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#RIP- Legendary Classical Dancer Mrinalini Sarabhai passes away at age of 97

Mrinalini Sarabhai passes away

Dancer and choreographer Mrinalini Sarabhai
Special Arrangement

Noted danseuse and Padma Bhushan recipient Mrinalini Sarabhai passed away today morning in Ahmedabad. She was 97.

She had been admitted to hospital a day before.

Mrinalini Sarabhai, legendary dancer and wife of Indian physicist Vikram Sarabhai, died in Ahmedabad on Thursday. According to reports, the 97-year-old Padma Bhushan awardee died at 10 am at her home.
Sarabhai was admitted to a hospital in the western Indian city of Ahmadabad with an infection, her son Kartikeya Sarabhai said. She died in the hospital Thursday after her condition deteriorated overnight.

Trained in Bharatnatyam, Kathakali and Mohiniyattom, she was educated at Shantiniketan under Rabindranath Tagore. She was married to the architect of India’s space programme, Dr Vikram Sarabhai.

“My mother just left for her eternal dance,” her daughter, leading danseuse, actor and activist Mallika Sarabhai, said in a Facebook post announcing the death

Indian danseuse Mrinalini Sarabhai. Photo: The Hindu Archives

Sarabhai was born in the southern Indian state of Kerala and was educated in Switzerland and Kolkata, where she began her training as a dancer. She did a short stint at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, before returning to India and learning two classical Indian dance forms from the leading dancers of the day

Fondly know as ‘Amma’, Mrinalini Sarabhai was the founding director of the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts in Ahmedabad. Over 18,000 students have graduated from the academy in Bharatanatyam and Kathakali. Apart from the dance forms, Darpana Academy offers training in drama, music, and puppetry.

Mrinalini Sarabhai was educated under the guidance of Rabindranath Tagore. After a brief stint with American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Sarabhai returned to India and began training in Bharatanatyam.

Mrinalini came from a family of achievers. Her father Dr Swaminathan and her elder brother Govind Swaminathan were renowned barristers at the Madras High Court. Her mother, Ammu Swaminathan was a freedom fighter and her sister, Lakshmi Sehgal was the commander-in-chief of ‘Rani of Jhansi Regiment’ of the Azad Hind Fauj founded by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

Besides being a classical dancer, she was a poet, writer and environmentalist and played a leading role in the social and art scene in Ahmedabad. She was one of the first classical dancer to turn to choreography.

According to family members, she was suffering from an infection and succumbed to it.

She is survived by daughter Mallika and son Kartikey, founder of Ahmedabad-based Centre for Environment Education (CEE).

The last rites of the danseuse will be held at a farmhouse owned by the family in Pethapur village in Gandhinagar. A funeral procession will be taken from the Darpana Dance Academy at Usmanpura at 3pm and the last rites will be performed in the evening around 5:15pm, said Kartikeya. In a befitting tribute, her last journey would begin from the Darpana Academy dance floor, the very institution she founded, said sources. –

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Comment (1)

  1. Bhagwati Pant

    R I P to her.

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