Tag Archives: devdutt pattanaik

BOOK REVIEW: ‘SHIKHANDI … And Other Tales they don’t tell you’ by Devdutt Pattanaik

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Copyright@shravancharitymission

‘SHIKHANDI … and other tales they don’t tell you,’ by Devdutt Pattanaik.

The subject title was published in the year 2014 by Zubaan in collaboration with Penguin Books. The price of the book is Rs 299. Although, I had heard about this book some time ago I had not read it. I took the book to hand only recently. It comprises of some 176 pages.

    The book deals with the discovery or Invention of Queerness. There are different types of people in the world with different types of physiology. There are races, religions, communities who define queerness in their own peculiar manner. Before planning to write this book I’m sure the author must have done a great deal of homework. He must have studied various communities, races and religions to spin out the content of this particular book. I find a growing trend in some publishers these days where they place the name of the author more prominently on the cover page, and in bigger fonts, than the title of the book which only goes to show that the publisher has more confidence on the brand of the author on account of his or her accumulated titles than the subject book’s content. But this obviously comes after the author has made a mark for himself. Is this one such case I wonder?

    The subject title was published in the year 2014 by Zubaan in collaboration with Penguin Books. The price of the book is Rs 299. Although, I had heard about this book some time ago I had not read it. I took the book to hand only recently. It comprises of some 176 pages.

    The author has made a few daring attempts in the book to put Hindu Gods and Godesses in utter starkness that makes them look frivolous which the author could have avoided. And that also gives one a feeling that the intention behind that act of God is not comprehensively understood or narrowly missed by the author well enough, even when, he has gone through Hindu texts, and some fifty-four select bibliographies that he mentions in the book. The author runs all over. From queerness to hijras, cross-dressers, Gods, mythology and the short stories therein, and then finally it appears as if the author has lost direction. Where, one starts missing the central theme of the book, but was it even there one wonders. In some pages, one wonders, if it is just a collection and free-fall of short stories which is not what the book was intended to be.  Even the emotions of characters are not elaborately emoted. The author goes on to say that India is an agricultural community and so it was common to see women as mere fields with men as the farmers who sow seeds.

    The author has captured the content of this book in thirty chapters mostly out of Hindu mythology—Mahabharat, Ramayan including South Indian and other religious texts such as Purans, Bible and Greek mythology. The author builds the content of queerness on the premise that—Patriarchy asserts men are superior to women. Feminism clarifies women and men are equal. Queerness questions what constitutes male and female.    Queerness isn’t just 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 being put under a cover. Playful and touching—and sometimes even disturbing—these stories, when compared with their Mesopotamian, Greek, Chinese and Biblical counterparts, reveal the unique Indian way of making sense of queerness. Net-net the book is about the queer retelling of, Indian myths, by the author. But I also have a different take on this book.

    The book would have been more powerful had ‘Queerness’ not been the title or the central theme of the book. For it is dominated more by short stories where queerness spins out as a by-product. And the stories needed to be presented with more of a foreground and background. Author ne dil khol ke nahin likha hai yeh kitab. He has tried to stuff in a lot of content in very few pages and therefore the book doesn’t impact you.

  I would give the book six out of ten.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

MIRAGE

(Published in February 2020. The book is a collection of eight short stories. It is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Notion Press)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

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BOOK REVIEW: LEADER by Devdutt Pattanaik

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

    Hello and welcome friends. The book for today is ‘LEADER—50 insights from mythology’ by none other than Devdutt Pattanaik. This manuscript has seen the light of the day through renowned publishers HarperCollins. The price of this book is rupees 499. It was published in the year 2017 under management classification.

    Devdutt Pattanaik as we all know since 1996 has written over thirty books and 700 columns, on how stories, symbols, and rituals that construct the subjective truth of myths, of ancient, and modern cultures around the world.

    The book is indeed unique in many senses where, the author has tried to link the happenings and beliefs of mythology with our day-to-day life, especially, management of business enterprises. To write such a book, the author, obviously needed to have, vast cross section insights, into mythology, and its perfect syncretism for the safeguard of mankind. And the author has done exactly that.

