Celeb Corner

Mallika Sarabhai’s mantra for women: do what liberates you, don’t wait for approval from men

The danseuse, activist and communicator tells us why women need to do some 'atma manthan'
Mallika Sarabhai

How do we describe Mallika Sarabhai? Simply as a noted danseuse? But that wouldn’t be fair, because she’s an author and an activist too. And if that’s not enough because Mallika is also a publisher, creator, performer, and a strategist.

We could steer clear of clichés and avoid saying that she is multifaceted, a sort of a Renaissance woman, but even then, how do we label her? How do we bring to you the beauty of a woman who is many things at the same time?

Trust Mallika to solve the puzzle for us.

When asked what I like to be introduced as – dancer, choreographer, publisher, activist, writer, actor,I tend to say that I am a communicator. And that all the others are the different languages in which I communicate.

…. “If a woman is sufficiently ambitious, determined and gifted – there is practically nothing she can’t do.” ~ Helen Lawrenson.

Mallika says that one of the hindrances to women’s progress is that they internalize the belief that they need a man and that they are second to them.

Most of us are seeking approval from our male partners all the time. A woman needs to get rid of the guilt that doing anything without her man’s approval is not a good thing.

Mallika says that we must all indulge in “atma manthan.” We should learn to plumb the gold inside us. Education and independence is fine, it is a stepping stone, but all of us have to find our own liberation.

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It could be anything. For Mallika, her fitness is very important because it allows her to pursue her passion and constantly innovate in her field of dance.

I believe that if looking sexy is your liberation, then do it. Do it for yourself and not because someone dictates that to you. Learn to look inside, peel off the mask.

Discover who you really are.

She quotes poet Sushmita Banerjee

Throughout the day the mask conceals

my face, my ills, my scars, my weals.

Now, with my glasses, at even-tide,

my weary fingers lay the mask aside.

But the face? Where is my face, you say?

Well, since you ask,

Disuse has hastened its decay.

Behind the mask

My face has silently faded away.

But if we tried to attempt decoding who Mallika is, we would go back to where we started. She’s so many things at once; how do we pin her down to one?

Perhaps that is what makes her so special, isn’t it?

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