Rama Setu: Sri Rama on affidavits

Historicity of Rama: views of Prof. BB Lal (1998)

http://www.hvk.org/specialarts/ichr/articles/0006.html
Title: ‘Facts of history cannot be altered’
Author: Prof. B. B. Lal
Publication: The Hindu
Date: July 1, 1998

In regard to the first allegation, let me make it absolutely clear that at no point of time did I ever say that there was no evidence about the “historicity” of the Ramayana story. My first paper on the subject appeared in 1981 in Antiquity, a renowned research journal published from Cambridge, England. In 1988 the ICHR organized an international seminar in New Delhi at which I presented a 60-page paper entitled ‘Historicity of the Mahabharata and the Ramayana: What has archaeology to say in the matter?’ Finding in it something that went counter to their views, the then authorities of the ICHR withheld the publication of the paper. Thereafter. when another journal published it, there was a great hue and cry, as if the heavens had fallen. Anyway, in 1993 came out my first volume under the project ‘Archaeology of the Ramayana sites’.

In it I categorically restated “The combined evidence from all five sites excavated under the project shows that there did exist a historical basis for the Ramayana.” I do not know why the editor has chosen to misrepresent my viewpoint and give an altogether opposite impression to the reader.

South India canal project plunges into choppy seas
By Joseph Tharakan Mumbai (Cargo News Asia, 17 Sept. 2007)

The sudden departure of N K Raghupathy, chairman of the Sethusamudram Corporation and Tuticorin Port Trust, has reignited the protest against a mega dredging project in south India.
The Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project, which involves dredging a canal from the Gulf of Mannar to the Bay of Bengal on India’s east coast, is expected to cut down transit time and cost for ships sailing from India’s east coast to Europe. The canal project was proposed by Sethusamudram Corp and Tuticorin Port Trust is implementing the project.
The exit of Raghupathy, who has headed the corporation since its inception two years back, was apparently a setback for the project, which has come under fresh attacks. Raghupathy announced abruptly he was going on two months leave after addressing a press conference on the progress of the project.
Raghupathy claimed over 50 percent of the project has been completed but that claim has been disputed by the present management. Raghupathy said dredging of about about 23.16 million cubic metres had been completed so far.
K Suresh, chairman of Chennai Port Trust, who has taken over the reins of SCL and Tuticorin Port Trust from Raghupathy, claimed work on the project is progressing without any interruption. The dredging work is in full swing, and there are four to five dredgers at the site, he added.
The project was given the go-ahead by the government despite stiff opposition from various groups. The latest uproar over the project is from a Hindu fundamentalist organisation called Vishwa Hindu Parishad which claimed that the dredging project would damage “Ram Sethu”, a bridge believed to have been built by Lord Ram, the mythical Hindu king, to make a passage to Sri Lanka. The group alleged the building of the canal was an assault on the Hindu monument.
“Many Hindu religious groups have joined hands against the project. The government would face a litmus test, when the public hue and cry hits a peak,” said an industry official. The Madras High Court has also cautioned the authorities against destroying the natural heritage that millions worship.
A fresh report prepared by navigational experts that questions the economic viability of the project is adding fuel to the fire. The independent study by a team of infrastructure and environmental economists and marine experts has exposed huge loopholes in the arguments advanced by shipping minister T R Baalu for going ahead with the project.
“The project was given the go-ahead on the premise that almost 70 percent of traffic and revenue will come from non-coastal ships, meaning those ships that travel into the country from Europe, Africa and elsewhere,” according to the study.
“For these ships the projected saving in distance and time is on an average less than a day and this saving is economically unviable considering other added disadvantages like costs of dredging the canal every year, use of higher quality fuel to keep carbon deposits in the canal at a minimum. All this will reduce any running costs saved by ships by taking the shorter route.”
The report says the project will turn out to be a financial disaster, and there will be a heavy interest burden that the government will have to bear.

http://www.cargonewsasia.com/article.aspx?id=3&article=14031

Sethusamudram project put on hold
16 Sep, 2007, 0058 hrs IST, TNN

The Centre finally withdrew the affidavit doubting the existence of Lord Ram and agreed to put on hold the Rs 2,427 cr Sethusamudram project. Bowing to the pressure of religious sentiments, the Centre went back on the project though it expressed its willingness to consider alternative routes for the Sethusamudram shipping channel.
In separate statements, the Communists said the affidavit “was against the faith of the overwhelming mass of Indian people.” In a statement, the CPI said “it has hurt the sentiments of the people”.
The decision to withdraw the affidavit was taken under directions from Ms Sonia Gandhi. With Narendra Modi attempting to use the issue in the November polls in Gujarat, the affidavit could mar the electoral prospects of the Congress.
Additional Solicitor General and the author of the controversial affidavit, Gopal Subramaniam said the government was willing to look at the project afresh and consider alternative suggestions.
The bench comprising Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan and Justice RV Raveendran asked the government to file a fresh affidavit in January. It also ordered that the bridge should not be damaged till then. This would mean a halting of the dredging work at the project site off Rameswaram.
Meanwhile, two senior officials of Archaeological Survey of India were put under suspension following the inquiry conducted by ASI director general A Vaishya. One of the suspended officials was at the director level who has been dealing with the issue for a long time while the other was responsible for amending the final draft of the affidavit submitted by the Centre to the apex court.

http://tinyurl.com/2sg8au

Suresh Prabhu for environmental review of Sethusamudram project

New Delhi, Sept 15 : Shiv Sena MP and former Minister of Environment Suresh Prabhu wants a review of the Sethusamudram project.

However, his reservations to the project do not arise out of any religious considerations.
”I do not want to go into the faith controversy associated with the project, I just have great doubt that a proper environmental impact study of the destruction of the Adam’s bridge or Ram setu has ever been carried out,” the former Minister said talking to UNI on the sidelines of a seminar on climate change.
The seminar was organised as part of the CMS Vatavaran Environment Film Festival.
The MP said that if no indepth and adequate study had so far been carried out by the Ministry of Environment, it should be done at the earliest.
He said there were apprehensions of environmentalist and that the the proposed canal from the Gulf of Mannar (lying between the southern tip of India and the west coast of Sri Lanka) to the Bay of Bengal may not be economically very rewarding but rather cause harm to the natural ecosystem.
The Ram Sethu or the Adam’s bridge is a natural string of coral reefs which is the underwater structure providing a natural defence to disasters like the 2004 tsunami.
There were also doubts over the economic feasibility of the project, he added.
”However, personally I would not either oppose or support the move unless I am sure that an in depth, impartial and a comprehensive expert study has been carried out on the need and desirability of the project,” he said.
Hindu organisations are opposing the construction of the Bill as they believe that it was constructed by Lord Ram’s army to cross over to Sri Lanka.

— UNI

http://www.newkerala.com/oct.php?action=fullnews&id=745

September 23, 2007

“There is a ploy to destroy Ram Sethu. Sonia is the agent”

Sonia Gandhi had visited Rameswaram and attended the inauguration ceremony of Sethusamudram Canal Project with Dr. Manmohan Singh, T.R Balu and M. Karunanidhi. They chalked out a plan to destroy the Sethu. Sonia is an outsider but we are astonished that how these leaders dared to go against our own dharma and heritage?

Puri Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati talks to Organiser representative Debasis Tripathy about his mission to save Ram Sethu and about all his hopes and determination in an interview at Puri, Orissa. Excerpts.
You are wandering over the country for protection of Ram Sethu and organising Hindus. Kindly sketch your views on the issue.
It is a dishonest and offensive plan of the union government to destroy this great cultural monument, which is the exclusive property of Hindus of Bharat. Continuous efforts are going on to destroy the Sethu. We have visited the spot and found that near Dhanushkoti, some fishermen are residing in that area who are very innocent and simple in nature. They do not know anything about this destruction. Many sophisticated machines are engaged in this task and even experts cannot tell what is really going on. We have information that some portions have already been destroyed. Coming under the pressure of America and being guided by some foreign forces the UPA government is about to wipe out it by explosives.
You are saying that America is keen for the destruction of Ram Sethu. Why?
NASA is the agency of America which confirmed the existence of Ram Sethu. People could walk over the Ram Sethu in the ancient time. Later it submerged in the sea water in a natural process. Now it exists beneath six metre depth. NASA proved that its length is 30 km and breadth 2.5 km. Such an ancient Sethu is with the Hindus who were able to build this exceptational bridge, America cannot tolerate this. How would he? Besides this near the Sethu there is an unlimited reserve of thorium. The USA never wants that India should emerge as a great nuclear power using this thorium. Hence America wants to exploit this by destroying Ram Sethu and make India subservient to him. On the other hand our men in power have opened the door to them. Insatiable longing for power has made them blind.
What do you say about Sonia Gandhi’s role?
Sonia Gandhi had visited Rameswaram and attended the inauguration ceremony of Sethusamudram Canal Project with Dr. Manmohan Singh, T.R Balu and M. Karunanidhi. They chalked out a plan to destroy the Sethu. Sonia is an outsider but we are astonished that how these leaders dared to go against our own dharma and heritage? It is a great fraud with the people of this nation. We want to inform the Hindus through you that this drive is being controlled from Vatican city and the government is dancing on the tune of the Pope. He wants to destroy all Hindu heritages from the soil of Bharat. The late Pope John Paul had visited India twice. On both the occasions he said: “We want to make Asia a Christian subcontinent and our mission begins from India.”
Now the Pope does not wish to see Bharat as a vishwaguru and hence he wants to finish the spirit of our nationhood by hook or by crook. His ambitions met with success in Nepal with the help of Maoists. Then how will the Pope tolerate the existence of Ram Sethu and construction of Ram Mandir at Ayodhya? Sonia has become his agent. Christians and Communists have managed to tie their knot with each other.
Why did you start your protest late? Was there any hidden dialogue with the government?
No. Nothing hidden nor was there any talk with the government. The truth is, we came to know about this late during last Ardha Kumbha Mela at Prayag on January 21, 2006. From that day we are working our best. We never knock at the door of any political man. Yes, we had gone to meet Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, not as the President of India but as a lover of our rich heritage. We told him about the Sethu. Showing a lot of sympathy he supported our views, but his hands were tied then. He could not help us.
What is your next agenda?
We are really happy that this issue of Ram Sethu has been able to break the slumber of the Hindu society. Some Hindus have awakened and have come to the warpath for protection of their religious sentiment. But we are really shocked that some Hindu seers like Asharam Bapu, Murari Bapu and others are maintaining silence. When our nation and dharma are facing a threat, all should come forward with their followers. We have decided to go to Rameswaram and will fight for the protection of the holy Sethu. Even if nobody comes with us, we will definitely go there. My life may go but my steps will never go back.

http://tinyurl.com/38r6oq
Setusamudram project a conspiracy against Hindus: Puri seer

Puri, Sep 15 : Puri Goberdhan Peeth Sankaracharya Swamy Neeschalananda Saraswati today alleged that the attempt to destroy the Ramsethu for the Setusamudram shipping canal project was a ”conspiracy” against Hindu ethos and religious beliefs.

In a statement here, the Puri seer, quoting Hindu religious scripts, said Lord Ram had constructed the Setu in Tretya Yug to reach Lanka to free his wife Sita.
The Shankaracharya said if anyone tried to destroy the Setu, the person should be ousted from the country.
He urged all the other Sankaracharyas to fight against such move.

— UNI

http://tinyurl.com/3arxh5

Hearing on Ram Setu pilgrimage petition deferred

Monday, September 17, 2007 16:44 [IST]
PTI

LUCKNOW: The Allahabad High Court on Monday fixed September 24 for further hearing of a petition seeking a direction to the Centre to give subsidies to pilgrims wanting to visit Ram Setu off Rameshweram coast in Tamil Nadu.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice H L Gokhale and Justice S S Chauhan deferred the matter till September 24 after hearing the petitioner, Hindu Personal Law Board President Ashok Pandey.

The petition, quoting extensively from the ‘Ramcharitmanas,’ has pleaded that Lord Rama himself had asked his disciples to visit the setu.

The petitioner, therefore, wants that a visit to the setu be arranged for all those interested.

http://news.indiainfo.com/2007/09/17/0709171646_ram_setu.html

Ram Setu: VHP to meet soon to work out a stir plan

Guruvayur, Sept. 17 (PTI): VHP leaders will meet in New Delhi in a day or two to chalk out details of a nationwide agitation to be launched for the protection of Ram Setu, VHP general secretary Praveen Togadia said here today.

“The VHP, with the co-operation of other Hindu outfits, will launch a countrywide agitation against the destruction of the Ram Setu which has already got underway,” Togadia told reporters here.

He said the move to develop a shipping channel by destroying the Ram Setu not only amounted to hurting Hindu sentiments, but was also part of an US conspiracy to gain access to deposits of rare minerals and metals, including thorium.

He said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh owed an apology to the Hindus in the context of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) submitting an affidavit in the Apex Court, stating that there was no historical evidence that Lord Ram had ever lived.

On the vexed issue of throwing the portals of Guruvayur temple open to non-Hindus also, he said VHP was not against true believers worshiping in the temple. At the same time, any move to forcibly gain the right to enter the temple would be stiffly resisted.

Togadia worshiped in the Sree Krishna temple here and the nearby Mammiyur Shiva temple.

http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/002200709171232.htm

Monday, September 17, 2007

Re: [prpoint] Ramar Sethu issue – Indian Govt’s credibility crisis

Dear Mr Joshi,
We have discussed this issue when a podcost was released by Mr Srinivasan, in February this year, on ‘Mysterious happenings at Sethu Bridge at Rameshwaram’.
Ms Anshu Vaish, Director General of ASI is believed to have told the cabinet secretariat that she got political instruction saying that there was no need to remove the controversial statements from the Sethusamudram affidavit to the Supreme Court, though they were removed by Cultural Secretary, who personally briefed the Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni about this. Indications are that Transport Minister TR Balu of the DMK was monitoring the file and was interacting with the Addl Solicitor General.
If Rama is a myth – Allah and Jehovah should also be a myth.  God is a belief, God’s Adversary is an illusion, Religion is a way of life and Parentage is a Trust.  If we do not believe these things, there can not be a harmonious co-habitation, in countries like India, the abode of many beliefs and religions.
The credibility of the Government or the Party in power can be damaged, but not of the Religion upon which this great country is built.
Regards,
Y. Babji

http://tinyurl.com/35roy2

Ramar Sethu: Modi attacks Congress

Manas Dasgupta

‘Affidavit a bid to hurt people’s sentiments’

RAJKOT: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is clinging on to the “Ramar Sethu” issue to whip up the “Hindutva” passion to the run up to the Assembly elections later this year.

Addressing meetings at Hadala town in Rajkot district and earlier at the Tarnetar fair in Surendranagar district, Mr. Modi likened the Congress to “Ravana” saying that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government was trying to fulfil the “wishes” of Ravana. He said Ravana never wanted Lord Ram to build the bridge and attack Lanka to rescue Sita, and the Congress government was now planning to destroy the “Ramar Sethu” to fulfil Ravana’s wishes.

During the last three days ever since the Ramar Sethu controversy broke out following the Centre’s affidavit in the Supreme Court on the issue, Mr. Modi did not let go any opportunity to raise the issue to re-establish his diminishing image as the Hindutva leader even after the Centre decided to amend its stand to honour the religious sentiments of the Hindus.

Mr. Modi said Lord Ram was a matter of faith for the Hindus and the Government’s affidavit strongly hurt the religious sentiments of the people. “The Hindus in the country will never forgive those who are raising questions on the existence of Lord Ram,” he said.

Mr. Modi declined to believe that the first affidavit questioning the existence of Ram for not having any “historical proofs” was an unwarranted mistake as claimed by the Centre later, but said it was a “deliberate” attempt to hurt the sentiments of the people and strengthen its minority vote bank. “The people in the country will never tolerate a party that questions the existence of their idol and hurt their religious sentiments,” he said.

In an indirect attack on Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Mr. Modi asked the audience present to raise “Jai Shri Ram” slogan so loudly that “its echo is heard even in Italy.”

