Shikhandi:And Other Tales They Don't Tell You - And Other 'Queer Tales They Don't Tell You

Shikhandi:And Other Tales They Don't Tell You - And Other 'Queer Tales They Don't Tell You (English, Paperback, Devdutt Pattanaik)


Shikhandi:And Other Tales They Don't Tell You - And Other 'Queer Tales They Don't Tell You  (English, Paperback, Devdutt Pattanaik)

550 Ratings & 53 Reviews
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    • Language: English
    • Binding: Paperback
    • Publisher: PRH INDIA LOCAL PRINT
    • Genre: Academic and Professional
    • ISBN: 9789383074846, 9383074841
    • Edition: 2014
    • Pages: 192
    • 10 Days Replacement Policy
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  • Description
    Patriarchy asserts men are superior to women.
    Feminism clarifies women and men are equal.
    Queerness questions what constitutes male and female.

    Queerness isnt 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 devotees 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.

    Exclusive Piece written by Devdutt Pattanaik for Flipkart Customers

    March of Celibate Men

    Vishnu takes the form of a king, a cowherd, a priest, a fish even an enchantress called Mohini. In this female form, he seduces gods and demons and hermits, all in order to preserve social order. Thus a God who is visualised as male becomes a nymph, bears a child for the sake of social order.

    This story is remarkable at so many levels.

    Here, Gods gender is not restricted to the male form. Fertility is not restricted to women. Divinity is associated with enchantment and sensory pleasures. And though woman, Mohini is not a demure wife; she is a dancer who is restricted to no man.

    Could this possible be a Hindu story?

    When the Europeans came to India, they saw stories such as these as yet another indicator of Indian effeminacy and Oriental debauchery. Back home, they were themselves exposed to a world where God was avowedly masculine, he sent down a son, not a daughter, to save the world, and that son was conceived without sexual intercourse and had no wife of his own. The priests of this God were all male and celibate. An alternate worldview where the feminine and the queer was appreciated, even venerated, made no sense to them. They naturally mocked Indians. This mockery became intense when the Europeans became rulers of India.

    So Hindus became defensive and apologetic. Not knowing how to explain their stories in the language of the foreign rulers, they started to reform the stories. They focused on stories that met with European approval: stories where celibacy and self-control was valorised and women were reduced to objects of temptation. The stern celibate monk became the representative of Hinduism, not the dancing mischievous affectionate nymph.

    The Europeans left. The Americans came. In the 60s, America went through a radical change sexual revolution, hippie revolution, anti-war protests. They wrote books rediscovering Indias sensual heritage. They spoke of how Hindus had bisexual gods and goddesses. Hindus were horrified.

    Was not Hinduism was all about celibacy and self-control? Was that not what the story books told them? Was that not what their parents and teacher told them? They protested passionately but were gagged with typical Western academic disdain, You are in denial. You dont have the facts; we do. Let us tell you what your culture is!

    Battle lines were thus drawn. They continue to be drawn.

    Time for empathy, and expansion of the mind. Appreciate the stories of sensuous men and women, celibate men and women. More importantly, appreciate the different context in which celibacy was celebrated and the different context in which the dance of the enchantress was celebrated. Even more importantly, appreciate the vast volume and diversity of India, where things have never been static, where things are never static, where the past and the present coexist simultaneously, the liberal coexists with the conservative, the wise next to the most unfair.

    Time to read Shikhandi and other tales they dont tell you.

    And remember, they who dont tell you these 30 stories are not villains. They probably are unware of their vast heritage themselves.
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    • 2014
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    Ratings & Reviews
    550 Ratings &
    53 Reviews
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    Brilliant as usual

    I have been a fan of devdutt pattnaik for over a year now.In this book also he is at his best while analyzing Hindu mythology and its acceptance of queerness.The rich and diverse knowledge base and wisdom that is embedded in our ancient text is brilliantly explained by the authour.

    Deepomouli Ghosh

    Certified Buyer, Kolkata

    9 Aug, 2014

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    Just okay

    Overpriced.. is the first thing which came in my mind after receiving the book... It's a thin book comprises of few tales .. shikhandi is one of them (hardly 7-8 pages) I was expecting more.... Nothing to say about write-up..its good.. Most of the stories are known.. I wish it had some more content...

    Joydeep chatterjee

    Certified Buyer, Bengaluru

    16 Sep, 2017

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    You cannot miss these popular stories revoving around gender metamorphosis

    The author not only narrates the legends but offers extensive commentary to place the stories in proper context.
    This book also inspired me to do research on the places, myths and people mentioned in the stories.
    Devdutt portrays a cast of very real characters, some of whom weren't my favorite till I read this book.
    What I like most is Devdutt Pattanaik's use of illustration to depict his ideas; the way my science teacher used diagrams.

    Devasis Sarangi

    Certified Buyer, Bhubaneswar

    25 Jul, 2014

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    Queerness celebrated..!

    Once again - Devdutt Pattanaik creates magic with his well researched stories from Indian mythology - that celebrate what is "queer" - the third sex - the ambiguity and differences that lie within this vast cosmos and how Hindu mythology has taught us to embrace that ambiguity and differences! I loved reading those stories - and they really are tales which no one ever tells us! However - i was disappointed that unlike other books by Mr. Pattanaik - where you get small nuggets of information a...


    Certified Buyer, Mumbai

    30 Jul, 2014

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    Expectation not met!

    I am a fan of Devdutt Pattanaik writing. In this book, he is at his best while analyzing Hindu mythology and its acceptance of queernes, however for someone who has already read his other books, these stories are repeated, but for those of the authors questioning thought at the end of each stories. I would have liked some more detailed or researched content than the repeat of the previous stories which author has depicted in his earlier books.

    Shreyas Aralere

    Certified Buyer, Bangalore

    22 Jan, 2015

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    Good to read.

    Good to read. I read first time book by DP.
    My expectations was high. Title story is good but found it short. Was expecting details.
    But points were good. Other stories are just written in folktale style.

    Pushpa Helwade

    Certified Buyer, Pune

    10 Sep, 2014

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    The lovers of mythology and especially fans of the devdutt pattanaik books would find it an essential part of their collection. For other details, you can check out the product details.....

    Mridula Kalita Dutta

    Certified Buyer, Jorhat

    24 Mar, 2018

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    Hated it!

    The book quality is too bad, I can see the pages are just xerox ed from original book. Though the delivery was quick but zero in quality parameters. Want to return the book but as I wanted to buy it from long can't do that, need to read it tonight.

    Jamila Chowdhury

    Certified Buyer, Bengaluru

    21 Feb, 2018

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    Highly recommended

    Great book. Lots of unknown facts are written here

    Flipkart Customer

    Certified Buyer, Ahmedabad

    13 Feb, 2018

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    Really Nice

    well researched and informative

    Balachandran S

    Certified Buyer, Chennai

    5 Jan, 2018

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    All 53 reviews
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