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Man Who Was A Woman

Books, Queer 5 Comments

The Hindu worldview considers every behavior and identity a possibility in this endless boundless cyclical universe. Hindu society, however, with its foundations in patriarchy and heterosexuality, deems non-conventional gender identities and sexual behaviors inappropriate for social stability. They are tolerated only in fringes, especially if they express themselves through patriarchal and heterosexual vocabulary. This conflict between Nature and culture, and the resulting repression of choices that threaten the dominant discourse, is manifest in the queer plots and queer characters of Hindu lore. Queer tales, though subversive from one point of view, are conformist from another because they endorse traditional gender roles and sexual symbolism. In narratives where men become women and women become men, feminine imagery continues to represent material reality while male biology provides the wherewithal for spiritual prowess. Thus, throbbing beyond sexual politics, time-honored metaphysical metaphors and allegories retain their mythic power. Hindu lore also drives home the point that social law changes with time to meet the demands of a particular age. What is dharma in the age of Rama need not be dharma in the age of Krishna. The world changes with time and with it human behavior and social law. Modern Indian law is often at odds with the Hindu belief, ritual, art and narratives, making no room for alternate sexual behaviors and gender identities, despite their existence in traditional constructs, probably because it borrows heavily from British colonial law that was largely formulated within the Judeo-Christian scheme of things. The presumption that what is ‘unnatural’ in the Biblical paradigm must be ‘unnatural’ within the Hindu paradigm disregards the fact that Hindu lore projects everything as part of Nature and of divinity, governed by the law of karma. Some things may be socially inappropriate. But nothing is unnatural. In fact, everything is a manifestation of the divine.

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  • Yes, indeed, everything IS ! How can there be partial divinity ? Food and Waste ( garbage,sewage,carcasses ) are equal in the scheme of Nature.But for Man, it is unequal. Producing, cooking and eating FOOD (and water)is considered sacred- hence a plethora of rituals. The Kisaan (as the husbandsman who is endowed with the responsibility of feeding ALL)prays for forgiveness-for the Himsa he will inflict – before he puts plough to earth.After cooking, food is offered as Naivedyam and then offered,traditionally, to a beggar first( Give before you Recieve) and then the family ate after a small prayer – thanksgiving. This simply expressed KRUTAGNYATAA to all the energies( animate and inanimate) that have put this meal before us.The left-overs are less sacred (as garbage). The bodily excreta ( urine and shit) are not sacred at all, but ‘ shhi ‘!- our left hand also becomes ‘shhii’! This sacred garbage and sewage is traditionally returned back to the very fields ASAP – there and then.This act of simply ‘ giving back ‘sustained the cyclic Food and Water chains.Urbanisation Linearised this process and created the mammoth problems of garbage and sewage disposal and at the same time depriving the farmer and field of nourishment.So, artificial manures, money lenders, indebtedness and suicides !This can be prevented only if India returns ALL it’s wastes to Bhaarat! A win-win situation of clean cities and fertile fields! Gandhiji opined’India is an unclean nation of clean people’and we were told ‘cleanliness is next to Godliness’.So we do pujas, keep our homes clean and dirty the surroundings and live aimdst this filth- taking the Lotus Symbolism too far!
    Being ‘human’first will lead to the realization that ALL is ‘divine’ !

    • Arun

      U sound like a great gnani…….A very good point. But as the current citizens of India, how do we become Bharatheeyars? That’s the question

  • Gaurav

    Dear Dev

    I have heard a lot about this book….and after Pregnant King and Mith=M… I am eager to gets hands on this book…pls advice where and how can i get this edition of yours

  • Ranjitha

    Wish there was some way to get my hands on these out-of-stock books of yours, because I have read the ones available :-) Is there any chance of these being reprinted?

  • mugDh

    Where to get this book, not available online!!! Will the publisher provide/print if asked?