Shikhandi: And Other Queer Tales They Don’t Tell You
Patriarchy asserts men are superior to women, Feminism clarifies women and men are 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.