This has been cooking in my head for a while now, as a cumulative response to work/social/dead-drunk conversations dissing nationalist heroes, Nehruvian enthu-cutlet reformers and big-dam messiahs. Whose intellectual postures, publicly-executed-personal-sacrifices, loincloths and goat-milk musings, Fabianisms and FabIndia activisms, dams and displacements, police-flogged-sepia-photos and prison notebooks collectively constitute the Messiah brand of sex appeal. Which have caught the attention of many an Edwina, Shabana, Arundhati.
But perhaps, it is unfair to ridicule the sepia poses of the Tagores, the Gandhis and the Patkars. (To flaunt some trivia: Tagore posed as the bleeding patriot publicly renouncing Knighthood after the Partition of Bengal in 1905) Perhaps, the hungry saviour in all of us who seek to live the life of the mind, finds succinct ways of foddering itself. There is the lawyering lot that poses as the Sexy Professional/No-NonsenseSaviour, spewing para 34 of Fazl Ali's blah judgment spelling out that Sexy Lawyers Have Been Salvaging the Basic Structure of the Constitution. Then there are the Grassroot Messiahs of the blood-stained, tattered dupatta brand of sex appeal. And the Journo-with-the-jhola-conscience (pun intended for Bongs) that exposes the wily corporate villain and his greasy, insider-traded palms. And the academic that writes out loud. At the euphemism that is the liberal state. And the artists they wield their brushes and nudisms in the air. Like gallant soldiers.
In defence of the life of mind. And in manufacturing Sex Appeal.
Each has her own manufacturing technique. That could range from use of charkhas to returns of Knighthoods to para 421.9 to cyber-warcries to tattered kurtas to censored manuscripts. Narcissisms of such sophistication. That buys us a letterbox in the Mindscape Apartment.