I am ready to sacrifice my life for Ram Setu: Bitta
7 Oct 2007, 1102 hrs IST , PTI
NEW DELHI: Former Youth Congress chief M S Bitta has sought to take potshots at his own party as also DMK chief M Karunanidhi over Ram Setu, declaring that he was ready to sacrifice his life to save it.Bitta, who currently heads the All India Anti-Terrorist Front and is known to be closer to causes espoused by the BJP, said he is a great devotee of Lord Hanuman.In an interview to the RSS mouthpiece Organiser , Bitta, who is a Sikh, said “I am a great devotee of Lord Hanuman. I have great faith in him. Without Lord Ram, there is no Lord Hanuman.”
Bitta said Lord Ram’s name finds innumerable mention in the Sikh religious scriptures.
Noting that Mahatma Gandhi had died with Lord Ram’s name on his lips, he said it hurt him when it was said there was no evidence to prove his existence.
“My life is a bonus. I have been a target of terrorists for opposing the killing and forcible eviction of Hindus from Punjab. At Agniteertham on the Rameshwaram shores, I took a vow that following the path of Guru Gobind Singh, I will be the first to sacrifice my life if any attempt was made to demolish the bridge built by Lord Ram and his army,” Bitta said.
He demanded that a White Paper be brought out to find the people responsible for the controversy and said Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, “an atheist”, was responsible to a great extent. http://tinyurl.com/2negwa Monday, October 08, 2007, Telegraph, KolkataRamlila road to pollSANJAY K JHANew Delhi, Oct. 7: The setu will connect if the temple does not.The BJP plans to raise the Ram pitch on the Sethusamudram canal controversy in the days leading up to Dusshera, hoping to win over Hindus among whom the Sangh parivar’s Ayodhya temple rhetoric has lost its appeal.At Ramlilas (plays) organised by Sangh parivar organisations, common at this time of the year, a strong message will be sent to people that the insult of Ram will not be tolerated. Setu yatras are planned in the south.The plans during the 10-day festival, which also includes Navratri, follow events on Gandhi Jayanti where the BJP had stressed the Mahatma’s respect for Ram.The BJP is convinced that the Congress antagonised people by questioning the existence of Ram in the setu affidavit the central government filed in the Supreme Court. Allies, especially the CPM and the DMK, made matters worse. Senior BJP leaders said they had “feedback” from states that other political parties had not “rightly assessed” the extent of people’s anger on the affront to Ram.Party chief Rajnath Singh told the BJP Kisan Morcha’s national executive meeting on Wednesday that the “insult to Ram” would not be taken lying down in a speech that barely touched the problems faced by farmers.Singh suggested, rather bizarrely, that Sonia Gandhi should drop her Gandhi surname, saying the Mahatma adored Ram and everyone with that name should do the same.“Why has Sonia Gandhi kept Gandhi as her surname? If you have no faith in Gandhi, will you remove that surname?” he said as he declared that those who did not believe in Ram could not be saved from sinking. http://www.telegraphindia.com/1071008/asp/nation/story_8409085.asp Ramar rallies bhakthars against atheist Karunanidhi
R. Bhagwan Singh When the Supreme Court stayed the dredging in the Adam’s Bridge segment of the Rs.2500 crore Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project (SSCP) on August 31, Union Shipping Minister T. R. Baalu pressed the panic button. The petition from the Janata party president Dr Subramaniam Swamy alleging that local fishermen had told him that holes had been drilled in the ancient bridge to blast it with explosives, got the court to grant the stay till September 14 while allowing dredging in the rest of the 167-km stretch of the project. Mr Baalu belongs to the DMK party ruling Tamil Nadu and its leader M. Karunanidhi is highly influential in the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre.And so it was no surprise that the ambitious Shipping Minister had managed to push the Sethu project despite serious objections from various quarters, including the environmentalists, marine scientists and even economists. One does not really know how much of work had been done when the Apex Court halted the work at the Adam’s Bridge—Hindus prefer to call it Rama Sethu, believing it to be the bridge built by the monkey army of Hanuman to help Lord Rama to cross to Lanka and rescue Sita from the demon king Ravana—but some reports suggested that close to Rs.600 crore had been spent already. It was necessary for Mr Baalu that the dredging was not interrupted but then, the court stay undid his plans.Interestingly, the dredgers did not halt work even after the court stay. Actually, the work at Rama Sethu was stopped only on Sept 17, more than two weeks after the court order and that too, after some newspapers wrote about it. A few days before that, on Sept 12 to be precise, the Archeological Survey of India had gone to Mr Baalu’s rescue filing an affidavit in the Supreme Court—many believe that the atheist DMK had inspired its prose—saying that “there was no evidence to prove the existence of the characters or the occurrence of events” in the Ramayana. In effect, the ASI told the court that Ram was a mere mythical figure, so was his Sethu (bridge), with no historic or scientific proof.
All hell broke loose after that as the saffron parties protested across the country, accusing the Centre of hurting the Hindu sentiments. BJP leader L. K. Advani said the affidavit proved that the UPA Government had only “contempt for millions of Hindus in India and abroad.” Shaking off the long-settled Babri dust, Lord Ram rose again on to the political center-stage, threatening to be the main issue consolidating the Hindu vote against the Catholic-captained UPA.
The Congress managers saw the dangers rather quickly and came up with another affidavit to the Supreme Court on Sept 14 for withdrawal of its Sept 12 affidavit. There was no intention to hurt any religious faith and divide society, said the second affidavit, seeking three months’ time to resolve the Rama Sethu issue “in a constructive and mutually acceptable manner.”
On the eve of filing this damage-limiting affidavit, Law Minister H. R. Bharadwaj had proclaimed that Lord Rama “is an integral part of Indian culture and ethos and cannot be a matter of debate or subject matter of litigation in court” as he was as real as the Himalayas and the Ganges. The offending anti-Ram paragraphs 5, 6 and 20 in the Sept 12 affidavit in the Supreme Court would be withdrawn, he announced.
If the withdrawal of the Ram-is-fiction affidavit clawed at the root of Mr Karunanidhi’s atheist Dravidian politics, the undertaking given to the Apex Court in the Sept 14 affidavit that a “mutually acceptable” solution would be found for the Sethu controversy rattled Mr Baalu as that would mean working on a different route skipping his Adam’s Bridge. Fresh environmental impact assessments would have to be done, new proposals made for wooing the by-now-weary bankers and dredger contracts reworked at great ‘financial risks’. Who can then blame Mr Karunanidhi and thambi (younger brother) Baalu for their anger against the Hindu ‘fundamentalists’ invoking a mythological Ram and his non-existent Sethu to derail a project that has been the 150-year-old dream of the Tamils to lift their economy, particularly in the backward southern coastal districts?
Speaking at Erode on Sept 15, Mr Karunanidhi launched a tirade against Ramar, demanding to know which engineering college had this mythical character attended to be able to build the sethu (bridge) connecting Rameswaram/Dhanushkodi to north Lanka. Five days later, he treated the media to yet another front-pager claiming that Valmiki in his Ramayana had depicted Ramar as kudigaran, a drunkard. Perhaps realising quickly he had gone a bit too far in the Hindu-bashing, the DMK chief minister dropped the word kudigaran and when the transcript of his media interaction was sent to the newsrooms, it quoted him quoting Valmiki Ramayana to say Rama had taken somapana, the nectar consumed by kings.
Even as the saffron brigade shrieked in horror at the abuse of Ramar, several other socio-political players joined in attacking Mr Karunanidhi for being ‘insensitive’ to Hindu sentiments. Would he have dared to say similar things against the gods of other faiths, they asked, while invoking public revulsion at such crass behaviour that deeply wounded millions of Hindus the world over, they asked.
And in distant Uttar Pradesh, a VHP sadhu called Ram Vilas Vedanti, a former BJP MP, said the monks would pay anyone delivering the head and the tongue of the ‘abusive’ Karunanidhi. That was immediately interpreted as a fatwa threatening the DMK patriarch and members of his party and allies took to the streets for public demonstration seeking Mr Vedanti’s arrest.The BJP had earlier held rallies in Tamil Nadu to burn copies of the Centre’s Sept 12 anti-Ram affidavit and now it was the turn of the DMK and allies to burn effigies of Vedanti. “We could see that the Vedanti fatwa was generating lot of goodwill and sympathy for our thalaivar (leader). It also helped deflect criticism against our anti-Ramar statements,” said a DMK senior, requesting anonymity. This is not true, though, since the abuse of a highly revered Hindu deity by a popular chief minister cannot by any stretch of imagination be equated with the ‘ramblings’ of a Lucknow sadhu, who by the way was quickly disowned by the BJP.
Mr Karunanidhi himself tried to undo the damage, claiming subsequently that he did not mean to hurt any religious sentiments and all that he had wanted to stress was that the Sethu project to benefit millions of Tamils and lift the state to international standards in development, should not be dumped on mere superstitious grounds. “Karunanidhi is not the enemy of Raman, it’s Ravanan,” he said, half in jest. How could even those who had read Ramayanam feign ignorance of even this truth, he asked.
But the Sangh Parivar is determined to keep the kettle boiling. “People are not going to buy Karunanidhi’s claim that he is no enemy of Ram and of Hinduism. When they go to vote the next time, they will certainly remember his abuse of the Lord, calling him a drunkard. We will refresh memory,” said Suryanarayana Rao, a senior RSS functionary at Chennai. The anti-Ram statements of the DMK chief, according to him, have ‘electrified’ the Hindus all over India, giving them the best rallying point since the Ayodhya temple, for rallying together, he said.
A sure sign of this rallying, he insists, can be seen down south at Rameswaram, where hundreds of pilgrims from all over the country every day undertook the tough trip to the land’s end at Dhanushkodi to worship the Ramar Sethu. “Many are hiring boats to go to Ramar Sethu (made up of several little islands of sand dunes) and recently we hear that the Hanuman temple near the Lucknow railway station is attracting hundreds of devotees to pray at a water-tank having a floating coral stone from Dhanushkodi, a part of Ramar Sethu,” said Rao.
Interestingly, not many bothered about the Sethu issue until Mr Karunanidhi’s ‘Ramar is a drunkard’ statement created a furor. “We could not get the media interested in the issue but after the CM’s statement on Ram being a drunkard, we are on the front pages almost every day,” said D. Kuppuramu. The RSS lawyer-businessman based at Ramanathapuram near Rameswaram, had had launched the ‘Rameswaram-Ramasethu Protection Movement’ (RRPM) a few years back and remained almost an orphan until the Sethu project was taken up in the Supreme Court and chief minister Karunanidhi triggered a volcano by his remarks against Rama.
Kuppuramu and his saffron friends organised a yagna at Rameswaram last month, drawing a big turnout of believers, to seek divine blessings for their efforts to ‘save’ the Ramar Sethu. Opposition AIADMK leader Ms Jayalalithaa, her ally and MDMK general secretary Vaiko have come out in support of the Ramar Sethu and slammed Mr Karunanidhi for abusing Ramar. Popular movie star Vijayakanth heading the DMDK and another tinsel hero turning politician, Sarath Kumar, have backed Ramar Sethu while coming down heavily against the DMK chief minister.
“Ramar Sethu has created a political polarisation in Tamil Nadu. Apart from our BJP, the AIADMK, MDMK, DMDK and Sarath Kumar, besides the Dalit party Puthiya Tamizhagam of Dr Krishnaswamy, have supported Ramar Sethu. We must wait and see if this will unite us on a common platform to take on the DMK-led front in the Parliamentary election expected early next year. Chances are bright,” said state BJP president L. Ganesan. He however admitted that the Congress leadership had managed to take away much of the steam in the Ram campaign, by withdrawing the offensive affidavit and putting the Sethu project on hold.
