To encourage and assist production of new
plays by awarding prizes and distinctions.
• To publish literature on Indian music, dance
and drama including reference works such as an illustrated
dictionary or handbook of technical terms.
• To give recognition to and otherwise assist
meritorious, theatrical organizations.
• To encourage the development of amateur
dramatic activity, children's theatre, the open-air
theatre and the rural theatre in its various forms.
• To revive and preserve folk music, folk
dance and folk drama in different regions of the
country and to encourage the development of community
music, martial music and other types of music.
• To sponsor music, dance and drama festivals,
seminars, conferences on an all-India basis and
to encourage such regional festivals.
• To award prizes and distinctions and to
give recognition to individual artistes for outstanding
achievement in the fields of music, dance and drama.
• To take suitable steps for the maintenance
of proper and adequate standards of education in
music, dance and drama and with that object to organize
research in the teaching of the said subjects.
• To foster cultural contacts between the
different regions of the country and also with other
countries in the fields of music, dance and drama.