Rama Setu: hurting by abusing Shri Rama


“Communal forces are opposing the project that would bring prosperity to Tamil Nadu. The bandh is to tell the Centre that it must ignore the communal forces as the people support  the immediate implementation of the project,” the resolution said. Another resolution urged the Centre to order the arrest and filing of a criminal case against VHP leader Vedanthi for “calling for the beheading of chief minister M. Karunanidhi for his anti-Ram words.” Mr Vedanthi’s inflammatory words had created tension and panic among the people, the resolution added.When asked whether it would be advisable to announce a bandh when the Supreme Court had given an interim order staying the project, Mr Karunanidhi said the protests were only meant to moblise public support. To another question whether he was satisfied with the Centre’s approach to the Sethu project, he quipped that he was neither satisfied nor disappointed. He, however, admitted that the Centre’s commitment given to Supreme Court that it was considering an alternative alignment did constitute a set-back, but only a minor one. He rejected the argument that the Congress was treading a cautious line because it feared a Hindu backlash in the Assembly elections and the next Lok Sabha elections. He recalled the DMK’s own experience in the 1971 elections when it swept the polls though supported by the rationalist DK founder Periyar. Asked about his earlier stand that he was open to a new alignment of the Sethu project if it could help it move ahead, Mr Karunanidhi said shipping minister T.R. Baalu had ruled out such a possibility. “He is in the field and implementing it. I am only watching things. He says that a realignment is not feasible.” On the resolution passed by the BJP’s national council that those who were not aware of Rama and Ramayana should not be allowed to remain in power, Mr Karunanidhi turned the tables on the rival party, arguing that the yardstick should be applicable to those who passed the resolution.  The chief minister maintained that while he did not approve of the attack on the BJP office in Chennai, it was “too small an issue to demand a CBI inquiry.” The state BJP unit has petitioned governor Surjit Singh Barnala demanding dismissal of the DMK government and ordering of a CBI probe into the party headquarters on Sunday. On former Union minister Uma Bharathi’s warning that her party was ready to sacrifice lives to protect Ramar Sethu, Mr Karunanidhi pointed out that it was she who had given the nod for the Sethu project when she was a Union minister. Asked why the meeting had to demand the arrest of VHP’s Vedanthi even after he had made it clear he had not issued any fatwa for Mr Karunanidhi’s life, finance minister and DMK general secretary K. Anbazhagan shot back that Mr Vedanthi had not fully retracted his threat against the chief minister.http://tinyurl.com/yq8l6w  

Karunanidhi’s effigy burnt to protest his remark on Lord Ram

Etah (UP), Sept. 24 (PTI): Members of the Hindu Jagran Manch, Bajrang Dal, Bharatiya Janata Party and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad today burnt effigies of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi at various towns of Uttar Pradesh to protest his statement on the Ram Setu issue. Speaking on the occasion Bajrang Dal organiser Kaushal Sahoo and Dharamveer Maheshwari, and VHP president Jagdeesh Brithhari said that KArunanidhi had shown his mean mentality by making ‘intolerable’ remarks over the Ram Setu issue. They alleged that the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham chief has no knowledge of ‘Ramayana’ and challenged him for a discussion on Valmiki’s ‘Ramayana’ and the ‘Ramcharitmanas’. Accusing him of being a follower of western culture, the protesters, who demonstrated at Kasganj, Etah and Aliganj towns of the state, also said that they will start a movement against the Dravidian leader for causing disgrace to the Hindu God. http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/001200709241951.htm http://www.thehindu.com/2007/09/25/stories/2007092550040100.htm

Special Correspondent On Sethusamudram project issue 

Public meeting in Chennai on September 30DPA meeting demands arrest of Vedanti

CHENNAI: Constituents of the Democratic Progressive Alliance have called for a bandh on October 1 to protest against “conspiracy of communal elements” to sabotage the Sethusamudram project, and convey the sentiments of the people of the State. A resolution adopted at a DPA meeting held at the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam headquarters here on Monday said a public meeting would be held in Chennai on September 30 to press for early implementation of the project, which was a long-time dream of the people. The bandh and the public meeting would create awareness on various aspects of the project.In another resolution, the meeting demanded the arrest of former BJP MP Ram Vilas Vedanti for his offensive statement about Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi. It wanted the Centre to initiate criminal action against Mr. Vedanti for inciting communal passions and seeking to put the Chief Minister’s life at risk.“Very small” setback Responding to questions later, Mr. Karunanidhi said the Centre withdrawing its earlier affidavit had caused a “very small” setback to the project. He did not feel cheated by the Central action; nor was he completely satisfied. Asked if he supported the attack on the BJP office, Mr. Karunanidhi said if this was true, he could not accept it. “What was done was wrong.” No contradiction On Union Minister T.R. Baalu’s arguments against an alternative alignment, Mr. Karunanidhi said the Minister would know better than he did on this issue. Hence, there was no contradiction in their stand. PMK founder S. Ramadoss; TNCC chief M. Krishnasswamy; CPI (M) State secretary N. Varadarajan; CPI State secretary D. Pandian; leader of the breakaway faction of the MDMK L. Ganesan; DK president K. Veeramani and VCK general secretary Thol. Thirumavalavan were among those who attended the DPA meeting. The DMK was represented in the meeting by K. Anbazhagan, Durai Murugan, T.R. Baalu, Kanimozhi and T.K.S. Elangovan.

