Posts Tagged ‘Mallika Sarabhai’

Gone are the days when women were no better than household cooks and nurses for the children. Today, they have reached heights and demand equal recognition and respect. The status of women has gone through ups and downs in India. But today, women adore the highest offices – just one example is the current President of India, Pratibha Patil.

Similar is the scenario in Gujarat. It is moving ahead in the direction of improving the quality of life of women, who do not enjoy the same privileges that some of their male counterparts on other parts of the world do. Women of Gujarat have achieved greatness in all walks of life, and proved beyond doubt that they can do anything men can do, and much more, but they have only been hardly visible and insufficiently recognized.

To mark the International Women’s Day, here’s a look at the women of Gujarat who broke the mould and are surely an inspiration.

KASTURBA GANDHI
It is said that ‘Behind every successful man, there is a woman’. So is the case with our Bapu – Gandhiji. Kasturba always stood beside Gandhiji, after they got married in an arranged child marriage, when she was just 13. She was illiterate, but learnt to read and write from Gandhiji. This was a potentially radical move, given the position of women in India at that time.

Kasturba was a very religious lady. She renounced all caste distinctions and lived in ashrams. She even joined Gandhiji in his protests for freedom of the country. Her loyalty was tested when in 1906, Gandhiji made up his mind to practice Brahmacharya. She stood by this decision, though she did not agree with some of the viewpoints of her husband.
Kasturba was born to a prosperous businessman Gokuldas Makharji of Porbander on April 11, 1869. She died of a heart attack on February 22, 1944.

DIWALIBEN BHIL

The heart and soul of Gujarati Folk Music, Diwaliben belongs to Junagadh. She was discovered over thirty years ago at a local dance group by a leading folklorist and journalist, Jaimal Parmar. She is known for being one of the 25 celebrity singers for ‘Jityu Hamesha Gujarat’ – the Anthem of Gujarat.
A self-taught artiste, Diwaliben has performed all over the country and around the world. She has sung hundreds of Gujarati bhajans, garbas and folk songs. She also worked for Gujarati films as a singer. Diwaliben has received the prestigious Padmashree in 1990. For many years, in order to maintain a steady income she worked at a Prathmikshala. Her job consisted of gathering the children from surrounding homes and escorting them to the local school.

ELABEN BHATT
Elaben is one of the most remarkable forces for empowerment at the grass root level. She has dedicated her life for the development of women and improvement of the quality of life of India’s poor and most oppressed section of people. The soft voiced, simple, cotton-saree clad Elaben has been true to the spirit of her country and her inspiration, Mahatma Gandhi. She has followed his ideals all her life. Elaben pioneered the idea that people themselves, no matter how poor or uneducated, are able to solve their own problems if they organize together to do so. This idea took shape in the form of SEWA (Self Employed Women’s Association), which is one of the best grassroots programs for women in the world. She is the proud winner of many awards and heads many organizations.

Elaben broke away from the grip of an established mind-set and created her own paths and methods of organization. She has taken bold steps in a society where men ran the show.

Born in a well-educated, middle-class family on 7th September 1933, Elaben is based at Ahmedabad.

MALLIKA SARABHAI

The dazzling Mallika is the daughter of the renowned Vikram and Mrinalini Sarabhai, born on 9th May 1953. A well-known activist and one of the leading choreographers, Mallika has her own dance academy named ‘Darpana’ based at Ahmedabad. She is an accomplished Kuchipudi and Bharatnatyam dancer and is known for her contributions in the fields of theatre, television, film, writing and publishing.

Mallika started out when she was just 15. She played the role of ‘Draupadi’ in Peter Brook’s play ‘The Mahabharata’. In 1989, she created the first of her hard-hitting solo theatrical works, Shakti: The Power of Women. She has won many accolades during her long career, the Golden Star Award being one of them, which she won for the Best Dance Soloist, Theatre De Champs Elysees, Paris 1977. She was chosen from among 400 dancers from 25 countries.

Mallika is a representative of India for CIOFF (an internationally acclaimed organization for folk dances). Playing roles as diverse as a mother and a choreographer, and pursuing her interests like writing and social service, Mallika is known to put her best foot forward.

Apart from the above fields, on 19 March 2009, Mallika announced her candidature against the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate LK Advani for the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat, as an independent candidate. She eventually lost by a huge margin.

SARITA JOSHI 
A renowned stage artist, Sarita Joshi is better known as ‘Baa’ in the super hit family entertainer ‘Baa Bahu Aur Baby’. She was born in Pune in 1940, but raised in Vadodara. She started her acting career with Gujarati theatre. She married actor-director-playwright Pravin Joshi and is the mother of Ketaki Dave and Purbi Joshi.

Sarita received international fame because of her role in Abhishek Bachhan starrer ‘Guru’ directed by the renowned filmmaker Mani Ratnam. She was also the central character in the film ‘Dasvidaniya’. Out of all the mediums, she holds a special corner for theatre and stage performances. She claims that the joy of performing on stage is always better than anything else and that it will be her first love.

