Tasveer Ghar: A Digital Archive of South Asian Popular Visual Culture
The Embodiment of Quicksilver: Picturing Chandrashekhar Azad
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  • Sourav Roy
    26/08/2019 23:53:43
    Read with much interest and relish. This seems to be a good place to thank the author for her excellent Bhagat Singh essay which helped me arrive at the argument in my Tasveerghar visual essay via fig.s 21 and 22 (corresponds to fig.s 08 and 09 here, respectively): "In the posters (Fig. 21, Fig. 22), made by two different artists, the countenances of the valiant, militant heroes depicted look almost identical, down to the moustache (which Chandra Shekhar Azad doesn’t stop twirling as he shoots three police men in Fig. 21). Both artists seem to have adapted the following visual ideal of Indian male beauty to its last detail: ‘मोटे नैन चौड़ा माथा, लंबी गर्दन गोल तेरी/ तीरैं के निशान मारे, भुजा हैं सुडौल तेरी/ चेहरे की गोलाई जैसे चंद्रमा सी खिली हुई/ दाँतों की बत्तीसी जैसे संधि करके मिली हुई/ शेरों जैसी चाल जैसे मंद मंद ढली हुई/ मैं कई बार बोलूँ एक बार बोले तू, मन्ने दुःख सै बड़ी भारी’ – ‘Motey nain chowda maatha, lambi gathan gol teri / teeron ke nishaan bhare, bhuja hai sudoul teri / chehre ki golai jaise chandrama si khili hui / daanton ki battisi jaise sandhi karke mili hui / sheron jaisi chaal jaise mand mand dhali hui / main kayin bar bolun ek baar bole tu, manney dukhh se badi bhari’ (Large eyes, broad forehead, elongated round neck, Strong, shapely arms bear the scars of wars. Moon-like face, Pearl-like, close-set teeth, Like a lion he walks with powerful strides, But is frugal with his speech).39 If these individuals seem to us like they are the same person playing different roles, the reading wouldn’t be an errant one as they are all idealized emanations of the same militant masculinity deployed against the non-Hindu oppressor. "

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