S. K. Saxena

Sangeet Natak Akademi Award 2004 Overall Contribution/Scholarships in Performing Arts Born in 1920 at Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, Shri Sushil Kumar Saxena is a noted philosopher of art who has contributed to the interpretation of Hindustani music rhythm and Kathak dance from the viewpoint of contemporary philosophical aesthetics. From 1948 to 1986, when he retired as a Professor, Shri Saxena has taught philosophy in the University of Delhi, focusing on the study of aesthetics for most of his academic career. Among philosophers of art in our own times, Shri Saxena is distinguished by his involvement with practical dance and music, and by his contribution to public appreciation of these arts as a critic and speaker. This live engagement, coupled with a philosopher’s disciplined thinking, has brought forth a corpus of writings that shed light on the performing arts. His books dealing with Indian music and dance include The Winged Form: Aesthetical Essays on Hindustani Rhythm (1979); Swinging Syllables: Aesthetics of Kathak Dance (1991); and Hindustani Sangeet and A Philosopher of Art (2001). He is the only Indian, after Dr S. Radhakrishnan, to appear as an author in the Muirhead Library series of philosophical works published by George Allen & Unwin. Besides the Muirhead title, Studies in the Metaphysics of Bradley (1967), Shri Saxena has published a study of Gandhi’s ethico-religious thought, Ever Unto God: Essays on Gandhi and Religion (1988), as well as a stream of aesthetical essays published in leading journals in India, Britain, Europe and the United States. Diogene, the British Journal of Aesthetics, Philosophy East and West, and the Journal of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research are some of the journals that have published his papers, besides Sangeet Natak Akademi’s own periodical Sangeet Natak and the music and dance magazine Sruti. Shri Saxena is the first professional philosopher and aesthetician to receive the Akademi’s Award. In the documentation of music and dance, Shri Saxena has lent his expertise to Sangeet Natak Akademi and the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, on whose behalf he has conducted recordings of performances by a number of distinguished artists. His own work as a composer of vocal music has been appreciated in performances by the Kathak dancer Rani Karnaa, who has herself been honoured with the Akademi's Award. Shri Sushil Kumar Saxena receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his overall contribution to the performing arts, and his scholarship in music and dance.