“Public memory is short and the voter may not even remember all the harsh things that Karunanidhi has said about Ram. Of course, there are good chances that the DMK chief will say or do something equally provocative in the days to come,” he said.
Just as Mr Ganesan wishes that the Ram issue would bring together the opposition front in time for the elections, the campaign for speeding up the Sethu project has strengthened the wobbly alliance of the ruling DMK, which includes the Congress, the Left, PMK and Dalit Panthers of India (DPI). These parties have demonstrated their unity during the daylong fast on Oct 1 for the Sethu project and are expected to stay together, Ram or no Ram. The DMK front would face trouble if the Lord manages to unite Jayalalithaa with the rest of the Ramar brigade, particularly rival Vijayakanth, whose DMDK has been growing steadily splitting her votes.http://tinyurl.com/32hebz VHP to use Ram Lila to woo HindusLucknow, Oct. 6: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) will now use the “Navratri Jagran” and the “Ram Lila” to mobilise Hindus on the Ram Sethu issue. The VHP plans to enrol five crore Hindus as “Raksha Dharam Yoddha” and prepare them for the agitation on the issue. Talking to reporters here on Saturday, VHP general-secretary Dr Praveen Bhai Togadia said that from the Shardiya Navratri that begins on October 12 to the Purnima on October 26, the VHP would enrol five crore “Rameshwaram Ram Sethu Raksha Dharam Yoddha”. These volunteers will recite the Hanuman Chalisa every day and pledge themselves to the battle to save the Ram Sethu. “On Purnima (October 26), we will celebrate Valmiki Jayanti and collective recitation of Hanuman Chalisa will be held across the country.” The VHP leader said that the saints had decided to give the UPA government time until November 20 to give an assurance to the Hindu community that they will not demolish the Ram Sethu. “If the centre does not give an assurance to this effect till November 20 then we will launch 8,000 ‘Shila Yatras’, covering 6.25 lakh villages in the country. The ‘Raksha Dharam Yoddhas’ will participate in these yatras and create awakening on the issue,” he disclosed.VHP activists will begin enrolling the volunteers and mobilisation programmes during the traditional Ram Lila and the Navratri Jagran that begin from October 12. Dr Togadia said that during the first phase of the agitation, the VHP had held a chakka jam that was followed by a padyatra in the second phase. “We will now intensify our agitation if the centre does not give a clear assurance that no damage will be done to the Ram Sethu and the government will be responsible for the consequences,” he warned. The VHP leader clarified that the saints would lead this agitation and no political person would be allowed to take over the leadership. He said that even during the British rule in the country, no efforts were made to demolish the faith of the people but the UPA government was clearly trying to mock the sentiments of the majority community by planning to demolish the Ram Sethu which was in use till it was submerged under water after an earthquake. The VHP leader clarified that the saints would lead this agitation and no political person would be allowed to take over the leadership. “If anyone wants, he can join in as a Hindu but not as a politician,” he explained. The saints and Shankaracharyas would meet after November 20 to decide the next phase of the agitation, he added.http://www.deccan.com/chennaichronicle/Nation/NationalNews.asp?#VHP to use Ram Lila to woo Hindus ‘UPA conspiring to sell thorium to US’
Saturday, October 06 2007 19:42(IST)
Gonda, Oct 6: Inveighing against the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the centre, Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas senior member and former MP Dr Ram Vilas Vedanti today accused the former of conspiring to destroy Ram Sethu for selling thorium, available in abundance at the under sea bridge, to the US.”Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, union ministers T R Baalu, Ambika Soni and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi are playing a prime role in the Ram Sethu episode,” Dr Vedanti said after taking out the Ram Sethu Raksha Padyatra.He reiterated that the under sea bridge was associated with the religious sentiments of crores of Hindus.Dr Vedanti exhorted ‘Ram Sethu Dharm Yodhas’ to be ready for participating in the Rameshvaram Yatra, which would be organised in New Delhi after the Dharam Sansad. UNIhttp://tinyurl.com/372y9b Story of a shallow canalThe Cape Cod Canal in Massachusetts USA is a prime similar example.
by BostonPunekar on Oct 05, 2007 01:35 AM | Hide replies
The similar stoty of a shallow canal and its resulting problem on shipping was experinced in the 1930s after the Cape Cod canal in Massachusetts USA was open to shipping traffic.
The author above talked about the ‘Squat Effect’ and that was the reason of so many ship wrecks and ships going aground due to scrapping of the ships hull by the shallow sea bottom of the cannal.
The Cape Cod canal was twice in his history widened and deepned and still the accidents kept on occuring, untill THE 1950’S it was yet again deepened and widned for the third time and is in a working condition now.
Yet it cannot be used by large ships and large ocean liners as the rough sea when it troughs and crests the actual canal depth fluctates by many feet and hence what may seem as a safe depth of the canal suddnley becomes dangerous and unnavigable.
That again neccisates further deepning and widening of the cannal, and mind you the increase in depth the cost does not increase by double figures but increases by leaps and bounds.
So the term white elephant is so apt here. !!!
Instead the govt can build 6 lane expressways along the entire coast line which would solve similar need, and yet provide fast and efficient transportation to all.Affidavit on Ram Setu: from Oct 12
Monday October 1, 12:47 AM
THE VISHWA Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Saturday announced that the third phase of the massive agitation against the Congress-led UPA government’s affidavit in the Supreme Court questioning the existence of Lord Rama would begin on October 12. The VHP members even alleged role of foreign powers behind the implementation of the Setu Samudram Shipping Canal Project.
“The two-phase agitation which began on September 12 has drawn tremendous response but the government has not given any assurance that it will not demolish Ram Setu. VHP has now decided to intensify its agitation with two more phases beginning October 12,” VHP international general secretary Praveen Togadia told a press conference here this evening. Making an announcement about intensification of the agitation, Togadia said the two-phase agitation would help everyone express anguish in a democratic manner against attempts of the Union Government to demolish Ram Setu, the symbol of Hindu faith.
He said under the third phase, which would begins on the first day of Navratra (October 12 to October 25), enrollment of people on a national level would be done for the stir. He said in the fourth phase of the agitation, which begins on November 20, Rameshwaram Ramsetu Shila Yaatra would start from over 5,000 places in India, simultaneously. The yatra, he said would cover over 6 lakh villages in the country. Asked if the VHP felt that foreign forces could be behind proposed destruction of Ram Setu, Togadia said he even suspected a bigger game plan.
“80 per cent of thorium deposits in the world are found on the sea shore around Ram Setu area,” he said, adding, “there seems to be an international conspiracy to prevent India from producing power using thorium.” He said in the event of implementation of the project, the huge thorium deposit would get washed into the sea thereby depriving India of its natural resources. In another development international executive president of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad Ashok Singhal arrived here today and after a short stay, left for Allahabad by road.
SC bans DMK bandh over Ram Setu
Says such acts of political parties can’t be tolerated
New Delhi, September 30
In a severe jolt to the Karunanidhi-led DMK alliance in Tamil Nadu, the Supreme Court today banned Monday’s state-wide bandh called by it on the Sethusamudram issue in the backdrop of the Chief Minister questioning the very existence of Lord Ram and the Ram Sethu built by him and trying to make it an issue of north-south divide and clash of Aryan-Dravidan culture.
After a three-hour long arguments on Opposition AIADMK petitions, a Bench of justices B.N. Agrawal and P.P. Nalolekar, which assembled on Sunday for a special hearing of the matter, declared the government sponsored bandh as illegal and unconstitutional holding that the right of public would prevail upon the political rights of parties.
The Congress, which is an ally of the DMK-led coalition in the state and leads the UPA at the Centre, remained tight-lipped on the bandh call given by Karunanidhi’s party.
The Congress steered clear of the Supreme Court but said as a concept such protests had no place in a democracy like India.
AICC media department chairperson Veerappa Moily, who is in Moscow, said “restraint” was the real solution for conflict resolution. He said bandhs often turn violent and there was a lot of disruption of economic life. Besides, October 2 was being observed as International Non-Violence Day and it would be desirable if all political parties work in that spirit.
However, the DMK and its other allies in Tamil Nadu after the stay order declared that they would go on a hunger strike, according to one of their functionary present in the apex court as well as the reports reaching here from Chennai.
Allowing the plea of AIADMK, the apex court in a strongly worded order disapproved the bandh call, particularly when given by a ruling party whose responsibilities and obligations were more to uphold the rule of law and the Constitution. “Public rights are superior than the individual political rights of a party or parties,” the court observed.
“We can’t tolerate these kinds of activities by political parties,” said Justice Agrawal, heading the Bench, which held a special sitting on a weekly holiday after AIADMK counsel Guru Krishnakumar made a request for an urgent hearing of the case as he said the petition would become infructuous after Monday if the ruling coalition went ahead with state-wide bandh call.
The court asked DMK counsel Altaf Ahmed and A.K. Ganguly as to what the ruling party would achieve by closing the public services, educational institutions and commercial activities even when to maintain them was its primary responsibility. “The protest is against whom. Is it against the project, the Centre or the court,” the Bench in a terse query asked.
The AIADMK had moved the apex court after the Madras High Court on Saturday declined to ban the bandh.
Ram Setu now a ‘must see’ tourist destination
30 Sep 2007, 2040 hrs IST,PTI
SMS NEWS to 58888 for latest updates
RAMESWARAM: With Ram Setu (Adam’s Bridge) issue in the eye of a political storm, the 48-km bridge has become a tourist attraction and a ‘must see’ destination for those who coming to the island.
Visitors here engage four wheelers like jeep to rech Dhanushkodi which lost road connectivity in the 1964 cyclone that destroyed the coastal town. From there, they hire boats to reach the sand dunes.
Ever since National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) came out with the picture of Ram Setu, pilgrims and tourists who visit this island are eager to see the bridge. But after protests over the Sethu Samudram Canal Project, it has become very popular.
“In the eary 19th century people used to go upto Ram Setu to perform rites for their forefathers. The practice was stopped and pilgrims offered pooja at Dhanushkodi or Arichalmunai, the confluence of Indian Ocean (Gulf of Mannar) and Bay of Bengal (Palk strait). Now pilgrims are eager to see the bridge, believed to be constructed by Lord Ram,” said Athi, a hotelier here, who also owns a fishing boat.
“The visitors do not mind spending money, but they want to see what they think is more than 17,000 year old structure,” another hotelier said.
Ram Setu had been used by people of Ramanathapuram district and Sri Lanka to cross the sea till 15th century. But as the sea level increased, a part of it was submerged and people could not cross.
Following increase in the number of tourists and pilgrims, the jeep fare from here to Dhanushkodi had increased from Rs 700 to Rs 1,000 for a trip, Krishna Gupta, a visitor said. He also wanted the government to regulate the jeep operation to Dhanushkodi.
Though there was a ban to visit Rama Setu following the dredging work for the project and movement of refugees from Sri Lanka, officials were not strict now.
VHP ultimatum to Centre on Ram Setu
Tuesday October 2, 12:47 AM
VISHWA HINDU Parishad (VHP) international working president Ashok Singhal has demanded an assurance from the Union Government to safeguard the Ram Setu by November 20 failing which a nationwide movement would be launched.
Singhal was addressing a large rally at Subhash Crossing in Civil Lines organised by Prayag Ram Setu Raksha Manch on Sunday. He said the fight over saving the ‘Ram Setu’ was against the Congress-led Union Government and not with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi. Singhal came down heavily on Congress president Sonia Gandhi for inaugurating the demolition of Ram Setu on July 5, 2005 and termed the move as a direct attack on the sentiments of the Hindus.
