Indian canal project angers Hindus

Setusanudram CanalThe BBC recently reported that the Indian government has withdrawn a controversial report submitted to the Supreme Court which questioned the existence of the Hindu god Ram. The report was presented in connection with a case against the proposed Sethusamudram shipping canal project between India and Sri Lanka.

The report was withdrawn after huge protests by opposition parties. Protests that have since spilled over into roadbloacks, disruptions of train services and even two murders by Hindu activists when a bus was set alight near Bangalore. 

The BBC reports that “Hindu hardliners say the project will destroy what they say is a bridge built by Ram and his army of monkeys.  Scientists and archaeologists say the Ram Setu (Lord Ram’s bridge) – or Adam’s Bridge as it is sometimes called – is a natural formation of sand and stones.

Ram's Bridge - artist's impressionIn their report submitted to the court, the government and the Archaeological Survey of India questioned the belief, saying it was solely based on the Hindu mythological epic Ramayana.  They said there was no scientific evidence to prove that the events described in Ramayana ever took place or that the characters depicted in the epic were real.”

M KarunanidhiTamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi (pictured right) – the president of the secularist DKP party – caused further outrage by saying ‘‘Some say there was a person over 17 [hundred thousand] years ago. His name was Rama. Do not touch the bridge (Ramar Sethu) constructed by him. Who is this Rama? From which engineering college did he gradute? Is there any proof for this?’’

The arguments in opposition do not appear to question the scientific claims. As one person writing to the Hindustan Times put it “…[tens of millions] of Indians have sanctified spiritual beliefs, values and practices. These cannot be questioned by any rationalist experiment, the ASI’s reports, Nasa satellite images or by the Law Minister of India.” or another “Questioning the existence of Lord Ram translates into the worthlessness of crores of Hindus going to temples to worship him.”

And so the issue is being cast as primarily an attack on Hinduism. The Indian Express writes: “Hindu-bashing is nothing new for Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, an avowed atheist who has been peddling the rationalist principles of his mentor Periyar.”

Worried about the adverse reaction from the majority Hindu population of the country, the Congress Party-led government has now done a U-turn and withdrawn the statement submitted in court asking for three months to try and sort out the issue.

It is important not to underestimate the importance that people attach to their belief – it would be silly to dismiss them out of hand  – but is it right that facts are ignored because enough people don’t like them? Isn’t this to the detriment of us all – religious believers and atheists alike?

Perhaps it is the way the issue was handled – would it have been more acceptable to argue that there may have been a Ram’s Bridge but this wasn’t it and leave the question open still?

The liklihood is that this argument will be avoided as other rational cases are made against the building of the canal.

The project proposes to link the Palk Strait with the Gulf of Mannar between India and Sri Lanka by dredging a canal  which is expected to provide a continuous navigable sea route around the Indian peninsula, reduce travel times and so boost the economic and industrial development of the region.

But reports are emerging that the economic benefits of the project have been exaggerated, perhaps offering a way out of the jam.

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7 responses to “Indian canal project angers Hindus

  1. Pingback: Indian dam arguments continue « The O Project

  2. once upon a time ravan thought , if he will be killed by ram , he will go to heven . Now the ravani power the sonia , manmohan & the bloody mad karunanidhi feels the same . he ram ,forgive them ,they don’t know you.

  3. Not sure I understand this post!

  4. was ram setu really exist?

  5. The existance of Rama Sethu is written in the epic Ramayana narrated by Valmiki. The existence of this Bridge is in the Hindu Scriptures. the discovery however may be made by western people but us Hindus have always known it was there, that is if you are Religious enough to believe it. We just did’t have the resources to reach this Bridge. It is part of our religious History and although I’m living in the west i care enough to say that this divine construction should be preserved. It is a part of who we are. The existence of Rama Sethu (Adam Bridge) is further evidence to those who do not believe, that Rama did exist and he did travel on this bridge.

    In conclusion I’d like to say that Rama Sethu’s existence was known throughout our Holy scriptures of the Ramayana, the belief must be there, I believe that our belief in our religion, has helped us reach such a Spiritual and Historical construction. The discovery of Rama Sethu is as to say, that, God is blessing us. And helping those who have lost faith to find it once again.
    Those who want to harm such a creation, should be frowned upon.

    Rama sethu has been said to saive the coast line of India from the Tsunami on DEC 26 2004. Removal of Rama Sethu poses threat to the coastline of Kerala and Tamilnadu, as it will be at high risk if another Tsunami occurs. Is money worth more than lives! If some don’t believe that this Bridge does exist India should step forward and prove our heritage.

    Furthermore there is evidence to support the existence of the Monkey kind. Some do not believe, say it is a myth but I have seen research which is accessable by anyone,(link shown below) to prove that scientists have found skeletal remains that are part human and part animal.

    “In 1981 Soviet scientist Dr. Mihail Nestoorh wrote about human species and provided evidence of monkey species existence. North of Delhi in Shivalik mountain ranges, bone fragments, teeth, jaws of monkeys, predecessors of humans. Many crore years ago, in Myocene times, these are referred to as tripothecus, ramapithecus bone fragments.

    Further, in South East Ais were found fossils of jaigatopithecus, meganthiroppus human antecents.

    Dividing earth-time into four parts, over 1.02 crore years ago, monkey as human predecessor had appeared. In the fourth earth-time era, about 10 lakh years before present, the modern human appeared. In the third earth-time era stage itself, homo erectus had appeared eating roots and pulses using stones and sticks, in the land regions of south asia, in indo-malay region.

    This Socialist Russia’s book by M. Nestoorh explains that Aryan-dravidian conflict is an imperialist conspiracy. This book on Human Races clearly establishes that Vaanara are the ancestors of the human race.

    Vaanara (monkey human)—arcaheological evidence

    In Ethiopia skeleton parts of a monkey-human of over 30 lakh years ago (based on Carbon dating) have been found. Recently, in the desert close to Egypt, a fossil human footprint has been discovered, stated to be before 30 lakh years.

    Printed on clay, as the clay became stone, the footprint is intact. Archaeological research is ongoing. Researches have also found that monkeys and their offsprings conversed using sign language and that they performed human-like activities. Just as Europeans occupied America and destroyed the Amerindians, it will be no exaggeration to say that modern human destroyed the Vaanara race.” quote from http://kalyan98.wordpress.com/2007/12/22/ramar-paalamrama-setu-evidences/

    This evidence itself may not be enough for some but there is the discovery of Ashokvana, where Ravana was said to keep Sita, as well as the discovery of Dwarka Previously. They are all things described in our scriptures so surely there is some truth to them, and they are not all myths. People need to believe more. Research can help us in many ways… the discovery of Rama Sethu proves the Existence of Lord Rama.

  6. i think mr. cm and pm are christians…………too bad

  7. was lord rama was exist?
    we r trying to discover a thing which is already fact.
    isn’t is silly???

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