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Tarubala Debbarma: The Musical Wonder


Hi! Before we begin with the article, let us know the historical context of her contributions to the community. Tarubala Debbarma is a teacher and radio presenter in the Kokborok language. Also, she has been an active preserver of the Tripuri culture. Being the best Tripuri representative, a highly skilled traditional dancer with involvement in preserving and promoting the Tripura folk arts and various cultural aspects, etc.


Tarubala, the Tripuri folk artist, has been awarded the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for highly preserving and promoting Tripuri folk art monuments and cultural art forms for the year 2020. The ceremony for handing over the award was held at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi on February 17, 2023.

Tarubala Debbarma receiving the Sangeet Natak Akademi award from President Droupadi Murmu
Tarubala Debbarma receiving the Sangeet Natak Akademi award from President Droupadi Murmu

She is also known for her contribution to promoting the culture by renting out cultural ornaments to the younger generations who are in need during cultural events such as traditional folk dance, folk songs, or any cultural event, etc. Her efforts have been widely appreciated by the art and culture community.


The award is a testament to her exceptional talent and dedication to preserving and promoting Tripuri folk art forms and culture. Her contributions to the field have not only helped the new generation keep these traditional art forms alive but have also brought cultural representation to the mainstream, making them accessible to a wider audience through the traditional showcase. The Sangeet Natak Akademi Award is one of the most prestigious awards in the field of performing arts in India. It is conferred by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India’s national academy for music, dance, and drama, to recognize and honor individuals who have made exceptional contributions to their respective art forms.


According to Wikipedia, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (IPA: Saṅgīta Nāṭaka Akādamī Puraskāra), also known as the Akademi Puraskar, is an award given by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's National Academy of Music, Dance, and Drama. It is the highest Indian recognition given to people in the field of performing arts. In 2003, the award consisted of Rs. 50,000, a citation, an Angavastram (a shawl), and a Tamrapatra (a brass plaque). Since 2009, the cash prize has been increased to ₹1,000,000. The awards are given in the categories of music, dance, theatre, other traditional arts, and puppetry, and for contribution or scholarship in performing arts.


Tarubala Debbarma is a teacher and radio presenter in the Kokborok language.
Tarubala Debbarma is a teacher and radio presenter in the Kokborok language.

President Droupadi Murmu presented the award at a ceremony in New Delhi on February 17, 2023. She was also congratulated by the chief minister of Tripura, Dr. Manik Saha. She also expressed her gratitude for the award and has told the people that she will be continuing her contribution to society to preserve the tribal culture of the state until she turns grey. She believes and gives importance to the young people adopting the basics of their cultural heritage and developing it further so as to continue their contribution. She also left her high-paying government job to pursue her passion. She has mentioned that she used to work at Tripura Gramin Bank after she completed her studies at Agartala but left the job later as she couldn't give time to something she would love to do further.



She then later joined All India Radio (AIR), based in Agartala. As it was a new job, she probably worked as a part-time Kokborok radio presenter by then but has since come to work full-time and is still working under it. She has mentioned the support of her family, without whom she would not have been able to succeed. She also mentioned her mother, who was involved in contributions to the community, said Debbarma. My mother, who was an employee of the social welfare department, instilled in me a love for folk culture. She extended all help to me till her death," said Debbarma, who has completed her Master’s in education.


Later, Chief Minister Manik Saha congratulated the recipient of the award for her work in preserving and promoting the folk culture of the indigenous people. It is also inspiring to hear the passion and dedication of the 63-year-old mother of a son and daughter to continue preserving the tribal culture of the state. Her commitment to folk songs, dance, and drama is admirable and highlights the importance of preserving cultural heritage for future generations. It is through efforts like hers that we can keep traditional forms of expression alive and vibrant.


Overall In conclusion, Tarubala Debbarma’s award is a proud moment for the Tripuri community and a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Tripura. It is hoped that her recognition will inspire more people to take an interest in the preservation and promotion of indigenous art forms in India.



This article has been created as a part of the Adivasi Awaaz project, with the support of Misereor and Prayog Samaj Sevi Sanstha.



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