Mr. Modi said he was all for the country’s development and would be ready to coo-operate and support for any such projects and programmes, but they should never be at the cost of the country’s rich heritage and cultural bonds. There was no need for a project if it meant destroying the rich heritage of “Ramar Sethu.”

http://www.hindu.com/2007/09/17/stories/2007091761361400.htm

TN CM’s remarks condemnable: Swamy

Madurai, Sept 16: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi’s remarks about Lord Rama and Ramayana were condemnable, Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy said here today.

By terming Lord Rama as “a fictional character in a dramatised Aryan-Dravidian struggle”, Karunanidhi showed his “ignorance” of India’s history and spewed the British imperialist “poisonous propaganda”, Swamy said in a statement.

He said Karunanidhi had also described Ravana as a Dravidian hero and Brahmins as Aryans during his speech at Yercaud yesterday.

Recent DNA researches showed that there was no Aryan-Dravidian divide. Moreover, Ravana was a Brahmin while Rama was not, Swamy said. (Agencies)

http://tinyurl.com/3cw4hq

Monday, September 17, 2007

Fishy smell in Ram bridge row

– Faith matters to Dhanushkoti, but loss of livelihood worries it more

M.R. VENKATESH

The ruins of a Dhanushkoti church which was destroyed by a cyclonic storm in 1964. (below) A poster in Rameshwaram urges people to protect “Ramar Sethu”. Pictures by M. Palanikumar

Dhanushkoti (Tamil Nadu), Sept. 16: In this slender land’s end, faith runs strong.

Ram, local people swear, ground his dhanush (bow) in the sands after returning victorious from Lanka. And so the name Dhanushkoti.

It’s a tale they have grown up on like the other legend — of the exiled prince marching across the sea to rescue Sita from Ravan over a bridge built by Hanuman’s vanar sena (monkey army).

Yet, it’s not faith but environment concerns that take over when it comes to the question of whether to leave “Ramar Sethu” — or Adam’s Bridge — untouched or demolish it and go ahead with the Sethusamudram ship channel project.

“Let’s not get too much into the historicity of Ramar Sethu. If that area is demolished, it will destroy the coral reefs, leave us with no protective barrier from any future tsunami and pose a direct threat to the sacred Rameshwaram island,” says Manikanda Sharma, a local priest.

“Half the people here don’t know whether Ramar Bridge exists or not,” says another resident, a trader, who did not want to be named.

The “bridge” — partly submerged islets of sand shoals that stretch across to the Lankan coast about 18km away — is a “matter of faith”, he says, “not the key issue”.

Sharma, a former trustee of the ancient Sri Ramanathaswamy temple in Rameshwaram, sums up the mood of the local people. Mostly poor fishermen, they say the Rs 2,427-crore project, dredging a channel across the sea to cut sailing time between India’s east and west coasts by nearly 30 hours, would “spell ruin” for their livelihood.

“Already, in the last 20 years, fish catch in this area has drastically come down, forcing us to stray into Sri Lankan waters,” says a fisherman.

“If the canal is dug, what little breeding that takes place in this area will also disappear.”

Sharma, more knowledgeable than the average folk in this swampy stretch, 14km from Rameshwaram Island, is worried about environmental violations.

“We are more worried that all guidelines, including those on dumping of dredged material, are being flouted,” he says.

He emphasises the threat from natural calamities.

A church in ruins, a battered post office and remnants of a few buildings amid little sand dunes stand as grim reminder of the 1964 cyclone — or was it another tsunami? — that devastated Dhanushkoti, including its quaint rail link to Rameshwaram.

Eighty-year-old Neechal Kali, one of the few survivors of the 1964 cyclone, however thinks the ship channel would restore the glory of Dhanushkoti, now a deserted village, as big ships passing through this stretch will stimulate coastal shipping and development of small ports.

As for “Ramar Sethu”, he says, even if it had been built, it must have been “washed away by now”.

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1070917/asp/nation/story_8325513.asp#

Ramar: Sonia’s effigy burnt

Kapurthala, Sept 15: Activists of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and BJP today burnt the effigy of Congress President Sonia Gandhi as they staged a protest over the Ram Setu issue.

They also took out a rally which was addressed, among others, by local leaders of BJP, VHP and Bajrang Dal.

The leaders criticised the UPA government for playing with the sentiments of Hindus on the issue of Ram Setu. (Agencies)

http://www.chennaionline.com/colnews/newsitem.asp?NEWSID=%7B93087CB9-E0FA-44E4-9426-9C7B5B79D892%7D&CATEGORYNAME=NATL
Withdrawal of ‘Ramsethu’ affidavit a publicity gimmick by Cong: Uma

Indore, Sep 16 : Bharatiya Janshakti (BJ) President Uma Bharti today described withdrawal of controversial affidavit over the ‘Ramsethu’ from the Supreme Court by the Centre as a ”publicity gimmick” of the Congress.

Ms Bharti, while talking to reporters before leading a protest against Reliance Fresh here, said filing an affidavit denying existence of Lord Rama was a big mistake. Congress President Sonia Gandhi, stepping into it for withdrawing the affidavit, was a mere publicity gimmick, she added.
On allegations that the Setu Samundram project had been prepared during the previous NDA Government regime, she said the project got approval under the present government. The fiery sanyasin claimed that she had raised the ‘Ramsethu’ issue and the BJP had taken it up now.
She said various saints had shown interest in protesting against the project but had decided to remain away for fear of being dubbed BJP supporters.

— UNI

http://www.newkerala.com/oct.php?action=fullnews&id=1087

Where is proof Ram built bridge, asks Karunanidhi

Express news service

Posted online: Monday, September 17, 2007 at 0000 hrs IST

Chennai, September 16

Though the Centre has decided to withdraw its controversial affidavits on the existence of Ram, expressing regret for hurting religious sentiments, the ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu has come down hard on “communal forces” for using the “myth” of Ram Sethu to stall the Sethusamudram project.

Warning the Centre against succumbing to communal forces, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, at a function in Erode on Saturday night, said: “Who is this Raman (as Lord Ram is referred to in Tamil)? In which engineering college did he study and become a civil engineer? When did he build this so-called bridge? Is there any evidence for this?”

“The withdrawal of the affidavits does not mean that the project is being withdrawn,” Karunanidhi told reporters at Yercaud near Salem. “If it amounts to the project itself being shelved, then the DMK, which adheres to scientific, rational and progressive ideals, will not accept it.”

On whether there was any difference of opinion between the DMK and Centre on the issue, he retorted: “The conflict is between us and communal elements. It is between us and dominant forces that are using superstitions of the people to stall the project and achieve their ends. It is not a conflict between us and the Union Government. Our stand is that the Centre should not succumb to these communal elements.”

At Erode, Karunanidhi said: “The latest attempt to stall the Sethusamudram project is by a group of jackals, conspirators and dangerous elements. Their objective is to subvert a major project that would usher in development in the southern parts of our state.”

In a resolution which he read out at the function, Karunanidhi warned the Government against giving up the project in the name of Ram Sethu. The Ramayana, he said, was only “a piece of fiction that allegorically represented the conflict between Aryans and Dravidians”.

The Tamil Nadu CM blamed “communal elements” and even Sri Lanka for stalling the project, “a long-cherished dream of Tamils”. “The opposition to the Sethusamudram project was an attempt to destroy the Dravidian movement,” he said. The Centre, he advised, should not be intimidated by threats from religious elements and delay a project that the Prime Minister and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had agreed to implement.

http://www.indianexpress.com/story/217566.html

From He Ram to No Ram: Who benefits?

Saisuresh Sivaswamy

September 14, 2007
Can an explosive affidavit like what the Archaelogical Survey of India filed on Wednesday in the Supreme Court denying Lord Ram’s existence, and which affidavit was backed by the government of India, have been cleared by a mere babu?

Or, will it have gone for higher, ministerial sanction?

Law Minister H R Bhardwaj has been quick to wash his hands of the affidavit, saying that since the ASI comes under the culture ministry, probably that minister approved the affidavit.

And who is the culture minister? Ambika Soni, once considered to be part of Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s [Images] inner circle and who is now reported to have fallen out of favour with 10 Janpath.

So was it a ploy by a piqued loyalist to ‘show the boss’ by embarrassing the government?

That is one possibility, though personally I don’t think any Congressman, or woman, has the guts to throw the gauntlet so openly to the most powerful entity in the country unless s/he has decided to exit the Congress party.

Soni is not leaving the party anytime, that’s for sure. So the assumption of her challenging Gandhi falls flat. Even if one were to theorise that she wasn’t aware of the depth of sentiment over Ram, it doesn’t wash given the time she has spent in public life and which must have exposed to India’s truths.

So was the affidavit the product of a pliant bureaucracy which, it is being said openly, saw the ascendancy of Christians in the power structure post-Sonia Gandhi and which felt driving a nail into Hinduism’s icon would show itself in a positive light with the political masters?

Possible, given the way our bureaucracy thrives on the crumbs the political class throws its way.

Even assuming that a supine bureaucracy prepared the affidavit, it was finally a political decision to go with it, and a decision that could only have been taken at the highest levels.

Just who took the decision to debunk Ram in a court affidavit, and when and how this decision was taken, will forever remain hidden from the public gaze. L K Advani has hinted at resorting to the Right to Information Act to find out the truth; more power to him and the RTI effort.

So who benefits from this unholy mess?

It is very easy to surmise that the BJP has been given a windfall by the politically naive Congress party, as happened in 1989 when Rajiv Gandhi virtually gifted the former the Ram Janambhoomi issue.

But in this instance, it won’t be a correct reading of the situation.

The BJP was expected to revolt at the denigration of Ram; and it did. The affidavit amounted to blasphemy, it fumed, and L K Advani appealed to the prime minister — who probably was not in the know of the affidavit — to rescind it.

A 120-year-old party that claims credit for leading the national movement, whose patriarch’s last words on being shot were He Ram — it didn’t calculate the extent of uproar such an affidavit would generate? There was no one in the party who foresaw the public outrage it would provoke?

Pardon me while I yawn, but I find that hard to believe.

My reading of the situation is that the party high command — leave the apolitical PM out of it please -� had done a cost:benefit analysis and decided that the benefit far outweighed the cost to the party.

Here’s how.

What was the cost?

A BJP frothing at the mouth.

But what is unusual about an apoplectic BJP? It has been in this condition ever since it lost power in a surprise verdict in May 2004. Appearing utterly clueless and rudderless, it has frothed at the mouth over anything and everything — including, for Ram’s sake, the nuclear deal with the United States which it would have gone ahead with had it been re-elected.

What was the additional cost?

Fear of public outrage over the offensive affidavit. But aggrieved Hindus, experience shows, are not the kind who will brave bullets and set fire to public transport at the first opportunity.

Even assuming that the government did not foresee the gathering storm over Ram, its alarm bells would have gone off once the media pounced on the issue, disseminating evidence of the government’s insensitivity in matters religious.

A clueless government would have acted right away to nip the trouble in the bud.

This government did not. It let the issue fester for a full 24 hours; Bhardwaj in the meantime made conciliatory noises, but a formal announcement of the government’s decision to retract the affidavit came a day later.

Sign of a panicking government, or of a well-thought-out process?

Forgive me while I yawn, but I am a born sceptic.

To return to my favourite theory, who benefits. Cui bono.

But a small digression before that. Will the UPA government complete its full term? Even its hardened supporter will not put his money on a general election being held on schedule, in April-May 2009.

The government cannot go back on the nuclear deal, and the Left cannot go back on its opposition to the US. Houston, this government has a problem!

So does Sonia Gandhi, actually.

She is the Congress party’s biggest asset, and is equally its biggest liability.

I can’t think of another political leader who evokes such extreme passion among Indians. For every one who votes for her, it seems there is one who hates her.

Now, if only this number can be reduced, the Congress will have a winning formula on its hand.

Everytime the Congress thinks it has a winning formula, alas she opens her mouth and out flies the chance.

But who best to help the party tide over this problem but Ram!

So 24 hours after the UPA government disses Ram in the Supreme Court, the government rediscovers his greatness and reinstates him in the Indian pantheon.

This, we are told, was done at the instance of Sonia Gandhi who has been reviled by Hindutva forces for her Christian origin and which shrill campaign nixed her chance of becoming prime minister in 2004.

Sonia Gandhi herself does not directly take credit for this act of grace; all those around her attribute the decision to her, taken out of respect for Hindu sentiment.

Heck, the person the Sangh Parivar painted as anti-Hindu is the one who has come to the Hindu’s rescue, establishing her faith in one of the most revered gods of the land. Who benefits, you ask? Sonia Gandhi, obviously!

Who said only the BJP can lay claim to Ram’s legacy! The Congress has shown it is not far behind in claiming the maryada purshottam for its own ends.

Do you agree with my theory? Yes or no, drop a line to me at sai@rediff.co.in. And catch more of me at http://saisureshsivaswamy.rediffblogs.com

http://www.rediff.com/news/2007/sep/14sai.htm

VHP mulls filing case against Karunanidhi

September 17, 2007 09:28 IST

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad on Sunday said that will seek legal advice on whether to file a case against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi for his reported statement denying the existence of Lord Ram and the Ram Setu.

At a function in Salem on Friday, Karunanidhi had stated that Lord Ram was an imaginary character. However, VHP Secretary General Praveen Togadia pointed out that when the DMK supreme was Tamil Nadu’s chief minister in 1972, he had written an article in the Ramanathapuram district gazette accepting the existence of the Ram Setu bridge.

“There is no historical proof of the existence of Lord Ram or the bridge,” Karunanidhi had said at the Salem function two days ago.

“If he has gone back on the public document, he can be prosecuted,” said Togadia.

He added that coins, which are 1,000 years old, make a mention of the Ram Setu. The Asiatic Society of Bengal has also referred to the Setu, claimed Togadia.

http://www.rediff.com/news/2007/sep/17vhp.htm

Subject: Ram Setu a godsend . . . – Express; 17-9-07
We need not read beyond Neerja’s opening comment ” . . what would routinely
have been a dull and innocuous affidavit by the Archaelogical Survey of
India . . . ” to conclude that this is going to be another of those
shameless, slavish Macaulay-Babar ka Aulaads indulging in what he/she/it is
paid to do.
Would the ASI have expressed such expert opinions on the  Hair of the
Prophet (replaced by L.B.Shastri) in Kashmir, the provenance of the stone
worshipped by muhammedans at Kaabaw, or the authenticity of St.Thomas in
Indian Christianism – to name just three “innocuous” topics?
In fact our ASI has been more than notorious for its active cooperation with
the barbarian alien religious forces in control at Dilli to suppress all
evidence like those pertaining to Ayodhya, Dwaraka, Kashi, the Saraswathi
River etc.
Like our History Council which “sanitized” our history and perverted records
to hide the crimes committed by Muhammedan and Christian savages. Will the
History Council file an “affidavit” stating how many of the Saints in
Christianity were canonized for killing and torturing human beings?  Saint
Joan of Arc, and our own dear St.Francis of Goan Inquistion Fame come to
mind. India is lucky NHRC did not have the time to get their act together to
file a collaborative affidavit on Rama.
Dull and innocuous subjects, Neerja? WE Hindus have plenty of those. More
topics to feel injured and aggreieved about than bomb-throwing muhammedan
terrorists, pluralism advocating hypocrites from the Christian West, and
their Indian by-products.
Media Mercenaries will never take cognisance of the fact that we are ruled
by aliens and vested interests keen on destroying our religion and our
culture. There is no alternative to BJP for Hindus – who constitute 85% of
the population of India, at the moment, but catch Murdoch-ka-aulaads saying
that.
Even Jayalalitha is any day preferable to Sonia, the fake Gandi. And in
saying that we are scraping the bottom of the barrel.
<K.Vijayan>
3/2, Vasanth Apts.II, 312, Lloyds Road, Chennai 600014.

http://realitycheck.wordpress.com/2007/09/14/ram-sethu-for-dummies/
Rama Rama

Published September 13th, 2007 in Religion

At last ! Good sense has dawned upon the UPA government and they have, like they do every time, bent themselves to what Lalloo calls the “weel of the peepul” by expunging the blasphemous assertion, made by those vapid Godless “reverse grave-diggers” (or as they fancifully call themselves archaeologists), at the Archaeological Survey of India that Lord Rama is not a historical character simply because they didn’t find a fossil of a monkey tail or the remnants of Ravana’s flying chariot buried 50 feet in the earth.
When I heard the news of the ASI’s submission to the court I was like “Dude…what are those people trying to say ! By stating that “no historically valid proof of Rama’s existence exists” they surely are not implying that the entire Ramayana is a figment of our collective imagination and that Rama is simply a mythical icon that represents the best of humanity—are they?” What next? Are they going to tell us that monkeys who wore clothes and fought with weapons and constructed bridges across seas never existed?Or that Ravana really didn’t have ten heads? Or that Sita was not really swallowed up by the earth? And most importantly there never was a talking bear named Jambavana?

