Classical dancer and choreographer Padma Shri Padma Bhushan Mrinalini Sarabhai, fondly known as Amma is no more. The 97 year old’s daughter, Mallika Sarabhai posted Facebook page, “My mother Mrinalini Sarabhai has just left for her eternal dance.” Mrinalini was the wife of the Father of the Indian Space Program, Vikram Sarabhai. She was ill over the last few days, and was admitted to the hospital yesterday post which she was quite critical.
Her imprints on this world are in the field of environment advocacy, dance, poetry and writing. You can download much of her life’s works from here for free.
She will always be remembered as one of the pioneers in Indian Classical Culture. Her life was dedicated to art and she gave every bit of her breath to it. She set up the Darpana Dance academy in Ahemdabad, where about 18000 students graduated in Bharatnatyam, Kathakali; puppetry and music & drama are also some of the major components of the institute’s offerings. They also offer courses in indigenous Indian instruments like Mridangam and flute and Indian martial arts Kalaripayattu.
Her life was built around art and artistic people. She was one of the very few women who were educated at Santiniketan under Rabindranath Tagore. She was trained in Kathakali by the legendary Guru Thakazhi Kunchu Kurup.
Here is what dance meant to her:
“`It is my breath, my passion my self’. Can anyone ever understand these words? There is no separateness in the dance and my entire being. It is the radiance of my spirit, that makes for the movements of my limbs. I am only “I” when I dance. I am only that `I AM’ when I dance. I am only eternity when I dance. Silence is my response, movement my answer.”
She was a true classic. May her eternal dance never end.