Between Aliens and Alienatedby

Balbir K Punj (Outlook magazine, Saturday 22.09.07) 

The first part of the intense Ram Setu affidavit drama which saw Lord Rama restored to millions of his devotees after 48 hours of his banishment by the UPA government is over.  The current episode has, however, revealed three facets of Indian public life. First, even 60 years after the departure of aliens, the country’s establishment   is dominated by the alienated; otherwise such an  offensive affidavit would not have been possible. Second, with the massive public response against the Government move, the spectre of BJP gaining support is haunting the Congress. This is the only explanation for the quick   withdrawal of the affidavit in the Supreme Court.  Third, most of the `secularists’ have learnt their lessons visa-a-vis the Hindu sentiments.  The affidavit, in fact negated all that constitutes this ancient nation. If you take Ram out of India, the left-over will be yet another Pakistan or Bangladesh. The residual India will not be the India we know of where differences in language or way of worship are not merely tolerated but respected. Why in Pakistan and Bangladesh governments change through only bloody coups and in India by elections? Is it because of our democratic constitution? But then both our neighbours too had constitutions providing for a democratic set-up; which did not last. Why?  Indira Gandhi decided to go in for elections during emergency when she had all the power in her hands. Once she lost the elections, she quit the office immediately. In 1998 the Vajpayee Government lost the confidence vote in Lok Sabha just by one vote. Many Pakistanis commented that no Prime Minister/ President in Pakistan would have resigned under such circumstances; particularly when the crucial vote was a suspect. Girdhar Gomango, whose vote sealed the fate of Vajpayee Government, was the Chief Minister of Orissa and also a member of Lok Sabha.  What explains such an ocean of difference between the three countries which had a common landmass and a common master till 1947. It’s Ram. His values, symbolized through his sterling character and personality inspire countless Indians (both Hindus and non Hindus) in their daily life. His leaving the throne of Ayodhya and going for a 14 year exile to uphold `Dharma’ is deeply imprinted in public mind. His righteous conduct in all situations makes him a role model. His life story is recalled every year – through Ramlilas and recitation of Ramayana in numerous homes. He along with other icons ranging from Ganga to Gautam Budha form the DNA of India. Can one separate the body from its DNA? The Indian establishment, largely inspired by the Maculay – Marxist mindset, does not empathise with socio-cultural ethos and icons of the country. Yoga, was rehabilitated in India after the endorsement of its efficacy in the West and the US . Teaching of Sanskrit and Vedic Mathematics continue to be an anathema. The wealth of wisdom contained in the ancient Indian treatise such as Shukra Niti, Bhisham Niti and Kautaliya Arth Shastra are dismissed with disdain. No wonder the controversial affidavit denying the very existence of Lord Rama, managed to reach the Supreme Court, without a problem at any level. However, it must be said that the giants of India ‘s indepedence movement like Mahatma Gandhi, Balgangadhar Tilak, Chakravarti Rajagopalchari, were never alienated from Bharat.  Gandhiji lived in Ram and died with his name on his lips; Rajaji wrote a wonderful book explaining the Ramayana narrative to the common man. Morarji Desai regularly held a week long Ramayana pravachan every year– even when he was PM he did not give up that practice.  Had they been alive they would have been horrified at the party for which they all gave their blood and sweat characterising Rama as a myth for which there was no historical evidence.  But once the leader of the opposition, L.K. Advani conveyed to the PM, that his party will take the fight on this issue to the logical end, things moved fast. The hostile media reaction to the affidavit and the country-wide agitation by the “Sangh Parivar” on the setu issue, further rattled the Government.The establishment immediately went into a retreat mode. There are two versions of what followed in the subsequent 48 hours. Sonia’s establishment publicized that she had taken the government to task for this blasphemous act and had directed H. R. Bhardwaj,   to make the necessary amends. The PMO fed the press with its own version – how as a good Sikh, Dr. Manmohan Singh was hurt over the goof-up by his Government and had promptly taken steps to retrieve the situation.  So there is a healthy competition for claiming credit for something which normally would be termed as pandering to Hindu “Communalism” and supporting `myth and superstition’ against science and development! What was the motivation for such an alacrity on the part of Sonia and the PM? Concern for the hurt Hindu feelings? Or the ghost of the possible replay of the Ramjanam Bhoomi movement led by Advani which catapulted the BJP from the position of a marginal player to the centre stage of Indian politics?  A big surprise in this episode was the reaction of the professional `secularists’. In complete contrast to their `rational’ record on issues relative to the faith of Hindus, they sided with the `believers’ this time. Barring M. Karunanidhi, most of   the `secular’ pack – ranging from several Congress leaders, CPI and CPM to their fellow travelers in the media, slammed the affidavit and termed the government action “provocative” and “senseless”.  What explains the `secular’ stance?   Has the `secular’ cabal started empathising with the culture, tradition and faith of the land of their birth? Or was the entire positioning; just strategic, bereft of sincerity?  When the Ramjanam Bhoomi movement started in the eighties `secularist’ rubbished it from day one. Those participating in the movement were called all possible names; ranging from “fascists” to “fanatics”. It was `blind faith of the misguided and mischievous few’ versus history and rule of law’. The `secularists’ naturally were on the side of `their’ version of history and the `law’. Of course they had no such concern for law in the Shah Bano case.  Ramjanam Bhoomi matter is pending in the courts for the last 57 years, and none in authority wants an early verdict. Commitment to the `rule of law’ is selective.  One saw the same insensitivity on the part of the `secularists’ when 57 Kar Sevaks were charred to death in the train at Ghodhra in Gujarat. The Kar Sevaks were returning from Ayodhya and were set upon by a waiting violent Muslim mob which set the train on fire. The initial `secular’ reaction was on predictable lines. While condemning the crime, the `secularists’,  blamed the victims for their gory end.  The Kar Sevaks, according to `secularists’ had asked for trouble by undertaking a `provocative’ trip to Ayodya.  The UPA Government spent a lot of money even to prove that the Hindus themselves set the bogey on fire with the carefully chosen chairman going all over the world to study forensic science!  In the Ram Setu case, the reaction of the `secularists’ is condescending. It is not motivated   by rationality; and is dishonest. Their criticism of the affidavit is not on the merit of its contents but on the ground that it hurts the sentiments of the “irrational believers” which in turn will help to strengthen the BJP. So in the interest of their larger `Secular cause’ they are sacrificing “rationality” and “development” and extending   a concession to the “blind believers”. The fact is, the believers are rational. Those seeking to demolish the `setu’ in the name of development are not .   The project itself was conceived and sought to be implemented on a war footing mainly at the instance of the DMK whose leader is in charge of the Transport and Shipping Ministry.  The DMK declares itself as anti-God and the founder of the Dravida movement Ramaswamy Naicker used to hold public demonstration of his hatred of Hindu gods and goddesses by breaking the Hindu idols  at public functions.  For the DMK it was necessary to revive its waning political fortunes by such gimmickry.   So the zeal to demolish the `Setu’ is   fired by blind ideological hatred and base political motives. It’s a typical case of abuse of religion for electoral dividends. Use of religion for political purpose is “communal”, but what about its misuse? Many also suspect the role of dredging companies. For them the project is a business proposition. The money involved is also huge –Rs. 2500 Crores. What will be share of the politicians pushing the project is any body’s guess.  Some Congress leaders are trying to shift blame for the project on to the previous NDA Government.  They forget that NDA did not sanction the project.  It was only one of the many projects that are generated within the governmental system for consideration.  It is unthinkable that the NDA Government would ever have sanctioned it verbatim.  Congress has ignored and even reversed many of the decisions of the NDA.  But on this project it seeks to protect itself from the barrage of public criticism that it now faces by shifting the blame on to the NDA.   Those speaking for the project have obviously made no study, either of archeological or geographical aspects, of the `Sethu’. The controversial affidavit admits in para 7.   “There has been no occasion for the Archeological Survey  of India (“ASI”) or the Government of India, to even make a prima facie determination that the said formation could be an `ancient monument’ entitled to protection under the Act and therefore, the ASI has not undertaken any study in this regard as yet”.  Dr. Badrinarayanan, a well known Geologist, former Director of Geological Survey of India and Co-ordinator of the Survey Division of the National Institute of Ocean Technology in Chennai told Rediff.com recently “the structure is not natural…. The shape of the boulders and the type of material clearly indicate that this is a man-made structure”.  It is not that opposition to the project is only on archaeological or emotional grounds. According to Tsunami expert Dr. Tad S Murty, but for the ‘setu’, the entire southern part of Kerala would be affected badly. The project is likely to end as a environmental disaster. Serious doubts have also been raised whether the huge investment on the project is commensurate with the economic returns.  Why is there no archeological evidence for the existence of the `Setu’? Because none has tried to get one so far.   For almost six hundred years, Hindu icons were plundered and demolished at the hands of Muslim invaders. As a result, much of the Archeological heritage completely disappeared. The science of archeology came with the British who had only limited interest in ancient Indian civilization. Things should have changed with India regaining its independence. But did not, because the alienated, replaced the aliens.  (The writer can be contacted at bkpunj@gmail.com 

