Shikhandi Reincarnated

shikhandi, mahabharata, 3rd gender

“…Not for the choice of the scripture but as the twist of fate, I become Shonkora, Shikhandi reincarnated.”

When this little boy was gradually turning into a teen, he too faced a lot of sudden changes in his body and mind that had left a deep impact on him. He felt uncomfortable. Having no idea that this age can be so delicate for him to handle. His thoughts began to develop into the next sphere as his physical shape went through a transformation too.

A thick bush of hard spiky hair started growing at inappropriate places that laid barren all these while , the small hose for peeing, which his parents had taught him as a ‘nunu ‘ suddenly becomes a ‘bara ‘ for his friends. The length and shape of it starts transforming into a huge ugly one. On mornings when he gets up from his sleep he find his manliness had turned hard and erect inside his pants filling the area with a stain of slippery white substance having a pungent smell. Fear creeps inside him. He battles hard with the embarrassment about the bulge inside his pants that had formed a tent, making it visible to all. Trying his best to conceal it from all eyes by pulling his tees upto his crotch. Though much later in school biology classes teaches him the discharge is just another natural flow of the body. And the world teaches the act as masturbation. Within a few more days he finds a change in his sweet thin voice too. It breaks and turns coarse unpleasant to his own ears itself, making the Adam’s apple look more chiseled and prominent inside the throat. It gave a strange kind of a feeling inside his body at the sight of an explicit content. A strange consciousness evokes in him of fear, of shame, of embarrassment and of guilt. His finds it difficult to share it with his parents or peers.

Things doesn’t just stops there. His miseries continues. In school his friends often touches it to feel the hardness, if forbidden, he becomes a joke for the class. A difficult phase of life when he’s in a constant fight with self, the society, the people associated with him, his text books and the world.

He seems to have been stuck in a phase of being a misfit, where sweet talks seems kiddish and if he attempts to make an adult like conversation it is taken as ‘paka-paka kotha‘ over smartness. In loneliness and shame he takes refuge in self. Insecurity webs in him. If he goes out on street he feels every eye is following him and he’s becoming a subject of mockery. If he goes to his friends he feels their hands awaits to slid inside his zippers. And neither does he feels comfortable enough to share it with his conservative family. He stops meeting with the world and creates his own utopia of comfort where no one is granted an access. His grades begins to fall in school. He becomes adamant and the reason of annoyance for his parents. He develops a sense of self hatered.

Fighting this phase of loneliness, he develops another side of his existence which was hidden in him for so long. The softer side. “Feminine ‘ as what the world calls. He tends to associate his worries and issues to that of a woman and starts thinking himself to be a woman locked under a man’s skin. He discovers the ‘Androgenous’ self ; Ardhanarishvara.

When one would question his mistaken identity, annoyed he would often quote, ” From Puranas to Mahabharata and even the Greek mythology if you look you will find its mention. If read the Skanda Purana, you’ll find Parvati requesting Shiva to allow her to reside with him, embracing ‘limb-to limb’ and this was how Ardhanarishvara was formed.” “The Shiva Purana describes that the creator god Brahma created all male beings, the Prajapatis, and told them to regenerate, which they were unable to do. Confronted with the resulting decline in the pace of creation, Brahma was perplexed and contemplated on Shiva for help. To enlighten Brahma of his folly, Shiva appeared before him as Ardhanarishvara. Brahma prayed to the female half of Shiva to give him a female to continue creation. The goddess agreed and created various female powers from her body, thereby allowing creation to progress.” and the Linga Purana, the Ardhanarishvara Rudra is so hot that in the process of appearing from Brahma’s forehead, he burns Brahma himself. Ardhanarishvara Shiva then enjoys his own half – the Great Goddess – by “the path of yoga” and creates Brahma and Vishnu from her body. In the repetitive cycle of aeons, Ardhanarishvara is ordained to reappear at the beginning of every creation as in the past.”

चापेयगाैराधशररकायै कपूरगाैराधशररकाय । धकायै च जटाधराय नमः शवायै च नमः शवाय ॥ १ ॥

One half shines with golden yellow colour like champeya flower and other half shines in bright white of karpura. One side of the head is adorned with a beautiful braided decoration and other sports an unkempt jatamakutam. I bow to Shiva and Shiva in the form of Ardhanarishvara.

“The conception of Ardhanarishvara have been inspired by Vedic literature’s composite figure of Yama-Yami, the Vedic descriptions of the primordial Creator Vishvarupa or Prajapati and the fire-god Agni as “bull who is also a cow,” the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad’s Atman (soul) in the form of the androgynous cosmic man Purusha and the androgynous myths of the Greek Hermaphroditus and Phrygian Agdistis.”

” The Gupta-era writer Pushpadanta in his Mahimnastava refers to this form as dehardhaghatana (Thou and She art each the half of one body). Utpala, commenting on the Brihat Samhita, calls this form Ardha-gaurishvara (the Lord whose half is the fair one”; the fair one – Gauri – is an attribute of Parvati). The Vishnudharmottara Purana simply calls this form Gaurishvara (The Lord/husband of Gauri).”

