Sonal Mansingh Wiki, Age, Husband, Family, Biography & More

Sonal Mansingh

Sonal Mansingh is an Indian classical dancer, who specialises in Bharatanatyam and Odissi dance forms. Recipient of the Padma Vibhushan and Padma Bhushan, she has also served as a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha. She established the Centre for Indian Classical Dances (Shri Kamakhya Kalapeeth) in Delhi and is its serving President. Sonal Mansingh was nominated as the NAVRATNA for the Swachh Bharat Mission (Clean India Mission) by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. She is a choreographer, a Guru (Instructor), and a motivational speaker.

Wiki/Biography

Sonal Mansingh was born on Sunday, 30 April 1944 (age 80 years; as of 2024) in Bombay Presidency, British India (now, Mumbai, India). Her zodiac sign is Taurus. She grew up seeing reputed artists like Bismillah Khan, Siddheshwari Devi, M.S. Subbulakshmi, and Bade Ghulam Ali Khan perform at her home as guests of the state.

Sonal Mansingh grew up seeing Ustad Bismillah Khan, who was a guest of State at her grandfather's residence

Sonal Mansingh grew up seeing Ustad Bismillah Khan, who was a guest of State at her grandfather’s residence

Sonal was made to learn Manipuri dance when she was 4 years old and started learning Bharatanatyam when she was 7 years old under many Gurus from the Pandanallur school. She was 17 years old when she gave her debut performance at the Darbar Hall of Raj Bhavan, Bombay (now Mumbai). From 18 years onwards, Sonal Mansingh learned professional Bharatanatyam from Prof. U. S. Krishna Rao and Chandrabhaga Devi in Bangalore.

U. S. Krishna Rao and Chandrabhaga Devi, the Bharatanatayam Gurus of Sonal Mansingh

U. S. Krishna Rao and Chandrabhaga Devi, the Bharatanatyam Gurus of Sonal Mansingh

In 1965, she started her professional Odissi training under Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra in Cuttack, whom she met through her father-in-law, Dr. Mayadhar Mansingh.

Sonal Mansingh with Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra

Sonal Mansingh with Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra

She also pursued a B. A. (Hons.) in German Lit. and Sanskrit degrees ‘Kovid’ and ‘Praveen’ at Elphinstone College and Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bombay (now Mumbai), respectively.

Physical Appearance

Height (approx.): 5′ 3″

Hair Colour: Black

Eye Colour: Dark Brown

Sonal Mansingh

Family

Sonal Mansingh comes from a Gujarati family.

Parents & Siblings

Sonal Mansingh’s father, Arvind Pakvasa, and mother, Poornima (Sheth) Pakvasa, were Indian freedom movement activists.

Sonal Mansingh with her mother mother and father in 1949

Sonal Mansingh with her mother and father in 1949

Her mother was a renowned social worker, who was honoured with the Padma Bhushan and is fondly known as the ‘Didi of the Dangs.’ Poornima Pakvasa ran a vocational institute for tribal girls in Saputara, Gujarat.

Sonal Mansingh with her mother Poornima Pakvasa

Sonal Mansingh with her mother, Poornima Pakvasa

Sonal has two siblings. Her elder sister, Arti Mehta, died of cancer in 2020.

Sonal Mansingh with her elder sister, Arti Mehta

Sonal Mansingh with her elder sister, Arti Mehta

Her younger brother, Anuj Pakvasa, is a numismatist.

Anuj Pakvasa, brother of Sonal Mansingh

Anuj Pakvasa, brother of Sonal Mansingh

Husband & Children

Sonal Mansingh had two failed marriages. She got married to former Indian diplomat Lalit Mansingh on 3 August 1963, whom she divorced in 1973 and Georg Lechner, in 1975, with whom she later separated.

Lalit Mansingh, former Indian Ambassador to U. S. A. and husband of Sonal Mansingh

Lalit Mansingh, former Indian Ambassador to the U.S.A. and husband of Sonal Mansingh

Other Relatives

Her grandfather, Mangal Das Pakvasa, was a professional lawyer and a freedom fighter He was one of the first 5 governors of the independent India.

Sonal Mansingh with her grandfather, Mangal Das Pakvasa

Sonal Mansingh with her grandfather, Mangal Das Pakvasa

Address

Present Address – 11, Janpath, New Delhi

Permanent Address – Centre for Indian Classical Dances, Gulmohar Institutional Area, New Delhi- 110015

Career

Dance & Choreography

Sonal Mansingh is popular for Bharatanatyam and Odissi dance forms. She is also a trained Manipuri and Kuchipudi dancer. In 1962, she gave her first arangetram (stage performance) in Mumbai. Her performances are mainly based on Indian mythology. In 1977, Sonal Mansingh opened an institute named Centre for Indian Classical Dances (CICD) in Delhi to promote and produce Indian classical dance productions.