Are these ASI people even suggesting that my grandma lied cause I recall her telling me that “Once upon a time in Ayodhya there was a..” and not “People imagined that once upon a time in Ayodhya there was…”

No matter how disgusted I am at the ASI, I am however mightily pleased at how our national parties, more specifically the BJP and the other saffronites, have once again shown us that on the issues that really matter to the country [namely whether certain formations of rock on the sea floor were made by an army of dhoti-clad monkeys or not] they are right on the money and keeping an eye out for us. They may not care for our energy security or for our strategic foreign alliances but they sure are prompt in protecting “shovel nails” Surpanakha’s place in history.

No one however has expressed the opposition to the ASI’s perverted view of truth (”no historical proof” implies “does not exist”) as eloquently and logically as Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Thursday criticised the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government for its judicial affidavit that said there was no historical evidence to prove the existence of Lord Ram.

In a statement issued from Germany, Sri Sri said: “Ramayana and Mahabharata are called “Itihasas” (histories). Itihas means it happened. That Sri Ram did exist is recorded in the epic Ramayana.

Brilliant ! Since they are called “itihas” they must be historical. Like that movie “Itihas” starring Ajay Devgun, Twinkle Khanna and Raj Babbar.

Well all is well that ends well and with Sonia mam rapping the knuckles of the Rama-doubters, the word “mythology” has once again become synonymous with “history” and an awe-inspiring monument may have been saved, albeit as some people would say, for the wrong reason.

Which isn’t, in the final analysis, a bad thing at all.

http://greatbong.net/2007/09/13/rama-rama/

The Ramayana, the Sethusamudram and Indian Archeology

Posted on 09.13.07 by Jaffna @ 9:12 am

I do not support the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP)’s agitation against the Sethusamudram project. The dredging of the Sethu canal would reduce sea travel time from Mumbai to Chennai by 400 miles (650 kilometers). It would facilitate the projection of Indian naval power at a time when China and the United States expand their military presence in the Indian Ocean. It would counter the real threat of Sri Lanka becoming a US client state with strategic implications to India. 

Having said this, the Sonia Maino-led administration’s efforts to challenge the Ramayana and the historicity of Rama to counter the VHP-led agitation needs to be condemned. The Archeological Survey of India (ASI), under instruction from the political leadership in New Delhi, filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court yesterday claiming that there was no historical evidence that Rama or other individuals in the Ramayana ever existed. The debate is no longer about the Sethusamudram but is now about the civilizational contours of India.

No secular Government has the prerogative to pontificate on religion unless the public good is adversely impacted. Rama and the Ramayana transcend history. They belong to the realm of religion and assume an importance independent of historical empiricism. While the ASI had the undeniable right to challenge the VHP’s position on the Sethusamudram canal, it had no authority to question the historicity of Rama.

No historian would dare query the virgin birth of Jesus, his alleged crucifixion and his reported resurrection on the premise that supporting archeological evidence was lacking. The myths of the Old Testament can not be corroborated from a historical perspective either. The same applies to Islamic mythology as recorded in the Hadith. One Islamic text describes a ‘winged horse with the face of a woman and the tail of a peacock’ named Buraq that transported Mohammed to paradise one night from Jerusalem. The Christian claims to Bethlehem and Jerusalem, not to mention the Muslim claims to Jerusalem can not be belittled on the mere affidavit of an archeologist. These come within the purview of belief, not archeology.

I level a broader critique of the Congress administration. It would not have dared question the historicity of the Bible or Quran. But it sure feels empowered to dismiss Hindu literature through a Supreme Court affidavit. It would have been one thing to challenge the VHP’s position on the Sethusamudram, quite another to conveniently extend the attack on the Ramayana itself.

The ASI added that the Sethu Bridge was ”merely a sand and coral formation” devoid of ”historical, archaeological or artistic interest or importance.” But the literary evidence suggests otherwise! I was struck that the ASI repeatedly referred to the place as the  “Adams Bridge” in contrast to the contemporary nomenclature of Sethu indicating a colonial-era and Christian mindset! 

The Ramayana was a classical text that helped define the literary, aesthetic and court traditions of not just India but of Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaya (even if the contemporary Malay were to deny his pre-Islamic past), Nepal and Thailand. The  murals in the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok depict scenes from the Ramayana. So do the stone carvings of the 8th century Prambanan monument in central Java and the early 12th century Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Khmer classical dance and traditional Burmese theater are indebted to the Ramayana. The Thai kings in the 14th century established their capital in Ayuthaya named after Ayodhya while they styled themselves Rama.

Sinhalese inscriptions dated to the 12th century indicate that King Nissanka Malla of Sri Lanka expanded the temple at Rameshwaram to commemorate Rama’s penance. The Tamil Kings of Jaffna between the 13th and 16th centuries called themselves “Sethu Kavalar” or the protectors of Rameshwaram and the surrounding seas. The Vijayanagara kings continued the lavish patronage of Rameshwaram. The Ramayana is a key narrative that helped shape the Indic world view down the centuries, inspiring millions with its verses and anecdotes. It was perhaps the most translated Indic text in the pre-modern era. 

To suggest therefore that the environs had no historic significance whatsoever and to ridicule the rich literary inheritance upon which such import is based, is itself a rash attempt on the part of the ASI. The affidavit was uncalled for. It represented a highly devious and selective attempt on the part of a pro-American and deracinated administration to undermine Hinduism while repeatedly conceding the political claims of other religions for electoral advantage. The affidavit was an attempt to belittle a defining feature of the Hindu tradition and needs to be condemned for that.

http://cynical-nerd.nationalinterest.in/?p=89

Modi attacks UPA over Rama Setu issue

Posted at Saturday, 15 September 2007 20:09 IST

Mehsana (Gujarat), Sep 15: Stepping up his attack on the UPA Government over the Sethusamduram project, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today said the Centre’s stand on the issue would not be tolerated.
“For the last few days I have been experiencing a great personal pain because of the Centre’s affidavit (on Lord Ram) and the Sethusamduram project. I don’t know whether you people too are also feeling the same,” he said while addressing farmers and milk producers at a function here.
“The rulers of the country have questioned the existence of Lord Ram. The Centre’s affidavit in the Supreme Court says there is no scientific basis to the existence of characters and occurrence of events as mentioned in the Ramayana, and that there was no Ram and no war ever took place between him and Ravana,” he said.
“All this is being done in the name of secularism. This cannot be tolerated by 100 crore Indians and Gujarat is not going to tolerate it.” Modi said the project aimed at obliterating the last signs of ‘Rama Setu’.
“Satellite images show the existence of Ram Setu, but the UPA government is trying to destroy it with the objective of erasing Lord Ram from our lives and hearts,” he claimed.
He demanded stern action against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union Law Minister H.R. Bhardwaj and Congress President Sonia Gandhi over the controversial affidavit, which has since been withdrawn by the government.

http://india-themiddleroad.blogspot.com/

Shiv Sena protests Govt’s affidavit on Ram Setu

New Delhi, Sept. 17 (PTI): Shiv Sena activists on Sunday staged a dharna here to protest government’s affidavits on Ram Setu, saying it was an insult to the Hindus across the globe.

The affidavits on Ram Setu questioned the existence of Lord Ram, thereby insulted the Hindus, a release issued by the Sena said. The affidavits were later withdrawn.

Sena held Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi responsible for it. They also demanded removal of Law Minister Hansraj Bhardwaj and Culture Minister Ambika Soni from the Union Cabinet.

A memorandum in this regard was handed over to President Pratibha Patil, the release added.

http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/002200709170325.htm
Passage to India
  • Posted by Sandeep September 15, 2007

Running a coalition government is thorny. With fragile vote tallies, allies need to be continually placated. In the Indian context, an irony that doesn’t escape our attention is parties with least numbers seem to garner the maximum benefits. The DMK with just 16 seats is the ally that the Congress has tried to appease by issuing the (now backtracked) damaging ASI statement on Rama .

The issue lends itself more clarity when we examine its more recent political antecedents. The proposal to build the bridge was first mooted in 1860 but seems to have assumed a sudden urgency in the last two or so years.

…the SSCP was the mascot for the DMK and other political parties in the state, both for the Lok Sabha election and the May 2006 Assembly election. While the DMK had promised voters that it would ensure that the project would be launched if it had a say in the Centre in the Lok Sabha election, in the state election last year, the party gloated the SSCP achievement as its own…. “This is the time the CM has to be careful. No one can prevent Sethusamudram project from happening….” said a senior DMK leader in Tamil Nadu.

The opposition to the project spin mainly around historical, economic, and environmental reasons. The government’s argument in its favour centers around just a single point: a perceived future economic boost resulting from it. One would expect more from anybody who wants to invest an overwhelming 2600 crores. This report says the project’s official Web site gives next to no information.

The government also has no response to commonsense queries like this.

In a letter to the editor of The Hindu, Commander (retd.) GVK Unnithan claimed that “..if the charges are pegged lower than the fuel costs (to round Sri Lanka), the break-even period of 25 years will prolong to a century!”. (He also questioned its military utility, contending that the canal will not be of much use during hostilities for fear of hostile submarine activities.) The good commander’s points demand closer attention.

The UPA been unable to convince the anti-Sethusamudram groups on any count. Its assurances and denials and justifications have only made matters worse. It claimed that the Ram Sethu was a natural formation based on a statement issued by NASA. But NASA has denied making the statement.

A National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) spokesman says the agency has made no official statement over the origins of the Adams Bridge, a coral walkway between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka slated for dredging to shorten shipping routes….But now the Nasa is clarifying that the astronaut photographs used to bolster the government’s opinion…could not be taken as scientific opinion. In an email to Mint, Nasa public affairs officer Michael Braukus wrote: “Apparently, a response provided by Nasa employees at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) regarding a photograph of Adams Bridge, which was taken by astronauts in space, was mistakenly interpreted as an official Nasa statement about Adams Bridge. No Nasa official statement has been made. Nasa has no official statement or position regarding Adams Bridge.

Understandably, the UPA invoked the NASA-support bit to fend off the VHP’s angst against destroying India’s heritage. However, with NASA’s denial, even this move has badly backfired.

The same report also discloses other happenings on the project that can only be termed murky.

The revelation is the latest in a series of confusing moves surrounding the future of the bridge, also known as Ram Sethu. Last week, Sethusamudram Corp. Ltd managing director N.K. Raghupathy was sent on leave, replaced by an interim director. With their website down and phone lines disconnected last week, staff members said they didn’t know if the Rs2,427 crore project would continue. As of Sunday night, both the site and the phone lines were back up. The website did not appear to have been updated, with Raghupathy still listed as the head of the project, and a progress report saying dredging was almost one-fifth completed….Raghupathy’s mobile phone was switched off, so attempts to reach him were unsuccessful. Shipping minister T.R. Ballu did not return repeated calls and visits for comment.

The government, which plans to use substantial public money for an ambitious project is morally bound to be transparent in making the details public. Instead it has ducked, and misled at every turn. The picture that emerges is one of the UPA desperately trying to counter opposition using any device that it finds at that moment. If its homework was impeccable, blunders like the NASA-backfire or even the albatross-like affidavit wouldn’t have occurred.

Nothing is going right for the Sethusamudram project. Why the hurry despite this?

The UPA never showed any great interest in Sethusamudram ever since it came to power. It just played along to keep the DMK happy. Recall that the DMK threw fits of displeasure during the initial days the UPA came to power. Back then, the Congress had promptly pacified it by making Baalu the shipping minister. The significance of that move is highly relevant now. Some of the “cultural opponents” of the DMK have damned the Sethusamudram project calling it Karunanidhi’s (yet another) assault on Hinduism. Perhaps it is. But Dravidianism or any other ideology have no place in current Indian politics even as humour. The same rule applies cutting across all parties: while in power, grab as much as you can.

With the prospect of mid-term polls very real, the DMK is anxious to get the Sethusamudram project moving. And its impatience shows .

The ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu is quietly seething over the Centre’s decision to withdraw its affidavits on the Sethusamudram project and seek three months to examine the issue of dredging near the controversial Adam’s Bridge. (Indian Express )

DMK president and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on Saturday cautioned the Centre against paying heed to the “religious fundamentalist forces” on the Ram Sethu issue.

The Centre should not make any attempt to give up the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project, bowing to pressure from such forces, Karunanidhi told reporters… (Sify )

Ultimately, the whole project is not about Rama or Sethu or Ramayana. It is the moolah to be made that propels the DMK. Or the real possibility of its loss if “snap polls” are announced…

Postscript: In a development completely unrelated to the DMK, two officials of the Archaeological Survey of India were axed.

http://signal.nationalinterest.in/archives/sandeep/886

1. One of the panelists in the programme “WE THE PEOPLE” telecast on Sunday, 16 SEP 2007, was the ‘EMINENT HISTORIAN’- K.M.SHRIMALI.The programme was on RAMAR SETHU -SHOULD FAITH COME IN THE WAY OF ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT. Shrimali’s position was that the RAMAR SETHU ought to be destroyed in the ‘larger cause’ of economic development. A typical stand of the ‘EMINENT HISTORIANS’!!

2. Enclosing an excerpt from Arun Shourie’s damning critique of these ‘EMINENCES’- Shrimali figures prominently in the book!! Its self explanatory and exposes these despicable historians.

Capt. H. Balakrishnan

————————————————————————————

EXCERPTS FROM “ EMINENT HISTORIANS: THEIR TECHNOLOGY, THEIR LINE, THEIR FRAUD” (RUPA & CO.) – BY – ARUN SHOURIE

INFORMATION ON “EMINENT HISTORIAN” – K.M. SHRIMALI

1.     “ – – – And these very ‘historians’ are cited as witnesses in the pleadings filed by the Sunni Waqf Board in the courts which are considering the Ayodhya matter!- – – -. WITNESS NO. 95 – K.M. SHRIMALI.” (pp 9)

2.     QUOTE. “ By late June – early July 1998 the controversy which had begun by the ‘rational’ versus ‘national’ fabrication planted by these ‘eminent historians’, had reached quite a pitch. Newspaper after newspaper had taken up the matter. Manoj Raghuvanshi, who runs the popular programme ‘AAP KI ADALAT, AAP KA FAISLA’ on ZEE T.V. invited one of these ‘eminences’, K.M. SHRIMALI and me to discuss the matter.

3.     With much righteousness Shrimali remarked that he was full of apprehensions because the sorts of persons who were now taking over the ICHR were persons who had been DISTORTING HISTORY, and, SUPPRESSING FACTS. ‘For example’, asked Manoj Raghuvanshi.

4.      Beef was eaten in Ancient India, said Shrimali, and these people suppress this fact. – – – . And what is the evidence for that? , asked Raghuvanshi.

5.     There are ‘HUNDREDS OF WRITINGS’ to that effect, Shrimali said loftily. In which Veda, in which text, which verse in which text? , asked Raghuvanshi. I have not brought the books with me, said Shrimali, BUT THE EVIDENCE IS ALL OVER. But name ONE TEXT, NAME ONE VERSE, Raghuvanshi persisted. SHRIMALI COULD NOT OR DID NOT NAME A SINGLE TEXT, TO SAY NOTHING OF ANY VERSE OR PASSAGE FROM IT.

