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Sonal Mansingh Age, Husband, Family, Biography

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Marital Status: Divorced
Profession: Dancer, Parliamentarian, Social Activist
Religion: Hinduism

Sonal Mansingh

Bio/Wiki
Other NameSonal Pakvasa (name before marriage) [1]The Asian Age
Profession(s)Dancer, Writer, Social Activist
Physical Stats & More
Height (approx.)5’ 3” (161 cm)
Eye ColourDark Brown
Hair ColourBlack
Career
Famous Dance Performances• Chaturanga (1962)
Sonal Mansingh at a performance in earlier days
• Ashta-Nayika (1984)
A photograph of Sonal Mansingh from her earlier days of performance
• Shiva -Tandava (1988)
Sonal Mansingh in a dance pose
• Dharma – Sringaara (love: physical and spiritual) (1994)
Sonal Mansingh on a dance stage (2024)
• Panch Kanya, Devi Durga, and Aatmayan (1995)
Sonal Mansingh in a pose of goddess Durga
• Mera Bharat (1997)
Sonal Mansingh posing in a dance mudra
• Manavata (1998)
Sonal Mansingh
• Mukti (2002)
Sonal Mansingh in a dance mudra from her younger days
Awards, Honours• Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1987)
• Rajiv Gandhi Excellence Award (1991)
• Padma Bhushan (1992)
Sonal Mansingh while receiving the Padma Bhushan award (1992)
• Indira Priyadarshini Award (1994)
• Padma Vibhushan (2003)
Sonal Mansingh while receiving the Padma Vibhushan Award (2003)
• Akademi Ratna (Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship) (2018)
• Lifetime Achievement Award (2019)
• Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) by G. B. Pant University, Uttarakhand
• Doctor of Literature (Honoris Causa) by Sambalpur University
Personal Life
Date of Birth30 April 1944 (Sunday)
Age (as of 2024) 80 Years
BirthplaceBombay (now Mumbai)
Zodiac signTaurus
NationalityIndian
HometownNew Delhi
SchoolA Fellowship School in Gujarat
College/University• Elphinstone College, Bombay, now Mumbai
• Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bombay (now Mumbai)
Educational Qualification(s)• B. A. (Hons.) in German Literature
• 'Kovid’ and ‘Praveen’ (Sanskrit degrees) [2]The Times of India
ReligionHinduism [3]Instagram - Sonal Mansingh
Food HabitVegetarian [4]Scroll.in
Political InclinationBharatiya Janata Party [5]Instagram - Sonal Mansingh
Address11, Janpath, New Delhi
HobbiesDancing, Reading, Travelling
ControversiesResignation from Sahitya Natak Akademi [6]Rediff
Sonal Man Singh's resignation from the Chairmanship of Sahitya Natak Akademi became controversial. She was hit with allegations of bringing her political leanings and support for the Hindutva ideology while performing her duties as the Chairman of the Akademi, calling her 'arrogant,' 'autocratic,' 'saffron,' and 'sanghi.' Many authorities of Sahitya Natak Akademi resigned under her chairmanship. 60 well-known artists signed the memorandum demanding her removal from the post that was submitted to the then President of India Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. She was also blamed for favouring North Indians over South Indians, and her mother's nomination for Padma Shri under the BJP rule was also attacked and questioned in the entire scene. Popular dancer Raja Reddy led the campaign, and the matter became serious after the then Vice-President of the Sahitya Natak Akademi K N Panicker resigned. Indian actor and film director Girish Karnad was among the artists who sided with Sonal Mansingh. As a reaction to this, Sonal claimed,

"The artistes, who are now speaking against me are the ones who had been enjoying advantages before my time. I stopped these practices."
Relationships & More
Marital StatusDivorced
Affairs/Boyfriends• Lalit Mansingh (married; later divorced)
• Georg Lechner (married; later separated)
Family
Husband/Spouse• Lalit Mansingh (former diplomat) (m. 3 August 1963; div.1973)
Sonal Mansingh's husband, Lalit Mansingh

• Georg Lechner (former director of Max Mueller Bhavan) (m. 1975, later separated)
ChildrenNone
ParentsFather- Arvind Pakvasa (Indian freedom movement activist)
Parants of Sonal Mansingh
Sonal Mansingh with her father
Mother- Poornima (Sheth) Pakvasa (Indian freedom movement activist, social worker)
Sonal Mansingh with her mother
SiblingsBrother- Anuj Pakvasa (younger) (numismatist)
Sister- Arti Mehta (younger) (died of cancer in 2020)
Siblings of Sonal Mansingh. (From L to R)- sister, Arti Pakvasa, brother, Anuj Pakvasa, and Sonal Mansingh
Other RelativesGrandfather- Mangal Das Pakvasa (lawyer, freedom fighter, among first 5 governors of the independent India - remained governor for 4 terms)
Sonal Mansingh's grandfather, Mangal Das Pakvasa (center) with her parents on their wedding day
Sonal Mansingh with her paternal grandfather
Favourites
Snack(s)Khandvi (Gujarati cuisine), Pakore with Hari Chutney
Indian Destination Kamakhya Temple, Guwahati, Assam
CityParis
Money Factor
Salary (approx.)Rs. 2.10 lacs (including the office expenses) + other allowances (As the Rajya Sabha member) [7]Firstpost

Sonal Mansingh

Some Lesser Known Facts About Sonal Mansingh

  • Sonal Mansingh is famous for Bharatanatyam, Odissi, and Manipuri dance forms. She has an extensive knowledge of Indian music and philosophy. She is a dance Guru (trainer).

