Life

10 Life Lessons We Can Learn From Zohra Sehgal

Nandini Sharma



The curtain has fallen for Mrs. Zohra Sehgal, or Sahibzadi Zohra Begum Mumtaz-ullah Khan as she was born. The Doyenne of Indian cinema, she was 102.

Just the fact that Indian film industry is a year younger to this matriarch explains a lot about this woman, who became what she was owing to a rebellious childhood.

Here are a few life lessons we can learn from this larger than life grand old lady of Bollywood.

1. Education: Even though she was born in a conservative Muslim family in British-ruled India, she knew the value of education and went to Queen Mary College, Lahore in the 1920s.

2. Travel: She was not one to whom sitting at home was an option. She chose to travel the world, and see its beauty through her own eyes.

3. Novelty: Not everybody knows that Mrs. Sehgal was the first Indian woman to have learned Ballet at the prestigious dance school of dancer Mary Wigman.

4. Quick Decision Making: She was all of 23, when she saw a play of famous Indian choreographer Uday Shankar. Without wasting a minute, she went backstage and asked for a job.

5. Love: She met her future husband Kameshwar Sehgal and fell in love with him. An age gap of 8 years, she being the senior, could not stop her love for him and they got married.

6. Creativity: When she moved to Lahore with her husband and kids, she chose the name Zohresh for her dance institute. It was a creative portmanteau of her and her husband's name.

7. Strong Will: Even after seeing the ups and downs of life, and the death of her beloved husband, she didn't lose her will to live and spread dance as an art form and moved to Delhi to head Natya Academy.

8. Fighting Spirit: Twenty years before she was called to heaven, she had a close call with death, when she was diagnosed with cancer, but the fighter in her beat the deadly disease and lived, continuing to spread smiles.

9. Smile: Not one image of her can be found that doesn't have her characteristic ear-to-ear smile. After celebrating her 100th birthday, she once said that she even tries to sleep while smiling so that if something happens to her, she goes smiling.

10. Sense of humor: The image given below is of her 100th birthday, and she can be seen attacking the cake for the photographs, spreading smiles and laughter even at that age.



All in all, Mrs. Sehgal was life personified. We can learn from her how to live, and how to live well.

Rest in peace, Ma'am!

Image courtesy: Bollywooders
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