VHP’s Praveen Togadia said the agitation against the Union Government would be intensified from October 12. He alleged that foreign powers were behind the Sethu Samundram Shipping Canal Project. Amid cries of ‘Jai Shri Ram’, Togadia condemned Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi over his remarks on Lord Ram. He also lambasted the PM for failing to keep the ‘Ram Setu’ safe.
‘UPA responsible for Setu row’
THE VHP has decided to intensify agitation over the Setusamudram project issue. The agitation, which will be launched in phases, may turn aggressive if the Centre fails to make a promise that the Ramsetu will not be broken, says Dr Pravin Togadia.
Talking to media persons here on Sunday, the VHP general secretary said after resorting to massive agitation of ‘chakka jam’ throughout the country on September 12 and various other ways to lodge protest against breaking of the Ramsetu (earlier), the VHP had decided to intensify its campaign. He said the UPA Government was more responsible in the matter than Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.
Togadia said the Rameshwaram Ramsetu Raksha Manch, which was formed to protect the Ramsetu, would launch a campaign to enroll Rameshwaram Ramsetu Rakshak Dharmayodhas from across the country from October 12, the first day of Navratri. The campaign would last up to October 25. The Manch would enroll Hindus and those associated with environment, ecology, sea border safety and the ones involved in sea trade and tourism.
He said if the Ramsetu was broken at least four lakh fishermen families and others involved in the trade of sea produce would be rendered jobless. These dharmayodhas will recite Hanuman Chalisa daily till October 25 and on October 26, programmes of mass recital will be held at various places.
Jayalalithaa shows the way
Tulsidas marvelled “it is impossible to keep count of the Ramkathas in the world” (Ramkatha kai miti jaga nahi). Valmiki’s account of the evolution of Indian society’s moral and cultural codes, notions of kingship and the limits of political power, and above all, integration of land and people into a civilisational matrix that enduringly transcended the multiplicity of political authority, is enmeshed in the psyche of every Indian. There is literally no one, not even adherents of other faiths, unfamiliar with the narrative.
Having massively influenced the entire Asian landmass, there are probably as many versions and interpretations of Ramayan as there are Ram-bhakts. All variants are legitimate, like myriad paths in quest of the Ultimate Truth. From Sangam poetics to the bhakti of the Alwar saints, the classical rendition of Kamban, the grand philosophy of Ramanuja, the soulful depths of Thiagaraja, and the sheer energy of Therukuttu (street theatre), ‘what was built forever is forever being built.’
So deeply has the epic and its hero-god impacted the Damir (Tamil) mind that major episodes, such as the tethering of Lord Ram’s aswamedh horse by his unknown sons and the location of Valmiki’s ashram, have been identified with this land. The state is home to some of the grandest Ram temples. The great Chola dynasty (Chola is the Tamil form of Sanskrit ‘Surya’) claimed kinship with the Suryavanshi kings of Ayodhya. Rajaraja I’s inscriptions (10th to early-11th century) trace the family tree from Vijayalaya whose son Aditya was famous as Kodanda Rama. Their early ancestors were Surya, Manu, Ikshvaku, Kakutsth, Mandhata, Sagar, Bhagirath, Dilip and Ram.
This devout land suffered grievously under colonial rule, when a little understood divide-and-rule policy pitted various groups against each other with the objective of making Madras Presidency the first Hindu region to break away from Bharat. Notwithstanding the social ugliness that saw the flight of Brahmins from the State, a deep reservoir of culture and common sense prevented the final brinkmanship. The British did manage to hive off the Muslim-majority wings into East and West Pakistan.
Tamil Nadu’s steady return to the political mainstream received a rude shock with the triumphal abuse of Lord Ram by Mr M Karunanidhi. Upset at the prospect of vanishing gains from an ill-conceived shipping channel, the Chief Minister dealt a savage blow to the identity, pride, and self-respect of Tamil Hindus. Coming in the wake of a backlash against an offensive Central affidavit challenging the existence of Lord Ram, it froze the ruling UPA into petrified silence. Media reports suggest Mr Karunanidhi was sharply rebuked and asked to clam up; Shipping Minister TR Baalu claimed a supportive telephone call from Ms Sonia Gandhi; but the Prime Minister and UPA chairperson decided discretion was the better part of valour.
Former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa showed great political acumen in accusing the Chief Minister of dereliction of constitutional responsibility for hurting the sentiments of millions of Hindus with his derogatory references to Lord Ram. This is a modern enunciation of the ancient Hindu concept of the ruler accepting the dharma of the people as his rajdharma (upheld powerfully by Lord Ram); a subtle snipe at the reigning orthodoxy of secularism as anti-Hindu populism.
Ms Jayalalithaa capped this by demanding the dismissal of the Karunanidhi regime and the DMK Ministers at the Centre. Despite considerable media blackout of the ADMK’s State-wide protest on September 26, 2007, the massive popular response would have sent powerful signals across the political spectrum. The BJP has energetically supported its former ally, and received vocal support on the issue of violent attacks by DMK cadre on party workers in Chennai and other districts.
In what may be a brilliant overture to the Maran brothers, estranged from Mr Karunanidhi, Ms Jayalalithaa used the attack on Sangh Parivar offices in the State to recall the attack on their newspaper, Dinakaran, in Madurai some months ago. Mr Karunanidhi’s son, Mr MK Azhagiri, was widely perceived as instigating the assault, in which three persons died. Ms Jayalalithaa has thus mixed a powerful political cocktail to attack the regime: Respect for Lord Ram and Hindu sentiments, maintenance of law and order and upholding constitutional propriety.
Change is in the air, and the fragile UNPA has decided to give respect and space to popular sentiment. Yet, a realignment of political forces around the ADMK seems inevitable. Popular actors Vijayakant (DMDK) and Saratkumar (AISK) have condemned Mr Karunanidhi’s remarks on Lord Ram; MDMK leader Vaiko visited the BJP office after it was ransacked and expressed support. Even the PMK, being a predominantly Vanniar-dominated party, may abandon the DMK ship; the Vanniar Sangam has already protested. The Congress’s bold maverick MS Bitta pitched in with a visit to Rameshwaram where he dramatically took an oath to sacrifice his life to protect Ram Setu.
Ms Jayalalithaa had the prescience to grasp the importance of Ram Setu and Lord Ram for all sections of society, indeed for the entire nation. The ADMK has also filed a spate of cases against the Chief Minister for his abusive remarks against Lord Ram, and it will be interesting to see how the local courts handle these petitions. The party also succeeded in getting the Supreme Court to void the DMK’s proposed October 1 bandh, leaving the Chief Minister with the lonely device of a hunger strike to ram through the virtually defunct Sethusamudran Shipping Channel Project.
Unsurprisingly, scholars hostile to the Hindu faith have rushed to the rescue, scouring the Ramayan corpus to proclaim that there is no definitive version of the story; that Valmiki rested an older oral tradition; and, that in less-famous versions, the Lanka king was not a bad sort. No such exercise has ever been undertaken in Sri Lanka, which is anxious to save Ram Setu for protection against a future tsunami. Actually, Ramayan spans at least a whole yug; characters like Rishi Durvasa lived into the Mahabharat age. Valmiki himself credited the kernel of the tale to Rishi Narad, who answered his question about the ideal man (purushottom) of that age.
Ms Jayalalithaa is seeking resurrection in public life, but the path of a righteous ruler must be consecrated by a living sage. The road to Chennai would be doubly triumphant via the Kanchi matham.
Patna swarms to see floating ‘Setu’ rock
3 Oct 2007, 0201 hrs IST,TNN
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PATNA: A stream of devotees caused a stampede on the first floor of Mahavir Mandir near Patna Junction on Tuesday while making a bid to have a close look at a piece of rock brought specially from Rameshwaram.
Weighing 15 kg, the rock does not sink in water. The devotees believe it is a fragment of the “rocks huge as autumn clouds”, as described in Valmiki Ramayan, used to built the Ram Setu by Nala, the son of Vishwakarma.
Devotees elbowed each other and scrambled to get near the large vessel where the stone was kept afloat in water. While some tried to touch it, others splashed their fingers in the water, while still others bowed with folded hands in a show of obeisance.
The rock will be displayed on the temple premises everyday, said temple administrator Nagendra Ojha. Standing behind the vessel, Mahavir Mandir Trust secretary Acharya Kishore Kunal said he brought this “floating” stone from Hanuman Temple at Rameshwaram.
“I was told that during the devastating cyclone of 1964 many such floating pieces of rocks from the Ram Setu were found scattered near Rameshwaram,” he said adding only a few of them are now available in Hanuman Temple.
Kunal, who is also administrator of Bihar Board of Religious Trusts, said he wished to prove nothing. However, he asserted that the fact remained that there had been such floating stones near Rameshwaram where a bridge had been constructed by Lord Rama’s army to cross the sea and reach Lanka.
“The availability of these floating stones gives evidence to the account of Valmiki on the construction of Ram Setu which is described in the canto XXII of the Yudha Kand of the Ramayana,” he said.
UPA bent on hurting Hindus: Rajnath
“The Central Government will face disastrous consequences if Ram Sethu is destroyed”
Photo: Sandeep Saxena
In Ram’s name: BJP President Rajnath Singh, along with party’s Delhi chief Harsh Vardhan and senior leader Mukthar Abbas Naqvi, at a rally to protest Sethusamudram project, in New Delhi on Tuesday.
NEW DELHI: Overlooking the opinion of oceanographers, environmentalists, hydrologists and experts on aquatic creatures, the United Progressive Alliance Government is bent upon implementing the Sethusamundaram Ship Channel Project under foreign pressure as it wants to deliberately offend the sentiments of the Hindus by demolishing the Ram Sethu, through which many believe Ram had crossed over to Sri Lanka, BJP president Rajnath Singh alleged while addressing a party demonstration here on Tuesday.
Addressing party workers on Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary, Mr. Singh said even the Father of the Nation had led his entire life following the path shown by Ram and “Ram Rajya” was his grand political vision.
But, he said,while the UPA Government has been ruling in the name of Mahatma Gandhi, it has tried to even deny the existence of Ram.
The BJP president claimed that the UPA Government was only interested in hurting the sentiments of Hindus by demolishing the Ram Sethu as even scientists were against undertaking the channel project since it would destroy maritime wealth and lead to the death of innumerable creatures.
On the principles followed by Mahatma Gandhi, Mr. Singh said he believed in spiritual politics and that was why he lived like a sage wearing only a half dhoti.
Also, he desisted from taking any post and every day the devotional song, “Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram, Patit Pawan Sita Ram” was sung in his ashram.
Mr. Singh said the UPA Government would face disastrous consequences if the Ram Sethu was destroyed.
‘The Sethu Samudram does not make nautical sense’
October 01, 2007 | 18:24 IST
Continuing our series on the Sethu Samudram Shipping Canal Project, Shobha Warrier speaks to Captain (retired) H Balakrishnan of the Indian Navy to know a mariner’s view of the project. Captain Balakrishnan has been associated with the navy for 32 years.
He was one of the first batch of three Indian naval officers to do specialisation in anti-submarine warfare in the erstwhile USSR Naval War College.
Out of interest, he did a study on the Sethu Samudram Shipping Canal Project from a mariner’s point of view. Ever since the series appeared in the Indian Express, the captain has been much sought after for his interesting calculations.
Why did you get interested in the Sethu Samudram Shipping Canal Project?
I don’t belong to any political party. It was purely a mariner’s interest that made me research the project. There were many reports and statements in the media but I found that the mariner’s point of view was not talked about at all. It is sad that even today the entire discourse on the project has got completely side tracked from the main issue; that is, the project is for ships and the shipping industry.
As a mariner, how do you describe the Sethu Samudram project?
The Sethu Samudram project, if I can put it simply from a mariner’s stand point, does not make any nautical sense.