6.     Someone from the audience interjected. Here are the Four Vedas, he said handing over the books, read us a single passage from any of them which supports what you are saying. Raghuvanshi took the books from the person and took them over to Shrimali. Shrimali refused to look at them. Indeed, he recoiled.

7.     Raghuvanshi then went to his table and began reading out passage after passage from the Vedas in which THERE WERE THE STRONGEST POSSIBLE COMMANDS TO ‘NOT EAT BEEF’. At my request he asked Shrimali to read the verses himself. Shrimali refused to do that. Instead he became even more aggressive. So what if I cannot recall a text or recite a verse? , he said. But you are an expert on Ancient India, Raghuvanshi said. What has my not being able to recall a verse have to do with my being an expert? , Shrimali answered.

8.     – – – -. I did not say the Vedas, Shrimali said, I said ‘Vedic

Literature’.All right. Name a single book from ‘Vedic Literature’ which supports your position. HE DID NOT DO SO. – UNQUOTE.

Baalu takes the blame

Mumbai Mirror, Sept. 17, 2007

Lakshmi Iyer and Agencies

Kar Sevaks, religious and VHP leaders perform ‘Bhagwat Vairy Vinashak Mahayaggya’ to save Ram Setu from demolition, in Ayodhya on Friday

New Delhi: The huge political controversy that cropped up over the existence of Lord Ram following an ‘offending’ affidavit has been blamed on the Shipping Ministry headed by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader T R Baalu.
Sources say the blame for the affidavit did not entirely rest with the ministry of culture, which supervises the Archaeological Survey of India. “The ASI affidavit was prepared on a note sent by the Shipping Ministry, which is with Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader T R Baalu. That is why the tone and tenor of the note was so atheistic and anti-Ram, offending sentiments in North India,” said a Congress leader.
At the same time, a section of the party felt that while the contents of the affidavit were okay for a seminar circuit attended exclusively by academicians and historians, it cannot become part of a government pleading. “After all, everybody respects Ram, though he may not be part of recorded history,” said a United Progressive Alliance minister.

Shipping Minister TR Baalu

One fallout of the Ram Setu affidavit controversy is that both the government and the Congress will now have to go slow on symbolic appeasement of minorities.
For instance, Sonia who was to make All India Congress Committee reshuffle announcements on Friday to coincide with the beginning of Ramzan, has apparently put it off to another day.
Party circles were particularly disturbed by the government move to hand the issue of Ram on a platter to the BJP. “We do not need the BJP or VHP to politicise the issue of Ram for us to take action on the offending affidavit.
“The government would have anyway withdrawn after it was brought to its notice that an affidavit questioning the veracity of Ram and the Ramayan had been filed,” said Congress Working Committee member Devendra Dwivedi.
Sources at 10 Janpath said that Congress president Sonia Gandhi was on Friday inundated with phone calls and telegrams from Congressmen all over the country anguished by the affidavits.
Govt withdraws affidavits
In a damage control exercise, the Centre on Friday withdrew from the Supreme Court its two affidavits, including the controversial one filed by the Archaeological Society of India (ASI) claiming there was no historical or scientific evidence to establish the existence of Lord Ram and the Ram Setu as a man-made bridge.
The Centre’s action came in the wake of a controversy sparked off by the ASI affidavit on Thursday that forced the government to backtrack on the issue.
A bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balkrishnan, which allowed the Centre to withdraw the affidavits, said that the August 31 interim order putting on hold the construction in Ram Setu area will continue.
The court in its interim order had allowed the dredging activity. The government said it will examine the entire issue relating to the Sethusamudram project and sought three month’s time from the court.
The court posted the matter for hearing in the first week of January, 2008.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Gopal Subramaniam told the bench that  there was no intention to cast aspersions on religious faith or to divide the society.
He said the Centre has taken note of the wide-ranging public sentiments, which has been expressed in respect of the decision to proceed with construction of the Sethusamudram shipping channel.
Ram Setu to be a part of uttarakhand school syllabus
Amid the furore over Ram Setu, the BJP government in Uttarakhand has decided to introduce the subject as part of the school syllabus. A committee of experts is being set up to gather details regarding the Ram Setu, for students up to the class 12 level, officials said.  They said Uttarakhand would become the first state to teach chapters on the bridge in the school curriculum. The chapters would deal with the geographical and seismic conditions surrounding the bridge off the Rameshwaram coast in Tamil Nadu and also dwell on stories of Lord Ram.
It would also contain information on how Adam’s Bridge was helpful in protecting Kerala from the tsunami that struck Indian Ocean rim countries on December 26, 2005, the officials said. 

  RAM, RAM 
The affidavit is an insult to the sentiments of crores of Hindus in the country. Religion is based on faith and the efforts to curb it cannot be accepted
—AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa

It hurt the sentiments of the people and protests are natural because they don’t like it
—Actress and BJP MP Hema Malini

They (UPA govt) did one thing in the court one day and just the opposite the next day. All these things are being done with an eye on the elections
—Veteran CPI(M) leader Jyoti Basu

The education system introduced by the British was aimed to eliminate Indian culture, religion and history and ‘to an extent they have been successful
—RSS chief K Sudershan 

SPACE PHOTOS NO PROOF OF RAM SETU, SAYS NASA
Washington: US space agency NASA says pictures taken by its astronauts do not prove the existence or otherwise of a manmade Ram Setu bridge as mentioned in the epic Ramayana. “I am not aware of any carbon dating either,” said NASA spokesman Michael Braukus, refuting claims by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that the agency had the Adam’s bridge in Palk Strait, known as Ram Setu in India, carbon dated as being 1.7 million years old.
“Some people have taken pictures taken by our astronauts to make their claim. No position can be taken on the basis of these photographs in any way,” Braukus said. “The age, substratum, geological structure or anthropological status of the ocean bed in the Palk Strait cannot be determined by the astronauts’ photographs. So there is no basis for these claims,” he said.
Back in October 2002 too, the US agency had rebutted a story on a news agency based on claims made by a couple of NRI websites and Hindu news services that “space images taken by NASA” had revealed “a mysterious ancient bridge in the Palk Strait”. 
– IANS

http://tinyurl.com/2knmde

Ram Sethu: RSS hits out at ‘Sikh PM’, excuses ‘Catholic Sonia’
Sunday September 16 2007 02:19 IST

PTI

NEW DELHI: The RSS has sought to blame Prime Minister Manmohan Singh directly for the controversial affidavit on Lord Ram and pointed to his Sikh faith and its sacred texts that contain numerous references to the revered figure.
An editorial in RSS mouthpiece Organiser alleged that Congress chief Sonia Gandhi would not be able to understand India and its ‘identity Ram’ because of her foreign and Catholic origin.
“Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a confirmed religious Sikh, should have known better, for the holy Guru Granth Sahib, holy Gurbani of revered Guru Gobind Singh are known for their salutations to Sri Ram,” the Sangh mouthpiece wrote.
“Sonia Gandhi will not know. She will never understand this country. No foreigner can fathom the place of Sri Ram in the lives of the people of this country. Sri Ram is the identity of India. But the UPA action was premeditated and calculated,” it said.
The write-up also referred to Gandhi’s Catholic origin as it accused the government of regarding Ram as a fiction.
It also found ‘understandable’ Shipping Minister T R Balu’s rejection of demands to realign the Sethusamudram project because of his Dravida background.
“The over enthusiasm of T R Balu on the subject is understandable, for he belongs to a creed that always revelled in sympathising with the heroism of Ravana, the abductor of Mata Sita,” the editorial said.
Earlier this year, the Akal Takht, Sikhism’s highest temporal authority, took strong exception to an RSS statement posted on its Website that says Sikhs are part of the great Hindu Samaj.

http://tinyurl.com/2jv4t9

Saroj Nagi, Hindustan Times

Email Author

New Delhi, September 15, 2007

First Published: 02:58 IST(15/9/2007)

Last Updated: 03:14 IST(15/9/2007)

Congress rules out Setu apology from PM, Sonia

The Congress has rejected the BJP demand that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi apologise for the now withdrawn controversial affidavit that said there is no evidence of Lord Ram’s existence or of the Ram Setu being a man-made structure.
But on Friday it showed enough evidence of desperately trying to grapple with the political implications of the emotive issue as it changed its stance on the issue for the third  successive day.
The CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury and CPI leaders supported the Centre’s move to withdraw the affidavit on the Sethusamundram project as it had hurt the religious sentiments of people. However, they also attacked the BJP for opposing the project on religious grounds and seeking punishment for those guilty of filing the affidavit.
The Congress-led government first filed the controversial affidavit. Then, Law Minister H.R. Bhardwaj said that the affidavit would be withdrawn as Ram’s existence was a matter of faith and such matters cannot be debated or litigated.
On Friday, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) refused to enter into the debate of whether Ram was an article of faith.
“If we say anything, we run the risk of opening a Pandora’s Box. After all, the BJP’s entire campaign on the Ayodhya issue was based on the contention that people believed Ram was born at Ram Janmabhoomi,’’ a Congress leader said privately.
Congress leaders also said the three-month period sought from the court to set up a mechanism to discuss the issue is to “cool temperatures”.
But there could be a question mark over this in view of speculation of mid-term polls. A supplementary affidavit is expected to be filed next week.
AICC spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi sidestepped all queries on Ram’s existence: the affidavit was withdrawn as Ram’s existence was not an issue before the court. “To err is human, to rectify could perhaps be described as divine,’’ he said, ruling out an apology by the PM and Sonia who were not involved in filing the affidavit.

http://tinyurl.com/2u5mr8

September 13, 2007

BJP National President Shri Rajnath Singh’s
reaction from Tripura on the
Government’s Plan to File a Supplementary Affidavit

Agartala: BJP National President Shri Rajnath Singh said that the Law Ministry’s decision to file a supplementary affidavit before the Hon’ble Supreme Court proves that the government had indeed committed a mistake in filing the controversial affidavit. Shri Rajnath Singh said this while answering a question before the press at Agartala.

The BJP President further said that mere acknowledgment of the mistake and the withdrawal of the current affidavit is not enough. The BJP demands an unconditional apology from the government for hurting the religious sentiments of the Hindus, he added.

Shri Rajnath Singh pointed out that affidavits are not filed without formal approval. They are not documents filed on the whims and fancies of any one individual. Affidavits represent the considered view of the government and its unambiguous stand on an issue. This affidavit would have been filed by the Ministries of the Government of India only after due examination and necessary approval.

Shri Rajnath Singh said that the BJP demands that responsibility be immediately fixed and action must be taken against all those officers and the concerned ministers who approved this affidavit.

http://bjp.org/Press/sept_2007/sept_1307.htm

Ram Setu: BJP demands unconditional apology from PM, Sonia

Hyderabad, Sept. 16 (PTI): Bharatiya Janata Party today demanded an unconditional apology from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi for the controversial affidavit on Ram Setu “which hurt the sentiments of crores of people.”

“Though the UPA government is now trying to come out of the fiasco, the affidavit filed in the Supreme Court speaks the mindset of the Central government led by Congress party,” senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu told reporters here today.

“It was a classic case of how the government was casual and careless in dealing with such sensitive issues which hurt the sentiments of crores of people,” Naidu said.

In a damage control exercise, the government suspended two officers of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and withdrew the controversial affidavit on Lord Ram, the BJP leader said, adding that the extent of damage would be known when Congress party goes to the people.

The image of both Central and state governments has taken a severe beating because of the way the government has been handling sensitive issues like Ram Setu, Indo-US deal and farmers problems.

http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/403200709161821.htm

VHP to hold march against Setu project
17 Sep 2007, 0407 hrs IST,TNN
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RANCHI: In a calculated move to intensify the movement against the Setusamudram Project, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has decided to bring a piece of “the floating stone” with which Ram Setu in the Indian Ocean between India and Sri Lanka was built.
The VHP plans to take out a month-long “Ram Setu Pashan Yatra” between November 20 and December 20. The move, aimed at invoking the people’s sentiments, will see the VHP workers undertaking a march across the state.
Senior VHP leader Virendra Vimal said the stone piece will be brought from Gandhmadan Parvat (Hills) in Rameshwaram. “We will keep the stone in a big container filled with water. The container, mounted on an open vehicle, will be taken from one village to another and from one urban locality to another. We will keep telling the people as to what was going to befall on the structure revered by millions of Hindus across the globe,” he said. Even before the march begins, VHP state vice-president Pramod Kumar Mishra said the Parishad plans to go ahead with its mass contact programme between September 27 and October 15. “During the period, the Parishad activists, congregating under the banner of Shri Ram Setu Raksha Manch, will organise rallies and nukkad meetings in different parts of Jharkhand,” Mishra said.

http://tinyurl.com/2dulm6

September 13, 2007

Statement issued by
Shri L.K. Advani
Leader of the Opposition (Lok Sabha)

At a press conference in New Delhi on 13 September 2007

With the UPA government claiming in an affidavit before the Supreme Court that Lord Ram did not exist and that the Ramayana has no historical basis, it is clear that the Congress party’s pseudo-secularism has degenerated into sadist-secularism.

By filing this shocking affidavit before the country’s highest court in the ongoing dispute over the Ram Setu in the Setusamudram Ship Canal Project near Tamil Nadu, the leadership of the Congress party and the UPA government has poured contempt on the religious sentiments of crores of Hindus all over the world.

It is blasphemous and arrogant at worst, and insensitivity and recklessness at best, for a government claiming to be “secular” to trash the deepest and noblest sensibilities of the Hindus. In one stroke of its legal pen, the government has sought to negate all that the Hindus consider sacred in their faith.

I would like to point out that the Ramayana, along with the Mahabharata, is also considered the bedrock of India’s national culture and identity by all the great leaders of India’s freedom movement – from Mahatma Gandhi to Lokamanya Tilak, and from Jawaharlal Nehru to Sardar Patel. By describing it as a pure myth and a work of fiction, the government has wounded the very Idea of India and sought to rewrite the civilizational identity of our ancient nation.
Not even during the Ayodhya movement had anyone responsible in the government taken such a bizarre stand in the name of “secularism”. It is true that some people who were opposed to the construction of the Ram Temple at Ram Janmabhoomi did ask, “How can you prove that Ram was born here?” But none questioned the very existence Lord Ram.

It is the present UPA government, which is politically steered by Smt. Sonia Gandhi and only nominally headed by Dr. Manmohan Singh, that has the dubious distinction of telling the Supreme Court that Lord Ram was never born

The BJP deems the UPA government’s anti-Hindu act to be a very grave development in the political and social history of India. I would like to warn the leadership of the Congress party and the government that, unless corrective action is taken immediately, it will face a massive, sustained and peaceful protest action all over the country. The BJP will participate in this agitation in full force.

The corrective action can only be in the form of acceding to the following demands:

1) The government must immediately withdraw the affidavit it has filed in the Supreme Court.

2) The Prime Minister and the Congress president should apologise for hurting the religious sentiments of the Hindus worldwide.

3) An inquiry panel should be set up to fix the ministerial responsibility for this blunder.