35 years ago, Ram existed for DMK boss

MANDIRA NAYAR AND M.R. VENKATESHSept. 23: M. Karunanidhi may now dismiss Ram and his setu as mythology but 35 years ago, he had put his seal on a document that spoke of a “causeway” that Ram “constructed to reach Lanka”.The assertion was made in the June 1972 edition of the Ramanathapuram district gazetteer. Karunanidhi, who was chief minister then, too, wrote the foreword saying modern-day gazetteers were “repositories of accurate and authentic information about the land and the people”.The DMK chief recently said Ram was a fictional character and the lime shoals stretching from the Tamil Nadu coast to Lanka were a natural formation, not a bridge built by the epic hero’s army.The gazetteer, however, says: “This is also called by people as Ramar Paalam as it was built by an army of monkeys under Hanuman’s leadership, with whose assistance Rama invaded Lanka.”The discovery of the gazetteer, reissued in 1990, has given the Sangh parivar an opportunity to try and embarrass the DMK chief.Karunanidhi, who hasn’t reacted so far, may argue that a chief minister is not expected to read everything in a district gazetteer. He may also say that all he had meant was that the gazetteer gave accurate information on traditions, that is, what many people believe.A modern gazetteer is the “most dependable source of information for administrators, scholars and the public on (the) social, political, economic and cultural life of the people”, his foreword says. The BJP’s Ravi Shankar Prasad said it at least acknowledged the importance of the setu in India’s cultural milieu. http://www.telegraphindia.com/1070924/asp/nation/story_8354013.asp#

Vedanti backtracks, says he was quoting Gita

CNN-IBNPublished on Sunday , September 23, 2007 at 11:29New Delhi: Ram Setu, the bridge in the name of Lord Ram has become a North-South divide. The bitterness in the Ram Setu debate is increasing with every passing day. Former BJP MP Ram Vilas Vedanti, who had issued a fatwa against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi, has now backtracked from his statement. He said that he was only quoting an example from the Bhagwad Gita and he insisted he had only condemned Karunanidhi’s statement nothing beyond that. He also said that his statement was fabricated by the media and saints don’t believe in violence.On Friday, Vedanti had issued the ‘fatwa’ in Ayodhya in which he said whosoever chopped off the head and tongue of the DMK president Karunanidhi would be gifted with gold by the saints of Ayodhya.“The man who has insulted Lord Ram must be beheaded. He who severs his tongue and head in full public view shall be weighed in gold in Ayodhya,” said Vedanti.Tamil Nadu chief minister Karunanidhi responded strongly to Vedanti’s ‘fatwa’. Karunanidhi reacted curtly to the threat, saying “the head is not just something that is on your shoulder, but it’s also an address.”“Whether I am alive or not, I will be with you in your blood breath. No one can destroy me because I am a part of you,” Karunanidhi said.“Even if someone takes off my head, my address will remain in Tamil Nadu,” he added. Taking strong exception to a reported “fatwa” by Vedanti for beheading Karunanidhi for his anti-Ram remarks, senior DMK leader Arcot N Veerasamy on Saturday said that he would hold a black flag demonstration in front of BJP offices in Tamil Nadu if Vedanti did not withdraw his remarks.In an apparent damage control excercise, the BJP on Sunday sought to distance itself from the “Vedanti fatwa” controversy and backed the claim of the VHP leader that he was misquoted.“We just heard Karunanidhi’s remarks. Whatever he has said that has been published, we condemn it,” BJP spokesperson M Venkaiah Naidu.Karunanidhi triggered a chain reaction when he said Ram is much a lie as the Himalayas and the Ganga are truths. He even quoted Valmiki to insist that Ram used to drink.But, the VHP decree echoed the fatwa issued by former Uttar Pradesh minister, Mohammed Yaqub Quereshi when he demanded the head of the Danish cartoonist for maligning the prophet. And the fatwa caught the BJP on the wrong foot at the Bhopal national executive. Party leaders were trying to wriggle out of a difficult situation.http://tinyurl.com/ysmho2  