Why do you say so?
I have worked on the project from three different perspectives, all concerning the nautical world. I analysed the project in the backdrop of the environmental factors that would impinge the safety of the ship and also the safety of lives at sea. Number two was the security aspects which is maritime terrorism as it stands today. And the third was certain aspects of general navigation.
What does your research on the environmental factors say?
We mariners call the coast between Rameswaram and Cuddalore the cyclone coast. The India Meteorological Department has assigned this coastline as a high risk probability. To site one example, in 1964, the Pamban Bridge was washed away by a severe cyclonic storm.
A ship is safe when she is moving at the onset of a cyclone. Imagine a ship waiting to pick up its pilot as it approaches the Palk Straits to enter Sethu Samudram. No captain will wait for the pilot; his safety lies in heading south, towards Sri Lanka.�
The wind and waves bring in a large amount of silt and wash it ashore. The same thing is going to happen to the Sethu Samudram Canal. This brings me to another point. Marine scientists have identified five areas on the Indian coastline they call high-sinkage pits, and one of them happens to be the Palk Straits.
What is left unsaid by the Sethu Samudram authorities is that maintaining the 12 metre depth (of the channel) will entail round the year dredging. Once you establish the channel, you have to maintain it.
You mean other than the capital expenditure, there will be maintenance expenditure too. Will that be expensive?
Naturally. But this cost is not mentioned anywhere. This is the hidden cost which the authorities will have to pay to the dredging company. It is a high siltation and sedimentation area. So, what you pick up today is going to get filled up the next day.
What is the security threat you spoke about?
The Sea Tigers of the LTTE have control of that area off the Jaffna coast. What the Sea Tigers may do is difficult to say. Piracy exists even today.
Those who are against the project say the 12 metre depth of the Canal is not enough for big ships to pass through the canal. As a mariner, what is your opinion on this?
It is quite true. If you take global shipping trends today, to reduce operating cost, they go in for larger ships of the order of 60,000 deadweight tonnes and above. A 60,000 deadweight tonne carrier will need anything in excess of 17 metres of draft.
And as far as tankers go, the days of the super tanker are gone and you see only very large crude carriers of the type of 150,000 and 185,000 tonnes. It makes more sense to have such big tankers as in one voyage, you are bringing in more cargo and reduce your operating cost.
None of these big ships will ever be able to use the Sethu Samudram. So, the question is, for whom are you building the canal? 30,000 tonnes was alright when Sethu Samudram was conceived in the early fifties and the sixties.
That leaves you with only the coastal bulk carriers that carry coal from Kolkata, Paradeep and Visakhapatanam to Chennai or Tuticorin.
How much time and money are saved if the ships go through the Sethu Samudram Canal instead of going round Sri Lanka?
I plotted physically on a chart what we call ‘passage planning’ for a bulk carrier on passage as it happens today from Kolkata to Tuticorin; one of them circumnavigating Sri Lanka as is happening today and the other one going through the canal.
The voyage distance from Kolkata to Tuticorin around Sri Lanka works out to 1227 nautical miles. If you went through the canal, it is 1098 nm. So, you are saving just 120 odd nm.
The story doesn’t end there. The majority of our bulk carriers go at a speed between 12 and 13 knots. That is the average speed at sea. I have checked with my friends who currently sail. They all said they do 12 knots. However, I worked in a bracket of 12-15 knots. So, if you are going around Sri Lanka at 12 knots at constant speed at sea, the time taken to reach outer anchorage at Tuticorin is 102 hours and 15 minutes.
When you go through Sethu Samudram, the point to be remembered is, you cannot proceed at the speed at which you are sailing at sea. The reason is the shallow water effect or what we call the ‘Squat Effect’. So, the moment you enter Sethu Samudram, you have to reduce the sped by 50 per cent or more depending on the conditions prevailing at that particular time. So, I worked on a speed bracket of 6-8 knots. But many of my friends tell me 8 knots is too high for a 30,000 tonne bulk carrier. In all my calculations, I gave the benefit of doubt to the Sethu Samudram project.
The second aspect is, it is not an open seaway; it is like entering a port. A pilot boards the ship, who is a local mariner with greater knowledge of the marine environment. The same thing has to be done at Sethu Samudram also. I have given one hour delay for the ship to reduce speed for the pilot to climb aboard. You repeat the process at the other end too for him to disembark.
With this 6 knots speed and 2 hours pilotage delay, my time to Tuticorin via Sethu Samudram works out to 100 hours 30 minutes. If you went around Sri Lanka, it is 102 hours 15 minutes! So, your net savings in time by going through Sethu Samudram is 1 hour 45 minutes! Is it worth spending Rs 2,400 crore to save 1 hour 45 minutes?
You spoke of travel time. What about the cost?
The Sethu Samudram project from the media reports and the statement given by the finance minister will cost at Rs 2,400 crore, of which Rs 971 crore is through a special purpose vehicle. The debt portion has been pegged at Rs 1,465 crore. Assuming an interest burden of 10 per cent, the interest payment on Rs 1,465 crore is Rs 146 crore per annum. Twenty to 25 years is the time given for repayment.
Assuming 25 years for Rs 1,465 crore, capital repayment works out about 56 crore per annum. So, Rs 146 crore for interest burden and Rs 56 crore as repayment works out to roughly Rs 204 crore per annum which is what the authorities will have to repay to any financial institution. This is only to break-even. But the web site says it is a profitable industry and it is going to make ‘mammoth profit’.
As the earning is going to come only from ships, I asked, how many ships are going to transit in a year through the canal? Ships that can use the canal will be coal carrying bulk carriers as long as the Tuticorin thermal power plant exists.
Having made the calculation, I feel they are rather optimistic in their figures. They have given a mean value of about 3,055 ships meant to use the canal in the year 2008 and by the year 2025, they expect it to go to in excess of 7,000 ships. Mind you, for 12 metres of depth! But I can’t see more than 1,000 ships using the Sethu Samudram canal in a year.
If you take Rs 204 crore as annual repayment, and 1,000 ships use it, your per ship cost works out to Rs 22 lakhs pilotage charge to break even. There is an interesting comparison done by K S Ramakrishnan, former deputy chairman, Chennai Port Trust. He pegs around Rs 50 lakh as pilotage rate per ship if you have to make a� profit.
Then I calculated the fuel consumed. These ships consume 1 metric tonne of fuel per hour, which costs Rs 24,000. For the Sethu Samudram canal, you have to add the pilotage cost too. In effect, if a ship goes through the canal, a shipping company loses Rs 19 lakh per voyage. It is more cost effective to circumnavigate Sri Lanka from the point of view of the shipping industry.
Therefore, neither are you saving time nor is it viable economically. These are the two aspects that need to be highlighted. So, there is absolutely no advantage to the ships and the shipping industry. So, what are we gaining by spending Rs 2,400 crore of tax payers’ money? It is a white elephant in the making.
So, you must be against realignment which some political parties are talking about�
Any course, any realignment, is going to prove uneconomical to the shipping industry. If it is of no use to the shipping industry, why build it? You can bring about better economic progress to the southern districts of Tamil Nadu by building expressways. That is why I say the Sethu Samudram shipping canal project makes no nautical sense. That is the tragedy of the project.
Those who support the Sethu Samudram Canal compare it to the Suez Canal and the Panama Canal and say the Sethu Samudram is the Suez of the East.
In the case of the Suez and the Panama canals, ships save thousands of nautical miles in sailing distance and hundreds of hours in sailing time vis-�-vis the Sethu Samudram where a ship will probably save a few hundred miles and at the most twohours in sailing time. This is the difference.
Ram Setu is causing a frenzy once again but this time, it’s the religious devotees, who are flocking a ‘Mandir’ in Patna to catch a glimpse of a ‘Holy’ rock
10/3/2007 7:49:52 PM
Ram Setu is causing a frenzy once again but this time, it’s the religious devotees, who are flocking a ‘Mandir’ in Patna to catch a glimpse of a ‘Holy’ rock.
The 15 kg floating stone was brought from Rameshwaram and is on display in the Mahavir Mandir in Patna. The rock has caused a near stampede as devotees surrounded to catch a glimpse of the stone. Devotees believe that the rock is a fragment of what Valmiki in Ramayan had described “rocks as huge as autumn clouds”, used to built the Ram Setu by Nala – the son of Vishwakarma. The rock will be on display at the temple premises everyday and while the founder of the rock says, he leaves it upto scientists to validate the authencity of the rock, loads of believers state that they need no such proof.
“The rock will be displayed on the temple premises everyday”, said temple administrator Nagendra Ojha. Standing behind the vessel, Mahavir Mandir Trust secretary Acharya Kishore Kunal added that, he had brought this “floating” stone from the Hanuman Temple at Rameshwaram.
“I was told that during the devastating cyclone of 1964, many such floating pieces of rocks from the Ram Setu were found scattered near Rameshwaram,” Kunal mentioned and also informed that, only a few of such stones are still now available in Hanuman Temple.
Kunal, who is also administrator of Bihar Board of Religious Trusts, declared that he wished to prove nothing. However he asserted that, the fact remained that there had been such floating stones near Rameshwaram, where a bridge had been constructed by Lord Rama’s army to cross the sea and reach Lanka.
“The availability of these floating stones gives evidence to the account of Valmiki on the construction of Ram Setu, which is described in the canto XXII of the Yudha Kand of the Ramayana,” Kunal opined.
Friday,5 October 2007 13:40 hrs IST
Sethusamudram canal may disturb turtles
Kendrapada (Orissa): The Sethusamudram shipping canal project off Tamil Nadu may disturb thousands of endangered Olive Ridley turtles that come every winter to Orissa for mass nesting.
There is both support and opposition to the construction of a canal in the sea dividing India and Sri Lanka. The project will enable vessels to save time taken to circumnavigate Sri Lanka while sailing between India’s west and east.
Turtle lovers and marine scientists have raised objections to the project, fearing it would change the migratory path of Olive Ridley sea turtles towards the Orissa coast and endanger their lives.
“The project would hamper the annual migration of Olive Ridley turtles towards Gahiramatha and other beaches of Orissa,” noted environmentalist Arati Sridhar said.
Gahiramatha is the world’s largest rookery of the sea turtles. It is located in Kendrapada district.
“The movement of the turtles would be affected by passage of ships and other big vessels in the Palk Strait,” she said. Palk Strait is the narrow sea dividing India and Sri Lanka.
Sridhar and four other scientists and environmentalists recently completed a comprehensive report on the environmental and economic impact of the project and concluded that since time immemorial turtles have used the Palk Strait route to reach the Orissa coast for laying eggs.
“The Sethusamudram site is located in a globally significant marine ecosystem including the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve, one of the world’s richest marine biological resources. Olive Ridley sea turtles are found in significant numbers there, and these areas act as important feeding grounds for the marine species,” Sridhar said.
The proposed canal has the potential to have very significant consequences on some of the most important marine biodiversity areas of mainland India. The Gulf of Mannar and Palk Strait regions have some of India’s richest coral reef ecosystems and are also home to some of the most extensive and diverse sea-grass meadows in the country, she said.
Apart from being ecosystems of high productivity and diversity, they protect coastal systems and serve as nursery grounds for fish stocks that sustain local fishing communities, she said.
Palk Strait is considered to be one of the biggest sediment sinks along with the east coast. In order to keep the canal open, a certain level of dredging will have to be maintained through the operating life of the canal.
These activities would hamper the movement of turtles towards Orissa, Sridhar insisted.
“Earlier, it was proved through satellite transmitters fitted on the back of the turtles in Orissa four years back that the Olive Ridley has been using Palk Strait, Gulf of Mannar and the sea near Sri Lanka to reach Orissa,” said turtle expert Biswajit Mohanty.
