Book Review: Shikhandi And Other Tales They Don’t Tell You by Devdutt Pattanaik
Shikhandi And Other Tales They Don’t Tell You is not perhaps the best work of Devdutt Pattanaik, but it indeed is a masterpiece, most suited for academic reading. While in the first part of the book, the author cites references to homosexuality and non-heteronormative examples from world mythology, in the second part he devotes completely in the analysis of Indian scriptures.
The self-proclaimed custodians of Indian culture have often used “Indian culture” as a pretext to base their attacks on everything queer. The sustained campaign terming anything apart from heterosexuality as abnormal and foreign disease stems from this assumption. Quite skilfully, Devdutt Pattanaik demolishes such claims by narrating tales from Indian mythology instances and examples of how intrinsic to Indian culture “queerness” is.
Shikhandi and Other Tales They don’t Tell You is the collection of stories from Mahabharata, Ramayana, Puranas and other religious texts. Devdutt Pattanaik presents these tales of “queerness” from a cultural context. One must not forget, Devdutt has earlier penned a book called ‘The Pregnant King’ which in itself was a testimony of inherent flow of “queerness” in Indian culture.
The book comes at an important juncture when the LGBT community in India is facing another struggle for the right to dignity. Thanks to the infamous Supreme Court ruling on 11.12.13, the queer community has overnight become criminals in their own country. Devdutt Pattanaik single-handedly demolishes the rhetoric by the Indian moral police in the name of culture, through his writing.
However, at the end of the day, Shikhandi and Other Tales They don’t Tell You feels like a hurriedly put together anthology of 30 blog pieces. It lacks the charm of Devdutt’s previous works. Nevertheless, the research gone into this book is in no way inferior to Pattanaik’s earlier works.
My Rating: 4/5 stars
P.S. – This review is part of Flipkart Bloggers’ Affiliate Programme
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Posted on September 2, 2014, in Books and tagged Book, Book Review, Bookreview, Books, Devdutt Pattanaik, Flipkart Bloggers Affiliate Programme, Homosexuality, Queer, shikhandi. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.