The award is a part of the Kanchi Mahaswami festival which begins from December 6-14, a release said. The awards were instituted by the South Indian Education Society in the year 1998 in memory of the late Seer of Kanchi Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswati who passed away in 1994 at the age of 100, said V Shankar, President of the SIES.

The awards are given in the fields of Community leadership, Public leadership, Science and Technology and Social thinkers.
Each award carries a cash prize of Rs 2.5 lakh, a citation, a huge ornamental lamp and a scroll, he added. The awards were instituted by SIES mainly to honour those Indians who had made outstanding contributions in these four fields. So far 56 people have been honoured.
Ilayaraaja has been selected for his outstanding contribution to Indian film music. He has composed more than 5000 songs and is the only composer in the history of cinema to provide film scores for more than 1000 films. He was the first Indian composer to compose a full symphony with Ravi Shankar for Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London.
Some of the earlier recipients of the awards in the past includes Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, Dr R Chidambaram, Dr Jayant Narlikar, Shri Somnath Chatterjee, M S Subbulakshmi, Lata Mangeshkar, Dr Varghese Kurien, Sunil Dutt,  Dilip Kumar, Sam Pitroda, Amitabh Bachchan and Sushma Swaraj.
The Shanmukhananda Fine Arts & Sangeetha Sabha which is co-hosting this festival will be giving the Sri Shanmukhananda National Eminence Award for Life time contribution to Carnatic music to noted musician from Chennai Sanjay Subramanian on December 6 which will be followed by his concert.

The award carries a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh , a lamp and a citation. The Governor of Maharashtra  Vidyasagar Rao will preside over the function and confer the award. The Sankaracharya of Kanchi Sri Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal will be present on the occasion.

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