Book Review: Shikhandi and Other Tales by Devdutt Pattanaik
|Book Name:||Shikhandi and Other Tales they don’t tell you|
|Publisher:||Zubaan + Penguin Books|
By retelling various stories from Hindu mythology across 1-2 pages each and anecdotes at the end, Devdutt Pattanaik tries to focus on what our political and religious leaders tell otherwise. That a female may behave differently and that a male may behave differently and about so many in-betweens (in terms of sexual or psyche). That anyone behaving differently should not to be legally penalized (Article 377 for LGBT).
The stories abound of such mythical characters, especially from Mahabharata, the great epic tale and from little known tales from other regions. Some of them we might have already heard, but never gave any attention to, probably because we never looked at them from an adult mindset. The book brings into light the “queerness” and makes us question on why there is a growing discomfort in Indian society for those who do not follow the norms, and when this shift in attitude in our culture happened.
However, if the stories could have been longer to understand the person’s psyche on whom each short story is based upon, rather than mere telling of facts, it would have been much better. Overall, a good book, with plenty of content to find argumentative dialogues.
Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
Queerness isn’t only modern, Western or sexual, says mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik. Take a close look at the vast written and oral traditions in Hinduism, some over two thousand years old and you will find many overlooked tales, such as those of Shikhandi, who became a man to satisfy her wife; Mahadeva, who became a woman to deliver his devotee’s child; Chudala, who became a man to enlighten her husband; Samavan, who became the wife of his male friend; and many more . . .
Playful and touching – and sometimes disturbing – these stories, when compared with their Mesopotamian, Greek, Chinese and Biblical counterparts, reveal the unique Indian way of making sense of queerness.
About the author:
He is the Chief Belief Officer of Future Group, one of India’s largest retailers, bringing the wisdom of Indian mythology into Indian business, specifically in human resource management. He also writes a column for the newspaper MID DAY.
Posted on January 15, 2017, in Book Reviews and tagged Book, Book Review, Devdutt Pattanaik, indian writer, Mythology, Non Fiction, Review, Shikhandi and Other Tales, spirituality, Zubaan. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.