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Hanuman’s South American Connection: Lokadevata Invoked Today For Medical Aid

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi referencing Hanuman and the Ramayana. He compared India’s decision to permit the export of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in the global fight against COVID-19 to Hanuman's effort to help Lord Ram's brother Lakshmana with Sanjeevani Booti.

Bolsonaro’s letter comes in the wake of the government’s decision to allow the licensing of HCQ and paracetamol to other nations badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Hanuman has been described as a folk-god, a janadevata or lokadevata, meaning that he is a deity of the people, he has popular appeal and millions in India worship him for various benefits, which relate to worldly life.

So why has the Brazilian President referred to Hanuman, who has the form of a monkey, or rather an ape (vanara meaning ‘maybe a man’, almost human, ‘near human’) on Hanuman Jayanti?

Hanuman’s popularity covers the entire country from the Himalayas in the North to the peninsular tip in the South. It spills over to the neighbouring countries in South East Asia and the worship of this deity is of immense antiquity.

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