The Kashmir Times, Jammu

The kashmir Times, Jammu

National award for
Seema Anil Sehgal

Mumbai based renowned singer-composer from Jammu & Kashmir, Seema Anil Sehgal, has been conferred the prestigious Hakim Khan Sur Award for the year 2005-2006, for her ‘lasting contribution in the field of national integration’ through her music.

Lata Mangeshkar, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Sunil Dutt, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and social activists Asghar Ali Engineer and Teesta Setalvad adorn the roll of honour for this prestigious national award.

The award instituted by the Maharana Mewar Foundation, Udaipur, in 1986, carries a cash prize of Rs 25,001/-, a silver citation and a ceremonial shawl.

The Chairman and Managing Trustee of the Foundation, Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar will present the award at a special function to be held at the Manek Chowk, The City Palace, Udaipur, on Sunday, 5 March 2006.

Seema is the only singer in the world whose voice has been presented as a national gift. It may be recalled that Prime Minister Vajpayee created history when he presented Sarhad, a music album sung and composed by Seema, as a national gift, to his erstwhile Pakistani counterpart during the historic Lahore Summit, in February 1999.

She was later felicitated at the prestigious Harvard University, Boston, USA, and is the only singer from India to receive such honour.

Seema has effectively employed her music with meaningful poetry to establish peace and communal harmony in the immediate Indian society and world at large.

Since January 2002, she has been singing her especially devised Peace Concerts, titled ‘Lahoo Ka Rang Ek Hai’, in different parts of India to promote national integration by bringing different communities of India closer; especially the two estranged communities Hindus and Muslims.

Hakim Khan Sur, in whose name this national award has been instituted, was a Pathan (from the North West frontier), who came to Mewar from Hyderabad, his city of domicile. He became a general in Rana Pratap’s army and fought to uphold the freedom and beliefs of his adopted home. He fought in the epic battle of Haldi Ghati (1576 AD) against the invading Mughal army of Emperor Akbar.

This was the first recorded instance in which the Mewar army was led by an outsider, and not one of it’s own sons. Despite being a follower of Islam fighting against his blood brothers, Hakim Khan Sur was the first to lay down his life in battle, and uphold the freedom and honour of Mewar. Even in death no one could part him from his sword, and so he was buried with full honours – sword in hand.

His sacrifice is symbolic of the supremacy of ideology over religious and communal considerations. He was committed to the principles of Manav Dharma.