In his latest audio series Stree 360, Devdutt Pattanaik presents women from Indian mythology who have been oppressors and those who have been oppressed : The Tribune India

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In his latest audio series Stree 360, Devdutt Pattanaik presents women from Indian mythology who have been oppressors and those who have been oppressed

In his latest audio series Stree 360, Devdutt Pattanaik presents women from Indian mythology who have been oppressors and those who have been oppressed


Sheetal

After delivering original audio series like Ravana 360 Degrees, Veda 360 Degrees, acclaimed author, mythologist and proficient speaker Devdutt Pattanaik brings out his recent Audible original, Stree 360 Degrees. This one is an attempt to decode women from Indian mythology. The author explains, “Stree 360 Degrees, as the name suggests, is looking at women from a 360 degrees point of view. It tells stories of women from different scriptures, different ways in which women can be looked at. There is so much to a woman and that is what I’m exploring in this audiobook series.”

So, what’s the status of women in Hindu mythology? Were women oppressed or liberated? Did they have independence, or were all decisions made for them by men? Devdutt says the answers might surprise you when you listen to his series.

When he talks about covering the subject from all angles, Devdutt is ‘not just talking about heroines’. “We’re also talking about villains, we are talking about submissive women, defiant women, good women, bad women, rich women, poor women and that is the whole idea. It is not viewed through the narrow framework of patriarchy or feminism. It is the second part of the Shikhandi book, which was written a few years ago.” Devdutt’s Shikhandi: And Other Queer Tales They Don’t Tell You was published in 2014, which shattered the conventional confines of gender and sexuality. He adds, “My series is not just about oppression, but about oppressors too. Women are both oppressors and the oppressed. They are liberators as they are also the ones who deny others agency and that’s what I want to draw the attention of people to.”

How does the twenty-first century women fare vis a vis the mythological ones? “Women in society today are educated unlike in the past and they can do their jobs, but gender inequality still exist. We are living in a post-industrial society and therefore we cannot really compare the current situation with the pre-industrial society. Industrialisation changed a lot of things. Rules of industrialisation define our lives and most of these stories come from pre-industrial contexts. So, one cannot really draw a direct comparison,” Devdutt opines.

Known for his vast knowledge of Indian mythology, Devdutt has been the story consultant for many popular TV shows such as Mahabharata, Siya Ke Ram and Devon Ke Dev...Mahadev that fall under the genre. In fact, he left a career in medical field to become a writer. His passion for writing continues but he has also switched to audiobooks to keep up with the generational shift. We wonder what he likes better? The host of radio show, The Devdutt Pattanaik Show, shares, “If you are reading a book, you can go back and forth from one chapter to another, and you can underline words or phrases that you like. You can listen to an audiobook while travelling in a crowded train or on a long flight, something that’s difficult to do with a book. So, everything has its pros and cons. I think certain medium works better at certain times but that doesn’t make it the preferred one at all times. Every medium has its purpose, and thereby a future.”

So, what’s next? Devdutt doesn’t have a definite answer. He likes to write several books simultaneously for different formats. “It’s difficult to say what my next project will be. I research on several subjects simultaneously, some of which will take the shape of books. I don’t plan anything.”

But Devdutt has expectations. With Stree 360 Degrees, he wants to give out a message to his listeners – There’s more to women than what people, books or anecdotes from history tell them about womanhood. As for men, he expects them to become better husbands, fathers and sons.


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