Posts Tagged ‘Vikram Sarabhai’

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.

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Father of the Indian Space Program is not the only attribution that this famous scientist from Gujarat has. Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, born in Ahmedabad, was a rare combination of talents and dreams. Dr. Vikram Sarabhai was a creative scientist, a successful and forward looking industrialist, an innovator of the highest order, a great institution builder, an educationist with a difference, a connoisseur of arts, an entrepreneur of social change, a pioneering management educator and more.

Born in Ahmedabad on August 12, 1919, Dr. Sarabhai was the son of Ambalal and Sarladevi. He belonged to an affluent family of progressive industrialists. During his childhood, his ancestral home ‘The Retreat’, used to be visited by important people from all walks of life. This played an important role in the growth of Sarabhai’s personality.

Dr. Vikram Sarabhai’s early education took place at a family school directed by his mother. After completing his matriculation from Gujarat College in Ahmedabad, Dr. Vikram Sarabhai moved to England and joined the St. John’s College, University of Cambridge. In 1940 he received the Tripos in Natural Sciences from Cambridge. He then returned to India to become a research scholar under Sir C. V. Raman at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. He began to research cosmic rays, taking field measurements across India. He returned to Cambridge in 1945 and received his doctorate there in 1947 for researching photo-fission. Sarabhai, the Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission was keen on establishing Physical Research Laboratory. He founded it on November 11, 1947.

Dr. Sarabhai believed science and technology could help create a modern India. For him, science was a vehicle to carry India forward and to be prepared to apply the advancements in technology to the areal problems of man and society. He was a man with a mission and today Ahmedabad and the entire Gujarat enjoys the benefits of his vision. He played a major role in the setting up of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and Ahmedabad Textile Industry’s Research Association (ATIRA).
Further, he started converting the range and breath of his interests into institutions. Darpan Academy of Performing Arts, Space Application Centre, Community Science Centre, Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT), Blind Men’s Association and others are his gifts to Gujarat. The list of his achievements is never ending as Sarabhai also pioneered the rocket technology, Satellite TV Broadcasting and Pharmaceutical Industry in India. No wonder he was conferred with the Padma Shri award in 1966 and Padma Bhushan in 1972.

Irrespective of his achievements and positions, he was a man of principles. Anybody in his organization, irrespective of the position, could meet him without any fear or feelings of inferiority. Sarabhai believed in an individual’s dignity and tried hard to preserve it. He was always in search of a better and efficient way of doing things. Vikram Sarabhai believed that a scientist should never shut himself up in an ivory tower or overlook the problems faced by the society in mere academic pursuit of pure science.
So much to learn from this one personality who gave so much to the state! Go ahead, dare to dream, be the leaders of your own self. After all, as Dr. Sarabhai quotes: “One wants permissive individuals who do not have a compelling need to reassure themselves that they are leaders.”

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