Tuesday 28 April 2020

Xerophilous Shikhandi (Mythological Monologues #24)

Neither a man nor a woman
I- Shikhandi, the daughter of King Drupad
Born as an incomplete, painful story
A half-finished beautiful portrait
A half-sung song with lyrics forgotten;
I remember every memory of my past life
as the graceful princess of Kashi - Amba.
I was cruelly abducted by Bhishma
My life turned into a spectacle
I was abandoned by my lover, Salva
Humiliated by plenty of men
Denied of justice, forsaken by all.
On seeing the volcano of my pain,
Lord Shiva blessed me to be the reason for 
Bhishma's death in my next birth.
I immolated myself that very moment
and was reborn as King Drupad's daughter.

Neither a man nor a woman
I- Shikhandi, the daughter of King Drupad
Raised as a brave and powerful son
Trained in warfare and statecraft
Married to the daughter of King Hiranyavarna
Abandoned by my wife for my gender;
Like a xerophilous plant, 
I survived without love in the forest
Acquired a male body 
At the mercy of a Yaksha. 
When blisters of agony 
was draining my life,
I remembered my purpose:
To complete my unfinished story
To be the reason for Bhishma's death.

Neither a man nor a woman
I-Shikhandi, the vivacious Amba reborn
Surrendered to the Cosmic plan
Awaited my chance to be the instrument of
God in establishing Dharma. 
When the Pandavas were clueless
How to defeat the great warrior Bhishma,
I rode on Arjuna's chariot,
guided by Lord Krishna on the 
tenth day of the Kurukshetra war.

At once, Bhishma recognized me 
He lowered his weapons 
Unwilling he was to strike a woman
for I was Amba in his guilt-ridden eyes.
Seeing the perfect opportunity, 
Arjuna, hiding behind my back
shot a volley of arrows at Bhishma
pinning him to the ground
immobilizing him for the war. 
I- Shikhandi became a vital instrument
Of Lord Krishna in making the Pandavas win.

I- Shikhandi embody all queer people;
In the eyes of the Lord, 
We are valuable, loved, and cherished
unlike the man made society 
that ridicules and suppresses us. 

©Purba Chakraborty

Note: Shikhandi is the eldest daughter of King Drupad in the Hindu epic, Mahabharata. She later became a male and was instrumental in helping the Pandavas win in the Kurukshetra war. 

Warm-hearted Sudama (Mythological Monologues #23)


  1. Hari OM
    A wonderful recognition and ode to the 'non-binary'! YAM xx

  2. Oh, I had forgotten Shikhandi's story! Your words brought it back for me! Yet another powerful and beautiful composition!

  3. Indeed Shikhandi is a unique character in Indian mythology. You have done a lot of justice to his portrayal as always Purba.

  4. A wonderful ode to the infamous character from the epic. You have powerfully presented Shikhandi's unique character. Awesome!

  5. These lines moved me "A half-finished beautiful portrait
    A half-sung song with lyrics forgotten;". Beautifully written, Purba. Congrats on nailing a difficult letter. :)

  6. I was very curious Purba about which mythological character you would take for the tricky letter X. Lo and behold, you not only did justice to the world X but also to troubled soul Shikhandi!
    Great job.

  7. It is such a cruel story of what happened to Amba first and Shikhandi later, although s/he ended up taking the revenge s/he wanted.

    Nice poetic story.


Hey! If you like this post or have anything to tell, please go ahead.
Looking forward to hearing from you :)