Renowned classical dancer and Padma Bhushan recipient Mrinalini Sarabhai, wife of Father of India’s space programme, the late Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, passed away yesterday due to old age-related problems. She was 97. Mrinalini Sarabhai was admitted to a city-based hospital a day before, but was brought to her home early yesterday morning where she breathed her last.
“My mother, Mirnalini Sarabhai has just left for her eternal dance,” her daughter and noted dancer Mallika Sarabhai said, in a Facebook post announcing her death.
Born into the renowned Swaminadhan family of Chennai with roots in Kerala, Sarabhai, an exponent of classical dance forms of Bharatanatyam and Kathakali, was awarded Padma Bhushan and Padma Shree, apart from various other awards for her contribution to the field of dance. She had studied under the guidance of Rabindranath Tagore at Shantiniketan. After a brief stint with American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Sarabhai returned to India and began training in Bharatanatyam.
Popularly known as ‘Amma’, she had established Darpana Academy of Performing Arts in 1948. Over 18,000 students have graduated from the academy in Bharatanatyam and Kathakali. She married physicist Vikram Sarabhai in 1942. She is survived by son Kartikeya Sarabhai, founder of Centre of Environment Education (CEE), and daughter Mallika Sarabhai, who is an activist and classical dancer.