“There is every chance that the marine species may change their nesting sites after the completion of the project,” said Mohanty, the coordinator of Operation Kachhapa, a turtle conservation group.
Swamy to take Soni to court
Thursday, October 04, 2007 17:32 IST
LUCKNOW: Janata Party President Subramaniam Swamy on Thursday accused union culture minister Ambika Soni of ‘telling a lie’ to the Supreme Court on the Setusamudram project and threatened to drag her to court.
“Ambika soni has lied to the court that the government has no study on the Ram Setu though the Geological Survey of India had conducted studies on the Setu in 2003″, he said. He also said that he would soon file a contempt petition in the court against her.
The Janata Party Chief also alleged that the union minister for shipping T.R. Balu had been pitching for the project because being the owner of a shipping company he stood to gain ‘personal benefit’ from it.
Swamy also threatened to file a contempt petition against DMK president K. Veeramani for writing to the Chief Justice of India not to allow Justice B.N. Agarwal to hear cases relating to the Ram Setu.
Terming the proposed project a ‘security threat’, he alleged that the LTTE would get a clear access to Tuticorin to carry out its activities if it was implemented.
He said the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister was keen to implment it as he wanted to show to his voters that he had avenged the demolition of the Babri masjid by dmolishing the Ram Setu.
Shipping ministry wants Gopal Subramanium out of Sethu case
The union shipping ministry, headed by DMK’s T.R. Baalu who is keen on seeing the Sethusamudram canal project through, is upset with Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium for withdrawing from the apex court its affidavit on the project, and has asked that the law officer be taken off the case.
From correspondents in Delhi, India, 30 Sep 2007 – (http://www.indiaenews.com)
The union shipping ministry, headed by DMK’s T.R. Baalu who is keen on seeing the Sethusamudram canal project through, is upset with Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium for withdrawing from the apex court its affidavit on the project, and has asked that the law officer be taken off the case.
In a letter to the law ministry, dated Sep 26, the shipping ministry has expressed lack of confidence in Subramanium to represent and articulate its views in the court in response to the petition by Janata Party president Subramaniam Swamy.
The letter, to which IANS is privy, says: ‘There is, thus, an apparent contradiction and confusion at all stages that has presumably been created by the ASG,’ and adds, ‘Mr Gopal Subramanium, Addl. SG, may be dissociated from this case…’
The Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project (SSCP) has triggered controversy over an affidavit by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in the apex court. The Affidavit stated there was no historical evidence to prove the existence of Hindu god Ram or of the Ram Sethu, which many Hindus claim is the bridge referred to in the epic ‘Ramayana’ and may face destruction if the project is allowed.
The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), quick to react, alleged that it was an insult to Hindu religious sentiment, prompting the government to withdraw the affidavit.
Besides the ASI, the shipping ministry too had filed a separate affidavit reaffirming the government’s position on the Sethusamudram project, giving details of how it had progressed, including during the years when the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was in power. It also cited the report of experts that enabled the government to decide on the viability of this project.
Gopal Subramanium withdrew both the affidavits and the shipping ministry has since been furious with the ASG for doing this without its consent.
The ministry suggests in its letter ‘some other senior advocate should be entrusted with this responsibility’.
According to the letter, Shipping and Transport Minister Baalu summoned Subramanium to demand an explanation on why he withdrew the shipping ministry affidavit. But Subramanium has reportedly ignored the ‘request’ of the minister.
The letter says, ‘In such sensitive cases of national importance, a senior law officer such as the ASG should have been extremely careful and circumspect in his averments before the court and in tendering advice to the department.’
It states that the minister personally requested the ASG to meet him on Sep 13, a day before the case came up for hearing in the Supreme Court. Again after the court hearing, the minister requested Subramanium to meet him but ‘on both the occasions, the learned Addl. SG could not turn up’.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court stayed Monday’s DMK-sponsored bandh in Tamil Nadu in support of the project, in response to a petition by the AIADMK.
By Faraz Ahmad (Staff Writer, © IANS)
Most of the work done: Baalu
CHENNAI: Is Adam’s Bridge/Ram Sethu intact? If not, how much of it has been affected by the dredging?
Union Minister for Shipping and Surface Transport T.R. Baalu on Monday hinted that most of the work had been done. “The Court had ordered [earlier] that work on Adam’s Bridge part had to be stopped. What does this mean?” he asked and answered: “This means that [excavation] work was going on in the Adam’s Bridge area.”
Speaking at the venue of the fast here, Mr. Baalu said the Adam’s Bridge area was a huge one and the deepening was only in an area of 300 metres, which did not even constitute one per cent of the area of the bridge.
“If one slice of an orange is taken, it will not make a difference. If you lose one tooth, it does not make a big difference. The rest you have to understand,” he said and added that he could not say anything more in the current circumstances.
Later speaking to The Hindu, he said the project was inaugurated last year. Work had been going on since then in many stretches. This included the Adam’s Bridge part too.
Asked how much of the work was completed in the Adam’s Bridge area, he said he was not aware of the exact details of progress in any particular area. “Work has been going on for a long time. You can draw your own conclusions. We have stopped work based on the directions of the Supreme Court.”
Pictures and video clips are available at: www.gandhiheritage.org
FOR Immediate Release Date: Oct. 2, 2007
Peaceful protest rally and Fast/Vigil in New York against Sonia (Maino) Gandhi representing India on the International Day of Non-Violence
New York: The Forum for Gandhi Heritage Organization and other likeminded associations held a peaceful protest rally outside the United Nations headquarters on October 2.
About 500 people from around the US joined the protest objecting to the UN invitation to the Indian Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
The UN had declared Oct. 2 as the International Day of Non-Violence as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi represented India at the UN function.
The protestors believe that Sonia Mano Gandhi’s policies and actions are in total contradiction to what Mahatma Gandhi stood for and her surname is a misrepresentation of Gandhi’s name.
Instead of a true Gandhian delivering Mahatma Gandhi’s message of peace and non-violence, choosing Sonia Gandhi who is not a representative of Gandhian values was a mistake, (they )said.
The protesters oppose Sonia Gandhi who is not related to Mahatma Gandhi using Mahatma Gandhi’s name for political mileage and international legitimacy.
The highlight of the protest was dramatization of Mahatma Gandhi (values) being killed by Sonia Gandhi.
She and the Mahatma were in opposite ends in values such as religious tolerance, terrorism, political violence, corruption and fraud, placards held by protestors read.
A detailed booklet with documentation and proof of the allegations was distributed. For details, visit http://gandhiheritage.org/images/pdfs/sonia_booklet.doc.
Protestors also held a fast and vigil in front of Gandhi Statue at Union Square. About 20 people from the Forum for Gandhi heritage garlanded Mahatma Gandhi Statue and participated in the ceremony on Oct 2.
Detailed photos, videos (including high quality for TV coverage) of the protest rally and Fast/Vigil, additional documentation are available at http://gandhiheritage.org. Any inquiries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org .
The protest was endorsed by the Forum For Saving Gandhi Heritage comprising Mahatma Gandhi International Foundation, Gandhi Center and Hindu Temple, Indo Caribbean Council, Kashmiri Taskforce, Foundation of Nepalis in America & several other likeminded organizations.
Contact : Naresh: 609-226-9702, Satya: 732-939-2060.
Reasons for protest
(NOTE: Please note that the contents below are part of NY Times Ad and went thro’ their rigorous requirements for truth and verifiability).
Mahatma Gandhi’s life and his message of Love, Truth, Non-Violence, and Sacrifice inspired many such as Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Lech Walesa. The recent UN’s declaration of Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday on Oct 2 as the International Non-Violence day is commendable. However, instead of a true Gandhian delivering his message of peace & non-violence, Sonia Gandhi who is not a representative of Gandhian values is chosen.
Sonia Maino Gandhi is NOT related to Mahatma Gandhi. She is attempting to misappropriate his name for political mileage and international legitimacy.
She is known to be vindictive and undemocratic. Her party uses various mechanisms such as tax raids, direct threats to subjugate opposition. (‘Know your Sonia’ by Dr. Subramanian Swamy).
Due to her party’s pro-terrorist policies, India has second highest number of terrorism victims after Iraq . Her Govt. is requesting clemency to Afzal Guru, the mastermind of attack on Indian parliament. In pursuit of Muslim vote banks, it created soft borders & turned a blind eye towards Islamic fundamentalism.
Her respect for human rights is best explained by her decision to make a prime instigator of the anti-Sikh riots (that burnt alive 3000 Sikhs) a key central government minister in India.
Gandhi constantly chanted name of Lord Rama and died with that name on his lips. He said, you can take away anything from me, but if you take my Rama, I will die. Sonia’s party declared in Supreme Court that Rama is mythological and therefore justifies blowing up of ancient sacred Hindu Monument Rama Sethu, thereby hurting the sentiments of 900 millions Hindus. This is similar to Taliban blowing up the Bamyan Buddhas.
Gandhi is an embodiment of Hinduism with deep respect for all religions. He called religious conversions the deadliest poison that lethally destroys cultures of the world. Since Sonia came to power, there is a crusade to Christianize India, at the behest of international missionary enterprises.
Her husband Rajiv and son Rahul are alleged to have received payments from KGB. According to Schweizer Illustrierte, Rajiv has a secret Swiss account of 2 billion dollars. Her son Rahul projected as next Prime Minister of India, was also detained by FBI with large unaccounted cash at Boston in 2001. (‘ The State Within a State’ by Yevgenia Albats, Swiss magazine Schweizer Illustrierte 11/1991, Indo Asian News Service).
Her party was involved in the UN Oil for Food Scam that helped Saddam Hussein.
She was involved in numerous scams, scandals and controversies. Before entering India, she was an au-pair with modest means. Since then, she and her family members amassed millions through questionable means. (Researched articles with proof by Dr. Subramanian Swamy at http://janataparty.org/sonia.html, ‘Know Your Sonia’ by India First Foundation)
Below are same additional details of Sonia Gandhi’s actions which are in direct contradiction to what Mahatma Gandhi Stood for.
Corruption & Fraud: With only a high school degree and no technical skills, she started a technical services company, used her connections to get contracts and paid herself handsomely. She violated multiple laws of the country with impunity. India’s security was compromised when her family friend Quattrocchi (Q) became an agent for procuring arms and offered kickbacks worth millions of dollars. Using proximity to high places, Q brokered many questionable multi million dollar deals for the Italian company Snam Progetti. Sonia has amassed millions through trusts running in her dynasty’s names. From the time Sonia entered India, she has looted the country on a large scale.
Deception: Sonia claims to have a degree from Cambridge University, UK, despite not studying beyond high school. She misled the President of India about the number of parliament members supporting her party to grab power.
Intolerance: Gandhi envisaged the motto ‘Truth alone Triumphs’ that is printed on official documents and coins. As soon as Sonia got hold of power, it was removed from documents & was replaced in coins by an image of Cross used by Louis The Pious (778-840).
Violence: Sonia’s violence spans political, spiritual and physical spheres. Sonia locked the then Congress President with party goons in a toilet and declared herself Party President. Her claim for this position is that she is the wife of an ex-Prime Minister.
Self-Aggrandizement: Mahatma Gandhi offered to be sacrificed rather than divide India whereas Sonia is dividing India for vote banks and selfish gains. Her policies have made the country a hot bed for terrorist violence.
In the corridor of royalty
Dhananjaya Bhat goes back into history to take a look at ‘Sethupatis’, the royal family who guarded the Rama Sethu.
Today when the description of Rama and creation of the Rama Sethu as a myth is creating a furore, it is interesting to note that for thousands of years, there was a royal family in South India with its headquarters at Ramanathapuram near Rameshwaram, known as the Sethupati Rajas or the guardians of the Sethu. Like the Maharajas of Kashi in North India, the specific task of these kings was to guard the sanctity of Rameshwaram temple and protect the Sethu – now so much under the limelight.
In fact even today, though the famous Rameshwaram temple (which technically belonged to the Sethupatis) is administered by the Government of Tamil Nadu, the head of the Sethupati dynasty, at present Rajeshwari Nachiar, is the hereditary head of the temple’s board of trustees.
Detailed information about the Sethupathis is available in the ‘Ramnad Manual’ maintained by Tamil Nadu archives. It states that, “The Sethupatis built several chattrams (dharmsalas) along the main roads of the pilgrimage to Rameshwaram. Roads were opened through the forests. Immense sums were spent on the restoration of the Rameshwaram temples, which were falling into ruins, and the splendid Chockattan Mantapam or the cloistered precincts of the temple at Rameshwaram being finally completed by the Sethupati representatives..” Although the dynasty claims that they are mentioned in the 2000-year-old sagas of Tamil literature, as the brave Marava community guarding the Sethu since the times of Rama, the first historical reference comes only in the 11th century AD, when Chola king Rajaraja made the head of Marava community as Sethupati to protect the pilgrims to Rameshwaram temple and the Rama Sethu.
The temple complex itself was built by Sethupati rulers in the 12th century, with Sethupathy Maravar beginning the construction of the grand Ramanathaswamy temple. Then again reference is made in A D1434 to the repair of the temple walls by the head of the Sethupati clan, known as Udayan Sethupati. Geologists state that till AD1480, when a tsunami damaged the present Rama Sethu, one could walk from India to Sri Lanka on the Sethu!
But only from AD 1605, we find detailed history of these chiefs, who are described as masters of Sethu and their kingdom described as Sethu Nadu (Land of Sethu). After the destruction of the Vijayanagar empire in 1565, their viceroy in South India, the the Nayak ruler of Madurai, re-appointed head of the same Marava community as the Sethupatis.
The most important of these monarchs was the Raghunatha Sethupati II alias Kilavan Sethupati (1671 AD to 1710 AD), who ensured that Sethupatis with their fiefdom over the area known as Ramnad, remained all powerful. It was during his time, that the magnificent still existing palace of Ramlingavilasam was created as the residence of the Sethupatis. No other palace in Tamil Nadu has such extensive mural paintings. As soon as you enter the Mahamandapam, you are surrounded by murals that glint like gem-encrusted jewels on the walls. Some are dull and faded, while others flash forth their brilliance, even 300 years after they were executed. In 1978, the Sethupati family, unable to maintain the palace handed it over to the Government of Tamil Nadu.
But in the18th century, the British entered the politics of South India and as a measure to reduce the importance of the Sethupatis, they were demoted as mere zamindars under the British in1803. Of all the services, this royal family has done to India, the most important was that of financing the visit of Swami Vivekananda in 1893 to Chicago, to address the World Religions Conference. Swami Vivekananda reached Ramnathapuram in 1892 and met the then scion, Bhaskara Sethupati at his palace, and stayed there as the official guest for eight days.
Initially, it was Bhaskara Setupati as the Raja of Ramnad, who had earlier decided to go to US to attend the Parliament of Religions as the representative of Hinduism. But after conversing with Swami Vivekananda, he decided that Swamiji was the right person to attend the conference.
Vivekananda decided to accept the Raja’s offer. When Vivekananda returned from USA after his grand success, as he was about to land at Rameshwaram, the overjoyed Raja was waiting with his entourage to give him a royal welcome. Because of the achievement of Swamiji and as well as the regard, the Raja had for him, he bowed his head and offered it as step for Vivekananda to get down from the boat. But, Swamiji tactfully avoided this offer, by jumping from the boat to the land. Then the Raja unyoked the bullocks from Vivekananda’s ceremonial chariot and pulled the conveyance manually with his entourage, till it reached his palace. Later he erected a victory pillar of 25 feet height with the Upanishad expression Satyameva Jayate to commemorate the success of Swami Vivekananda at Chicago.
After Indian Independence, the Sethupatis still retained their importance in the politics of Tamil Nadu. In fact Shanmuga Raja Sethupati won the elections to the Tamil Nadu Assembly and held the seat thrice from 1951 to 1967, besides being a minister in the Rajagopalachari Ministry of 1952. He was well-known in horse racing circles and had a stable of over 50 horses in Calcutta and a huge garage of cars in Madras, including Rolls Royces and a Bentley. But the abolition of zamindaries by the Government of India, removed all sources of their wealth and today, the former Sethupatis are just well-known prominent magnates of Tamil Nadu.
The existence of the bridge obviously cannot be denied! However to what extent there was manual intervention in connecting the gaps between the shoals, islands and rocks is a subject for detailed marine archaeological and geological research. This kind of research has never been carried out nor has any team been constituted so far. However, there is enough evidence about the existence as well as the use of this bridge in ancient Indian history, literature and travelogues etc.
Maharishi Valmiki has recorded in his Ramayan- (Yuudh Kand, sarg 22 and shlokas 45-73) that Shri Rama’s army constructed a bridge over the sea between Rameswaram and Sri Lanka. After crossing this bridge, Shri Rama’s army reached Sri Lanka, defeated Ravana and liberated Sita from his captivity. Valmiki has narrated in detail that originally Shri Rama’s army camped in Kodikarai but found that place unsuitable for constructing the bridge. Therefore, the entire army was shifted to Rameswaram. Research was carried out by Shri Ram for three days to find out a suitable location in the sea for constructing the land route so that the army could cross over to Sri Lanka. Finally, the suitable location was identified. Shri Nal was a famous shilpakar, who had the expertise similar to that of Vishwakarma in constructing the bridges, was requested to construct the bridge. ( 6/22/45).
After carrying out the survey, Nal declared that a bridge can indeed be constructed. The armymen of Shri Ram utilized various tools and implements for uprooting trees like Taar, coconut, mango, ashoka, bakul etc., and with the help of various yantras transported these trees, stones, and rocks to the seashore. Shilpakar Nal directed the armymen to stand with long ropes/chains on either side and filled the space in between with creepers, trees, stones and rocks and bound them together. The construction of Ramsetu was completed in five days by connecting the existing land route consisting of islands, rocks and shoals.
This bridge was being used as land route between India and Sri Lanka for thousands of years, though sometimes part of it was submerged under the seawater. King Asoka’s son Mahendra and daughter Sanghamitra had used this bridge to go to Sri Lanka more than 2,300 years back. Muslims believe that Adam had gone to Adam hill in Sri Lanka for penance by making use of this bridge. A gazette notiication issued by British Govt on Madras Presidency in 1803 has stated that Ramasetu was being used as land link between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka until 15th century AD when it got damaged and submerged due to cyclone and storm. Dutch and French maps drawn in 16th and 17th centuries show this Ramasetu as operational land route between Rameswaram (India) and Talai Mannar (Sri Lanka) – available in Saraswati Mahal Library, Tanjore.
As per the Government of India “there are no archeological or historical studies which confirm the existence of Ramsetu bridge between India and Sri Lanka in ancient times.” Apparently this statement only reflects ignorance of Himalayan proportions about many fundamental historical, archaeological, geological as well as geographical facts. If only somebody had even opened the websites – Google Earth which contains interesting as well as authentic pictures of submerged Ramsetu and http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/schwartzberg/ which displays most authentic historical atlas of South Asia and has placed pictures of Ramsetu for the period starting from vedic era and 5th century BC to 19th century AD along with nomenclature of Ramsetu prevailing at the relevant times, the conclusions arrived at would have been quite different !.
These pictures available on Google Earth very clearly show Rama’s Bridge, these also prove the role of humans along with the natural formations – See the boundaries!
To what extent there was manual intervention in connecting the gaps between the shoals and islands is a matter for multi disciplinary archaeological- geological- oceanographical and ecological research but no such research has ever been carried out
In the ‘Historical Atlas of South Asia’, prepared by Joseph E. Schwartzberg (1978) and placed on its website by the university of Chicago, there are more than 20 maps giving historical as well as geographical evidence about the existence of this Ramsetu and its use as land route between India and Srilanka during last more than 2500 years. In some of the maps it is shown as a complete bridge used as land route and in some others a part of it is shown as submerged :
On page 3 of Chapter on “India of the Vedas and the Epics”, route followed by Sri Rama for traveling from Ayodhya to Sri Lanka has been shown and picture of this bridge has clearly been included in the map(p.13)
During the time of Mauryan empire (321 – 181 BC), exchange of embassies between King Asoka of India and Tissa of Sri Lanka and visit of Asoka’s son Mahindra are shown as undertaken by partly using land route between Koti (Dhanushkoti) and Tambapanni (also known as Mahatirtha). In an Ajanta painting the scene of landing of King Vijay in Ceylon in about 3rd century BC has been depicted along with elephants, horses and foot soldiers which obviously was possible only if land route was used for traveling from Rameswaram to Sri Lanka (p.18).
[During this period it was not a complete bridge, being partly submerged]
During the Satavahan- Sak- Kushan Age (1 – 300 AD) Schwartzberg has shown this Ramsetu being used as land route between India and Sri Lanka and has stated that it was known as Rameswaram Koti at that time
As per this atlas, during the age of Gurjara- Pratiharas, Palas and Rashtrakutas (700 – 975 AD), the region across the Ram Setu constituted the limits of the regions under the control of Rashtrakuta Kings. In fact, entire Sri Lanka has been shown as part of kingdom of Rashtrakutas and Ram Setu has been shown as the land connection connecting the entire kingdom (p.31).
In this historical atlas of south Asia prepared by Joseph E. Schwartzberg in 1978, during the time of Khiljis and Tughluks (1290 – 1390 AD) Ramsetu has been shown as a land route between Rameswaram and Sri Lanka and the prevailing name has been stated to be Setubandha Rameswaram.[page-41 of the Atlas]
According to Hunter’s Imperial Gazetteer, XI.22 (translated by A.M. Ferguson) the ancient records preserved in the Rameswaram temple mention that a violent storm in 1480 AD breached this bridge and subsequent storms rendered the breach permanent. This fact is corroborated by the two maps drawn in 16th & 17th centuries by Netherlands and by a French map drawn in 18th century.
From 16th century onwards there are some references to two narrow channels, known as Pamban and Mannar through each of which only very small ships could make their way and that too when the sea was high. Reference to this has also been made by Dutch Governor of Ceylon in 1663.
James Rennell (1742 – 1830) was the first Surveyor General of the East India Company and is also known as Father of Indian Geography. A map of Hindustan got prepared by him with the help of Sir Joseph in 1788 has named this bridge as the RAMA’s BRIDGE and the same is available in Saraswati Mahal Library, Tanjavor. However in the later 1804 version of the map, the name RAMA’s BRIDGE has been replaced with the name ADAMS BRIDGE! Hence the RAMA BRIDGE becomes the ADAMS BRIDGE and the psychology behind the same needs no explanation!
A picture of the bridge downloaded from NASA website, two pictures downloaded from Google Earth and maps extracted from Atlas of Sourth Asia have been shown above. Is it not amazing that for Schwartzberg, an authority on the geo-historical mapping of South Asia and for the University of Chicago the existence of Rama’s bridge is a historical, geographical as well as an archeological fact but many in India are not ready to acknowledge even its existence!
As per estimate made by the inter-government panel on climate change (NASA, Global Change Master Directory) the rise in the sea level during the last 7000 years has been about 2.8metres which roughly corresponds to 9.3 feet. The remains of Ramasetu are found submerged nearly at a depth of 9-10 feet. Thus, obviously this bridge was capable of being used as land route 7000 years back.
