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Shikhandi: Ánd Other ‘Queer’ Tales They Don’t Tell You Paperback – 20 Jul 2014
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"Pattanaik is a master story-teller" - Bibek Debroy, translator of The Bhagavad Gita
About the Author
Dr Devdutt Pattanaik is a physician whose varied interests later turned him into a well-known mythologist and an author on the topics of mythology, sanctity and so on. His famous books on mythology include The Book of Ram, Myth = Mithya: A Handbook of Hindu Mythology, The Pregnant King, The Book of Kali, Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of The Mahabharata, Sita: An Illustrated Retelling of The Ramayana.
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“Shikhandi: and other tales they don’t tell you” is a book focussed on alternate sexuality – the queerness, the fluidity of gender, the acceptance of the “not normal”: from eunuchs to same-sex relationships suggestive of homosexuality to gender changing gods, Pattanaik covers a lot of territory. Shikhandi, of course, is the most well known of these stories, coming as it does from the Mahabharat; most others would be quiet unknown to a majority of readers. From sources as diverse as the Puraans to folk-tales, Pattanaik takes a delightful romp across India; picking up tales that seem curiously at ease with gender-fluidity, quasi-homosexuality, and other “irregularities” that have modern religious fundamentalists frothing at the mouth.
True there are some stories where it is quite a stretch to believe the point Devdutt tries to make, but overall it is a charming read and argues for a much more inclusive, open-minded, and accepting culture than the one we live in at present.
it gives an insight to how the writer is thinking. Overall, I would consider it a good start to Indian mythology.
I love this book and I know for a fact that my grandmother and mom are going to contradict every question or statement that is written in the book no matter how much they agree to the story.
Mythology should be re-read and questioned. Intriguing book indeed.
I like books of the author as they respect Indian culture and myths.
Maybe this book is too deep and too detailed.
If I'm a researcher on India, I probably enjoy more and appreciate the book.
But, I'm learning India as a business man ...
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