In conversation with dancer Mallika Sarabhai

yoshika

Yoshika Sangal | July 1, 2016


#choreographer   #Mallika Sarabhai   #personal note   #activist  
In conversation with dancer Mallika Sarabhai
Photo courtesy: Darpana Academy of Performing Arts

Like several other members of her illustrious family, Mallika Sarabhai has excelled in more than one field.Daughter of renowned classical danseuse and activist Mrinalini Sarabhai and legendary space scientist and institution-builder Vikram Sarabhai, Mallika is a leading Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi dancer, choreographer and acclaimed actress on stage and in films, publisher, mediaperson, and social-political activist. Her portrayal of Draupadi in British director Peter Brook’s play The Mahabharata was appreciated worldwide. She was conferred the Sangeet Natak Akademi award for creative dance in 2000 and Padma Bhushan in 2010 for her contribution in the field of arts.


How would you describe yourself?

I actually leave that to others as I have no need to define myself and thus confine myself to neatly labelled boxes.

How have your parents influenced or inspired you?

They have inspired me in every way; amma, in her aesthetics and in her power to transform ideas through art forms and papa, in his true devotion to the last Indian and a multi-, plural, just and humane idea of India.

How did you turn from being a creative artist to being a social activist? 

I didn’t turn into one from the other. Through amma’s work, my experience in the world over and playing Draupadi with Peter Brook, I realised the power of the arts to shift mindsets. And there are a lot of mindsets that I believe need drastic shifts!

You have done a number of programmes such the Fatehpur Model village project and JAGRUTI. How has been your experience of working with rural communities of Gujarat?

We [Darpana] have worked in rural and urban communities in many parts of the country on subjects ranging from the need to act healthy, to stopping violence against women to saving our earth. If you create a riveting performance or video, people will watch. And if they stay to watch, the thought you leave them with will lodge in their minds. That is the first step towards changing minds.

You contested the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat in 2009. How was your experience in politics?

The experience was deeply moving and empowering. Seeing the truly wretched state of people who are supposed to be recipients of ‘development’ and seeing at first-hand how craven the officials were, was an eye-opener even for someone as aware as I like to be. I realised that it is impossible to win as an independent if one wants to be open and totally honest. The parties play really dirty and rough.

Which are the governance issues that need more urgent attention?

We have so many issues that pinpointing a single one is difficult. But the total lack of accountability from officials and the super rich ranks is high and leads to anger, distrust, cynicism and violence.

How would you define women empowerment?

An empowered woman neither defines herself by her gender nor limits her thoughts, choices or action because of her gender.

What would you say to the next generation?
You are probably living a life scripted by your parents, family or community. Have the courage to script your life and then live it.
   

As told to Yoshika Sangal

(The interview appears in June 16-30, 2016 issue of Governance Now)

Comments

 

Other News

“The focus area is to minimise pendency, do more quality work”

The functioning of a national commission, be it NHRC, NCSC or NCST, depends on its head. Being the chief information commissioner (CIC), what is your vision for CIC?  And what has been your experience so far? The chief information commissioner and ten informa

CIC’s changing status quo

With the help of Right to Information (RTI), the common man not only has the right to know, but also the right to question those in power. This is the foundation of democracy,” said prime minister Narendra Modi at the tenth anniversary celebrations of the Central Information Commission (CIC)

Do you think the fiscal year should be from January to December?

Do you think the fiscal year should be from January to December?

Will Delhi see the highest ever turnout in the upcoming civic polls?

Historically, voter turnout for local elections has lagged behind state assembly elections and general elections.    For example, a recent report by Janaagraha shows that Surat recorded 40 percent voter turnout in local polls, 30 percent less than state elections

Women sensitized about their rights

 A group of women were sensitized about their rights at a workshop held in the national capital on Saturday. They were informed about the anti-harassment laws and legal provisions to safeguard women inside and outside their workplace.   The workshop – organ

AAP’s uncertain future, irony of being Advani, and an author seeks freedom of speech

The Narendra Modi- Arvind Kejriwal antagonism has always been about two different kinds of populism. While it may not play out in a municipal election, the fact remains that a Kejriwal chastened by Goa and Punjab faces a mid-term test in the municipal elections. For a politician harbouring intentions of



Video

अब गायों के लिए आधार कार्ड?

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter