Devdutt Pattanaik is a popular Indian mythologist, speaker, illustrator, and author. His writings are mainly about myth, religion, mythology, and management.
Devdutt was born on Friday, 11 December 1970 (age 50 years; as in 2020) in Mumbai. He spent his childhood in Chembur, Mumbai. His zodiac sign is Sagittarius.
From 1975 to 1986, he studied at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour High School in Chembur, Mumbai. He continued his schooling at Ramnarain Ruia College, Mumbai, from 1986 to 1988. He did his graduation in medicine from Grant Medical College, Mumbai, from 1988 to 1993. LinkedIn He pursued a post-graduation diploma in Comparative Mythology at the Sanskrit Department of Mumbai University. LGBTQ Religious Archives When he was in class 10, he searched for the word homosexual in a dictionary, and that was the time when he recognised that the meaning of homosexual is exactly what he was. Talking about such incident in an interview, he said,
I was in 10th standard when I saw Jewel on the Crown movie… I heard the word homosexual.. and I looked up the dictionary and knew that’s what I am. It was only when I turned 30 and my parents were after me to get married and settle down that I eventually told them the truth outright that I was gay and will not be getting married.” Yahoo News
Height (approx.): 5′ 6″
Eye Colour: Black
Hair Colour: Salt & Pepper (dyed black)
Family & Caste
Devdutt was born in the Odiya family of the Karana caste. Karana caste is known as Karanam in Andhra Pradesh, Kayastha in the Gangetic plains and Bengal, and as Prabhu in Maharashtra. Devdutt’s Official Website
Parents & Siblings
His father’s name is Prafulla Kumar Pattanaik, and his mother’s name is Sabitri Pattanaik Das. Devdutt was born after his two sisters, Seema Pattanaik and Sami Pattanaik. He was born after a gap of eight years from his second sister.
In the mid-90s, the Indian magazine editor Randhir Khare noticed his writing and story narrating skills. Khare encouraged Devdutt to write articles for newspapers and magazines, and later, introduced Devdutt to his friend Arun Mehta who encouraged Devdutt to write his first book. In 1997, Devdutt penned down his first book ‘Shiva An Introduction.’
He has also worked as a freelance writer and illustrator in many renowned magazines and newspapers.
Devdutt has also worked as a part-time editor for health magazines like ‘My Doctor.’ He has also assisted behavioural scientist, Dr Giri Shankar. In February 1998, he started working at ‘Good Health N You’ in Mumbai. In 2000, he joined ‘Apollo Health Street Ltd’ in Hyderabad. He then worked at various companies like Sanofi, EY, and Future Group People Office. In January 2012, he joined Star India as a story consultant for mythological TV serials like ‘Devon Ke Dev…Mahadev.’ In January 2014, he joined ‘Reliance Industries Limited’ as a culture consultant and worked there for almost 5 years. In November 2009, he appeared as the speaker at the first TED conference in India.
Devdutt has authored many popular mythological books such as:
- ‘Hanuman: An Introduction. Vakils, Feffer and Simons Ltd., 2001’
- ‘Myth=Mithya: A Handbook of Hindu Mythology. Penguin Books India, 2006’
- ‘7 Secrets of Shiva. Westland Ltd., 2011’
- ‘Ramayana Versus Mahabharata: My Playful Comparison. Rupa Publications India, 2018’
- ‘Dharma Artha Kama Moksha: 40 Insights into Happiness – Harper Collins, India, 2021’
Apart from mythological books, he has also penned down various books on management, fiction, and children. Some of his books on management are:
- ‘Business Sutra: ‘A Very Indian Approach to Management. Aleph Book Company, 2013’
- ‘The Leadership Sutra: An Indian Approach to Power. Aleph Book Company, 2016’
- ‘Leader: 50 Insights from Mythology. HarperCollins India, Indus Source 2017’
His other popular books are:
- ‘The Pregnant King. Penguin Books India, 2008’
- ‘Is He Fresh?: Aka Kaula Hai? (Penguin Petit). Penguin UK, 2015’
- ‘Fun in Devlok: Shiva Plays Dumb Charades. Puffin India, 2011’
- ‘The Boys Who Fought: The Mahabharata for Children. Puffin, 2017’
- ‘Vahana: Gods and Their Favourite Animals – Rupa Publications India, 2020’
Devdutt has appeared in various TV serials like ‘Business Sutra’ (2010) on CNBC-TV18 and ‘Devlok with Devdutt Pattanaik’ (2017) on Epic TV.
In 2020, he lent his voice for audiobooks like ‘Suno Mahabharat Devdutt Pattanaik Ke Saath’ and ‘Revisiting Mahabharata with Devdutt Pattanaik.’ Devdutt has also incorporated the concepts of Mahabharata and the Ramayana into human resource management. He has been working as a columnist for many leading newspapers like Mid-Day, Times of India, CN Traveller, Daily O, and Scroll.in He has hosted a podcast radio show ‘The Devdutt Pattanaik Show’ which is aired on Radio Mirchi.
His controversial tweets have always been the talk of the town. He has received huge criticism from the netizens for tweeting abusive and hurting Tweets. Some of such tweets are
Chup Chudail, jalti kyon hai? Limbu Mirchi Band Hua Kya?”
Awards & Honours
- In 2014, his name was listed among the top category of bestselling Indian authors.
- His book ‘Devlok’ was one of the bestselling books in 2016.
- While he was in school, he was introduced to the stories of Ramayana. During an interview, while remembering his school days, he shared a few memories, he said,
I remember collecting pigeon feathers to help my teacher prepare the wings of Jatayu. I remember watching Lakshmana struggle to mark three visible lines on the well-polished grey stone floor using precious white chalk, otherwise used by teachers on the blackboard. I remember laughing as Ravana picked up Sita, and hooting with others since Sita was a boy dressed as a girl.”
- He cleared the Union Public Service Commission Exams after his graduation, but due to lack of interest, he refused to take up the assignment. LGBTQ Religious Archives
- While he was in college, he wrote his first mythology column in his college’s magazine.
- The illustrations presented in his book are sketched by Devdutt only. (excluding Devlok series).
- After his graduation, he wanted to continue his studies in American or European universities, but due to his family’s constraints, he could not do so.
- In 2000, he wrote an essay ‘Homosexuality in Ancient India,’ and he received great appreciation from the homosexual community.
- He has also appeared as a motivational speaker in various events and seminars.
- He has been supporting the LGBTQ community even before Section 377 was decriminalised in India on 6 September 2018. Talking about Section 377, in one of his social media posts, he said,
I think for many people it will be life as usual. But for many people, it will be acceptance at state level. And you can talk to your families. Corporations will hopefully change their laws. You’ll be able to openly come out as gay. And you will not get into forced marriages where you ruin not just one life, but lives of two people. You know imagine a gay person marrying a non-gay person. That’s just not right. It ruins young people’s lives.”
- Many renowned authors like Ashwin Sanghi and Neil Gaiman have praised his work.