PALAKKAD: The 119-year old Vadakkath Tharavad, the ancestral home of danseuse Mrinalini Sarabhai, is fast losing its illustrious members one by one who had left their ancestral home in search for greener pastures.
The Vadakkath Tharavad is home to several recipients of the Padmashri, Padmabhushan and Padma vibushan.
Mrinalini, 97, who passed away on Thursday, used to visit the Tharavad often, so did her daughter Mallika Sarabhai. She also had a son, Kartikeya Sarabhai.
Mrinalini’s sister Captain Lakshmi, who had rendered service as head of the womens’ regiment in the Indian National Army of Subash Chandra Bose, had died on July 23, 2012.Freedom fighter G Susheela, a relative of the sisters, was looking after the house until sh also died recently.
The members of the family spread over generations include Ammu Swaminathan (freedom fighter and member of the Constituent Assembly of India), A V Kuttimalu Amma, Ammu Swaminathan’s daughters Captain Lakshmi and Mrinalini Sarabhai.
Mrinalini Sarabhai’s daughter and renowned dancer Mallika Sarabhai, Captain Lakshmi’s daughter and former MP Subhashini Ali, Srilatha Swaminathan, A V Achuthan, A V Govinda Menon, A V Sankara Menon, A V Karunakara Menon, A V Kuttikrishna Menon, the list goes on. Kozhipurath Madhava Menon, who was a Minister in the erstwhile Madras State, was the husband of Kuttimallu Amma, who was close to Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru.
Renowned space scientist Vikram Sarabhai had married Mrinalini Sarabhai in 1942.Vadakkath Tharavad, located 15 kilometres from Kuttipuram, was built by P Govinda Menon and P Theyunni Menon in 1896. The centenary was celebrated in 1996 when a family get-together was held. Mrinalini and Capt Lakshmi were the daughters of Ammu Swaminathan of Vadakkath tharavadu and Dr Swaminathan.
Captain Lakshmi was the first in the family to be awarded the Padmabhushan. Subsequently, her sister received the Padmabhushan and later Mallika Sarabhai, a bharatanatyam and kuchipudi dancer and choreographer.Says local journalist C K Sasi “It was a rare experience to see two sisters and one of their daughters, all of them hailing from the same family of Vadakkath tharavadu receiving the Padma awards from the Indian Government over the years”.
Mrinalini was awarded the Padmasri in 1965 and the Padmabhushan in 1992, Capt Lakshmi the Padmavibhushan in 1998 and Mallika Sarabhai the Padma Bhushan.