North-side divide split wide open with Ram Setu

Sandhya Ravishankar / CNN-IBNPublished on Sunday , September 23, 2007 at 03:07 Chennai: According to Chief Minister Karunanidhi, Ram was an Aryan God imposed on the Dravidians. It’s now the north-south divide that is looming large over the project.Periyar, the father of the Dravida movement, was known for garlanding idols of Lord Rama with slippers. The DMK has since diluted his ideology. Political convenience has ensured that caste has remained in Tamil politics. Karunanidhi’s views on the Rama Setu too have swung back and forth.The 1972 Ramanathapuram Gazeteer says Adam’s Bridge was built by Lord Rama’s Vaanar Sena. Karunanidhi, then Chief Minister, wrote the book’s foreword backing the Ramar Setu legend. Advocate and Ramanathapuram District President of RSS, D Kuppuramu said while quoting from the foreword, “It reflects our civization and is a mirror of society.”“In 1972 he accepted this as a Chief Minister but now he refutes it,” Kuppuramu added.The Ramar Sethu issue has given Jayalalitha a platform to mop up the Brahmin vote. After damning the Sethusamudram project on economic and environmental grounds she has added religious dimensions to the arguments.But Jayalalithaa’s main ally, Vaiko and his MDMK, have broken ranks, supporting the DMK on the issue. Don’t stop the project using religion as an excuse, he warns. The Left and the Pattali Makkal Katchi of PMK, while supporting the Sethusamudram project, are mum on the Ramar Sethu debate.“The NDA had always said that the project is okay as long as they don’t touch the bridge. But if there is one political hypocrite who comes out clearly in this issue then that is the CM of Tamil Nadu. The Centre is part of a great conspiracy to bring total darkness in this state,” political analyst Cho Ramaswamy said.The controversy may radicalize the Tamil voter on religious lines. Soon after Karunanidhi’s declaration that Lord Rama is a myth, petrol bombs were hurled at his daughter Selvi’s house in Bangalore. The DMK is yet to react. But will this anti-Rama stand affect Karunanidhi’s votebank?“The Hindu voter is a very tolerant person and that’s why Karunanidhi is able to indulge in hatred of Hinduism again and again,” Ramaswamy said.The DMK, once a so-called atheist party, is now being viewed as anti Hindu, while the AIADMK’s pro-Hindu stance is no secret. The smaller parties too are taking sides. Clearly, Tamil Nadu’s politics is split down the middle over the Ramar Setu.http://tinyurl.com/yoqt4a

VHP to file case against Karunanidhi in Bombay HC on 24th

Nagpur, Sep 22 : The Vishwa Hindu Parishad will file a case against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi for allegedly hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus with his statements about Lord Rama.Speaking to newspersons here today, VHP All India Secretary Vyankatesh Abdeo said the case will be filed on September 24 in Bombay High Court under section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, and language and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) of the Indian Penal Code. Noted lawyer Niteen Pradhan will be among those representing VHP in court, he said adding that the organisation planned to file a similar case against the Central Government also.”Mr Karunanidhi must have been suffering from a bout of insanity when he called Lord Rama a drunkard. The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister must, therefore, be admitted to a mental asylum,” Mr Abdeo said.The VHP will stage ‘padyatras’ in every district in the country between September 27 and October 10 to oppose the demolition of the ‘Ram Sethu’ for the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project (SSCP), he said. Each ‘padyatra’ will visit various areas in the district and culminate in a public meeting on the same day, Mr Abdeo told newspersons.Mr Abdeo said United Progressive Alliance Chairman Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh must at least apologise to the people of the country for hurting their sentiments by questioning the existence of Lord Rama in an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court.”Dr Singh must, in fact, resign accepting responsibility for the flawed affidavit, because his entire cabinet responsibile.Minister for Tourism Ambika Soni said the affidavit was prepared in consultation with seniors, which evidently also includes Ms Gandhi and Dr Singh,” he said.Asserting that the constituent parties of the UPA were also responsible for the SSCP, Mr Abdeo said they should take inspiration from Bibhishan (Ravana’s brother) and oppose the project. The canal would save ships only one hour and 30 minutes of voyage, he asserted. There were several other options to make the canal without damaging Ram Sethu, the most suitable one being through Dhanushkoti, between Rameshwaram and the historical structure, he added.The SSCP envisages linking Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar by making a shipping canal through Rameshwaram, thus enabling ships to save a voyage around Sri Lanka.

— UNIhttp://www.newkerala.com/oct.php?action=fullnews&id=4165 DMK hardens stand on Ram Setu  Sam DanielSaturday, September 22, 2007 (Chennai)Union Shipping Minister TR Baalu, who is from the DMK, has hardened his stand on the Ram Setu.He says he will explain to the court that the alignment that could spare Ram Setu will be disastrous to the fragile ecosystem.Clarifying that only 300 meters of the 30 km long Adam’s bridge will be cut across for ships to sail through, Baalu accuses the BJP of playing the communal card with reference to a project that it had originally cleared when it was in power at the centre.”My leader only showed his anguish nothing else. We see only Adam’s bridge, no Ram Setu,” said T R Baalu.While maritime experts say that the project will not be economically viable for shipping operators, the shipping minister says that there’s more than economics to the project.”There is an external factor. It is the security of the nation. We are more concerned about the security of the nation and equally the viability,” said T R Baalu.While the Ram Setu is evolving into an election plank for the opposition, the DMK seems determined to push it through and says that it will meet any opposition to the project legally. http://tinyurl.com/ysmgah  