4) Ram Setu must be protected by redesigning the Setusamudram project.

http://bjp.org/Press/sept_2007/sept_1307a.htm

Ram Setu: BJP to launch agitation in Punjab

Posted at Saturday, 15 September 2007 14:09 IST

Ludhiana, Sep 15: The Bhartiya Janata Party will begin its statewide agitation programme against the Central Government’s affidavit to Supreme Court questioning the existence of Lord Rama in Ludhiana today.
Addressing a press conference here on Friday, state BJP president Rajinder Bhandari said party workers throughout the state will tomorrow burn the effigies of the central government, Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
The BJP leader demanded that the Prime Minister and Gandhi must tender an unconditional apology to the nation for the “blasphemous act” of their government.
Bhandari alleged the Congress in its temptation for power has surrendered to left diktats and has lost the confidence to question them.
Two affidavits on the ‘Ram Sethu’ issue, including the controversial one filed by the ASI claiming there was no historical or scientific evidence to establish existence of Lord Ram and Rama Setu as a man-made bridge, were withdrawn by the Centre from the Supreme Court yesterday.

http://www.saharasamay.com/samayhtml/articles.aspx?newsid=84757

Sonia’s effigy burnt over Ram Setu row

Posted at Saturday, 15 September 2007 18:09 IST

Kapurthala, Sep 15: Activists of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and BJP today burnt the effigy of Congress President Sonia Gandhi as they staged a protest over the Ram Setu issue.
They also took out a rally which was addressed, among others, by local leaders of BJP, VHP and Bajrang Dal.
The leaders criticised the UPA government for playing with the sentiments of Hindus on the issue of Ram Setu.

http://www.saharasamay.com/samayhtml/articles.aspx?newsid=84794

Modi attacks UPA over Rama Setu issue

Posted at Saturday, 15 September 2007 20:09 IST

Mehsana (Gujarat), Sep 15: Stepping up his attack on the UPA Government over the Sethusamduram project, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today said the Centre’s stand on the issue would not be tolerated.
“For the last few days I have been experiencing a great personal pain because of the Centre’s affidavit (on Lord Ram) and the Sethusamduram project. I don’t know whether you people too are also feeling the same,” he said while addressing farmers and milk producers at a function here.
“The rulers of the country have questioned the existence of Lord Ram. The Centre’s affidavit in the Supreme Court says there is no scientific basis to the existence of characters and occurrence of events as mentioned in the Ramayana, and that there was no Ram and no war ever took place between him and Ravana,” he said.
“All this is being done in the name of secularism. This cannot be tolerated by 100 crore Indians and Gujarat is not going to tolerate it.” Modi said the project aimed at obliterating the last signs of ‘Rama Setu’.
“Satellite images show the existence of Ram Setu, but the UPA government is trying to destroy it with the objective of erasing Lord Ram from our lives and hearts,” he claimed.
He demanded stern action against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union Law Minister H.R. Bhardwaj and Congress President Sonia Gandhi over the controversial affidavit, which has since been withdrawn by the government.

http://www.saharasamay.com/samayhtml/articles.aspx?newsid=84799

Ram Setu issue triggers blame game

Sunil Prabhu

Saturday, September 15, 2007 (New Delhi)

Internal wrangles in the Congress came to the fore on Saturday over the Ram Setu affidavit fiasco with Union Minister Jairam Ramesh seeking Ambika Soni’s scalp and AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh defending the Culture Minister.
Ramesh’s remarks in Kolkota that he would have owned up moral responsibility and quit if he had been in the place of the Culture Minister created a controversy in the ruling party.
”If I were the Culture Minister, I would have resigned immediately. If Lal Bahadur Shastri could resign after a train accident in 1956, then when there has been such an error with a sensitive affidavit, and the feelings of the people have been hurt, I feel the minister should resign,” said Jairam Ramesh, Minister of State for Commerce.
While there was no immediate official reaction from the Congress, Digvijay Singh, in his personal capacity, came out in support of beleaguered Soni by insisting that the Culture Minister had asked for deletion of the controversial paragraphs in the affidavit.
Singh said that it was a matter of inquiry as to how the paragraph found its way in the affidavit inspite of the Culture Minister as also Secretary, Ministry of Culture, asking it to be deleted.
”It seems that Ramesh is not aware of these facts,” Singh said.
To a query whether the Congress was officially backing Soni, who sometime back was the political secretary to the party chief, Singh said what he was saying was his individual opinion.
Responding to another question whether he smelt a conspiracy, he said could be a sabotage in the whole matter.
”In matters of personal faith, Congress does not interfere. We are for equal respect for all religions,” said Singh when asked whether the party believed in Lord Ram.
On Saturday the Ambika Soni said she had personally ordered the deletion of the three objectionable lines in the affidavit.
But she claimed the draft affidavit was not prepared by her ministry but by the Additional Solicitor General or the ASG.
”I am not blaming anybody else but the affidavit came from ASG,” said Ambika Soni.
Officials suspended
Two officials of the ASI have been suspended for not making changes Soni had suggested in the draft.
The minister has already ordered a probe on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Soni met Congress president Sonia Gandhi to explain what went wrong. And she said she was willing to step down.
”It won’t take me a minute to resign if required,” said Soni.
Though the ASG refused to speak on camera, sources in the office said liberty was given to all government departments to make required changes but the change in the Culture Ministry’s affidavit were not communicated to the ASG.
The damage control exercise on the Ram Setu controversy seem to be boomeranging with Congress ministers trying to settle their own political scores.
Despite the opposition attempt to gain political mileage, a full blown out war has begun within the government over who was responsible for the controversy.

http://tinyurl.com/3xlbl6

Indrajit Hazra, Hindustan Times

Email Author

Rameshwaran, September 16, 2007

First Published: 00:49 IST(16/9/2007)

Last Updated: 00:51 IST(16/9/2007)

Southern bridge, northern  politics

Ganesh Chaturthi —or Vinayaka Chaturthi, as they call the festival here — MSS Ramanathan is an aggrieved man. “This Ram Setu business is a concoction of politicians in north India and the national media,” says the owner of a communications outlet close to the Rameshwaran Temple.

If anyone should care about the Ram Setu and the protests against its damage by the government plan to build a canal through this underwater formation, it should be Ramanathan and other residents of this famous temple town — and not the VHP-BJP. Chandramohan, a computer operator and a devout Hanuman worshipper (an hour every day), dismisses the whole confrontation between the BJP and the government over the setu as a joke. “If there are devotees of Ram, they are here. But what has existed for thousands of years underwater, and can’t be seen or touched can’t be that big an issue for a quarrel.”

It has nothing to do with respecting Ram, he says with a smile. “It has everything to do with how the north does politics.”

Madhusudan, a panda at the Rameshwaran Temple, agrees. “We’ve got Ram all around. Does that mean we will get agitated every time a wall is broken to make way for a building?” There have been some suggestions from those trying to stoke the Ram Setu affair in various parts of north India that the Sethusamudram Canal Project is done in such a manner that dredging work spares the Ram Setu – which NASA images and scientists believe to be a coral reef formation. Instead, part of nearby Dhanushkodi, they say, could be utilised for a canal project. Palanik Kumar, who drives a mini truck between Dhanushkodi and Rameshwaran laughs off the option. “So they want to save something built by Ram thousands of years ago that lies under the sea so that we will have to move?”

As Ramanathan says, under a framed picture of Shiva and Ganga, “Why can’t they stick to their Ayodhya?”

http://tinyurl.com/2k5cnw

Vir Sanghvi, Hindustan Times

Email Author

September 15, 2007

First Published: 22:46 IST(15/9/2007)

Last Updated: 04:50 IST(16/9/2007)

Two views of Hinduism

What are the consequences for India if development is to be held hostage to mythology?

It’s a measure of how careful secular, liberal Hindus are being this time around that the general response to the controversy over Ram Setu has been to take what might be described as a pro-religion/anti-history line. Even those who sneered at the VHP’s claim that the Babri Masjid was built on the site where Ram was born are bending over backwards to take a more nuanced position on this issue.

The broad, secular consensus appears to be that no matter what the historians and scientists may say, faith is an important constituent of public policy. To argue before a court that there is no historical evidence that Ram existed is regarded as unnecessarily provocative. And no matter how Ram Setu (or Adam’s Bridge) — the formation that links India with Sri Lanka — was really created, we should not tamper with it as long as Hindus regard it as the route that the Vanar Sena took on its rescue mission to Lanka in the Ramayana.

I understand the logic behind this position. It emerges from the realisation that the secular establishment may have gone too far in the other direction during the Ayodhya controversy. And many liberals are terrified that the Sangh Parivar will pick on this issue to fan more Ram Mandir-type hysteria.

My concerns in this controversy are slightly different. When we talk about Hinduism in much the same way that we talk about Islam or Christianity, we miss the point. Hinduism is fundamentally different from either of these religions — and from many others.

Almost all the religions that were founded over the last 2,500 years have several things in common. Most of them have a single founder (Jesus Christ, the Prophet Mohammad, Mahavir, the Buddha, Guru Nanak etc). Nearly all of them have a holy book (the Bible, the Koran, the Guru Granth Sahib etc) that is the centre of their religion. And all of them were founded by men whose historicity is not in doubt. We may dispute the exact circumstances of the historical Jesus’s crucifixion but there’s no doubt that a preacher of that name was crucified by the Romans and that he left behind a religious legacy. Similarly, we know where the Buddha came from and we can identify where he died. And the Prophet’s life is well documented.

Hinduism, on the other hand, is much, much older than any of these religions. It is even older than Judaism; by the time the Old Testament was written, the Rig Veda had been around for centuries. It has no single founder, no prophet, no messiah, no one holy book at its centre, and no set of rules that must be followed without question. It doesn’t even have an organised clergy: unlike the others, it tells you to look for God within yourself.

While the other religions were founded, Hinduism evolved. Nobody can say with any certainty how old it is. There is evidence that the Indus Valley Civilisation venerated a god who was very like Shiva in his Pashupati avatar. There are also many similarities between the gods of early Hinduism and the gods of Greek and Roman mythology. Perhaps, this is because the religion evolved before migrations at some place where Aryan-type people lived.

It is as clear that there is no constant in Hinduism. In the early texts, Indra, a god we never hear of today, played a major role. The two epics — the Ramayana and the Mahabharata — were put together over centuries and the story evolved over time. For instance, the Valmiki Ramayana and the Tulsi Ramayana are not exactly the same. The Bhagvad Gita, the basis of much of Hindu philosophy, is said to have been delivered by Krishna to Arjun on the battlefield at Kurukshetra — but most scholars agree that the Gita was added to the Mahabharata many centuries after the epic was first written.

http://tinyurl.com/2xbk6n

Govt to review Sethu project

NDTV Correspondent

Friday, September 14, 2007 (New Delhi)

The government will re-examine the Sethusamudram project so that the Ram Setu is not disturbed and has been given three months by the Supreme Court to do so.
The government has also withdrawn a controversial affidavit that said there is no historical proof of Lord Ram’s existence.
The Centre said in a fresh affidavit that it never meant to cast aspersions on any faith.
The affidavit says: ”The government has total respect for all religions and Hinduism in particular in the context of present case. The government is alive and conscious of religious sensibilities, including the unique ancient and holy text of Ramayana having regards to public sentiments.”
The government’s damage control follows a political storm over the remarks on Lord Ram, which forced Congress President Sonia Gandhi to step in.
Among the controversial references which sparked off the protests is the paragraph says: ”Contents of the Valmiki Ramayana, the Ramcharita Manas by Tulsidas and other mythological texts cannot be said to be historical record to incontrovertibly prove the existence of the characters, or the occurrence of the events, depicted therein.”
The Centre’s action came in the wake of controversy sparked by the ASI affidavit on Thursday that forced the government to backtrack on the issue.
Meanwhile, the ASI has written to Sonia Gandhi explaining its position on the objectionable portions on Lord Ram.
Congress Spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said that the party is looking into who is responsible for the lapse.
Also Congress leader Devendra Nath Dwivedi said that Congress always respected the sentiment of the people. But BJP exploited the issue electorally.
He added that the current matter cannot be looked as a narrow bureaucratic issue and the government should definitely fix accountability.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balkrishnan, which allowed the Centre to withdraw the affidavits, said that the August 31 interim order putting on hold the construction in Rama Setu area will continue.
The Court in its interim order had allowed the dredging activity. It posted the matter for hearing in the first week of January, 2008.
The CPI(M) Politburo has come to the Congress government’s aid on the ongoing Sethusamudram shipping canal project controversy.
The party issued a statement on Friday that supported the government and took a dig at the Opposition BJP.
CPI(M) charged that Ram Sethu project was sanctioned during NDA’s rule and termed BJP’s opposition to the Ram Sethu project as sheer hypocrisy.

http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20070026016

BJP asks SP, BSP to take stand on Ram Setu

Posted at Sunday, 16 September 2007 11:09 IST

Varanasi, Sep 16: Newly appointed BJP state President Ramapati Ram Tripathi has asked the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samajwadi Party to take a stand on Ram Setu issue.
Tripathi asked the Mayawati’s BSP and Mulayam Singh Yadav to clarify their stand on Ram Setu issue so that people could know that where do their parties stand on an issue of Hindus faith and belief.
In a press conference here Tripathi blamed Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the “anti-Hindu affidavit” filed by the central government in the Supreme Court.
He said that Chief Minister Mayawati and Mulayam Singh Yadav have not even commented on the issue till date which shows their inclination towards minority appeasement. http://www.saharasamay.com/samayhtml/articles.aspx?newsid=84811

Ram’s existence is a matter of faith, says Lalu
16 Sep 2007, 0115 hrs IST,TNN
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NEW DELHI: Even as Tamil Nadu CM M Karunanidhi on Saturday defended the “Ram-did-not-exist” affidavit, RJD leader and railway minister Lalu Prasad called the Centre’s submission in the Supreme Court a mistake.
Though he accused BJP of seeking to “communalise” the controversy, the railway minister said that Ram’s existence was a matter of faith and need not be subject of a debate.
“Bhagwan Ram is a matter of faith, which cannot be questioned. Ram lives in the hearts of millions of people. Ram, Krishna, Rahim, Peer Paigambar…their existence cannot be questioned.” About the existence of the Setu, he said, “I cannot say much as I don’t know. The court will decide.”
He defended Congress chief Sonia Gandhi for the “damage-control” measures government has taken since the controversy exploded earlier this week. RJD chief was speaking to reporters after a meeting of his party’s national executive where pressure from his colleagues led him to set up a committee to examine the Indo-US nuclear deal.

http://tinyurl.com/2fy8y3

Govt orders inquiry into Ram Setu affidavit issue
15 Sep 2007, 1328 hrs IST,PTI
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NEW DELHI: After the suspension of two ASI officials, Culture Minister Ambika Soni has ordered an inquiry into the issue of the controversial Ram Setu affidavit filed in the Supreme Court.
Soni, who returned from a visit to Japan on Friday, has set up the inquiry so that responsibility can be fixed for the affidavit filed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in the Supreme Court, official sources said.
The ASI comes under the purview of the Culture Ministry. Soni is meeting UPA Chairperson and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Saturday to brief her on the issue, the sources added.
The minister had on Friday approved the suspension of two senior officials of the ASI in connection with the affidavit.
The two officials, Director Administration, Chandrashekhar, and Assistant Director of Monuments, V Bakshi were placed under suspension following an inquiry conducted by ASI Director General A Vaish, according to sources.
The inquiry was ordered by the Secretary of Culture Ministry and the action against the two ASI officials was taken on the basis of its report submitted by Vaish on Friday.
The ASI affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, which said that there was no historical or scientific proof about the existence of Lord Ram or Ramsetu as a man-made bridge, had set off a huge political storm with the BJP attacking the government, accusing it of hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus.
In was withdrawn on Friday.

http://tinyurl.com/yuoen2

Do not politicize Ram Setu issue: Ritambhara

Posted at Sunday, 16 September 2007 13:09 IST

Mathura, Sep 16: The Chief architect of Vatsalya Gram Project and VHP leader Sadhvi Ritambhara has urged the political parties not to politicize the Ram Setu issue.
Anything related to faith and religion should not be politicized. Whatever had happened is an insult to Hindu community, Sadhvi said, adding it has become issue of Hindu community.
It is an attack on philosophy against which Lord Ram had not only fought for 14 years but had eliminated the very force that was protagonist of evils.

http://www.saharasamay.com/samayhtml/articles.aspx?newsid=84821

Ram Setu (17 Sept. 2007)

Ambika Soni’s cultural ministry is in the centre of a storm for an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court that said there was no historical proof of Lord Ram’s existence.
On Saturday, the minister said she had personally ordered the deletion of the three objectionable lines in the affidavit.
But she claimed the draft affidavit was not prepared by her ministry but by the additional solicitor general or the ASG.
”I’m not blaming anybody else but the affidavit came from ASG,” said Ambika Soni Union Culture Minister.
Two officials of the ASI have been suspended for not making the changes Soni had suggested in the draft.
The minister has already ordered a probe. On Saturday she met Congress President Sonia Gandhi to explain what went wrong.
And she said she was willing to step down.
”It won’t take me a minute to resign if required by the PM and UPA chairperson,” said Ambika Soni, Union Culture Minister.
But one of her cabinet colleagues feels she should not wait for orders.
”If I were the Culture Minister, I would have resigned immediately. If Lal Bahadur Shastri could resign after a train accident in 1956, then when there has been such an error with a sensitive affidavit, and the feelings of the people have been hurt, I feel the Minister should resign,” said Jairam Ramesh, Minister of State for Commerce.
Though the ASG refused to speak on camera, sources in his office said liberty was given to all government departments to make required changes but the change in the culture ministry’s affidavit were not communicated to the ASG.
The damage control exercise on the Ram Setu controversy seems to be boomeranging with Congress ministers trying to settle their own political scores.
And despite the opposition attempt to gain political mileage, a full blown-out war has begun within the government over who was responsible for the controversy.
Source: ndtv.com

http://stunningnews.blogspot.com/2007/09/ram-setu.html

No compromise on Ram Setu, national security issues: BJP
16 Sep 2007, 1912 hrs IST,PTI
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PALAKKAD: Bharatiya Janata Party was not for any compromise on the issues of national security and Ram Setu, party general secretary Vinay Katyar said on Sunday.
Addressing reporters in Palakkad, he said the affidavit filed by the Centre in the Supreme Court questioning the existence of Lord Ram was with the knowledge of the Prime Minister and asked him to apologise to the people for the fiasco.
Katyar said it was a grave lapse on the part of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi that resulted in the filing of such an affidavit in the Supreme Court.
The BJP leader also demanded the resignation of officials and ministers who were responsible for preparing the affidavit.
On the Indo-US nuclear deal, he said a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) should be constituted to study the implication of the nuclear co-operation.
Katyar was here to inaugurate the ‘Shobha Yatra’ held as part of ‘Ganeshotsava’.

http://tinyurl.com/2fhllz

VHP demands PM’s apology on Ram Sethu issue

Kochi, Sept. 16 (PTI): The Vishwa Hindu Parishad today demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should apologise to the nation on the ‘Ram Setu’ issue.

