Shikhandi and Other Stories They Don’t Tell You by Devdutt Pattanaik
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Fear of the unknown is one of the biggest factors affecting the resistance to change. The nature of the human is either pray the unknown or make the unknown prey. In the age where the presumption is becoming more and more radical and the prejudiced righteousness is increasing in a frightening manner, there comes a book which explains you from the pages of Mythology that one of the unknowns was accepted socially.
Shikandi and the other tales they don’t tell is a collection of stories from the Indian Mythology written by Devdutt Pattanaik. This book extensively talks about the queerness existed in the Indian mythological tales and how those tales were twisted by various people and influenced the readers to see it in a constrained view. This book says nearly 30 stories and the author at the end of each story gives you some footnotes and some points to ponder.
A good book never gives you any answers but rather it kindles you to ask the right questions. Devdutt Pattanaik’s Shikandi does that perfectly. It talks about Shikandi, who became a man to satisfy her wife. It talks about Chudala, who became a man to enlighten her husband. It talks about the story of Gopeshwar, Lord Shiva who became women to listen to the music of Krishna. It also talks about Ram, who included all in his kingdom (so does it mean that bringing back Rama Rajyam means including all ? Only God Knows).
So what are these short stories trying to tell us? Most of these stories are not the unfamiliar ones, but this version of this story should definitely be. This retelling was to convey the point that the queerness was not seen as a sin and was not looked down upon in the Indian mythology. Due to western influence or some other influence, the view has changed over the years. The author says that the stories retold by the prejudiced minds have corrupted the core ideology behind the stories.
This book gives you a glimpse of the queerness in the world of mythology. This book is a good read and gives you a lot of points to ponder. To understand our prejudices towards the love we can’t understand, you must read this book. This book might not give you the insight to understand them but definitely, gives you the idea that if you don’t understand something then you don’t have to categorise it into either extreme.