Same-sex relations: Live and let live

The book, I am Divine  so are you, by Devdutt Pattanaik offers a personal perspective on how the faiths based on principle of Karma in different religions can affirm the dignity of queer identity. Queer is an umbrella word for homosexuals. The central theme of the book is ‘queer identity’.  A self-made, mythologist  Devdutt Pattanaik in his book tries  to convince his readers by citing an example from his version of Hindu Mythologies, which is highly critical and treated as anti-Hindu by most of us.

Politics on LGBT rights have become increasingly prominent on political agenda in both global and domestic realms.  Pattaniak , a supporter of Wendy Doniger, tries to convince his readers that LGBT Rights are Human Rights.

As one work through all the five chapters, finds the author has assisted the discussion that it is important to emphasise the fundamental liberalism that lies at the core of Karmic faiths and articulate the strains of beliefs that affirm the dignity of queer expression.  As Buddhism advocate a deep sense of shared compassion for the queer and encourages a sense of identity whereas Jainism advocates non-violence and radical skepticism and as a result, avoids rushing to judgement about homosexuals. Sikhism also advocates equality among genders. And, Hinduism celebrates diversity, which includes the queer in all of its manifestations.  In all these chapters , he preaches his reader the overarching and fundamental wisdom that is common to all Karma faiths make ample room to accommodate the queer with innovation solutions.

To support his point of view about the LBGT rights In India, the writer stoops to a level by penning down some fabricated versions of Hindu mythologies which are anti God like:  “In Hinduism, we may find stories where God transforms into Goddess, indicating gender fluidity, as also men turning into women and women turning into men. This reveals a greater comfort with transgender identities. Although there are images of male –male and female –female friendship, one is never sure if this love is platonic, romantic or sexual, leaving them open to interpretations. Also, many queer themes in stories are metaphors used to communicate complex metaphysical ideas in narrative form.’ Further he writes   “Hinduism reveals a greater comfort with transgender stories. For examples, there are stories that describes Lord Vishnu becoming a damsel and Lord Shiva becoming half a women. However, homosexuality is not a dominant theme in Hindu Mythologies.”

While third gender is knowledge, the author speaks against the criminalizing of homosexual under ‘unnatural sex’ law. The author through this book extends support to the same-sex relationships which are not recognised by the state of India. He even penned down in the last chapters how to conduct a same-sex wedding based on Indian rituals step by step from making the proposals to accepting the proposals to sending invitation to exchanging garlands .

This book is for all of our folks who are enamored and more likely to believe westerner interpretations of mythologies which subtly undermine the country’s cultural ethos, a usual covert of foreign world view.

Book: I am Divine  so are you

Author: Devdutt Pattanaik

Pages: 164

Price: Rs 299