“So here you see that I am not the only one, Go question them!” He would conclude. It was quiet evident that he had done his research and would debate upto any level to prove his point.

He grows up and reaches adulthood. By now he have completely discovered the omnipotent woman present in him and he would associate himself completely with the feminine side than the masculine side of his. He have started the process of transforming himself into a woman. Not only by the virtue of outward transformation like, wearing feminine clothes, loud makeup to hide whatever manliness his face showed, piercing his ears and nose, shaping his eye brows finer or changing the literature of his tongue to that of the feminine gender but also had accepted the change from the soul too. He no longer stood while peeing and longed to go to have the perfect female anatomy in him like having monthly cycles and even bear a child too if it was at all possible. He feels the woman locked inside him, wanting to be set free. He feels there are two woman’s in him one being himself and the other he discovers in the process. Both are locked inside the skin of a man. Amidst the discovery of self he loses a lot of things too. Due to his falling grades and changing behavioural pattern the school expelled him. His parents feels shy in front of the society due to the change in his looks and nature and curse him day and night. Of hate and pain of unacceptance. He leaves home.

And finds a new family little deserted from the ‘Respectable Colonies’ as a white collar  holder would say. Amidst a new world and new faces who thinks like him and understand what he went through.

There a further series of sexual transformation takes place giving completeness to his wish of transforming himself into a woman. He gets silicon implants done and develops breasts, goes for circumcision of his male genitalia. Thus,  he transforms himself from Lord Shivas, Androgenous existence to Shikhandi, reincarnated. From being Shonkor Boral Sen he christens into a “She”, as Shonkora.

A Transvestite or a Hijra as a common man’s lips would purse.

Ulipi to Arjuna:

“In the great battle of the Bharata princes, thou hadst slain the royal son of Santanu by unrighteous ways. What I have done has expiated thy sin. Thou didst not overthrow Bhishma while battling with thee. He was engaged with Sikhandin. Relying on him as thy help, thou didst compass the overthrow of Santanu’s son. If thou hadst died without having expiated thy sin, thou wouldst then have fallen without doubt into Hell in consequence of that sinful act of thine. Even this which thou hast got from thy son is the expiation of that sin. Formerly, O ruler of Earth, I heard this said by the Vasus while they were in the company of Ganga, O thou of great intelligence. After the fall of Santanu’s son, those deities, viz., the Vasus, coming to the banks of Ganga, bathed in her waters, and calling the goddess of that stream, they uttered these terrible words having the sanction of Bhagirathi herself, viz.,–Santanu’s son Bhishma has been slain by Dhananjaya. Verily, O goddess, Bhishma then was engaged with another, and had ceased to fight. For this fault we shall today denounce a curse on Dhananjaya.–To this, the goddess Ganga readily assented, saying,–Be it so!–Hearing these words I became very much afflicted and penetrating into the nether regions represented everything to my sire. Informed of what had happened, my sire became plunged in grief. Repairing to the Vasus, he solicited them for thy sake, repeatedly gratifying them by every means in his power. They then said unto him, ‘Dhananjaya has a highly blessed son who, endued with youth, is the ruler of Manipura. He will, standing on the field of battle, cast Dhananjaya down on the Earth. When this will happen, O prince of snakes, Arjuna will be freed from our curse. Do thou go back.–Thus addressed by the Vasus, he came back and informed me of what had happened. Having learnt all this, O hero, I have freed thee from the curse of the Vasus even in this way. The chief of the deities himself is incapable of vanquishing thee in battle. The son is one’s own self. It is for this that thou hast been vanquished by him. I cannot be held, O puissant one, to have committed any fault. How, indeed, wouldst thou hold me censurable?’–Thus addressed.”

“আমার মুক্তি আলোয় আলোয় এই আকাশে, আমার মুক্তি আলোয় আলোয় ||”

I find my freedom in the sky full of light.


  • Ardhan Arishvarastotram by Adi Shankaracharya
  • Ardhanārīśvara”. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia          Britannica. 2011. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
  • Goldberg, Ellen (2002). The Lord who is half woman: Ardhanārīśvara in Indian and feminist perspective. SUNY Press. ISBN 0-7914-5325-1.
  • Song reference, Geetabitan – book of songs by Rabindranath Tagore.
  • The story of Shikandi – Characters/Persons from Mahabharata , Stories and Characters from Mahabharata, Mahabharatam in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Hindi.
  • In most versions of the story, Sikhandi is male but born-female. When Sikhandini changes her sex, she becomes Sikhandi but is a eunuch.


This has been written by Ronald Tuhin D’Rozario -a reader, writer, blogger, learner, observer and a dreamer. He was born in Calcutta and is a die hard Calcuttan. He loves his semi-British City and always maintains saying, ‘Calcutta may not have colours but it surely does have flavours. Ronald studied commerce with specialization in Marketing Management from St. Xavier’s College, Calcutta.





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