Sunday, October 02, 2005

[lgbt-india] Shahrukh is the new Ardhnarisvara

““Metrosexuality is nothing but the concept of the ancient Ardhnarisvara, which has become the most important cultural signifier in recent times””

Masculine women, Feminine men, which is the rooster, which is the hen? Both, if you take the opinion of art historian, curator and author Dr. Alka Pandey who believes that gender is not about the body, the symbology of the Ardhnarisvara coming of age in contemporary society cannot be mistaken. ““With financial empowerment you can see the latent shakti in women coming to the fore. What else is all the talk about power dressing for women in the boardroom? Rohit Bal’’s male models sporting kohl and vermillion on their foreheads were nothing but an assertion of his homosexuality. Shah Rukh in the Lux ad sensuously soaping himself would have been sacrilege till sometime ago. Today’’s it’’s the current rage, everyone is talking about it. All this talk of metrosexuality is nothing but a synonym for the ancient concept of Ardhnarisvara coming into its own in a society which has learnt to rise above gender divides and understand that the ultimate is in attaining the divine balance between the male and female side which exists in every individuals.””

Drawing examples across cultures and civilizations, Dr. Pande delighted an enraptured audience at the Rajya Lalit Kala Kendra on Monday evening where she was delivering the RS Bisht memorial lecture on ““Creativity within Ardhnarisvara.”” A devout Shiva bhakt, Dr Pande feels her initial attaraction to this ancient symbol of the Ardhnarisvara draws inspiration from childhood. ““My father was a devout worshiper of Shakti that attracted me to study the Ardhnarisvara, Especially when I came across innumerable symbology associated with the form in the West. I began looking at sexuality and bisexuality and the binaries existing in us all the time.”” According to Dr. Pande the concepts of transvestism, cross dressing in bhakti, drama and arts all draw inferences from this concept. ““In contemporary terms it exists in the Yin and The Yang and you will find examples of it in Egyptian, Mayan, Shamanistic and other cultures across the world.”” The Ardhnarisvara thus has a global identity. ““When Beckham is hailed as a metrosexual for sporting bling and adorning himself with diamondsn it is an ode to this ideology which in modern terms has acquired the notions of metrosexuality and is the most important cultural signifier in recent times. At a particular level we are all transcending gender to evolve as a complete fusion of form and gender, an asexual, composite identity which takes us beyond desire and emotion. It’’s hard to take her away from her favourite subject but you can’t help ask the eminent art historian and curator her reaction to the whopping demanding the International market for Indian art?

““It’’s a trend that’’s directly related to the buoyant economy. I see it stabilizing after a while. I think it is a very good sign for nurturing art from his region but we must remember that not everyone is a Tyeb Mehta who sells for 7.5crore. But I’’ll say this, Indian art has needed a better canvas for a while now and it is finally happening.

Indian Express


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