The sky was submerged in velvety darkness, with the moon peeking from behind a veil of clouds and the stars sparkling like jewels. Krishna was walking towards his home with the satisfaction of a fruitful day and full tummy. Today was the day when all the Gopikas churned milk to make fresh butter, providing the perfect opportunity for Krishna and his mischievous friends to have a feast.
The next morning the sun shone brightly on Vrindavan, a new day adorned by a soft breeze. When Krishna was lazing around the meadows while his cows munched and chewed with great gusto, he was suddenly abducted by two persons whom he suspected to be female. He was blindfolded and heard only tinkling laughter about him. It was then he understood that the Gopikas had come to collect their revenge. His blindfold was then taken off and in front of him stood the notorious Radha Rani, her figure tall and graceful and eyes twinkling with mirth.
The demand of the Gopikas was simple and straightforward. Krishna had to spend the whole day dressed as a female. Without complaining, Krishna emerged from behind a cluster of trees sporting a colourful lehenga and jingling his anklets with delight. The Gopikas were proud of their handiwork, secretly envying how Krishna managed to look so good even in women’s attire.
As Krishna roamed around the village he heard a collective gasp from all the men, women and children. Some men mocked him while some shook their heads in disgust, and the children danced around him, bombarding him with questions about his new avatar. The reaction that hurt him the most was of the women of Vrindavan. They reprimanded him for ridiculing women and being a blight on manhood in general. All in all, Krishna was not welcome in the village because the villagers were appalled by the change in his gender identity, even though it was temporary.
It was then Krishna understood the stereotypical mindset of the villagers and the rejection of the society in any matters related to gender fluidity or queerness. Being the God he was, he realised that the minds of the people were riddled with conventional thought processes that dismissed any sort of deviant behaviour. Krishna was so taken aback by the rigidity of the society that he spent a whole week dressed up as a woman, and what was supposed to be a punishment turned out to be the instigator of a great revolution.
Krishna set yet another landmark in Hindu mythology by the acceptance of gender change and even the celebration of queerness. What I want all of you to think about is that if thousands and thousands of years ago, the gods worked towards eradicating the prejudices of the society, why is the world today so convinced that such people are unnatural and their actions unreligious? Isn’t that in stark contrast to what the gods were actually trying to convey? Think of Krishna as a girl, Vishnu in his Mohini avatar, the transformations of Shikhandi, Arjun’s time as Brihannala and various other LGBT instances in our Indian mythology. Our deeds are our monuments, and the changes we bring today will shape our legacy.
~Tanvi Jain, DPS Noida
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