In 1988, she was awarded with the Sangeet Natak Academy Award. She was also conferred with the Best Actress title in 2007 for her role in the TV soap.

It’s time to salute these women who moved out of their comfort zones as daughters, wives, mothers and sisters. But there are many others who are waiting to get the motivation, opportunity and strength. Women have changed and progressed to unbelievable heights, but one thing is clear – so much is still to change. Let’s pledge for a brighter future!

Read original article at: http://epaper.namoleague.com/EpaperArticle.aspx?title=Gujarati%20Women%20Who%20Walked%20Miles%20To%20Be%20a%20Milestone_548

The dazzling Mallika Sarabhai is a combination of many qualities and all of them vie for excellence. She is the pride of Ahmedabad, Gujarat and the daughter of the dancing legend Mrinalini Sarabhai and the renowned scientist Vikram Sarabhai. One of the leading exponents of Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi, Mallika is also a noted filmmaker, internationally known choreographer, an actor, a TV anchor, an editor, a publisher and a social activist. She is a representative of India for CIOFF (an internationally acclaimed organization for folk dances).

THE BABY STEPS

Born on 9th May 1954, Mallika began her film career when she was only 15. She started dancing, as they say, before she even learnt to walk. She completed her MBA from IIM Ahmedabad in 1974 and Doctorate in Organizational Behavior from the Gujarat University in 1976.

THE WORLD OF PERFORMANCE

Mallika started with a few Gujarati and Hindi films. She first came to international notice when she played the role of ‘Draupadi’ in Peter Brook’s ‘The Mahabharata’ for 5 years, first in French and then English. After completing her graduation, Mallika entered the world of performing arts. She stared at thousands of Indians from the small screen, daring them with “maley soor jo tara maro…” and has wowed audiences from all six continents with her performance as Draupadi. She followed the footsteps of her mother and dancing became her first love. “Bharat Natyam is like a Banyan tree with great roots. You can bend it, turn it, do whatever you want, but its roots remain strong. And how many more love varnams can I do? I want to take dance further, to use it as a language, as an agent of change,” says Mallika in an interview.

WORK FOR CHANGE

Always an activist for societal education and women’s empowerment, Mallika began using her work for change. In 1989, she created the first of her hard-hitting solo theatrical works, Shakti – the Power of Women. Since then, Mallika has created numerous stage productions which have raised awareness, highlighted crucial issues and advocated change. Her other experiments include compositions like Draupadi, Sita’s Daughters, Itan Kahani, Aspiration, Ganga, Surya etc.
In 2009, Mallika Sarabhai acted in Bertolt Brecht’s Indian adaptation of ‘The Good Person of Szechwan’ (Ahmedabad ki Aurat Bhali-Ramkali) directed by Arvind Gaur in the 34th Vikram Sarabhai International Art Festival.

DARPANA ACADEMY

Mallika, along with her mother, administers the functioning of the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts, which is located at Ahmedabad. It is a unique centre for arts which has performed all over India and abroad. Today the academy has many faces. There is Darpana for Development, which makes performing arts modules for development issues; Janavak, an authentic Indian folk dance group that aims at folk revival; Chitrakathi, a film unit that prepares educational films and TV material; Mapin Publications that publishes books on Indian heritage; Kritikranti, a trust for interdisciplinary work in the arts and crafts; Jagruti, a project for environment empowerment; the Value Project that familiarizes children with moral dilemmas; Parivartan which seeks to bring about changes in the life of Bhil women; and Centre for Non-violence through the Arts.

OF COURAGE AND AUDACITY

Mallika’s college days saw her wearing mini-skirts, dating men, even going in for a live-in relationship. She recalls her mother’s horror when she first started living with somebody, “I explained to her why it was important for me to find out if I wanted a permanent commitment or not.” But the best part is that she has always done things without hiding them.
Mallika met Bipin Shah during her college days and eventually married him. They were divorced 7 years later. They have 2 children, a son, Revanta and a daughter, Anahita.

INTO POLITICS

Mallika entered into the field of politics and announced her candidature against the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate LK Advani for the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat, as an independent candidate. She described her candidature as a Satyagraha against the politics of hatred. She eventually lost by a huge margin and forfeited her election deposit in the process.

MUCH DESERVED RECOGNITIONS

The first award she received was in 1977. However, the award closest to Mallika’s heart is the one she received in Paris, a few years ago, for Best Soloist Artist, after being chosen from among 400 dancers from 25 countries. She was the proud recipient of the French Palme D’Or, the Highest Civilian Award conferred by the French Government, among many other awards.
Playing roles as diverse as a mother and a choreographer, and pursuing her interests like writing and social service, Mallika is known to always put her best foot forward. She is a strong character with her own ideas and she feels that dance is a living language which you can interpret the way you think best.

Read original article at: http://epaper.namoleague.com/EpaperArticle.aspx?title=Bold%20And%20Beautiful%20:%20Danseuse%20Mallika%20Sarabhai_647