Shikhandi

01 August 2014

Devdutt Pattanaik

Penguin India,

196 pages, Rs. 299

The mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik argues that queerness is not only modern, Western or sexual. Pattanaik’s close examination of the written and oral traditions of Hinduism, some over two thousand years old, reveals many overlooked tales. These include the stories of Shikhandi, who became a man to satisfy her wife; Mahadeva, who became a woman to deliver his devotee’s child; and many others. Playful and touching—and sometimes disturbing—these tales, when compared to their Mesopotamian, Greek, Chinese and Biblical counterparts, reveal a unique, Indian way of making sense of queerness.

COMMENT