Uma Bharti files police complaint over Sethusamudram project

Posted September 22nd, 2007 by Sahil NagpalNew Delhi/Chennai, Sept 22 : Bharatiya Janashakti Party leader Uma Bharti today filed a police complaint against those involved in submitting a government affidavit over the controversial Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project to the Supreme Court. Bharti and her party workers participated in a march before lodging formal complaint at the police station near the Parliament here. “There is an example from the journalist, a famous journalist, Mr Alok Tomar. He just republished a cartoon of Mohammad Hazrat, and for that, the paper was banned and he was sent to jail. He was harassed and no explanation to charge sheet was given to him. Till today, he is being harassed. The same kind of crime has been committed by Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, Karunanidhi, T.R. Baalu and by Hans Raj Bhardhwaj,” said Bharti. “In this country, law and the Constitution has to be the same, you cannot have two kinds of laws, separate for Hindus and Muslims. And, if they do so, they are again dividing the country between Hindus and Muslims. They are very dangerous people,” she added. On the other hand, Union Shipping and Road Transport Minister T. R. Baalu, said that the Centre would go ahead with the present alignment of the ship lane project after convincing the Supreme Court. “I can only say (that) as far as the ministry is concerned, it is a settled issue. When the matter is in front of the Supreme Court, I would not like to comment on the jurisdiction of Supreme Court. We will put forward our arguments before the Supreme Court and we will tell all our arguments as far as scientific issues are concerned,” said Baalu. A row erupted after the Centre filed an affidavit before the apex court on Wednesday in connection with the ship lane project, saying that Hinduism’s most important texts were not proof of the existence of Hindu gods. The government had to backtrack on the affidavit the next day following vociferous protests. They sought three months time from the apex court to file an amended affidavit. (With inputs from ANI) http://tinyurl.com/yoqrnp  No evidence for Ram Sethu: BaaluNT Bureau
Chennai, Sept 22:
        Union Minister for Shipping and Highways T R Baalu today said there was no mention of Ram Sethu in the Indian map and it was only Adam’s Bridge.         Addressing a press meet after inspecting works of National Highways in Chennai, he said, ‘as far as I know, the map was not redrawn for the last sixty years.’ The present alignment of Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project (SSCP) was sanctioned by the previous BJP government, he said and added the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) recommended the same alignment in its report.         According to the NEERI report, the ship channel should originate from Tuticorin New Harbour and cut across Gulf of Mannar to extend towards East and further North East, South of Pamban Island and to cut through Adam’s Bridge finally entering the Bay of Bengal.         Even the paleography study by Geological Survey of India found the sediments at Adam’s Bridge dating back to 5 to 7 lakh years, he said adding, ‘the puranic period is segmented to be 17 lakh year ago. How come these two things be reconciled?’         Making a plea to BJP and other religious groups opposing the Sethu canal project to stop communalising the issue, he said the SSCP was discussed and scrutinised threadbare from 1999 to 2005 and 14 public hearings were held before the dredging commenced. The project being implemented by the UPA was only based on the decisions taken by the then BJP government.         He charged the Opposition parties for planning to incite communal violence by making it an emotional issue. However, he said that UPA government did not intend to hurt the religious sentiments of the people. http://newstodaynet.com/22sep/ld7.htm  Indo-Asian News ServiceChennai, September 22, 2007First Published: 23:23 IST(22/9/2007)Last Updated: 01:20 IST(23/9/2007)

DMK president unfazed by death threat

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on Saturday brushed aside the ransom announced on his head following his controversial remarks on Hindu god Ram, even as a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader sought to distance the organisation from the threat call.“I will continue to be among you even if I am not here,” the octogenarian DMK president told his supporters without making any direct reference to the death threat.According to media reports, Ram Vilas Vedanti, a former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP who is also described as senior VHP leader, said in Ayodhya on Friday that VHP saints would weigh in gold anyone who beheaded Karunanidhi and cut out his tongue.“I must be very precious if someone is ready to pay gold for me,” Karunanidhi said.The DMK, part of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in New Delhi, is pressing for the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project that BJP, VHP and many other Hindu groups have opposed.The opponents argue that the project would damage a reef called Ram Setu or Adam’s Bridge that was constructed by Lord Ram, though scientists say there is no evidence to support the contention.As the political parties this month debated the religious aspect of the project, Karunanidhi angered many Hindu outfits by questioning Lord Ram’s existence and also cracking jokes on the Ram Setu – leading to the threat from Vedanti.But VHP working president S Vedantam clarified in a statement in Chennai: “I wish to clarify that he (Vedanti) is not a VHP member. The views expressed by him are his own and the VHP has never subscribed to such views.” The VHP’s main concern is reinforcing Hindu religious values and it has never indulged in personal attacks or supported inflammatory speeches, Vedantam said.However, Karunanidhi’s archrival, opposition leader J Jayalalitha of AIADMK called for his resignation, alleging he was making inflammatory speeches that could lead to violence.“A chief minister can be an atheist or a believer in a particular faith. It is his personal matter. But when he assumes office, he should set aside his likes and dislikes and treat all people with respect without any bias.”“It was highly condemnable that Karunanidhi continued to hurt the sentiments of crores (tens of millions) of Hindus across the globe by speaking ill of Lord Ram,” she said. Demanding that Karunanidhi step down “for having violated the Indian constitution” by making inflammatory speeches, she threatened a statewide agitation from Sep 26.In retaliation, senior DMK leader Arcot Veerasamy made a similar threat against the BJP. He said black flag demonstrations would be held in front of BJP offices in Tamil Nadu if Vedanti did not withdraw his remarks.“The blood of ‘the self-respect movement’ is running in our body. We will make them understand that we will not tolerate any offensive remarks about our leader,” Veerasamy said.While the BJP has demanded that the alignment of the proposed shipping canal should be changed so as to save Ram Setu, Union Shipping and Transport Minister TR Baalu, who is from DMK, refused to budge.“I do not see any such thing as Ram Setu. I know only Adam’s Bridge,” Baalu said in Chennai earlier in the day.He reiterated the government would approach the Supreme Court, which has stayed the project for the time being, to vacate the stay and continue with its completion to save the navigation time.http://tinyurl.com/27eulk  Centre to await Supreme Court orders on alignment issue: Baalu Special Correspondent

Says UPA Government committed to completing Sethusamudram project


“There is no need for any rescheduling”“Change in alignment will have environmental impact”


