Dumanimail,9/4:Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday called upon schools and parents to encourage children to learn any art form of their choice as part of the efforts to preserve and promote India’s rich cultural heritage. He also stressed on the need to go back to our roots and called for a cultural renaissance in Indian society. Vice President was speaking at the investiture of the Sangeet Natak Akademi and Lalit Kala Akademi Fellowships along with Akademi Awards for 2018 and 62nd National Exhibition of Art Awards. Naidu also presented the honours to various artists for their contribution in the field of performing arts and fine arts “Our rich traditional folk art forms such as puppetry are disappearing due to the craze for western culture. They have to be revived with active involvement of not just the governments but society at large” he said. He observed that exposure to creativity and art at an early age will help children become more aware of their surroundings and help them lead a more meaningful life. Naidu also wanted educational institutions to give equal importance to art subjects in their curriculum. Lauding the contributions of artists in “strengthening the thread of continuity connecting our rich past to the present and future”, Naidu observed that art unites people across cultures, influences and inspires them, thus “becoming a powerful agent of change in the process”. “It is the duty of each one of us to preserve and promote our grand cultural traditions and various art forms”, he said. The Vice President said that India has a grand tradition of highly refined art, backed by theories mentioned in ancient texts. Naidu called for preserving visual and performing arts which he said are “intertwined with the intangible cultural heritage of the nation and shape our national identity”. Referring to ‘Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav’ celebrations, Naidu said that many unsung heroes made sacrifices for our freedom but their stories remain largely unknown to the masses as they did not get enough attention in our history books. He called for correcting these distortions and highlighted the contributions made during the freedom struggle by these lesser known heroes.