OPINION Tishani Doshi

NWR Issue 101

Rich Text: Tishani Doshi

Myths occupy strange territories within us. They sit on unsteady interstices of memory and consciousness, informing our most basic ideas of vice and virtue. Their universality stems from the way they tread well-worn territories of betrayal, love, honour and redemption. And yet myths invoke an extreme sense of ownership, a sense that our people told these wonderful stories about us, and if you are to understand the unique nature of our people, you must read our stories. Myths are, ultimately, personal. And that’s why I believe it is somewhat dangerous to meddle with other people’s myths.

I did not grow up reading the stories of the Mabinogion. My childhood was monopolised by the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, heroic epics involving gods, goddesses and many-headed demons, whose attributes were invoked daily, as if they weren’t mythical characters at all, but people who lived and walked among us. In India, where I grew up, myths are everywhere; they are pervasive and alive in the most wonderful and frightening ways, and they survive in multiple retellings...

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