Agartala, March 11 : A Tripura nonagenarian folk musician on Monday said he was upset for not being able to physically receive the prestigious Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian award, from President Ram Nath Kovind due to old-age complications.
“I am very upset that I could not personally receive the prestigious national award from the President,” the musician, Thanga Darlong, told IANS.
Earlier on Monday, President Kovind presented the Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri awards for 2019 at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.
Northern Tripura’s Kailashahar Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Vishal Kumar said: “He (Darlong)is 96-years old. Due to old age ailments, he could not attend the ceremony in the national capital.”
Kumar said a state government official would attend the ceremony on behalf of Darlong.
In January, the Union Home Ministry announced to confer the Padma Shri on Darlong, who made the “Rosem”, a flute-like musical instrument made of bamboo, and continues to play it till date.
The instrument is made using seven small bamboo chips which is pierced into a wild fruit, locally called “om”, similar to a gourd.
Last month, the Tripura government conferred Darlong the first Atal Bihari Vajpayee Life-Term Achievement Award. It was presented at the valedictory function of the 37th Agartala Book Fair.
The musician, who has travelled with his instrument across India and also to several other countries including Japan, has already been bestowed with the Sangeet Natak Academy Award, the Academic Fellowship Award and the state’s Vayoshresta Samman.