Sonal Mansingh in a Bharatnatyam dance mudra

Sonal Mansingh in a Bharatanatyam dance mudra

The famous dance choreographies of Sonal Mansingh are:

  • Mukti (2002) – On the theme of Liberation, which Sonal feels is attainable now and here and not after death.
  • Sundari (2001) – A Bharatanatyam piece to depict the feminine beauty.
  • Manavata (1998) – Sonal Mansingh along with the life imprisonment convicts of the Tihar Jail, danced together to mark the International Day of Human Rights.
  • Mera Bharat ( 1997) – A choreography on Ecology and Environment to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Indian Independence.
  • Panch Kanya, Devi Durga, and Aatmayan (1995) – A performance based on different stories of Indian texts to highlight the theme of social inequalities and realizing the power of inner spirit.
  • Dharma – Sringaara (love: physical and spiritual) (1994) – On the plight of Draupadi when her being shared among 5 brothers was decided.
  • Shiva -Tandava (1988) – A Chhau and Odissi performance.
  • Ashta-Nayika (1984) – The eight emotional phases of women of love

Parliamentarian

Sonal Mansingh is a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha. The former Indian President Ram Nath Kovind nominated her in 2018. She assumed office on 14 July 2018 and joined the Bharatiya Janta Party. As a member of Parliament, Sonal Mansingh has served as a member of the Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, the Central Advisory Committee for the National Cadet Corps, the Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and the Committee on Empowerment of Women. She has also spoken for the preservation of Indian Classical dance forms in the Parliament sessions.

Awards

  • Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1987)
  • Rajiv Gandhi Excellence Award (1991)
  • Padma Bhushan (1992)

    Sonal Mansingh, recieving the Padma Bhushan honour in 1992

    Sonal Mansingh, receiving the Padma Bhushan honour in 1992

  • Indira Priyadarshini Award (1994)
  • Medal of Friendship from the Council of State of Cuba (1995)
  • Padma Vibhushan (2003)
  •  Lifetime Achievement Award (2019)

    Sonal Mansingh receiving the Lifetime Achivement Award

    Sonal Mansingh, receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award

Sonal has been awarded with various State and conference awards.

Honours

  • Honoured with a Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) by G.B. Pant University, Uttarakhand.
  • Honoured with Doctor of Literature (Honoris Causa) by Sambalpur University.

Achievements

  • She was a Chairperson of the Sangeet Natak Akademi from 2003 to 2005.
  • She was on the Board of Trustees of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) from 2000-2004 and 2016-2018.
  • She was a member of the Executive Committee of Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts.

Salary

Sonal Mansingh’s salary as a Rajya Sabha member of the parliament is around Rs. 2.10 lacs (including the office expenses) plus other allowances. [1]Firstpost

Assets & Properties

Sonal Mansingh does not possess any property. In an interview, she once said,
five years I was homeless in Delhi. But even today I am homeless. I don’t possess any property. I have always lived in a rented ghar because I put in my money in establishing an institution, the Centre for Indian Classical Dance, which celebrated 40 years on April 30. I never wanted a home or land because the body is the only home I will ever have. [2]The Telegraph

Favourites

  • Food: Khandvi (Gujarati cuisine)
  • City: Paris
  • Indian destination: Kamakhya Temple, Guwahati, Assam.

Facts/Trivia

  • Sonal Mansingh is the youngest person to receive the Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan Awards. She is also the second woman dancer, after Balasaraswati, to have received the Padma Vibhushan.

    Sonal Mansingh receiving the Padma Vibhushan by Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

    Sonal Mansingh receiving the Padma Vibhushan by Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

  •  Sonal Mansingh’s family didn’t want her to pursue dancing as a profession, so she ran from home using her college scholarship money to travel to Bangalore, where her teacher Krishna Rao and his family took care of her. After this, she never went back to live with her family.
  • In 1975, when she was at the peak of her dance career, she met with a big car accident and broke her 12th vertebra. She was told that she would never be able to dance. However, Sonal Mansingh soon returned to dancing.
  • Her hobbies are reading and travelling. She has travelled over 90 countries. She has written a book titled, Classical Dances.

    Coverpage of Sonal Mansingh's book, Classical Dances

    Cover of Sonal Mansingh’s book, Classical Dances

  • Sonal Mansingh received Rs. 250 as a reward for her first stage performance, which was objected to by Morarji Desai, her grandfather’s friend.
  • Sonal Mansingh’s parents did not approve of her relationship with Lalit Mansingh.
  • A Biography of Sonal Mansingh is written by Sujata Prasad named, ‘Sonal Mansingh: A Life Like No Other.’ She calls Sonal her ‘apa ‘ or the elder sister.Biography of Sonal Mansingh by Sujata Prasad
  • She is also trained in Hindustani and Carnatic classical vocal music by Prof.K.G. Ginge and Sri Venkataraman, respectively.
  • On 1 May 2002, a documentary film titled ‘Sonal,’ directed by Prakash Jha, was premiered in the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, to honour the completion of 40 years of her career. It won the National Film Award for Best Non-Feature Film of the Year.

References[+]

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