Roma Agrawal on Mrinalini Sarabhai Jan. 18, 2022

from Great Lives· ·

Mrinalini Sarabhai was an Indian classical dancer specialising in Bharatanatyam and becoming the first woman to perform Kathakali. She was very successful and performed around the world, with one reviewer in Paris calling her the 'Hindu atomic bomb'. She married prominent scientist and industrialist Vikram Sarabhai and together they would rub shoulders with ambassadors and Presidents. Men would see her dance and fall in love with her. She performed for The Queen in India. Later on, she used dance as a means of addressing social issues such as the 'dowry deaths' where brides were being set-alight and killed, and as …



Mrinalini Sarabhai was an Indian classical dancer specialising in Bharatanatyam and becoming the first woman to perform Kathakali. She was very successful and performed around the world, with one reviewer in Paris calling her the 'Hindu atomic bomb'. She married prominent scientist and industrialist Vikram Sarabhai and together they would rub shoulders with ambassadors and Presidents. Men would see her dance and fall in love with her. She performed for The Queen in India. Later on, she used dance as a means of addressing social issues such as the 'dowry deaths' where brides were being set-alight and killed, and as a result of her work the governmental order the first ever inquiry into the issue. The engineer and author Roma Agrawal is best-known for her work on The Shard in London. She trained in Indian classical dance and for her Mrinalini provides a continuous thread back to her own Indian heritage in Mumbai. She's joined by Indian classical dancer Santosh Nair, with contributions from Mrinalini's daughter Mallika Sarabhai. Presenter: Matthew Parris Produced for BBC Audio in Bristol by Toby Field.