Patriarchy asserts men are superior to women, Feminism clarifies women and men are equal, Queerness questions what constitutes male and female.
In his latest book, “Shikhandi and Other Tales They Don’t Tell You”, mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik explores the various stories revolving around queer topics that were a part of ancient Indian history but are seemingly and conveniently forgotten in the current society. Contrasting the popular belief in present day Indian society, that queerness and the LGBT+ community should be condemned and denounced as they go against the culture, traditions and history of India and are nothing but a Western corruption, Devdutt Pattanaik draws upon various Hindu oral myths as well as sacred texts which narrate tales of homosexual relationships, trans and intersex identities and other MOGII groups amongst not only humans, demigods and spirits but also Gods and Goddesses who constantly challenge the normative stances on gender roles and identities.
An Emanation of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. Nepal. 1859.
An unusual manifestation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion, Avalokitesvara, here appears as Shrishtikanta Lokeshvara, “Beautiful Creation Lord of the World,” a form unique to Nepalese Buddhism. Shrishtikanta emanates the entire pantheon of Hindu and Buddhist deities, here indicated by the golden threads that lead to numerous beings in clouds that surround the multiarmed and multiheaded central figure. Shrishtikanta stands on a lotus floating in a river, above a large fish, and holds a white lotus flower in one of the principle hands, while the other makes the gesture of charity. The innermost layer of subsidiary arms holds white lotus, the next three layers hold deities and animal gods, while the outermost layer of hands holds various attributes. A crowned Bodhisattva surmounts the eleven rows of heads.