Shikhandi and Other ‘Queer’ Tales They Don’t Tell You by Devdutt Pattanaik

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Category: Short Stories (Mythology)
Publisher: Zubaan Publishers in association with Penguin Random House India
Publisher (Hindi): Rajpal Publishing
Rights: European and Indian language rights available (excluding translation rights for Hindi)

Patriarchy establishes men as superior to women.
Feminism views women and men as equal.
Queerness questions what constitutes male and female.

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.