The astronomical calculations made by using the software Planetarium Gold with reference to the sequential planetary configurations corresponding to the important events in the life of Lord Rama made in Valmiki Ramayan have revealed that Shri Ram was born on 10 th January in the year 5114 B.C., which also happens to be ninth day of Shukla Paksha in Chaitra month. He left for his 14 year exile on 5 th Jan. 5089 B.C. and he came back to Ayodhya on 2nd Jan 5075 B.C. (Source: “Dating the era of Lord Ram” written by Shri Pushkar Bhatnagar and published by Rupa & Co) . Thus, as per Valmiki Ramayan, the bridge was constructed almost 7,000 years back!
Indian history has recorded that Shri Ram belonged to Surya Vansh and he was the 64th ruler of this dynasty. The names and other relevant particulars of all the previous 63 kings are listed in ‘Ayodhya Ka Itihas’ written about eighty years back by Rai Bahadur Sita Ram. Professor Subhash Kak of Lousiana University (USA), in his book “The Astronomical Code of the Rigveda” has also listed 63 ancestors of Shri Ram who ruled over Ayodhya. The ancestors of Shri Ram have been traced out as under: –
Shri Ram, S/o King Dashratha, S/o King Aja, S/o King Raghu, S/o. Dirghabahu, S/o King Dilipa-II, S/o. King Visvasaha and so on )_________ (all listed) _________ King Sagar (40th Ruler) __________ Satyavadi Harish Chandra (32nd King) _________.
Professor Subhash Kak has also traced out 29 descendants of Shri Ram starting with his son Kusa f/o Atithi, f/o Nisadha, f/o Nala _________ (all listed) _________. 95th Ruler of Ayodhya being Brhatksaya.
Many researchers, including a colleague Dr. Ram Avtar, have researched on places visited by Shri Ram during 14 years of exile. They sequentially moved to the places stated as visited by Shri Ram in the Valmiki Ramayan. Starting from Ayodhya, they went right upto Rameshwaram. They found 195 places which still have the memorials connected to the events relating to the life of Shri Ram & Sita. The locals believe that Shri Ram had actually visited these places. Ayodhya Kand Aranya Kand & Kishkindha Kand, Sundar Kand and Yudhha Kand (chapters 2-6) give sequential and graphic details of these places which mostly included Rishi Ashrams located along several river banks. These details can be divided into 5 phases-
1) Gangetic belt- the places at which memorials exist include-Tamsa Nadi Tal (Mandah), Shringverpur, Bhardwaj Ashram ( near Allahabad), Chitrakoot on UP & MP borders, Valmiki Ashram, Mandavya Ashram, Bharat Koop etc.
2) Dandakvan area- existing memorials include- Sharbhang and Sutikshan Muni-ashrams in Satna, which include Mandavya Ashram, Shringi Ashram, Ram Laxman Mandir etc. in MP & Chhattisgarh areas, Then after crossing many rivers, lakes, hills and forests they went to Agastya ashram- weapons made in Agnishala were given to Shri Rama
3) Along Godavari river- from Agastya Ashram they went to stay in Panchvati which is famous for Sharoopnakha episode and war with Khar & Dushan. Nasik area is fully covered by memorils like Sita Sarovar, Ram Kund & Triambakeshwar
4) Along Tungbhadra and Cauvery- after meeting Jatayu they move towards south to reach Rishyamook On way visit Shabari Ashram in Pampasarovar area- now known as Sureban in Belgaon still famous for Ber trees. Rishiamook and Kishkindha are now located in Hampi, Distt. Ballari of Karnataka
5) On the banks of sea- Ram sena first camped in Koddikarai but later moved to Rameshwaram for construction of bridge .Existing memorials include Chhedukarai and Dhanushkoti from where the boatmen take visitors in glass boats to show remains of Rama,s bridge
These are only some of the evidences listed which prove the historicity of era of Lord Ram and authenticity of the events related to his life. Every single part of India from Jammu and Kashmir to Rameswaram and from the Eastern Coast to the Western Coast has memorials relating to the era of Lord Ram, who is an integral part of Indian ethos.
Even then no effort was made by the Govt. of India after independence to conduct any scientific research and/ or develop this underwater cultural heritage along with other many geo-historical sites relating to the life and times of Lord Ram for the purposes of tourism and preservation of heritage. For some mysterious and inexplicable reasons, many Indians have been taking pride in denying the existence of our most ancient true cultural heritage. But the scientific research and evidence being gathered by western countries has been proving just the opposite. The satellite imaging, geo-historical mapping and archaeological studies, carried out by USA, Germany, France and many other countries enlighten us and prove that our glorious heritage, narrated in Vedas and Epics (including Ramayana & Mahabharata ) was real narrating true historical events around which myths were woven by devotees during thousands of years. Lord Ram was true historical hero with unprecedented qualities and Ramasetu was indeed constructed by connecting the existing chain of islands, rocks and shoals in the Palk Strait. After 60 years of independence it is time to come out of our inferiority complex and feel proud of our most ancient culture and civilization. We need to create atmosphere which would motivate our young and educated youth to carry out research and unearth true facts about ancient Indian civilisation and wisdom and would also encourage them to put across the results of their research before the people fearlessly and with a sense of pride!
(Author is posted as Director General of Income Tax at NADT,Nagpur)
Karunanidhi recites Hindi poem in public
Chennai, Oct. 1 (PTI): Under attack over his recent remarks on Lord Ram and the strong reaction they evoked in the North, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi has apparently sought to reach out to his detractors by reciting a Hindi poem in a public meeting, an unprecedented act on the part of Dravidian leader known once for his strong anti-Hindi stance.
Addressing a public meeting late last night in support of the demand for speedy implementation of the Sethusamudram project, he surprised the audience by asking them to join him in reciting the poem.
“Hindustan hai desh hamara, janse apne humko pyara. Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isaai aapas main hain bhai bhai. Bhai hoga bhai hamara, aisa hoga chalan hamara (India is our country and we love it more than our lives. Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians are all brothers. Brothers will be brothers, such will be our conduct).
In the meeting he also chided “communal” forces for invoking the name of Ram for putting “obstacles” in the Sethusamudram project. He said the same communal forces had killed Mahatma Gandhi when he was uttering the name of Ram while singing a bhajan.
RAM SETHU: VHP to recruit ‘Karsewaks’ Lucknow, UNI: Oct. 6, 2007 “VHP will recruit at least 50 million karseveks in the country who will be the main force for agitation to compel the Centre to withdraw its decision to demolish the bridge made by Lord Ram,” said VHP’s general secretary Praveen Bhai Togadia Refusing to relent on the Ram Sethu issue, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Saturday announced to recruit ‘ Karseveks’ to fight with the Centre in its third phase of agitation starting October 12.”VHP will recruit at least 50 million karseveks in the country who will be the main force for agitation to compel the Centre to withdraw its decision to demolish the bridge made by Lord Ram,” said VHP’s general secretary Praveen Bhai Togadia here.Addressing a press conference, Dr Togadia said the Karseveks would be recruited between October 12 and 26 when the members would be asked to recite ‘ Hanuman Chalisa’ daily.”On the last day-October 26 also known as Valmiki Jayanti-the entire karseveks would recite Hanuman Chalisa en-mass,” he said. He, however, made it clear that VHP would not allow anyone to make the Ram Sethu a political or election issue.”It would be the saints and sadhus to lead the agitation and no political leader would be allowed to participate in the agitation,” he added.Commenting on the statements made by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on Lord Ram, Dr Togadia said Karunanidhi was using the language of Aurangazeb and he should be jailed under section 153 of the IPC.”
There is a clear nexus between the Congress at the Centre and DMK to insult the Hindus over the Ram Sethu issue,” he said.”VHP has given time till November 20 to the Centre to withdraw the order to demolish the Ram Sethu and if they refuse to do so then the saints and sadhus would be forced to come on the streets”, he said adding that a meeting of the sadhus and saints would be held at Ayodhya after November 20 to chalk out the future course of action.He said on November 20, VHP will bring out 8000 Rameshwaram Ram Setu Shila yatras from different parts of the country to cover almost 6.25 lakh villages of the state.The VHP leader made it clear that Ram sethu was a functioning bridge between India and Sri Lanka till the year 1417 and later sank under the water after an earthquake.Presently, the VHP was holding yatras at different places to make people aware about the Ram Sethu issue after their countrywide ‘ Chakka Jam’ programme held on September 12.http://www.deccanherald.com/Content/Oct62007/foreign2007100629088.asp?section=updatenews A real life hero, not figment of a poet’s imagination – By Saroj Bala
Publication: The Tribune
Date: October 12, 2003 The story of Shri Ram’s life was first narrated by Maharishi Valmiki in The Ramayana, written after he was crowned as the king of Ayodhya. Valmiki was a great astronomer because he made sequential astronomical references on important dates related to the life of Shri Ram indicating the location of planets vis- a-vis zodiac constellations and the other visible stars (nakshatras). A similar position of planets and nakshatras vis-a-vis zodiac constellations has not been repeated in thousands of years. By entering the precise details of the planetary configuration of the important events in the life of Shri Ram, as given in the Valmiki Ramayana, in the software named Planetarium corresponding exact dates of these events according to English calendar can be known. Pushkar Bhatnagar, of the Indian Revenue Service, had acquired Planetarium from the USA. It is used to predict the solar/ lunar eclipses and distance and location of other planets from the earth by the scientists and astronomers. He entered the relevant details about the planetary positions vis-a-vis zodiac constellations narrated by Valmiki and obtained convincing results, thus almost determining the important dates starting from the birth of Shri Ram to the date of his coming back to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. Valmiki has recorded in Bal Kaand Sarga 19 and shloka 8 and 9 (1/18/8,9) that Shri Ram was born on the ninth tithi of Chaitra month when the position of different planets vis-a-vis zodiac constellations and nakshatras (visible stars) was as under :- 1 Sun in Aries ii) Saturn in Libra iii) Jupiter in Cancer iv) Venus in Pisces v) Mars in Capricorn vi) Lunar month of Chaitra vii) Ninth day after no moon viii) Lagna as Cancer (Cancer was rising in the east) ix) Moon on the Punarvasu (Gemini constellation & Pollux star) x) Day time (around noon) This data was fed into the Planetarium software. The results indicated that this was exactly the location of planets/stars vis-a-vis zodiac constellations on January10, noon time in the year 5114 BC. As per the Indian calendar, it was the ninth day of Shukla Paksha in Chaitra month and the time was around 12 to 1 noontime. This is exactly the time and date when Ram Navmi is celebrated all over India till date. Shri Ram was born in Ayodhya: This fact can be ascertained from several books written by Indian and foreign authors before and after the birth of Christ e.g. Valmiki Ramayana, Tulsi Ramayana, Kalidasa’s Raghuvansam, Bodh and Jain literature etc. These books have narrated in great detail the location, the rich architecture and the beauty of Ayodhya which had many palaces and temples built all over the vast kingdom. Ayodhya was located over the banks of Saryu River with Ganga and Panchal Pradesh on one side and Mithila on the other side. Normally 7,000 years is a very long period during which earthquakes, storms, floods and foreign invasions change the course of rivers, destroy towns and buildings and alter the territories. Therefore, the task of unearthing facts is monumental. The present Ayodhya is shrunken in size and the rivers have changed their course about 40 km north/south. Shri Ram went out of Ayodhya in his childhood (13th year as per Valmiki Ramayana with Rishi Vishwamitra who lived in Tapovan (Sidhhashram) and from there he went to Mithila, the kingdom of King Janaka. Here, he married Sita after breaking the Shiv dhanusha. Researchers have gone along the route adopted by Shri Ram as narrated in Valmiki Ramayana and found 23 places which have memorials existing even as on date to commemorate the events related to his life. These include Shringi Ashram, Ramghat, Tadka Van, Sidhhashram, Gautamashram, Janakpur (now in Nepal) and Sita Kund etc. Memorials are built for great human beings and not for fictitious characters. Date of exile of Shri Ram: In Valmiki Ramayana it is mentioned in