    The book totals up to 235 pages. It has 50 chapters, and each chapter has a management lesson that emanates out of, either, a mythological tenet, or a mythological happening. Each chapter is some four to five pages long, written in plain English. Sentences are, quite well structured, with no wastage of words. And it touches everyone’s life, for most of us are actually struggling, in some form or the other, in this formidable orbit of life.

    I may not be in a position to narrate each and every episode or chapter of the book to you. But I would certainly like to take you through certain mythological names, events, episodes and tenets in the book that construct each chapter and then connects it with the relevant modern day episodes of business and the corporate world. The book encircles Mahabharata, Krishna, Arjuna, Vishwaroopa, Panadvas, Krishna, Draupadi, Kauravas, Duryodhana, Yudhistira, Dronacharya, Drupada, Kurukshetra, Bhagvata, Karna, Bhisma-Pitahmah, Bheem, Shikhandi, Elephant, Ashwatthama, Shalya, Bhagavata Purana, Khandavaprastha, Mathura, Kansa, Narada, Dwarka, Sudama, Uttanka, Gandhari, Sukant, Sharda, Kaliya the serpent, Hastinapur and Vyasa. These names itself will give you a flavour of the book.

    The author also connects Mahadeva, Shiva, Parvati, Rama, Ramayana, Rishi Vishwamitra, King Dasharatha, Bharata, Hanuman, Kumbhakarna, Vibhisana, Ayodhya, Ravana, Lanka, Garuda, Kartikeya, Ganesh, Shiv-puran, Daksha Prajapati, Varuna, Vishnu, Deva, Asuras, Lakshmi, Vishnu-Purana, Manu, Upanishads, nymph-Tilottama, Kama and Menka. These names only tell you in which circuit the book is indeed moving.

    The very name Devdutt Pattanaik might instil, in some prospective readers that the book has a Hindu flare. Where, I would like to clarify the book only has a Corporate and business flare backed up by episodic mythology, that is relevant to prove the point. No wonder it has episodes from Bible and Quran and talks of Prophet, Nathan, David, Muhammad, Ramzan, Archangel Gabriel, Mecca, Arabs, Europe, Persia, Christianity and Islam.

    It is refreshing to read about Greek Gods, Olympic Motto —Citius, Altius, Fortius—that translates into faster, higher, stronger. Then you have Ulysses, Hercules, Achilles, Odysseus, Apollo, Sea-God Poseidon, Greek God Hermes, Greek—Sisyphus, Greek heaven of the Elysian Fields, and how the author connects it to modern times.

    The book draws lessons from Brahma, Durga, Kamakhya, Shruti, Rishis, Yagnas, Raja-suya Yagna, Ashrama-dharma, Ashwamedha yagya, Mount Meru and Vishwakarma. It gives due importance to animals such as Boar, Eagle, Lion and horse. It spins a situational, positional and devotional story out of Chandra Gupta Maurya, Chanakya, Vikramaditya & Vetal, Chatrapati Shivaji, Shaunaka—the sage, Vaishampayana and Maa Santoshi Vrat.

    Both mythology and life is incomplete without stars and planets. The author brings around an episode with Brihaspati—Jupiter and Shukra—Venus.

    The author reminds of the greatness of Gautama, Buddha, Agastaya Muni, Nahusha, Indradyuma, Rishi Markandeya, Savitri, Satyavan, Shaktimuni and Harishchandra.

    Indian mythology has always had a lineage of folk tales where the author has included episodes of Akbar-Birbal, Shekchilli, Ganguteli, Raja Bhoj, Gobar ka Ganesh to convey lessons for modern day.

    And last but not the least the author even takes tips from Vivah-marriage, masculine, feminine, Americano—Pavlonian, Alpha-Male, Mughals, Jahapanah, Palki & Palanquin.

    We all think we know a lot about our own religion. But the reality is quite different. You will find it out when you read the book. For example we all think Duryodhana broke a lot of rules in Mahabharat. But did he actually do so? Find out. Read the book. I would give it eight of ten. A must read.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****