Hanuman's Ramayan
Nancy Raj
age group: 
7+ yrs
Number of pages: 
Indian mythology Hanuman folk art
picture book, mythology


An exquisite retelling by Devdutt Pattanaik, of Valmiki’s anguish and anger at being outdone in the scripting of the story of Ram, by Hanuman; and that of Hanuman's utter humility and intense devotion to Ram.
One day, Valmiki visits Hanuman to show him the story of Lord Ram that he had penned down. When Hanuman shows him his own version, in which he had recorded every detail of Ram's deeds, using just his bare nails on banana leaves, Valmiki was very upset. For even though he had painstakingly created the manuscript, it was yet no match for the splendour of Hanuman's magnificent work. The monkey god learning the cause of the sages sorrow decides to destroy his own version.
The story plays Valmiki’s jealousy and fear of competition against Hanuman’s warmth and sacrifice with astuteness. For me this interplay of emotions and Hanuman’s incredible love for Ram was an emotional high.
Young readers would definitely love the story but they would also have to deal in this retelling with raw human emotions in hitherto ‘sainted’ characters from our mythology.
The pictures not just add value to the story but are a nice way of piquing the interest of young minds to know more about the Ramayana and also Indian arts and traditional styles of painting.
Wish all storytellers understand that “Finally what matters is the story, not the teller.

Reviewed by Gouri Mohan