An acclaimed performer, Mallika Sarabhai has been the front-runner of bringing social change around gender equality in the country and specifically in Gujarat. She shapes her performances around women’s issues and gender sensitization and that sets her apart from any other performer in the country. She is an activist, a politician, an entrepreneur and an exceptional dancer. In a free-wheeling conversation with her, she told me that she never says no to any college or a group of young people who request her to perform for them. Her only aim is to sensitize them towards gender diversity through her art. Mallika Sarabhai shatters Hinduism’s patriarchal view through dance and here’s that perspective.
“Feminism for me is humanism. It is the right to be myself and given the opportunities that everyone should have, to not be recognized as a woman but as a person and to have the courage and agency to do what I want with my life.”
Mallika Sarabhai shatters Hinduism’s patriarchal view through dance
Talking about bringing feminism in her performances Sarabhai said, “I try and show women a non-patriarchal view of the world and our mythology. I also try to show them a very non-patriarchal view of Hinduism which has become a very repressive hindutva over the last few decades. It is becoming something that reduces women to just being womb-bearers rather than the ardhnarishwara that we started with. I try and take people back to that and try to tell women and men to not reduce themselves just to their sexes.
I try and show women a non-patriarchal view of the world and our mythology – Mallika Sarabhai
WOMEN IN GUJARAT
Since currently elections in Gujarat are going on, it is only fitting to know what in her opinion the state of women in the state is. Sarabhai feels that there there are two extreme realities of women in Gujarat. “Women are in a very bad state. They are going through major health problems, crimes against women and young girls are going up and trafficking is high. But on the other hand, if you are educated and living in the city it is much safer for women to move around in public spaces. Ahmedabad is a safe city but with a lot of migration happening, even that is changing. But compared to other cities like Delhi, it is safer still.”
“I try and show women a non-patriarchal view of the world and our mythology. I also try to show them a very non-patriarchal view of Hinduism which has become a very repressive hindutva over the last few decades” Mallika Sarabhai
ON WOMEN’S SAFETY
When I stood for elections in 2009, one of the promises that I did was that I will shell out money from my MP funds to teach women self defence. Because I feel that mental change takes a generation, attitude change takes a long time but a girl and woman must be safe. And they must be able to defend themselves.