    Picture of Sonal Mansingh from her college days

    Picture of Sonal Mansingh from her college days

  • She is a believer of the Guru-Shishya Parampara tradition.

    Sonal Mansingh's Instagram post about her first disciple

    Sonal Mansingh’s Instagram post about her first disciple

  • She was just 4 years old when she started learning Manipuri dance. At the age of 7, she began her training in Bharatanatyam. Her early dance Gurus were from the Pandanallur School.

    Sonal Mansingh's Instagram post about her dance Gurus

    Sonal Mansingh’s Instagram post about her dance Gurus

  • Sonal’s professional Bharatanatyam training was done in Bangalore (now Bengaluru) under Guru U. S. Krishna Rao and Chandrabhaga Devi, a married couple. She was then 18 years old.

    Sonal Mansingh with her Guru, U. S. Krishna Rao. In the photo frame on the wall is her Guru, Chandrabhaga Devi

    Sonal Mansingh with her Guru, U. S. Krishna Rao. In the photo frame on the wall is her Guru, Chandrabhaga Devi

  • Her professional Odissi dance training was done in Cuttack under Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. She was introduced to him by her father-in-law, Dr. Mayadhar Mansingh.
  • In 1994, Sonal Mansingh was invited by the Dalai Lama for a dance performance at the Tibetan Theatre Institute in McLeod Ganj. She was the first to be invited to dance by the Dalai Lama and performed the Chariya Geeti – Buddhist tantric songs from the 16 Siddhas.

    A picture of Sonal Mansingh and Dalai Lama (1994)

    A picture of Sonal Mansingh and Dalai Lama (1994)

  • Sonal Mansingh opened a learning centre to promote the Indian culture of music, yoga, and dance in Delhi in 1977. It is known as Shri Kamakhya Kalapeeth or the Centre for Indian Classical Dances (CICD).

    Building of Sri Kamakhaya Kalapeeth founded by Sonal Mansingh

    Building of Sri Kamakhaya Kalapeeth founded by Sonal Mansingh

  • In 1999, Sonal Mansingh went to perform in Srinagar and Leh for the soldiers who took part in the Kargil War.

    Sonal Mansingh conducted entertainment programme for the soldiers of Kargil War in 1999

    Sonal Mansingh conducted an entertainment programme for the soldiers of the Kargil War in 1999

  • Sonal Mansingh has participated as a motivational speaker at a TEDx event.

    Sonal Mansingh at the TEDx show

    Sonal Mansingh at the TEDx show

  • In 1992, Sonal Mansingh was the youngest dancer to receive the Padma Bhushan.
  • She was the second woman dancer to receive the Padma Vibhushan award after Balasaraswati.
  • ‘Sonal Mansingh: A Life Like No Other’ is the biography of Sonal Mansingh, written by Sujata Prasad who fondly calls her ‘apa’ (beloved sister).

    Biography of Sonal Mansingh by Sujata Prasad

    Biography of Sonal Mansingh by Sujata Prasad

  • A documentary titled “Sonal” on her life was filmed in 2002 by the noted Hindi cinema director Prakash Jha to highlight her 40 years of contribution to Indian classical dances.
  • She was selected as the Chairman of the Sangeet Natak Akademi on 9 December 2003 for 5 years; however, she resigned in June 2005 due to allegations, claiming her to be ‘dictatorial’ and a supporter of the BJP.
  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi selected Sonal Mansingh as the NAVRATNA for the Swachh Bharat Mission (Clean India Mission) for the year 2014.
  • In 2018, President Ram Nath Kovind nominated her as a member of the Rajya Sabha.
  • Sonal Mansingh has penned a few books like ‘Classical Dances’ and ‘ A Zig Zag Mind.’

    Sonal Mansingh holding her book ' A Zig Zag Mind'

    Sonal Mansingh holding her book ‘ A Zig Zag Mind’

  • Sonal Mansingh and Waheeda Rehman learned Bharatanatyam from the same Guru in Bombay.
  • She supports Indian handloom clothing and wears only handloom clothes.

    Sonal Mansingh's Instagram post about her preference for Indian handloom cloth

    Sonal Mansingh’s Instagram post about her preference for Indian handloom cloth

  • Her mother, Poornima Pakvasa, is a Padma Shri awardee in social work. President Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam awarded her this honour in 1974.

    Sonal Mansingh's mother with Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

    Sonal Mansingh’s mother with Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

  • Sonal Mansingh is an environmentalist and often shares her thoughts on it on her social media handles.

    Sonal Mansingh's social media post about environment

    Sonal Mansingh’s social media post about the environment

  • Sonal loves swimming.

    Sonal Mansingh's Instagram post about swimming

    Sonal Mansingh’s Instagram post about swimming