For Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the Third Haryana Institute of Fine Awards (HIFA) ceremony here turned out to be a get-together of sorts of his old Sainik School mates.
From the Chief Patron of HIFA, Col Manbir Choudhary (retd) to Prahlad Kakkar, the advertisement guru of India, who was conferred the prestigious Pandit Jasraj Samman, to a number of dignitaries sitting in the NDRI auditorium, there seemed to be a lot of bonhomie, back-slapping, hugging and cracking of jokes.
Hooda did not let his old mates go empty-handed, as he announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh for HIFA and said their demand of lending Gandhi Memorial Bhawan for art and cultural activities would be examined.
Hooda conferred the Karambhoomi Samman, Karamyogi Samman and Pandit Jasraj Samman upon 21 persons for their outstanding contribution in the field of art, culture, folk music, classical music, environment conservation, media and tourism.
Hooda conferred the Karambhoomi Samman upon famous artist Bhoop Singh Gulia and Daya Ram in the field of handicrafts. Others who were honoured included Haryanvi folk artiste Ishwar Sharma, journalist K.B. Pandit, Naresh Malhotra for classical music, magician S.K. Sharma, deputy director of Sri Krishan Museum Rajesh Purohit and Sultan Singh for his outstanding performance in pisciculture.
The CM also honoured noted stage artiste Sumer Sharma and actor Yash Pal Sharma. Each of them was presented with Rs 11,000 in cash, a shawl and a certificate of appreciation.
Hooda conferred Karamyogi Samman upon Amar Singh Dahiya of Panchkula for promotion of Haryana tourism, Karnal DC B.S. Malik for his outstanding contribution in the field of environment protection, noted handicraft artist dealing with elephants tusks Mahabir Prasad Bodhwal, sculptor Amar Chittare Roop Chand and Raj Pal Singh Gahlot for his contribution in the field of real estate.
He also conferred the award upon Baba Kashi Nath Almast for his contribution in the field of folk art, Suresh Gopal Shrikhande for classical music and art, besides folk artiste Raj Krishan Nain and Tarsem Lal Garg. Each of them was given Rs 31,000 in cash, a shawl and a certificate of appreciation.
Hooda conferred the most prestigious Pandit Jasraj Samman upon Prahlad Kakkar for his significant role in the field of advertising. Having brought laurels to the state in the field of films and TV, Kakkar is referred to as the advertisement guru of India. He was presented with Rs 1 lakh in cash, a shawl and a certificate of appreciation.
Hooda announced that two new awards, namely Haryana Sahitya Rattan Puruskar and Haryana Gaurav, had been instituted to further promote the rich culture and literature of the state.
Working president of Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee Kuldip Sharma and MP from Karnal Dr Arvind Sharma also praised the efforts of HIFA in promoting the rich art and culture of the state by honouring eminent personalities connected to these fields.