Chennai: Asserting that the United Progressive Alliance Government was committed to completing the Sethusamudram project on schedule, Union Minister of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways T.R. Baalu said here on Saturday that his Ministry would wait for the Supreme Court’s orders on the alignment issue.“We are going ahead with the project and my Ministry will endeavour to complete it by December next year. There is no need for any rescheduling, though there has been a minor setback to the project,” he told reporters. Arguing that any change in the alignment would have an environmental impact, he said about Rs.600 crore had been spent on dredging and related activities.Asked if he was ruling out scope for change in alignment, he replied: “Don’t put your words in my mouth. I will wait for the apex court orders and then chalk out the future course of action.”Saying he would not answer hypothetical queries about what the Centre would do if the Supreme Court gave an adverse ruling, Mr. Baalu asked the media to think and report positively about the project, which, he averred, would further boost economic growth.He said the alternative alignment being proposed by the BJP was rejected by the Union Environment Ministry in 1999, during the NDA regime. Though the entire project, including the present alignment, was approved by the NDA regime, the BJP leaders were now trying to whip up religious passions to gain political mileage.Asked about Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi’s remark that he was not averse to an alternative alignment to ensure early completion of the project, Mr. Baalu said his leader had made that remark “out of anguish,” when persistently asked whether he was bent upon “destroying” the Ramar Sethu. “I do not see any such thing as Ramar Sethu and I know only Adam’s bridge,” Mr. Baalu said. “I am sad the media are also ill-informed about the status of the project. It is a prestigious project.” Admitting that a junior-level officer of the Archaeological Survey of India had made a minor mistake while filing the Government affidavit in the Supreme Court, he said the media had not highlighted the Government’s corrective course of action.http://www.hindu.com/2007/09/23/stories/2007092350410100.htm   Sethu project RAMANATHAPURAM: Swami Pranavananda of Vivekananda kudil has opposed the idea of any new alignment for the Sethu project, which may affect the Sri Kothandaramar Temple near Rameswaram. A meeting held here on Saturday, attended by 200 persons, urged the State and Central Governments to choose a new alignment that does not affect the Ramar Sethu and the temple. http://www.hindu.com/2007/09/23/stories/2007092352680300.htm  Rama brawl turns uglier  Chennai, Sept. 22: The raging Ram Sethu controversy has hit yet another landmine with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and his DMK ministerial colleagues fuming over the “fatwa” allegedly issued by a former BJP MP, Mr Ram Vilas Vedanti, in Ayodhya and threatening retaliatory action unless the VHP apologises for its member’s provocative remark.  State electricity minister and DMK strongman Arcot N. Veerasamy on Saturday threatened that “no one in the Sangh Parivar would be able to roam the streets of Tamil Nadu”.“Unless this reckless north Indian belonging to a barbaric outfit, which has been peddling God and instigating religious frenzy in the name of Ram, seeks pardon immediately, I will personally lead my party cadres to picket all the BJP offices across Tamil Nadu in a week’s time,” Mr Veerasamy said.  The South Chennai DMK unit has announced picketing of the city BJP office on Sunday “as the first phase of agitation demanding Vedanti’s arrest”.AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa in a statement demanded that Mr Karunanidhi’s “minority” government be dismissed “for violating the Constitution by causing religious discord and social disharmony through his hurtful statements ridiculing Ramar and thereby deeply hurting millions of Hindus across the world”. She said the Chief Minister’s anti-Ram statements attracted a jail term of up to three years under Sec. 295-A of the IPC for hurting religious sentiments and a one-year jail term under Sec. 298 for threatening communal harmony.Even after the Centre had withdrawn the offending affidavit questioning Lord Ram’s existence, Mr Karunanidhi persisted with his statements ridiculing Lord Ram and “even stooped down to such despicable levels to abuse Ramar as a drunkard,” Ms Jayalalithaa said, adding, “He has committed an unforgivable crime.”  Mr Karunanidhi remained unfazed by the criticism, declaring at a teachers’ conference in Chennai on Saturday evening that he was not worried about a threat to his life “so long as you are all there by me”. He also said Mr Vedanti must have been a “wealthy influential person” for having placed such a heavy price on his head and tongue. “Even if someone cuts my head, my address will still remain through all of you. He has valued my tongue so high because I have sung the praise of our great leaders Periyar and Anna, besides chanting Thirukkural daily.”The teachers’ meeting, where the chief minister shared the dais with most of his Cabinet colleagues, was a high voltage affair. One minister after another lashed out at the Sangh Parivar for Mr Vedanti’s “mad fatwa” and pledged their lives to the service of their leader Kalaignar. The teachers, too, joined the chorus of solidarity.  “The VHP is a mob of murderers. They had even demanded the expulsion of dalits from our land. Vedanti will face dire consequences if he does not withdraw his words against our thalaivar (leader),” thundered Mr Veerasamy.

http://deccan.com/home/homedetails.asp#Rama brawl turns uglier

Uma Bharti files police complaint against PM, Sonia, Karunanidhi New Delhi, Sept. 22 (PTI): Firebrand saffron leader Uma Bharti today filed a police complaint here against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, DMK chief Karunanidhi and some others for allegedly hurting the sentiments of the Hindu community on the Ram Setu issue. In the complaint filed at the Parliament Street Police Station, she demanded action against Law Minister H R Bharadwaj, Culture Minister Ambika Soni and Shipping Minister T R Baalu. The Bharatiya Janshakti Party leader sought action against Gandhi, Singh and his cabinet colleagues Bharadwaj, Soni and Baalu in connection with the controversial Ram Setu affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, saying the “sentences and words” in the document hurt the sentiments of Hindus. Bharti, in the complaint, said Karunanidhi, “by terming the existence of Lord Ram a lie and using insulting language for him” had hurt the sensitivity of the community. “I am a Hindu and my sentiments have been hurt. That is why I have filed the complaint,” Bharti told PTI. “We have given a notice of 15 days. We want action within 15 days or we will gherao the Home Minister,” she said. http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/001200709221740.htm

Karunanidhi should quit office: Sarathkumar (21 Sept. 2007, Dinamalar Tamil daily)


கருணாநிதி பதவி விலக வேண்டும்: இ.ச.ம.க.தலைவர் சரத்குமார் சென்னை: ராமர் பாலம் குறித்தும் ராமர் குறித்தும் தமிழக முதல்வர் கருணாநிதி தெரிவித்த கருத்துக்கு பல்வேறு தரப்பினர்களும் எதிர்ப்பு தெரிவித்துள்ள நிலையில், புதியதாக கட்சி ஆரம்பித்துள்ள சரத்குமார் வெளியிட்டுள்ள அறிக்கையில் இச்சம்பவத்திற்கு பொறுப்பேற்று கருணாநிதி பதவி விலக வேண்டும் என்றும் இப்பிரச்சினைக்கு அத்வானியுடன் விவாதிக்க முன்வரவேண்டும் எனவும் கருணாநிதியின் கருத்துக்கு கண்டன அறிக்கை வெளியிட்டுள்ளார்.


