Rama, Krishna, Shiva & our political correctness

Delhi University does not want a certain kind of Ramayana to be heard or read by its students. Well, for altogether different reasons, so do many parents writes the author, speaker, illustrator and mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik, chief belief officer of the Future group, in Star of Mysore:

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“Often I am approached by well-meaning people who want stories to be told to their children. So which story must one tell children? ‘Tell the Ramayana.’ So I begin—Once upon a time, there was a king with three wives…. And they interrupt, ‘Skip the three wives part. How can one talk about polygamy to children?’

“And then I come to the part where Ram abandons Sita following gossip in the city. And they interrupt again, ‘Can we end the Ramayana with the coronation part and skip this tragic ending?’

“In fact, many parents feel Ramayana should not be told to children as it is a patriarchal narrative. They feel I should tell the story of Krishna. Which part? ‘The childhood part when he is so sweet and naughty.’ And do we tell the story of how he stole clothes? ‘No, no, that is awkward.’ And the part about Raas-Lila. ‘No, no, that is difficult to explain.’

“So shall I tell the story of Shiva? ‘Yes, except anything about the Lingam and the consumption of Bhang.’ What about story of Durga? ‘Yes, Yes.’ But the moment I describe how Kali drinks blood I see eyebrows rise and gestures begging me to stop. ‘We are vegetarians.’

“Every parent wants to control what their children must hear. Every celebrity wants to control what the media says about them. Is there a difference?”

Read Devdutt Pattanaik’s articles: here

Also read: Dasaratha‘s wives gorged on idlis, dosas

Should gods, goddesses have caste identities?

USHA K.R.: The delightful feminism behind Ganesha‘s birth