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Ramayana is an ancient Indian epic that has influenced the subcontinent’s history and culture deeply. There are variations of Ramayana stories told through film, television, dances, and dance dramas – Ramleelas where the story is enacted. With nearly 24,000 verses divided in seven parts, the epic has tons of stories to tell.

Katha: Creative writing workshops

For kids aged 7-14, weekly this summer from May 26- Aug 4th!

Here are 5 modern retellings of the Ramayana that bring wonderful new angles and multiply the stories to tell inspiring generations of future storytellers.

  1. The Forest of Enchantments by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni: Divakaruni’s Sita is relevant today – as a wife, mother, and most importantly as the owner of her narrative. It’s an easy but powerful read.
  2. Asura: Tale of the Vanquished by Anand Neelakantan: This retelling presents the Ramayana from the perspective of Ravana, the king of Lanka. It delves into Ravana’s backstory, motivations, and his view of events, challenging the conventional portrayal of Ravana as the face of evil.
  3. Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel: A recent NY Times bestseller tells the story of Ramayana in the voice of Queen Kaikeyi. Deeply engaging and opens up tons of different questions and characters (women) who get little spotlight in other versions.
  4. Sita: An Illustrated Retelling of the Ramayana by Devdutt Pattanaik: This retelling focuses on Sita’s journey and the challenges. It explores her strength, resilience, and her unique perspective on the events of the Ramayana.
  5. Ramayana: Divine Loophole by Sanjay Patel: This retelling of the Ramayana takes a visually stunning approach, featuring intricate and colorful illustrations. Suitable to be read together as a family and with kids, it simplifies the complex narrative of the epic for all ages.

Have you read a retelling that you love? Find our weekly recommendations of South-Asian books on our Instagram page under the #onedesibook series. Have a look, and share these stories to tell with your family and kids. 🙂

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Peerbagh is an independent 501 c3 non-profit registered in the city of Austin, Texas. We work with a mission to build storytellers and diversify bookshelves.