Sarath: MK must apologise for remarks 

Chennai, Sept. 2: Chief minister M. Karunanidhi should apologise for “abusing” Lord Rama or declare unequivocally that all those who worshipped Ram should not vote for his DMK, actor-turned-politician Sarath Kumar said on Friday.“The DMK chief cannot hurt millions of believers by abusing Ram and then beg for their votes during the elections. Besides he has attracted punishment under section 295A and 290 of the IPC for causing disaffection and division among the people through his provocative statements  on Lord Rama,” Sarath Kumar said, referring to the chief minister insisting that Ram was a mere mythical figure, who was dubbed a drunkard by none other than Valmiki, the author of Ramayana.“If Kalaignar wants a debate with Advani over Lord Rama being a drunkard, let him first resign from the post of chief minister, so that the debate can be judged fairly. Instead of focusing on developing the state and its people, he is wasting his own time on such malicious and frivolous arguments that also hurt the Hindus constituting the majority in our country,” Sarath Kumar told a press conference in Chennai. He said if an alternate route for the Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project was possible, that should be explored so as to save Ramar Sethu from destruction.Also, the government should come out with “clear details” to justify its argument that the canal alignment breaching Ramar Sethu was the best in terms of cost and environment impact. Sarath Kumar also accused the BJP of raising the Ramar Sethu issue 18 months after the project was launched. Clearly, the Hindutva party was looking for issues based on religion only in the hope of bettering its electoral prospects, he said. It was unfortunate that the DMK had played into BJP hands. Both Mr Karunanidhi and Mr Advani deserved condemnation “for instigating negative religious passions threatening peace in the state and the rest of the country,” said the star politician.Denying that his party was against the Sethu project, Sarath Kumar clarified that all he  wanted was to ensure that the focus on it was not distracted by politico-religious controversies and provocative statements. If an alternative route was possible, why not attempt that, he asked, adding the project was a 150-year-old dream of the Tamils and must be pursued as it promised economic development of the southern districts.He refused to comment on the charge that the DMK and its nominee in the Union Cabinet, T. R. Baalu, were insisting on the existing route cutting through the Ramar Sethu only to prolong the contracts entered into for the project. Expressing his ‘premonition’ that the Lok Sabha elections could be held next June, Sarath Kumar alleged that the distribution of various freebies was all that the DMK government could peddle as its achievement so far. http://tinyurl.com/3ajsjf

In Gujarat, Ramayan brings Hindus, Muslims together

IANSFriday , September 21, 2007 at 15:20 in Nation section Ahmedabad: While the debate over the existence of the Hindu god Ram gets uglier, thousands of Hindus and Muslims will on Saturday gather at a Sufi shrine near the Pakistan border for a nine-day narration of the Ramayan – aimed at building bridges not just across two countries but also two communities.The man behind the initiative is spiritual guru and Ramayana narrator Morari Bapu. With Manas-Mohabbat (mind and love) as the theme, the Ram katha, or the story of Ram, the traditional nine-day narration of the epic, will be held from Saturday at Hajipir Dargah, in the border district of Kutch, 450 km from here.“At a time when terrorism and communal tensions are prevailing all over the world, we hope this unique Ram katha will disseminate the message of love and brotherhood,” said president of the Hanumant Seva Samiti Pradip Dave.“The event will also provide an opportunity to create a bridge for communal harmony within India and better relations among people of the two countries,” Dave said.Organisers expect an audience of about 15,000 people, with equal representation from both communities.“When we did the bhumi pujan (ground purification) ceremony there on Sep 12, about 100 Muslims from nearby villages participated. Muslim families joined us in Hindu rituals,” Dave said.“The dargah is located close to the border, and there’s little human habitation there in the Kutch desert. But we have made arrangements for 7,000 people to stay there for the nine days,” he added.Many worshippers from Pakistan visit the Hajipir Dargah. Hindus along with Muslims from both countries participate in the Urs held there every year.While Pakistani people may not be able to attend the katha, a contingent of artists from the neighbouring country will be there to present cultural performances in the evenings after every session.Programmes planned include Ustad Gulfam Ahmadkhan presenting rabab sufi songs on Sunday and Pakistani artists Husain Baksh, Chand and Suraj singing thumri, dadra and ghazals the next day.There are other programmes lined too – like mimicry and folk songs by Gujarati artists Harsul Gadhavi and Mayabhai Aahir and qawwalis by Rakesh Pandit.For the 60 something Gujarati preacher, this is just another novel idea.Morari Bapu, who has led a number of initiatives aimed at communal harmony in the aftermath of the sectarian strife in Gujarat in 2002, earlier held Katha sessions in Kailas Mansarovar in Tibet and Amarnath in Kashmir – as well as aboard a plane and a steamer.He has been the brand ambassador for a campaign to save the whale shark spearheaded by the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare. His message to fishermen in the Saurashtra coast has given an impetus to the campaign.http://tinyurl.com/ysnsom

Cong. distances itself from Karunanidhi’s remarks on Lord Ram

New Delhi, Sept. 21 (PTI): Clearly uneasy with DMK chief M Karunanidhi’s controversial remarks on Lord Ram, the Congress today distanced itself from his comments, saying the party’s views on the issue were at variance with those of the southern ally.

“If our stand is at variance with other parties quoted to me, then it is clear that our stand is not the same,” Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told reporters here.

He was responding to a question on whether there were differences between the Congress and the DMK on the issue of Lord Ram.

“It is clear that there is no one view in the UPA on the issue,” Singhvi said.

On the Congress’ stance in the matter, he said the party felt the issue of Lord Ram was that of personal faith and could not be an issue before the Supreme Court.

“As far as the issue regarding Lord Ram is concerned, it is a matter of personal belief and personal faith. It is not an issue before the court,” Singhvi said.

“The Congress party’s stand has been clearly articulated. It is for others to decide whether they share the view,” he said, when asked about CPI(M) leader Prakash Karat backing Karunanidhi on the Ram Setu issue.

“The issue of the affidavit is closed and over and as far as the project is concerned, the matter is completely and comprehensively and totally sub-judice and will be decided on the basis of the outcome of the case in the Supreme Court,” Singhvi said.


