Friday, 31 July 2015

#BookReview ; Shikhandi & Other Tales They Don't Tell You by Devdutt Pattanaik

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.

Ok so this book was on my TBR since ages!! Also I never tried any of the author's works before so was a little excited about it. The first page itself had a quote which made me sure that this book is going to be an informative & enjoyable read.
"Beware of a land where celibate men decide what is good sex"

The book has 2 parts, the first part has 2 chapters 'Appreciating Queerness' & 'The Discovery or Invention of Queerness'. Both of them have detailed well explained & connected references on how queerness has always been an inseparable part of our culture. It shows us how queerness was well included in mythologies all over the world which unfortunately got suppressed in mean time.
The second part consist of 30 stories which potrays queer characters openly & proudly which can observed in Hindu mythology & oral stories from different parts of India. A person who never knew about these stories would be surprised to know about stories like of Chudala or Mandhata & other such characters.

This book makes one feel proud of India's rich heritage & culture which believed in all kinds of equality whether it's sexual or gender based since ages. If read with an open mind this book will enlighten you & will make you believe in equality more & more.


  1. Great review and such an interesting book!

    1. Thank you so much & yes it's a must read.