Rama Setu: protect world heritage

The Ram Sethu is our heritage

By Subramanian Swamy
Organiser;  Sep 23, 2007

The Dravidian Kazhagam, a British imperialist stooge organisation, has recently threatened to burn the Ramyana in a public protest against “Aryan Supremacy” for opposing the destruction of the Ram Sethu in the implementation of the Sethusamudram Canal Project.
The Dravida Movement which includes DMK, MDMK, PMK, and DK parties, is a movement of atheists, which has turned its ire on Bhagwan Sri Ram, the King of Ayodhya, and wants the Ram Sethu to be demolished because it is a symbol of “North Indian” domination. This shows the bias and malice behind the determination to destruct the Ram Sethu. No self-respecting Hindu must permit this vandalism.
The demolition also would facilitate the anti-Indian terrorist LTTE’s brigand boats to move quicker from Tuticorin to Chennai on the Palk Strait, and on international waters. At present, the Ram Sethu stands in the way. Hence their vociferous support to Dravidian Movement parties for the Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project [SSCP].
To begin with, Sri Ram really emerged in national perception as a Maryada Purushottam divinity as distinct from a young dutiful prince of Ayodhya only after his sojourn to South India. Professor Suvira Jaiswal [www.thehindu.com/2007/03/12/stories] who has become the President of the Indian History Congress recently, in her S.C. Misra Memorial Lecture states that King Ram of Ayodhya was transformed into Bhagwan Sri Ram of the whole nation, i.e., as a re-incarnation of Vishnu because of the Tamil Vaishnava saints, Alwars, who sang praises of the qualities of Sri Ram. She also states that Chola and Pandya Kings despite being Shaivites, built the first temples for Sri Ram as a deity. Thus, while Raja Ram may be regarded as a ‘northerner’ from Ayodhya, nevertheless Bhagwan Sri Ram as a divine incarnation is the revelation of Tamil saints incorporated into the Hindu religion nationally. Sri Ram is in fact a symbol of our nation’s oneness. Alwars and Nayanmar saints also propagated what the Dravidian Movement needs to learn fast: God is universally accessible, and grants salvation irrespective of caste to all those who worship him with complete devotion. God is not pro-any caste or where one is born. If such is the faith, who is the government to question it? As the Punjab & Haryana High Court division bench opined in 1993 in the Brahmasaravor case, even a stone is an ancient national monument if the people have faith in it.
While the Hindu scriptures have given vivid and moving description of the construction of the Ram Sethu, its existence has now been confirmed by two scientific sources. In the first, the present configuration of the Ram Sethu has been photographed by US National Aeronautics and Space Agency [NASA] by their satellites, and colour photos of the same are widely available on the NASA website. These photos establish the Sethu’s existence as a chain of shoal stones.
The Department of Earth Science of the Government of India in a report to the President of India has stated that shoal stones placement make out that they were “deliberately placed there”. That is, as if it was constructed in the manner described by the Valmiki, Kamban, and Tulsidas, saints who authored the Ramyana epic at different points in time in Sanskrit, Tamil and Hindi. NASA also establishes the age of the shoal stones as 1,750,000 years ago. The bridge formation itself by placing these stones one by one, according to the Earth Science Department, is not less than 9000 years.
Such independent corroboration therefore cannot be dismissed as mere coincidence and not worthy of notice as the DMK nominee in the union ministry of shipping T.R. Baalu has been saying. At the very minimum it requires a full inquiry as to whether or not the said Ram Sethu is a Hindu heritage site. Millions believe it to be so, and hence the government cannot take a narrow cynical view of such faith.
The objective of the Rs. 2427 crore SSCP nevertheless could be a worthy one, and for the national good if the calculations and data used are accurate. But a closer look using the analysis of Dr. Jacob John [published in Economic and Political Weekly, July 21, 2007], suggests that the entire economic cost-benefit analysis made by the Union Shipping Ministry and presented in a Detailed Project Report [DPR] to the Union Cabinet for approval of the project is bogus and aimed at misleading the nation about the financial viability of the project.
That is, while no rational opinion is against the project per se if it is viable, what is however sought is a feasible amendment of the SSCP, to avoid vandalizing the Ram Sethu by destructing it, and thereby hurting the religious sentiment of millions of Hindus.
The objective of SSCP can be achieved by digging through the 15 kilometre mainland stretch between Pamban and Dhanushkodi, adjacent to the Ram Sethu thereby leaving hoary Sethu intact. This accommodative approach of seeking of an alternative was followed by the Delhi Metro when its underground route digging came too close to the Qutub Minar. This will not only be welcome but the dredging costs on land will be much lower.
Moreover, retention of the Ram Sethu as it is, will ensure as it did in the past the minimisation of the damage from the tsunami disaster when the spread of the massive displacement of sea water caused by plate tectonic earthquake in Aceh reached the shores of India. The Ram Sethu acted as a wave and speed-breaker, thus saving enormous number of lives and damage to property.
I would therefore suggest that the SSCP be put on hold, and the alternative canal route be researched by a committee of experts and an amended project report be prepared. This is incidentally the opinion of a very wise Sub-Judge Mohammed Asif of the Ramnathapuram Subordinate Court. On February 23, 2007 while ruling on a petition challenging the SSCP he stated: “Imperatives of development and our commitment to protect heritage are two ends. A careful, intelligent balance should be struck between the two. Final opinion could be pronounced on issues raised by the petitioners only after subjecting their documents to thorough scrutiny with opinion of experts in the field.”
The Ram Sethu is a living miracle, and therefore the Government of India ought to approach UNESCO to get it declared as the 28th World Heritage Site. The Tourism Ministry should also develop the area to vest it with the essential infrastructure so that pilgrims can come from far and wide.



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