Two officials of the Archaeological Survey of India had been made “scapegoats” for the affidavit on Lord Ram filed in the Supreme Court on the issue. “I do not believe in blame games. The government should take the responsibility and the Prime Minister should apologise,” VHP secretary general Praveen Togadia told reporters here.

The VHP was against politicising the ‘Ram Setu’ issue and would not use it as an electoral plank in case of mid-term polls, he said.

“The Ram Setu issue should not be made a political or electoral issue. It is an issue of Hindu society in total and Hindus of all castes and creeds and political parties should come together to defend the historic bridge.”

Togadia said the issue was bigger than the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid issue in Ayodhya.

He claimed two consitutents of the Congress-led UPA government have promised their support on the issue. Asked to name the parties, he declined, saying they were regional parties.

http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/004200709161655.htm

Government plays down Karunanidhi’s Setu comments
16 Sep 2007, 2153 hrs IST,PTI
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NEW DELHI: The government on Sunday sought to play down UPA constituent DMK’s stand on the Ram Setu issue that there was no historical evidence about existence of Lord Ram and said it “respected” the view of its southern ally.
“That’s his opinion. In a democracy, we encourage that”, said Renuka Choudhury, Minister for Women and Child Development, on the sidelines of a conference.
The DMK chief M Karunanidhi had yesterday broken his silence on the issue by supporting the first affidavit filed by the Centre in the Supreme Court which questioned the existence of Lord Ram. After the uproar by the opposition, the government withdrew the affidavit along with the subsequent one filed with corrections.
The Minister said the government respected Karunanidhi’s decision and the whole issue was being addressed by Congress party at different levels.
“We respect his opinion. It’s fine”, she said when asked to comment on DMK chief’s comment on the issue.
To a question whether Jairam Ramesh, Minister of State for Commerce, should withdraw his remarks suggesting Culture Minsiter Ambika Soni resign, Choudhury said “I can’t speak for him. He has to decide on this.”

http://tinyurl.com/2l39xr

Karuna’s Setu comment creates furore
16 Sep 2007, 2040 hrs IST
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KOCHI: The VHP on Sunday said it will take legal advice on whether to launch prosecution proceedings against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on the Ram Setu issue.
Reacting to Karunanidhi’s statement that Ram Setu was “not man-made and Lord Ram was an imaginary character,” VHP Secretary General, Praveen Togadia said Karunanidhi during his earlier innings as Chief Minister in 1972, when he held the additional charge of PWD Minister, had in a foreword in the Ramanathapuram district gazette, accepted existence of the Ram Setu bridge.
“If he has gone back on the public document, he can be prosecuted,” Togadia told reporters here adding VHP will take legal advice in this regard.
Coins, which are 1000-years-old making a mention about the Ram Setu, are available in Tamil, adding the Asiatic Society of Bengal, a well-respected body, also mentions about Ram Setu, he told reporters earlier.

http://tinyurl.com/39gxmc

Ram Setu not an election issue: Chouhan

Gwalior, Sep 16 : Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan today said ‘Ram Setu’ is not an election issue but a matter connected with Hindu beliefs.

Talking to reporters at airport here, Mr Chouhan said the Centre was obtaining information about Muslims in Army through the Sachar Committee report but was hurting feelings of Hindus. This proved that the country was being divided in the name of religion.
On Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia’s statement regarding bringing several central schemes in the state, Mr Chouhan said it was his misunderstanding. All these schemes had been envisaged and implemented during the regime of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Regarding strike by junior doctors in Gwalior, he said a meeting had been called in Bhopal on September 17.
He said several steps had been taken for improving health services. He admitted dearth of MBBS doctors in the state and said doctors would be hired from outside state.
Replying to a question on Health Director Yogiraj Sharma, Mr Chouhan said action would be taken against those found guilty. He rejected demand for Health Minister Ajay Vishnoi’s resignation by some people saying that medicines were being purchased as per given policy.
On allegation by former Chief Minister Digvijay Singh regarding poor quality seeds being distributed to farmers, he said seeds for distribution came from the Centre and hence it was the responsibility of the Centre.
Expressing concern over situation of drought due to less rainfall, he said directions had been issued for starting relief work in drought-affected Gwalior, Rewa and Sagar.
He said the government was serious over drinking water problem and shortage of funds would not be allowed to come in the way for tacking the problem.

— UNI

http://www.newkerala.com/oct.php?action=fullnews&id=1129

Sanskrit is immortal, says IISH director
Monday September 17 2007 12:04 IST

ENS

Director of Indian Institute of Scientific Heritage, Thiruvananthapuram, Gopalakrishnan, inaugurating the Justice P R Sundaram Iyer memorial lecture function at the Puthucode Kendra of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Palakkad on Sunday.

PALAKKAD: Sanskrit language contained an invaluable repository of information passed down the ages and its rich cultural heritage ensured that it would not die, according to Director of the Indian Institute of Scientific Heritage, Gopalakrishnan.
He was delivering the presidential address at the Jusitce P R Sundaram Iyer memorial award and lecture 2007 organised by the Centre for Sanskrit and Vedic Studies of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (BVB) at its Puducode Kendra on Sunday.
He said that Sanskrit’s waning influence was not due to interference from outside shores but from those who handled the language in our own country.
There were many persons who tried to teach Sanskrit through English. Moreover, the flourishing of the regional languages had led to the non- usage of Sanskrit.
There was also a propaganda that Sanskrit language was used by the upper castes which was not true. He said that many of the scientific facts like quantum physics, law of gravity and theorems were found in Sanskrit texts much before it was reported to be discovered by scientists.
The British, as part of the divide and rule policy, had indulged in a propaganda that the Aryans had invaded the country just like them.
They had also propagated with ulterior motives that India was a land of customs and superstitions. But, later on, the British itself had admitted that the Aryans like the Dravidians were part of India.
He said that Hinduism had thrived since it had never stated that it was the superior religion or nobody should follow other religions.
It had welcomed noble thoughts from other religions and beliefs too.
Similarly, ayurveda and yoga were gaining global acceptance which once again proved that our forefathers had bequeathed us rich knowledge. The introductory remarks were made by R Ananthanarayanan, executive committee member of the Puthucode Kendra of BVB. Vice-chairman of the Bhavan’s Puducode Kendra, P S Venkatesh welcomed the gathering.
At the history session on the importance of Rama Sethu, executive vice-chairman of the Bhavan’s Puthucode Kendra, P A Ramakrishnan, in his introductory remarks felt that the Sethu Samudaram canal had no comparison with the Suez canal and a salvage operation would be costly.
Therefore, the Sethu Samudram project would be a failure economically and technically besides damaging the delicately balanced eco-system.
Ramakrishnan said that Rama Sethu, irrespective of whether it was natural or man-made, had proved its presence for thousands of years and also during the last tsunami in saving Kerala.
Director of Saraswathi Studies Research Centre, Chennai, S Kalayanasundaram and V Sundaram spoke. It was followed by a Sanskrit session.

http://tinyurl.com/3bzxka

Communal govt’s savage attack on Lord Rama & Ramayana

V SUNDARAM

        In these columns during the last four years, I have been consistent in describing the UPA Government in New Delhi under the stranglehold of a Catholic Lady from Italy as �Islam-embracing, Christianity-coveting and Hindu-hating�. Her main agenda, owing her allegiance to the Pope in Rome and not to the Indian Constitution, is to destroy Hinduism and Sanatana Dharma in India and the world. The UPA Government born as an illegitimate political baby conceived without any national passion out of the unscrupulous marriage of political convenience between the Sonia Congress party and the Communist Parties and a host of other Parties(of course, including the anti-North, anti-Hindu and atheistic DMK Party from Tamilnadu) is totally committed to the political marginalisation of Hindus, social debasement of Hindus, cultural devaluation of Hindus, religious decimation of Hindus and above all to the national de-recognition of Hindus as the main pith and core of our nation.

        This Government of India, consisting of political toadies and touts randomly drawn from a conglomeration of political parties without any public ideology, is letting loose some of the worst and most soul-destroying forms of Hindu discrimination and blatant violation of Hindu Human Rights in an organised manner. Their only aim is to destroy Hindu Religion, Hindu Culture and Hindu Society in the next decade and thus �convert� all the living Hindu Gods of India like Lord Rama, Lord Krishna, Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva, Lord Brahma, Goddess Durga, Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess Saraswati and several other Hindu Gods into dead artefacts of history like the dead Gods of Greece and Rome.

        The most glaring and dramatic example of this catastrophe of State-sponsored Hindu cultural genocide is the affidavit that was filed by The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in the Supreme Court stating that there is no historical and scientific evidence to establish the existence of Lord Rama or the other characters of the Ramayana. Denying that the Ram Setu or Adams Bridge is a man-made structure, the ASI said Ramcharitmanas by Tulsidas cannot be taken as a historical record to �prove the existence of the characters or occurrence of events� depicted in it. C Dorjee, Director ASI (Monuments), fully brain-washed by the anti-Hindu and non-Hindu Christian Minister for Culture, Ambika Soni, atheistic and anti-Hindu Minister for Shipping and Transport, T R Baalu and ably assisted and abetted by the Union Minister for Law(-lessness?) H R Bhardwaj stated in his affidavit: ‘The issue has to be approached in a scientific manner. With due deference to the petitioners, it cannot be viewed solely relying on the contents of a mythological text. The ASI is a science and technology department. The issue has to be approached and examined in a scientific manner. While due deference may be given to the feelings of the petitioners, the issue cannot be viewed solely relying on the contents of a mythological text.� I would like to ask C Dorjee whether he would dare to approach and examine in the same scientific manner the sacred hair of Mohammed the Prophet in the Hazratbal Shrine in Srinagar in Kashmir. As one belonging to a Science and Technology Department, will he ask for a DNA test to prove the authenticity of this sacred relic? Will he ever dare to dismiss the Quran or the Bible as unscientific and mythological texts? The whole Western World knows that there is no irrefutable historical or scientific proof that Jesus Christ ever existed. Several outstanding historians including Edward Gibbon have clearly pointed out that there is no reference to Jesus Christ in the vast historical and philosophical literature left behind by the Greeks and the Romans belonging to the generally accepted time-bracket when Jesus is supposed to have lived. For example, Seneca (2 BC-66 AD), Pliny, the Elder (23 AD-79 AD), Martial (40 AD-102 AD), Plutarch (45 AD-125 AD), Juvenal (55 AD-140 AD) and many others do not mention any Jesus or Christ in their well known works and writings. Would Dorjee of the ASI who arrogates to himself the role of a Supreme Dictator in the matter of rigorous scientific proof regarding Lord Rama and the Ramayana, devote the same scientific attention to the historical or scientific proof in regard to the authenticity of Jesus Christ?

        The affidavit filed by the ASI was in response to three petitions, transferred from the Madras High Court to the Supreme Court, challenging the Government’s decision to construct the Sethusamudram Canal by dredging a portion of the Ram Setu. The raucously barbarous announcement of the Sonia-directed Government of India through this affidavit to go ahead with the destruction of the Ram-Sethu Bridge, with total contempt for the emotions and feelings of millions of Hindus in India and abroad, has naturally drawn violent angry reactions from the BJP and the VHP.

        It may be pointed out here that Dr. S. Badrinarayanan, Geologist and former Director of Geological survey of India and Consultant for National institute of Ocean Technology, has said ‘Geological & geophysical studies of Ram Sethu reveal the presence of loose marine deposits below the coral layer clearly indicating the coral layer in the form of boulders are not natural and formed on their own, but have been transported by somebody and dumped there; thus clearly establishing the fact that Ram Sethu is very much man-made in the hoary past’. In what way is Dr S Badrinarayanan less qualified to talk about the Ram Sethu Bridge in as scientific a way as the incomparable Mr Dorjee of the Archaeological Survey of India?

        Panicked by the political repercussions and the VHP’s move to go to the streets to mobilise public support, the Central government in a knee-jerk response decided to withdraw the ‘offending remarks’ from the affidavit which said ‘there is no scientific or historical evidence to prove the existence of ‘Lord Ram.’ Union Law (-lessness?) Minister H R Bhardwaj shamelessly somersaulted from his earlier pseudo-secular anti-Hindu position and said with calculated dissimulation: ‘Lord Ram is an integral part of Hindu faith and his existence can never be doubted. As Himalaya is Himalaya, Ganga is Ganga, Rama is Rama. It is a question of faith. There is no requirement of any proof to establish the existence based on faith’. He also announced that the government would file a supplementary affidavit on this issue before the Supreme Court and that would be cleansed of offending remarks.

        Finally on 14 September, 2007 (Friday) Dr Subramaniam Swamy had the last laugh. The Central Government prostrated itself before the Supreme Court and withdrew its two affidavits including the controversial one filed by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on the Sethu Samudram Ship Canal Project issue. The Centre sought three months’ time stating that it would re-examine the entire issue relating to the Project. The matter has been posted for hearing in the first week of January, 2008. In the meantime the Supreme Court has declared that the interim order restraining dredging activity at the Ram Setu or Adam’s Bridge area would continue.

        All the Hindus of India and the world have become fully aware of the proven fact that the greatest threat to the survival of Hindus, Hinduism and Sanatana Dharma today comes from no other quarter than the Government of India which is nothing but the Government of Sonia, by Sonia, and for Sonia and her family.

        To quote the brilliant words of B R Haran: �If Lord Rama is a myth, then Lord Venkateswara must also be a myth! That being the case, why did this Italian woman Sonia visit Tirupati on her Sixtieth Birth Day? When a government can fight for the inclusion of Taj Mahal in the list of wonders of the world, why can’t it do the same for the inclusion of Rama Sethu in the list of World Heritage Sites?�

        NASA in USA has said �PHOTOS DON’T PROVE RAMA SETU’S EXSISTENCE�. They have no business to talk about Rama Setu and the Himalayan Faith of millions and millions of Hindus in its eternal relevance and sacredness.