Ayodhya Kand (2/4/18) that Dashratha wanted to make Shri Ram the king because Sun, Mars and Rahu had surrounded his nakshatra and normally under such planetary configuration the king dies/or becomes a victim of conspiracies. The zodiac sign of king Dashratha was Pisces and his nakshatra was Rewati. This planetary configuration was prevailing on the January 5, 5089 BC. It was on this day that Shri Ram had to leave Ayodhya for living in the forests for 14 years. He was 25 years old at that time (5114-5089) and there are several shlokas in the Valmiki Ramayana which indicate that Shri Ram was 25 years old when he left Ayodhya for 14 years of exile. Valmiki Ramayana refers to the solar eclipse at the time of war with Khardushan in latter half of 13th year of Shri Ram’s living in forests. Valmiki has also mentioned that it was Amavasya that day and planet Mars was in the middle. When this data was entered, the computer software indicated that there was a solar eclipse on October 7, 5077 BC (Amavasya day) which could be seen from Panchvati. On that date, the planetary configuration was the same as has been described by Valmiki i.e. Mars was in the middle, on one side were Venus and Mercury and on the other side were Sun and Saturn. On the basis of planetary configurations described in various other chapters, the date on which Ravana was killed works out to December 4, 5076 BC. Shri Ram completed 14 years of exile on January 2, 5075 BC. That day was also Navami of Shukla Paksha in Chaitra month. Thus, Shri Ram had come back to Ayodhya when he was 39 years old (5114-5075). Ram Avtar, who had done research on places visited by Shri Ram during 14 years of exile and sequentially moved to the places stated as visited by Shri Ram in the Valmiki Ramayana, started from Ayodhya and went right upto Rameshwaram. He found 195 places which still have the memorials connected to the events narrated in the Ramayana relating to the life of Shri Ram and Sita. These places include: Tamsa Tal (Mandah), Shringverpur (Singraur), Bhardwaj Ashram (situated near Allahabad), Atri Ashram, Markandeya Ashram (Markundi), Chitrakoot, Parnakuti (on banks of Godavari), Panchvati, Sita Sarovar, Ram Kund in Triambakeshwar near Nasik, Shabari Ashram, Kishkindha (village Annagorai), Dhanushkoti and Rameshwar temple. Recently, the Sri Lankan government had expressed a desire to develop Sita Vatika as a tourist spot. Sri Lankans believe that this was Ashok Vatika where Ravana had kept Sita as a prisoner (that was year 5076 BC). An American company engaged in exploring the oceans had put pictures on the Internet of a curved bridge, the ruins of which are lying submerged in Gulf of Mannar between Rameshwaram and Sri Lanka. The age of the stones used has been estimated at 17 million years, though the period of the construction of the bridge has still not been estimated. Indian history has recorded that Shri Ram belonged to the Surya Vansh and was the 64th ruler of this dynasty. The names and other relevant particulars of previous 63 kings are listed on in Ayodhya Ka Itihas written about 80 years back by Rai Bahadur Sita Ram and the ancestors of Shri Ram have been traced out as under: Shri Ram, S/o King Dashratha, S/o King Aja, S/o King Raghu, S/o King Dilip and so on ——-) From Kashmir to Kanyakumari and from Bengal to Gujarat, everywhere people believe in the reality of Shri Ram’s existence, particularly in the tribal areas of Himachal, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and the North-East. Most of the festivals celebrated in these tribal areas revolve around the events in the life of Shri Ram and Shri Krishna. During Ram Rajya, the evils of caste system based on birth were non-existent. Valmiki is stated to be a Shudra. Sita lived with him as his adopted daughter after she was banished from Ayodhya and Shri Ram’s children Luv and Kush grew in his ashram as his disciples. Valmiki was, perhaps, the first great astronomer and that his study of planetary configurations has stood the test of time. Even the latest computer software corroborated his astronomical calculations, proving that he did not commit any error. Shabari is stated to be belonging to Bheel tribe and the army of Shri Ram, which succeeded in defeating Ravana was also formed by various tribals from Central and South India. Facts, events and other relevant details relating to the life of Shri Ram are the common heritage of all the Indians.
source: URL: http://www.tribuneindia.com/2003/20031012/spectrum/main6.htm
Next elections: It’s UPA versus Rama?
Sunday September 23 2007 02:37 IST S GurumurthyThe Sethusamudram canal project, that was progressing by the hour with a daily report on website on how much of the Rama Sethu was being dredged out every day, suddenly hit a roadblock a week ago. This forthwith landed the Central Government and the UPA in yet another crisis and led to an undignified tirade against Rama himself. The backlash of it threatens to bring Rama himself back to national politics, with or without Ayodhya.Who is to be faulted for this? No one other than the protagonists of the Sethusamudram canal project, the DMK, themselves. Those who opposed the canal project in its present form were crying from housetops that they were not opposed to the canal as such. They only wanted the canal to be realigned so that the Rama Sethu was not harmed. But the DMK contemptuously dismissed them again and again. It kept seeing the Rama Sethu as a villain of the Sethusamudram canal as if without breaking the Rama Sethu the canal was a non-starter.Consequently, the entire judicial battle and street brawl over Sethusamudram canal centred around the physical violation of the Rama Sethu that looked inevitable.This forced the defenders of the Rama Sethu to bring Rama himself as the defence. They relied on the Ramayana and the Rama traditions to contend that the Rama Sethu was a historic monument. This forced the proponents of Sethusamudram to deny historicity to Rama Sethu. For that Rama himself had to be declared as a figment of Valmiki’s imagination.
The underlying trigger for the avoidable debate on Rama was the hoax played on the people that if the Rama Sethu were to exist the Sethusamudram had to be given up. This is what led to a disastrous actionreaction syndrome which has the potential to change the complexion of politics in the country.
First, it compelled those who wanted the Rama Sethu preserved to rely on Rama for its historicity. Next, it forced the Central Government to contend on the ill-fated affidavit that as Rama was an imaginary character, the Rama Sethu was no monument and so it could be done away with. When this brought forth a tsunami of angry response, the government ran away from the court not only taking back the affidavit and throwing it into the dustbin, but also almost telling the court that it would implement the project only with the consent of all.
In this rapid development, the DMK was left shell-shocked. With the Central Government U-turning on the affidavit and the Law Minister asking who can deny the existence of Rama, the DMK got into double jeopardy. Not only was its pet project stymied, but also its ideology of atheism – of course selectively limited to Hindu Gods – got into serious risk. How could Dr Karunanidhi stomach Law Minister Bhardwaj’s declaration that Rama is as certain as the Himalayas. He had to counter that, saying that Rama is a Himalayan lie! This is how the DMK retaliation started, almost mindlessly.
In his speech at Erode on September 15, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister gave vent to his anger at being bowled over twice, with an unbelievable tirade against Rama himself. “Who is Rama? Where is the proof for his existence? Where did he learn engineering to build the Rama Sethu? Is it not the return of the dark days of superstition to cite a non-existent Rama to block a development project?” He was unstoppable.
The campaign against Rama which started in Erode reached its peak, five days later, on September 20 at Chennai with the Chief Minister telling the media that Rama’s biographer Valmiki himself had depicted Rama as a drunkard after all. Later, obviously feeling that he had dwarfed the debate to a slum-grade language, Dr Karunanidhi hastily issued a press release by dropping the word drunkard and saying that Valmiki had said that Rama had taken ‘somapana’.
But, according to those who have read Valmiki Ramayana in Sanskrit, which Dr Karunanidhi could not have done, nowhere does Valmiki say that Rama took somapana; on the contrary the biographer says that Rama and Lakshmana were angry with Sugreeva over his drinking habit. But, this being not the place for a debate on the issue, now back to the sequence.
But unfortunately only after questioning Rama’s existence and His engineering skills to build the bridge to Sri Lanka and abusing Him as a drunkard, has the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister come out with a stunning statement that he had never opposed the realignment of the Sethusamudram canal so as not to disturb or destroy the Rama Sethu. Why the hell all the dispute in the court and the struggle on the streets over Rama Sethu and Rama were for then?
Had he made this statement six months back, why even a month back, the Rama Sethu would not have become a national issue, Rama would not have been dragged into it and then into inelegant war of words leading to Rama’s character assassination. The ridiculous issue of whether He existed or not issue notwithstanding, Sri Rama has always been and is still a reality in India and for its people. He is perhaps the only personality who functioned from the deeper Indian consciousness of the distant past and influenced modern politics.
Just take two illustrative examples. First, Rama’s influence over Mahatma Gandhi, the most powerful political leader India ever produced, was total. Gandhiji never felt shy and, in fact, he ever felt proud of expressing his obsession with Rama and repeatedly acknowledged the hold of Rama over his heart and mind. He saw Rama as the remedy to all ills of humans, including physical illness! Thus, Rama publicly guided Gandhiji’s every move.
Next, after the country attained freedom, the biggest mass movement centred on Rama and a temple for him at his birth place in Ayodhya exposed the pseudo-secular polity, shifted the political paradigm and effectively terminated the one-party rule at the Centre.
Yes, the invisible Rama is the most powerful political force in India. It is foolish to see in Him just a religious icon. His tremendous power over Indians stems from the belief-cumfact that He is an illustrious example for life on earth. Whether He is a historic reality or not is irrelevant to the social and political theatre. That He is a political reality is what is relevant. So long as the DMK was a frog in the well, its inelegant description of Hindu Gods, including Rama, had its echo within Tamil Nadu and never attracted national attention. But with the coalition politics exposing the DMK and Dr Karunanidhi to national politics, the political culture and idiom of the DMK are also exposed to the national audience. The result is for all to see. Thanks to Dr Karunanidhi’s tirade against Him in Erode and in Chennai, Rama seems to be back in politics in Delhi, via Bhopal of course! Rama’s omnipresence is self-evident. Rama has seen hundreds of rulers and leaders of this nation come and go. He will see many more hundreds – believers like Gandhiji or nonbelievers like Karunanidhi included and will Himself remain as the single most powerful political force in India. This is where the usually alert Dr Karunanidhi failed to read the power of Rama over the people. He indulged in the usual DMK patented anti- Hindu idioms against Rama without understanding their impact in national politics where today, and unlike in the past, he is very much present and what he says is noticed.
QED: Unless Dr Karunanidhi dumps his anti-Rama tirade, the UPA may have to dump the DMK. In default of either, the UPA may have to contest the next elections against Rama himself.
|October 14, 2007|
A resolution adopted at the seminar
The assembled dignitaries scholars, scientists and all participants resolve that:-
Any desiccation of Rama Sethu is likely to destroy Kerala and southern Bharatiya coastline; Governments should desist from any action which impacts adversely on the security of Kerala.
Ram Sethu: Togadia warns of Ayodhya-type backlash Pune, Oct. 8 (PTI): Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s International General Secretary Praveen Togadia on Monday said that the destruction of Ram Setu would trigger a major Hindu backlash similar to the one witnessed during the “Ayodhya mass movement” in 1992. Addressing a public meeting here organised on the occasion of VHP’s anniversary yesterday, Togadia termed the Sethusamudram project as an “international conspiracy” aimed at depriving India of the Thorium deposits. The elements which did not want the country to emerge as an economic power were behind the implementation of the project, he said. He further said that the Central government was behaving as an “agent of the US” and the controversial nuclear power agreement was an indication of this servility. The VHP leader felicitated city historian Pandurang Balkawde and presented him the ‘Dharmaraksha’ award on the occasion.