January 23rd, 2016
Image Courtesy:educationncareers jansatta Leena Manimekalai
■ End Of An Era
Mrinalini Sarabhai, Padma Bhushan recipient was most certainly the most celebrated classical dancer of India passed away two days ago. She was born in Kerala on 11 May 1918, the daughter of social worker and former parliament member Ammu Swaminathan.
Embracing dance at a very young age, she went on to become an icon of classical dance and leaves behind a legacy which is unmatched. The legacy according to Padma Shri winner and Bharatnatyam dancer Geeta Chandran includes “introducing the dances of South India to Gujarat, where till then only the folk dances had ruled. And later, she became the first icon to daringly embrace contemporary themes of social integration, social justice and human rights into her dance repertoire.”
“The Padma Shri-winning dancer has been responsible for introducing Bharatnatyam and Kathkali not just to her hometown in Gujarat, but the world over. She was the first woman to receive the Weera Shrinkala for Kathkali, thus quelling any notions of it being a male-dominated dance form. Her dance dramas have illustrated everything; stories from the Ramayana, stories of Meerabai, the works of Tagore, and issues like gender bias and eco concerns. She married Vikram Sarabhai in 1942.”
■ Fitting Tribute
She was married to none other than the founder of India’s space program Vikram Sarabhai. Educated at Shantiniketan and a disciple of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, Mrinalini was trained in Bharatnatyam, Kathakali and Mohiniyattom. Dance was her life, passion and existence.
The President of India perhaps gave the most fitting tribute to Mrinalini Sarabhai – “Sarabhai exemplified the fighting spirit of her mother and freedom fighter, Ammu Swaminathan and her sister Lakshmi Sehgal, who was Commander-in-Chief of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s ‘Rani of Jhansi Regiment’ of the Indian National Army. She was also an inspiration and support to her husband, Vikram Sarabhai, the father of the Indian Space programme,”.
■ Remembering Her Words Of “Togetherness”
Mrinalini Sarabhai represented and preached a lot of things by dance and words, and it is those words which remains with us today to get inspired from. With many problems that have plagued our society today, the sense of togetherness and humanism has taken a beating and that is why The Logical Indian concludes our tribute and respects to her by remembering her words on togetherness.
“In this creative journey, my realization always was that we are all part of this great cosmos — continuously, this awareness reiterates itself more and more. I try to tell the world how each one of us belongs to the other and that those relationships must be cherished, and I know that there are many who respond. And as we gather our forces, there will surely come about a world consciousness that truly believes in peace and understanding.”