        Faith of any kind, particularly in the field of religion, is beyond the purview of any Government or the State. Faith is not a series of gilt-edged propositions that you sit down to figure out, and if you follow all the logic and accept all the conclusions, then you have it. It is crumpling and throwing away everything, proposition by proposition, until nothing is left, and then writing a new proposition, your very own, to throw in the teeth of despair. If Sonia has absolute faith in the Pope in Rome, if Karunanidhi and T R Baalu have absolute faith in the perversity of Periyarana, if Congressmen have faith in the cosmic greatness of Sonia Gandhi, then the Hindus have their own historic and inalienable right to put their total invincible faith in the grace of Lord Rama and the Rama-Setu Bridge created by him. The Hindus of India have their total, indivisible and invincible faith in their epics like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The gentle verses in them declare themselves for life; in a larger sense they are the body’s rebellion against its attempted destruction by the Government of India. To retain simplicity of heart, to write verses for life against death�these gentle-sounding goals are not achieved without cost or without a sustaining faith.

        As a staunch Hindu I have been greatly moved by what Czeslaw Milosz (1911 � 2004), a Polish poet, writer, academic, and winner of Nobel Prize in Literature in 1980 (a staunch Catholic) had to say about Religious Faith: �I am not afraid to say that a devout and God-fearing man is superior as a human specimen to a restless mocker who is glad to style himself an ‘intellectual,’ proud of his cleverness in using ideas which he claims as his own though he acquired them in a pawnshop in exchange for simplicity of heart . . . . The sacred exists and is stronger than all our rebellions.�

http://newstodaynet.com/2007sud/sep07/170907.htm

September 23, 2007

Outrage, blasphemy!
“Ram did not exist. No Ram, no Ram Sethu,” says Sonia’s UPA
By R. Balashankar

Not even the British or the Mughals would have made this outrageously inane statement. The centre’s affidavit before the Supreme Court where it vilified the existence of Sri Ram only shows the UPA government is totally out of sync with the people it is ruling.
It is appalling that a democratically elected government is capable of losing its balance to such an extent that it does not find anything wrong in defiling the faith of almost the entire population of the country. Is it that the Congressmen under the tutelage of the Italian Catholic leader have stopped worshipping Sri Ram?
Does it mean that if the Sonia Congress has its way, it will dissuade people from reciting Hanuman chalisa, singing Tulsidas Ramayan and celebrating Ramlila? For, there is no sense or reason behind the central government’s blasphemous proposition that if there was no Ram what Ram Sethu are the Hindus talking about? This came more as a shock—for the disdain and audacity of the rulers defy all logic, cultural heritage, collective wisdom, tradition and history of this country. And a government supposed to represent and promote all this to deny the very ancestry of its people is baffling, to say the least.
To denounce Sri Ram the government has quoted the Constitution. It cites the need to develop scientific temper in the country. Who told the UPA that faith in Sri Ram militated against scientific temper? Are all worshippers of Sri Ram fools? If the life of Sri Ram was a myth was Mahatma Gandhi deceiving his people when he set the ideal of Ramrajya before the country? Was he wrong in playing Ram dhun in all his public appearances? Why did the makers of Indian Constitution decorate it with scenes from Ramayana, if all its “characters were fictitious”? Why are the walls of Rashtrapati Bhavan adorned with paintings of Ramayana?
There is no India if there is no Ram. Every fourth Indian has a Ram in his name. Sri Ram is etched in the psyche of this nation so inextricably that there is no Indian literature that does not trace its inspiration in Ramayana. No other text in history has evoked so many interpretations and translations and renditions as Ramayana. No other life has influenced and guided the thinking of so many millions of people across the globe as Sri Ram since the dawn of civilisation. Yet Sri Ram is fiction for the South Block mandarins.
Unwittingly, the UPA has shifted the goal post. It is not Ram Sethu but Sri Ram the issue. It really has confronted the nation with the question whether it is Ramrajya or Rome Rajya. Before the Supreme Court was a petition seeking protection of the Ram Sethu and declaring it a national monument. The apex court asked the centre to file its affidavit on the arguments justifying the destruction of Ram Sethu for the Sethusamudram project. Many alternative alignments were offered so that the Ram Sethu also a natural protection in the Indian Ocean against the threat of tsunami was saved. Scientists and environmentalists have opposed the Sethusamudram project because of the colossal damage it can wreak on the habitat and natural symphony of the three states in the south. It was feared that the huge thorium deposit, crucial for India’s nuclear energy and weaponisation strategy, would be depleted. The project in fact did not make any economic or development sense. All these aspects have been covered in these columns earlier supported by experts of unchallenged authority.
Yet some quarters had a sneaking suspicion that the UPA was bent on erasing from this country every shred of Hindu ancestry and this project was part of the ploy. The overenthusiasm of T.R. Balu on the subject is understandable. For, he belongs to a creed that always revelled in sympathizing with the heroism of Ravana, the abductor of Mata Sita.
Development and progress are not the issues tormenting the UPA. For under the same Balu and the Sonia-Manmohan regime the infrastructure projects have come to a standstill. The prestigious national highway projects, mission mode initiatives of Vajpayee government, for instance, have come to a limbo. And Sethusamudram which after completion cannot navigate ships beyond 34000 DWT, and which is likely to be a white elephant because of the huge annual silting and dredging costs is not the crying priority before the nation. Then why this indecent haste? Maybe this is very lucrative for Sonia and her flunkies.
The centre converted the opportunity offered by the PIL to widen the canvass and define the place of Sri Ram in Indian history in consonance with its world view. In this it exceeded the brief. The question asked was the feasibility of Sethusamudram. It could have answered, confining to its perception of Ram Sethu as a natural formation and appended supportive so-called scientific evidence. Rather it went about ridiculing and disputing the historicity of Sri Ram. This same gang had earlier said Dwaraka did not exist, Saraswati a myth and shelved the project altogether.
It insulted the faith of millions of Indians. No proof, it said. “Contents of the Valmiki Ramayana, the Ramcharitamanas by Tulsidas and other mythological texts ….. cannot be said to be historical record to.. prove the existence of the characters or occurrence of the events, depicted therein”, the centre told the apex court. The affidavit further emphasised, “the contents of mythological texts, the accuracy of which is largely unascertainable…” cannot be relied upon. The centre cited lack of archaeological evidence to buttress its view. But the ASI in the Babri structure case many years ago had unearthed tangible evidence where it had told the court that excavations at the disputed site showed evidence of “features associated with temples”. So it is the politics that dictates the ASI.
We have always suspected this government in its implicit, both intrinsic and explicit approach to be anti-Hindu. Now it has proved it to be anti-Ram as well. What is this allergy cancerously consuming it? Is it the Christian, western loyalties of its master? Prime Minister Manmohan Singh a confirmed religious Sikh should have known better. For the holy Gurugranth Sahib, Holy Guru Bani of revered Guru Gobind Singh is known for their salutations to Sri Ram.
Sonia Gandhi will not know. She will never understand this country. No foreigner can fathom the place of Sri Ram in the lives of the people of this country. Sri Ram is the identity of India. But the UPA action was premeditated and calculated.
Last Friday on August 31, arguing against the apex court stay on destroying Ram Sethu, Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam had questioned the existence of the epic age to which Sri Ram had been associated in the Hindu scriptures. He had said that the court should wait for the affidavit and that there was no evidence of Sri Ram. That the UPA was meditating on this course was clear from the ASG’s submissions in the apex court.
What the ASG tells the court is the government’s view. The government cannot now claim that it was the view of the Archaeological Survey of India. The ASI can only give its opinion or input. And if the additional affidavit that the centre is proposing to file is the genuine stand of the government then what about the plea of the ASG on August 31 before the apex court?
The fact is Hindus can no longer trust this dispensation. On every possible occasion the UPA has tried to undermine and systematically destroy the Hindu character of this country. Its new-found enthusiasm on neo-Mandalism and communalisation of reservation are solely aimed at fragmenting and depriving the Hindu society. It is hell-bent on seeing that only castes and regional entities along with minority vote banks clamour for a share in the power structure. The Hindu as a national entity is never recognised or allowed to grow though they form the majority in the country.
The Union Law Minister H.R. Bharadwaj is a zealous driver of the Sonia brigade. He might be a bad minister but is extremely swift in sniffing the Madam’s wish. Bharadwaj was so quick to ridicule the Allahabad High Court judge’s innocuous opinion last week, to follow Bhagawat Gita as a national dharma shastra. The judge did not make any extraordinary suggestion. He only repeated what every great man in the country has often said.
The UPA Law Minister could have ignored it if he did not agree. But he instantaneously rejected the suggestion again reassuring every hecklers in his gang that Gita is just another book in the long list of religious texts and the judge’s suggestion should be condemned. Every Indian leader who tried to emancipate this country not only found his way through the Gita but each one of them tried to understand and interpret it in his own style. But they were people who loved this country and its rich heritage. They were no time-servers.
I cited this recent example to emphasise the atmosphere of antipathy towards Hinduism. This was not the situation in the country before the UPA came to power. The UPA has no problem banning the Da Vinci Code because some fanatic Christians opposed it though it violated freedom of expression. We too supported the ban because we respect others’ faith. But the same UPA will defend M.F. Hussain in the name of freedom of expression when he violates the serenity of Hindu gods and goddesses and Bharat Mata. The UPA has no problem adjusting the route of the Metro to accommodate every single mazar, mosque or dargah, the Metro route is shifted to protect Qutub Minar and even the commercial Taj Corridor project is abandoned to protect the monument. One can go on recounting any number of such instances of over-sensitivity to minority sentiments and total disrespect to the faith of the Hindus. Now the ancient-most symbol of Hindu civilisation Ram Sethu, which crores of Hindus believe, was built by Sri Ram is sought to be destroyed disclaiming the historicity of Sri Ram. If this is not political vandalism and double standard what else you call it? Sheer insensitivity or a vicarious pleasure in heaping insults on the majority community? Is it a crime to be a Hindu and that too a believing one in UPA’s India?

http://tinyurl.com/2m3khu

Dinamalar (Tamil daily) — Breaking News 17-09-07–2-30PM
சேது சமுத்திர திட்டம் சரத்குமார் கோரிக்கை
சென்னை: சேது சமுத்திர திட்டத்தை மாற்றுபாதையில் நடைமுறைப்படுத்தி
மக்களின் உணர்வுகளுக்கு மத்திய அரசு மதிப்பளிக்க வேண்டும், என்று அகில
இந்திய சமத்துவ மக்கள் கட்சி தலைவர் சரத்குமார் கோரிக்கை விடுத்துள்ளார்.
இது தொடர்பாக அவர் வெளியிட்ட அறிக்கை: சேது சமுத்திர திட்டம் மிகவும்
அவசியமான திட்டம். உலகிலேயே பெருமைக்குரியதாக பேசப்படும் இந்திய
கலாசாரம், இத்தகைய உணர்வுகளின் அடித்தளத்தின் அடிப்படையில் தான் உன்னத
நிலையை அடைந்திருக்கிறது என்கிற உண்மையை யாரும் மறுக்கவும், மறைக்கவும்
முடியாது. மக்களின் உணர்வுகளை மத்திய அரசு மதித்து இத்திட்டத்தை மாற்றுப்
பாதையில் செயல்படுத்த நடவடிக்கை எடுக்க வேண்டும். இதன் மூலம் சிலர்
கூறுவது போல, மதவாதிகளின் அச்சுறுத்தலுக்கு மத்திய அரசு பணிந்து விட்டது’
என்று கருதாமல், `மக்களின் உணர்வுகளுக்கு மத்திய அரசு
மதிப்பளித்திருக்கிறது என்ற பெருமையை பெற்று மத்திய அரசு செயல்பட
வேண்டும். இவ்வாறு அறிக்கையில் கூறப்பட்டுள்ளது.

Karunanidhi cautions Centre on Ram Sethu issue

Saturday, 15 September , 2007, 21:57

Salem (Tamil Nadu): DMK president and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on Saturday cautioned the Centre against paying heed to the “religious fundamentalist forces” on the Ram Sethu issue.

Also read: Ambika Soni offers to resign over Ram Sethu row | 2 ASI officials suspended | Full Coverage: Ram Sethu controversy

The Centre should not make any attempt to give up the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project, bowing to pressure from such forces, Karunanidhi told reporters at Yercadu near Salem.

Quoting former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, he said Ramayana was a story based on the fight between Aryan and Dravidian races.

“Lord Rama is an imaginary character and Ram Sethu is not a man-made bridge. The Centre should not do anything to disturb the Sethusamudram project,” he said.

Asked whether he had differences with the Centre on the project, he said “our differences are only with the religious fundamentalist forces and not with the Centre”.

Asked about the fresh affidavit filed by the Centre in the Supreme Court on the Ram Sethu issue, he said there was nothing wrong if the fresh one was filed to abide by the directions of the court.

“It only shows that the government is not adamant on the issue. However, giving up the project on some pretext is not acceptable to us,” he said.

Karunanidhi declined to comment on the Left parties opinion that the Centre should not have mentioned about Lord Ram in the first affidavit.

http://sify.com/news/fullstory.php?id=14527700&vsv=SHGTpicslot

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6 Responses to Rama Setu: Sri Rama on affidavits

  1. pankaj kothari says:

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

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  4. Lord Rama: Fact or Fiction
    By Stephen Knapp

    As of late, in the year 2007, the idea of whether Lord Rama exists or not has been called into question, by no less than some of the politicians in India. So it is a wonder how such persons can be accepted as leaders of the people of India who should be concerned with preserving and protecting the culture of the country. Obviously, they are neither concerned nor aware of the depths of information that can be found in support of the traditions for which India is especially known. Or, they are really attempting to dismantle or destroy the authority of the timeless nature of the civilization of the country.

    In regard to Lord Rama, the point about ancient history is that the farther you go back in time, the fewer references you can use that actually refer to the incident in history. There may be many commentaries, but few quotations to the actual events.

    However, when it comes to the Ramayana and the history of Lord Rama, there have been numerous authors who have accepted the Ramayana as a history of ancient events. For example, the first Governor General of India, Sri Rajaji, wrote on the Ramayana and called it a history, as also did the English Indologist Sir William Jones. Various other western authors have made a study of the culture and history of the Ramayana, such as Philip Lutgendorf in his book Rama’s Story in Shiva’s City, California University; Joe Burkhalter Flueckiger and Laurie Sears in The Boundaries of Traditional Ramayana and Mahabharata Performances in South and Southeast Asia, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; W. L. Smith on Ramayan Traditions in Eastern India, University of Stockholm, and others.

    There are also numerous places that are indicated as the locations where various events happened in reference to the pastimes of Lord Rama and Sita. Thus, they are accepted as historical sites. I have personally visited many of these places, such as Ramesvaram, Nasik, Hampi, and others where there are particular locations and sites that are related to the events that took place in the life and adventures of Lord Rama. Many people accept these sites as the locations for the events described in the Ramayana. So how can this be unless there are not some reality behind it?

    However, why is there not more archaeological evidence that points towards Rama’s existence? Because such an effort has not been made in India and systematic excavations have never been carried out, says historian Nandita Krishnan. She says that to doubt the existence of Rama is to doubt all literature. There is little archaeological or epigraphic evidence for either Jesus Christ or Prophet Mohammed, who are known only from the Bible and Koran respectively. Does it mean they did not exist? If Rama performs miracles such as liberating Ahalya, the Biblical story of Jesus walking on water or the Koranic tale of Mohammed flying to heaven on a horse are equally miraculous. Such stories reinforce divinity.

    She also describes in summary what areas the events of Lord Rama’s life took place. She explains: “The Ramayana is geographically very correct. Every site on Rama’s route is still identifiable and has continuing traditions or temples to commemorate Rama’s visit. Around 1000 BC or earlier, no writer had the means to travel around the country inventing a story, fitting it into local folklore and building temples for greater credibility.

    “In 1975 the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) unearthed fourteen pillar bases of kasauti stone with Hindu motifs near the mosque at Ayodhya; reports of the excavations are available with the ASI. Rama was born in Ayodhya and married in Mithila, now in Nepal. Not far from Mithila is Sitamarhi, where Sita was found in a furrow, still revered as the Janaki kund constructed by her father Janaka. Rama and Sita left Mithila for Ayodhya via Lumbini. In 249 BC, Ashoka erected a pillar in Lumbini with an inscription referring to the visits by both Rama and Buddha to Lumbini. Ashoka was much nearer in time to Rama and would be well aware of his facts.

