City-based western music prodigy Syed Fateen Ahmed and Bharatanatyam dancer Remona Evette Pereira were among the 29 children who received the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar award on Monday.
Fourteen-year-old Fateen, who began learning music at the age of three, is now a western classical pianist, guitarist, and vocalist trained by international teachers.
Remona, 17, received the award in recognition of her achievements in art and culture. Remona has been trained in semi-classical, western, and contemporary dance styles.
“My mother applied for this award last year after she got to know about it from a friend. It is a great feeling and an honour to receive this award. I feel proud to represent India,” Fateen told DH.
Fateen takes western piano lessons from Belarusian concert pianists and concertmasters Natallia Kapylova and Liudmilla Alizarchyk.
At the age of 12, in December 2020, he also became one of the youngest Indians to complete a diploma with distinction at the London College of Music (LCM).
Fateen’s parents Asma and Syed Zameer said their son was honoured to receive the award. “We read the Prime Minister’s tweet about him and are touched. It is very encouraging.”
Studying in class 8 in Samved School in the city, Fateen wants to build a career in western music and aspires to become a sound engineer. Apart from music, he is also interested in painting, chess, and swimming. Bengaluru Urban DC J Manjunath felicitated Fateen at Kandaya Bhavan.
Along with Fateen, the district administration also felicitated Uttar Pradesh’s Abhinav Kumar Choudhary who won the award in the social service category.
Choudhary is studying in Jawahar Navodaya School, Bengaluru Urban, according to officials. Choudhary had created an app to promote the reuse of books during the lockdown, which benefitted thousands of children in rural India.
Dancing on glass shreds
Remona, who started learning dance at the age of three, said she initially found it difficult to dance on shreds of glass. “Many times the glass shreds have pierced through. But due to the constant encouragement from my mother, I mastered the dance.”
“Despite financial difficulties, my mother Gladis Celine enrolled me in a classical dancing school.
"I am now driven by a passion to highlight the diversity of culture in Indian classical dance to the world,” said Remona, who was greeted by Narendra Modi virtually. Remona recollected how her mother had to struggle after the death of her father.
(With inputs from Harsha in Mangaluru)
Check out latest DH videos here