Mallika Sarabhai is an artist, actress, classical dancer and activist from Gujarat. In this conversation with Manisha Pande, she talks about how Gujarat, and particularly her hometown Ahmedabad, has changed since her childhood, her relationship with her parents, the 2002 Gujarat pogrom, her brief stint in politics, and what separates activists from politicians. “Activists don’t play on the common denominator of fear, hatred and insecurity,” she opines, “politicians do”.
Talking about the 2002 carnage, she recalls, “My neighbours were going out there in cars to loot shops and calling their friends to say, ‘Mattresses are good in this shop and we are looting so come.’ My dentist might have been out there, my gynaecologist might have been out there.”
She also explores the nuances the TV series Rocket Boys missed about the relationship of her parents, classical dancer Mrinalini Sarabhai and space scientist Vikram Sarabhai.