    “Rama, Lakshmana and Sita left Ayodhya and went to Sringaverapura – modern Sringverpur in Uttar Pradesh – where they crossed the River Ganga. They lived on Chitrakoot hill where Bharata and Shatrughna met them and the brothers performed the last rites for their father. Thereafter, the three wandered through Dandakaranya in Central India, described as a land of Rakshasas, obviously tribes inimical to the brothers’ habitation of their land. Tribals are still found in these forests. The trio reached Nasik, on the River Godavari, which throbs with sites and events of Rama’s sojourn, such as Tapovan where they lived, Ramkund where Rama and Sita used to bathe, Lakshmankund, Lakshmana’s bathing area, and several caves in the area associated with their lives in the forest.

    “Rama then moved to Panchavati near Bhadrachalam (AP), where Ravana abducted Sita. The dying Jatayu told them of the abduction, so they left in search of Sita. Kishkinda, near Hampi, where Rama first met Sugriva and Hanuman, is a major Ramayana site, where every rock and river is associated with Rama. Anjanadri, near Hospet, was the birthplace of Hanuman (Anjaneya); Sugriva lived in Rishyamukha on the banks of the Pampa (Tungabhadra); Sabari probably also lived in a hermitage there. Rama and the Vanara army left Kishkinda to reach Rameshwaram, where the Vanaras built a bridge to Lanka from Dhanushkodi on Rameshwaram Island to Talaimannar in Sri Lanka. While parts of the bridge – known as Adam’s Bridge – are still visible, NASA’s satellite has photographed an underwater man-made bridge of shoals in the Palk Straits, connecting Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar. On his return from Sri Lanka, Rama worshiped Shiva at Rameshwaram, where Sita prepared a Linga out of sand. It is still one of the most sacred sites of Hinduism.

    “Sri Lanka also has relics of the Ramayana. There are several caves, such as Ravana Ella Falls, where Ravana is believed to have hidden Sita to prevent Rama from finding her. The Sitai Amman Temple at Numara Eliya is situated near the ashokavana where Ravana once kept her prisoner.”

    In describing the places in Sri Lanka that are associated with Lord Rama and the Ramayana, “Sri Lankan folklore and religious scholars have identified more than 30 places on the island which are associated with the Ramayana. And interestingly enough, people in these places have a strong sense of history and lore, and a strong sense of possession. They are proud of their association with the Hindu epic,” explained S. Kalaiselvan, director general Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority. This is the case, even though 90 percent of the people in the Ramayana-related areas are Sinhalese Buddhists.

    According to the Ramayana, Ravana brought Sita to Sri Lanka by a vehicle called ‘Pushpaka Vimanam’ by the Hindus and ‘Dandu Monara Yanthraya’ by the
    Sinhalese Buddhists. According to mythology, this vehicle landed at Werangatota, about 10 km from Mahiyangana, east of the hill station of Nuwara Eliya, in central Sri Lanka. Sita was then taken to Goorulupota, now known as Sitakotuwa, where Ravana’s wife, Mandodari, lived. Seetakotuwa is about 10 km from Mahiyangana on the road to Kandy. Sita was housed in a cave at Sita Eliya, on the Colombo-Nuwara Eliya road. There is a temple for her there. She is believed to have bathed in the mountain stream flowing beside the temple.

    North of Nuwara Eliya, in Matale district, is Yudhaganapitiya, where the Rama-Ravana battle took place. According to a Sinhalese legend, Dunuwila is the place from where Rama shot the ‘Bramshira’ arrow that killed Ravana. The Sri Lankan king was chalking out his battle plans in a place called Lakgala when the killer arrow struck him. Lakgala is a rock from the top of which Ravana could see north Sri Lanka clearly. It served as a watchtower following the expectation that Rama would invade the island to rescue his consort. Ravana’s body was placed on the rock at Yahangala for his subjects to pay their last respects. Since Ravana was a Brahmin, it was considered a sin to kill him, even in battle. To wash off the sin, Rama performed puja at the Munneswaram temple in Chilaw, 80 km north of Colombo. At Manaweri, north of Chilaw, there is a temple gifted by Rama.

    According to another legend from the southern part of Sri Lanka, Sita was actually detained in the mountainous forest area of Rumassala near Galle. When she fell ill, Hanuman wanted to bring some medicinal plants from the Dronagiri mountain in the Himalayan chain to cure her. Since he could not find the plants, he brought the whole mountain and dropped it at Unawatuna, which is near the present Galle harbour. Unawatuna means ‘here it fell’. Indeed, the area is known for its medicinal plants.

    At Ramboda, in the central highlands, known for its massive waterfalls, a temple for Hanuman has now sprung up as the belief is that he had visited Sita who was incarcerated there. Legend has it that the Koneswaram temple, in the eastern district of Trincomalee, was gifted by Lord Shiva to Ravana, as he was an ardent devotee. In the famous Buddha Vihara at Kelani, near Colombo, there is a representation of Rama handing over captured Sri Lanka to Ravana’s brother, Vibheeshana, who sided with him in his conflict with Ravana.

    Nandita Krishnan continues to explain the importance of these holy sites, “All the places visited by Rama still retain memories of his visit, as if it happened yesterday. Time, in India, is relative. Some places have commemorative temples; others commemorate the visit in local folklore. But all agree that Rama was going from or to Ayodhya. Why doubt connections when literature, archaeology and local tradition meet? Why doubt the connection between Adam’s Bridge and Rama, when nobody else in Indian history has claimed its construction? Why doubt that Rama traveled through Dandakaranya or Kishkinda, where local non-Vedic tribes still narrate tales of Rama? Why doubt that he was born in and ruled over Ayodhya?

    “Rama’s memory lives on because of his extraordinary life and his reign, which was obviously a period of great peace and prosperity, making Ramarajya a reference point. People only remember the very good or the very bad. Leftist historians have chosen to rubbish archaeology, literature and local tradition.”

    Nandita Krishnan also adds that “Nobody believed that Homer’s Iliad was a true story till Troy was discovered after extensive archaeology. Unfortunately, the sites of the Ramayana and Mahabharata have now been built over many times and it may never be possible to excavate extensively either at Ayodhya or Mathura.”

    To further verify this aspect of the history of Lord Rama, Pushkar Bhatnagar concludes that geographical evidence for the epics is abundant. There still exist many places like Rameshwaram, Kishkindha, Kurukshetra, Hastinapura, etc. where the visits of Rama and Krishna are a basic part of local folklore.

    Lack of archaeological evidence is no excuse for denying the existence of history, sums up Bhatnagar. “If the buildings of that time over 7000 years ago do not exist today, can we just infer that civilizations and personalities of that time also did not exist?”

    In literature, we have the Ramayana and other texts such as the Puranas which also relate and verify the history and existence of Lord Rama. People from many other regions of the world have also accepted the Ramayana as worthy of attention, devotion, and historical evidence. For example, we can see the affects of the Ramayana tradition in many countries who have adapted their own form of the Ramayana and worship of Lord Rama, especially in the countries of Southeast Asia. These include Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia (Capuchia), Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Other areas can also be found where the influence of the history of Lord Rama is in affect, such as the continent of Africa was once known as Kushadvipa for having been ruled by Kush, one of Lord Rama’s sons.

    The other fact is that many millions of people feel the reciprocation from Lord Rama whenever they engage in devotion to Him, or read the Ramayana, or hear the Ramayana in a katha, or watch a television show or movie about Him, or go to one of the temples dedicated to Him. This cannot be denied or neglected. Just because we have insensitive politicians who cannot perceive this reciprocation does not mean that we all are so spiritually undeveloped. This dedication and reciprocation has spread throughout the world.

    There have also been astronomers who have identified the approximate time of the Ramayana by the descriptions of the stars and constellations as given in the Ramayana, or even in the Bhagavata Purana and other texts. Pushkar Bhatnagar, author of the book Dating the Era of Lord Rama, claims that there is a significant amount of information available to prove that Rama was a historical personality. He says, “Valmiki, who wrote the Ramayana, was a contemporary of Rama. While narrating the events of the epic, he has mentioned the position of the planets at several places.” He explains that by using recent planetary software, it has been possible to verify that these planetary positions actually took place precisely as specified in the Ramayana. These were not just stray events, but the entire sequence of the planetary positions as described by Valmiki at various stages of Rama’s life can be verified today as having taken place.

    Bhatnagar goes on to explain: “This information is significant, since these configurations do not repeat for lakhs of years and cannot be manipulated or imagined so accurately, without the help of sophisticated software. The inference that one can draw is that someone was present there to witness the actual happening of these configurations, which got recorded in the story of Rama.”

    Bhatnagar provides the following quote from the Ramayana: “Rama was born on the Navami tithi of Shukla Paksha of Chaitra masa (9th day of the increasing phase of the moon in the lunar month of Chaitra). At that time, the nakshatra was Punarvasu, and Sun, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter and Venus were in Aries, Capricorn, Libra, Cancer and Pisces respectively. Lagna was Cancer and Jupiter & Moon were shining together. — Ramayana 1.18.8,9

    The conditions can be summarized as follows, according to Bhatnagar:
    1. Sun in Aries
    2. Saturn in Libra
    3. Jupiter in Cancer
    4. Venus in Pisces
    5. Mars in Capricorn
    6. Lunar month of Chaitra
    7. 9th day after New Moon (Navami Tithi, Shukla Paksh)
    8. Moon near Punarvasu Nakshatra (Pollux star in Gemini constellation)
    9. Cancer as Lagna (Cancer constellation rising in the east)
    10. Jupiter above the horizon

    According to the Planetarium software, it provides the following date: Sri Rama Navami – 10th January 5114 BCE – Birth Day of Rama, Observation at 12.30 p.m.

    Bhatnagar continues: “By using a powerful planetarium software, I found that the planetary positions mentioned in Ramayana for the date of birth of Lord Ram had occurred in the sky at around 12.30 p.m. of 10th January 5114 BC. It was the ninth day of the Shukla Paksh of Chaitra month too. Moving forward, after 25 years of the birth of Lord Ram, the position of planets in the sky tallies with their description in Ramayana. Again, on the amavasya (new moon) of the 10th month of the 13th year of exile the solar eclipse had indeed occurred and the particular arrangement of planets in the sky was visible. ( Date comes to 7th October, 5077 BC). Even the occurrence of subsequent two eclipses also tally with the respective description in Valmiki Ramayana. (Date of Hanuman’s meeting Sita at Lanka was 12th September, 5076 BC). In this manner the entire sequence of the planetary positions gets verified and all the dates can be precisely determined.”

    Although this provides verification of the existence for Lord Rama according to calculations as given in the Ramayana, some people feel the timing for the day and year of His birth may be different than what the planetarium software indicates. For example, Vedic astrologer Nartaka Gopala devi dasi points out that “Regarding the calculation of Lord Rama’s birth as 10th of January 5114 BCE – Birth Day of Rama, Observation at 12.30 PM, there are 2 reasons why this cannot be correct. His rising sign, or lagna, is Cancer. That places Aries in the tenth house, and He has the Sun in Aries. The placement of the Sun in any birth chart will tell the time of day of the birth. Sun in the tenth house means birth at noontime (approx. 11 AM to 2 PM). There are no exceptions to this. (Lord Krishna appeared at midnight, the Sun is in Leo, 4th house for Taurus rising. Birth at 6 PM means 7th house Sun. Birth at sunrise means 1st house Sun.) Also, in Lord Rama’s chart the Sun is in Aries, and the dates for Sun in Aries are fixed, which means the same each year on April 14th to May 13th. So how did the January 10 date come up? These two Jyotish corrections are common sense that any Vedic astrologer would immediately see.” So there may be a difference in what the planetarium software suggests. This also corroborates why we who follow the Vedic calendar celebrate Lord Rama’s appearance in April-May each year. So the traditional date appears accurate.

    Furthermore, some people feel that the appearance of Lord Rama took place many thousands or even millions of years earlier, in the Treta-yuga. For example, the Bhagavata Purana clearly states that Lord Rama became king during Treta yuga (Bhag. 9.10.51). We have been in Kali-yuga for 5000 years. Before this was Dvapara-yuga which lasts 864,000 years. Before that was Treta-yuga, which lasts over 1,200,000 years. Thus, according to this, the existence of Lord Rama had to have been many thousands of years ago. And if Lord Rama appeared in one of the previous Treta-yugas, it would certainly indicate that Lord Rama appeared several million years ago. And this is exactly what is corroborated in the Vayu Purana.

    In the Vayu Purana (70.47-48) [published by Motilal Banarsidass] there is a description of the length of Ravana’s life. It explains that when Ravana’s merit of penance began to decline, he met Lord Rama, the son of Dasarath, in a battle wherein Ravana and his followers were killed in the 24th Treta-yuga. The Roman transliteration of the verse is:

    tretayuge chaturvinshe ravanastapasah kshayat
    ramam dasharathim prapya saganah kshayamiyavan

    The same Ramayana that gives the planetary descriptions (on which the above calculation is based) also tells that Lord Rama came in Treta-yuga. The Matsya Purana (47/240,243-246) is another source that also gives more detail of various avataras and says Bhagawan Rama appeared at the end of the 24th Treta-yuga.

    There are 1000 Treta-yugas in one day of Brahma, and it is calculated that we are presently in the 28th cycle of the four yugas (called divya-yugas, which is a cycle of the four yugas, Satya-yuga, Treta-yuga, Dvapara-yuga, and then Kali-yuga) of Vaivasvata Manu, who is the seventh Manu in the series of 14 Manu rulers who exist in one kalpa or day of Brahma. Each Manu is considered to live for 71 such divya-yuga cycles. So, without getting too complicated about things, from the 24th Treta-yuga to the present age of this 28th cycle of Kali-yuga, there is obviously a difference of millions of years when Lord Rama manifested here on earth. This gives the period of Lord Rama approximately 18 million years ago. Furthermore, the planetary positions mentioned in the Ramayana would also have occurred multiple times in history prior to the calculated date. Of course, few people may believe this unless they are already familiar with the vast lengths of time that the Vedic literature deals with.

    Nonetheless, maybe there is further reason why we should accept that Lord Rama appeared millions of years ago. In the Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara-Kanda (or Book 5), Chapter 4, verse 27, [Gita Press, Gorakhpur, India] it explains that when Hanuman first approached Ravana’s palace, he saw the doorways surrounded by horses and chariots, palanquins and aerial cars, beautiful horses and elephants, nay, with four-tusked elephants decked with jewels resembling masses of white clouds.

    Elsewhere in the Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara-Kanda (or Book 5), Chapter 27, verses12, an ogress named Trijata has a dream of Lord Rama, which she describes to the other demoniac ogresses upon awakening. In that dream she sees Rama, scion of Raghu, united again with Sita. Sri Rama was mounted on a huge elephant, closely resembling a hill, with four tusks.

    The question is how could there be a mention of the elephants with four tusks unless Valmiki and the people of his era were familiar with such creatures? A quick search on the Encarta Encyclopedia will let us know that these four-tusked elephants were known as Mastodontoidea, which are said to have evolved around 38 million years ago and became extinct about 15 million years ago when the shaggy and two tusked Mastodons increased in population. Now there’s something to think about, eh? So this would mean that the specific planetary configuration that is described in the Ramayana, and is verified by Pushkar Bhatnagar, may have indeed happened, but at a time millions of years prior to merely 10,000 years ago.

    In this way, as we go through the evidence, we can see how Lord Rama was an actual historic personality, as described in the Ramayana and in other Puranic texts. Nonetheless, there will always be those for whom no matter what you present for verification, it will not be enough. Some just won’t believe it. Some will, some won’t, so what, let’s move on. But many in the world already accept the authority of the Ramayana and other Vedic texts for the verification of the existence of Lord Rama.

    Jaya Sri Rama!

    You can also read the summarized version of the Ramayana as found here on my website.

    [Available at: http://www.stephen-knapp.com]

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