Patiala August 21 - The coveted "Punjab Today -Punjabi of the Year" award sponsored by the leading Patiala based  media house, "Punjab Today", was bestowed on celebrated music maestros, the Singh Bandhu for the year 2004 and late film star, social activist and Union Minister Sunil Dutt for the year 2003 at a solemn yet impressive function on August 20, 2005 at the auditorium of Central Library, Patiala.

         While the Singh Bandhu were present to receive the award, the honour bestowed on Sunil Dutt was received by the Deputy Commissioner Patiala, Shri Tejveer Singh and SSP Patiala S. A. S. Rai jointly. Kumar Gaurav, the late Dutt's son in law, who was to have received the award, could not make it due to some unavoidable reasons. Although Dutt had been chosen for the honour while he was still alive and was to have attended the function in this connection on June 25, it had to be conferred on him posthumously because of his sudden demise.

          Punajb Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, who was to have presided over the function, was held up because of the visit of central leaders of his party to Hoshiarpur. On his behalf, Punjab Rural Development and  Panchayat and Energy Minister, Mr. Lal Singh conferred the awards on the Singh Bandhu and on Mr. Dutt.

          Speaking on the occasion, Surinder Singh of the  Singh Bandhu duo, both of whom appeared to have been moved by the occasion, said that it was the first time in their lives that someone from their home state had thought of bestowing an honour on them.In chaste Punjabi, he described it as a case of "Ghar da jogi jogra."

Tejpal Singh the other maestro of the duo said that the Indian classical music had great and unparalleled tradition in Punjab and most of the distinguished gharanas  traced their lineage to this state. He said that the Sikh Gurus had themselves chosen music as a media of sublime dialogue and based all their gurbani on the raagas. "This is the only instance of divine scripture set entirely to the grammar of music which has rightly been described as "language of the soul." He however regreted that not enough focus was being laid on the tradition in the modern day Punajb. "Even the gurbani lovers were not paying enough attention to the beautiful and soulful nuances of Indian classical music. The Gurus broke fresh spiritual ground by marrying their message to the outpourings of the soul best expressed through music but not many of their followers are aware of the profound significance  of why the great masters chose music as a medium of dialogue with god, although it was against the prevailing religious traditions and  trends of those times and was even frowned upon by the ruling Mughal elite.

   The Singh Bandhu had special word of praise for the Punjab Today, a global magazine devoted to Punjab published form Patiala and said that their initiative in felicitating Punjabis from different fields for their excellence in their chosen spheres needed to be emulated by the government.

    Mr. Lal Singh assured the gathering that the Punjab government would soon look into ways to promote Punjab's culture and traditions in a big way, going beyond the official policies. Lauding the Singh Bandhus for their stellar role in keeping alive the tradition of spiritual music through their masterly devotional rendition of Sikh Gurbani, he said the Punjab Today deserved a pat on the back for providing a platform for honouring the Punjabi genius in various fields.

  Mr. Lal Singh described Mr. Sunil Dutt as one of the most distinguished sons of the mother land and a true and proud patriot. He said that by honouring him, the Punajb today was really honouring the spirit of selfless service, dignity in public life and commitment to the ideals of simplicity and honesty.

Before that Mr. Brahm Mohindra, Chairman, organizing committee, spoke about the background of Punjab Today Magazine and the award.

Kanwar Maniit Singh, Editor of the Punjab Today Group of Publications announced the launching of some social service projects of Punjab Today Foundation, which he told were suggested by Late Sunil Dutt during their last meeting at Delhi.

          Mr. Rupinder Singh presented vote of thanks. Mr. S. K. Batish conducted the stage very beautifully.