कांग्रेस ने माना राम पर है संप्रग में मतभेद

Sep 21, 08:50 pm (Dainik Jagaran)

नई दिल्ली। ‘राम’ के वजूद को लगातार नकार रहे द्रमुक प्रमुख करुणानिधि के अभियान से परेशान कांग्रेस ने शुक्रवार को माना कि इस मसले पर संप्रग गठबंधन में मतभेद हैं। ‘राम’ पर द्रमुक के लगातार प्रहारों से असहमत कांग्रेस ने शुक्रवार को एक बार फिर करुणानिधि को आस्था के इस संवेदनशील मसले पर चोट नहीं करने की सलाह दी। इस प्रसंग को लेकर पार्टी को हो रहे नुकसान के बावजूद गठबंधन की मजबूरी के कारण कांग्रेस करुणानिधि को दो टूक कुछ नहीं कह पा रही है।

बाल्मीकि रामायण के प्रसंग के बहाने राम पर करुणानिधि के प्रहार के बारे में पूछने पर कांग्रेस प्रवक्ता अभिषेक सिंघवी ने कहा कि पार्टी तमिलनाडु के मुख्यमंत्री की इस राय से सहमत नहीं है। राम के अस्तित्व का मसला लोगों की निजी आस्था और विश्वास का है तथा कांग्रेस इसमें कोई दखलंदाजी नहीं करती। सवालों के जवाब में सिंघवी ने स्वीकार किया कि संप्रग में ‘राम’ के मसले पर मतभेद हैं। उन्होंने कहा, संप्रग घटकों को ऐसे संवेदनशील और आस्था से जुड़े मसलों पर ज्यादा नहीं बोलना चाहिए।

गठबंधन की मजबूरी की वजह से क्या कांग्रेस करुणानिधि के राम विरोध को नहीं रोक पा रही? सिंघवी ने इसके जवाब में किसी मजबूरी की बात से इनकार किया। साथ ही करुणानिधि के बयान से पल्ला झाड़ते हुए कहा कि गठबंधन के बावजूद लोकतंत्र में कौन क्या कर रहा है इसका कांग्रेस ने ठेका नहीं लिया है। करुणानिधि के इस अभियान से कांग्रेस को हो रहे राजनीतिक नुकसान के बारे में पूछने पर सिंघवी ने कोई स्पष्ट जवाब नहीं दिया और कहा कि दूसरे दल के नजरिए के लिए कांग्रेस को जिम्मेदार नहीं ठहराया जा सकता।

पार्टी सूत्रों की मानें तो करुणानिधि को राम पर भड़काऊ बयानबाजी से रोकने के लिए प्रधानमंत्री मनमोहन सिंह और कांग्रेस अध्यक्ष सोनिया गांधी के स्तर पर बात कर उन्हें सलाह दी गई है। इसके बावजूद द्रमुक नेता इस विवाद को और गरमाने का कोई मौका नहीं चूक रहे। कांग्रेस यह मानती है कि राम पर द्रविड़ पार्टियों को यह रुख भले ही बहुत पुराना है, लेकिन रामसेतु विवाद की वजह से ताजा टिप्पणियां राजनीतिक उबाल को बढ़ा रही हैं। पार्टी इस बात से भी सहमत है कि भाजपा को यह मुद्दा रास आता है इसलिए वह करुणानिधि को उकसा कर इस विवाद को लगातार हवा देती रहेगी। सूत्रों के अनुसार कांग्रेस यही बात द्रमुक प्रमुख को समझाने की कोशिश कर रही है मगर अभी उसे कामयाबी नहीं मिली है।



Desecration of gods: Hindu religious leaders hold rally

Ayodhya, Sept 20 (PTI) Saints and religious leaders took out a rally here today against alleged desecration of Hindu gods and goddesses and burnt effigies of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.

Later holding a meeting at Raj Sadan, the saints exhorted Hindus to “uproot the government that was humiliating them by desecrating their gods and goddess”.

They blamed Singh and Gandhi for “desecration of gods”. They also criticised Karunanidhi for his comments on Lord Ram and reiterated their resolve to save the Ram Setu.

Senior member of Ram Janambhoomi Nyas, Ram Vilas Vedanti, said saints would now be forced to come out against the government and organise ‘jan jagran’ in the state.



TTD expresses unhappiness over Karunanidhi’s remarks

Tirupati, Sept. 21 (PTI): The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam, managing the affairs of Lord Venkateswara temple, today expressed its “unhappiness” over Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi’s recent remarks on Lord Ram.

Without mentioning Karunanidhi’s name, TTD Chairman B Karunakara Reddy told reporters that the temple administration was “unhappy” over the remarks made against Lord Ram and epic Ramayana by “some political quarters”.

He also advised the politicians to stop giving “negative comments” immediately on Hindu gods and the centuries-old sentiments of the people professing the religion.

However, he declined to comment on Ram Sethu and the Sethusamudram project.


Ram remarks: VHP leader issues ‘fatwa’ against Karunanidhi
UNI | September 21, 2007 | 19:48 IST

Vishwa Hindu Parishad�leader and former Bharatiya Janata Party Member of Parliament Ram Vilas Vedanti on Friday issued a ‘fatwa’ against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi for his statement challenging the existence of Lord Ram.

The VHP kendriya margdarshak mandal leader and two-time BJP Lok Sabha member issued the ‘fatwa’ in Ayodhya in which he said whosoever chopped off the head and tongue of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president would be gifted with gold by the saints of Ayodhya.

“He has played with the sentiments of the Hindus. I ask the government to take punitive action against the TN CM for his remarks,” VHP leader Sharad Kumar said in Lucknow quoting Vedanti.

“People like him are trying to spread hatred in the country,” he added.

On Saturday, the Tamil Nadu chief minister had cautioned the Centre against paying heed to “religious fundamentalist forces” on the Ram Sethu issue. The Centre should not bow to such pressure and give up the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project, Karunanidhi had said.

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

“Lord Ram 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.


ராமர்பாலம் பிரச்னை: விஸ்வ இந்து பரிஷத்துக்கு தி. மு. க., கண்டனம்சென்னை: சேதுசமுத்திரம் அமைக்கும் பணியில் ராமல் பாலம் இடிக்கப்படுவதை விஸ்வ இந்து பரிஷத் மற்றும் பா.ஜ., க., கடும் எதிர்ப்பு தெரிவித்து வருகிறது. இந்நிலையில் ராமர் குறித்து தமிழக முதல்வர் கருணாநிதி அளித்த பேட்டியில் கடுமயாக விமர்சி்திருந்தா். இதனையடுத்து பா. ஜ., முன்னாள் எம்பி.,யும் சாமியார் சங்க தலைவருமான ராம்விலாஸ் வேதாந்தி அளித்த பேட்டியில் கருணநிதியின் தலையை கொய்துவருவாருக்கு தங்ககாசுகள் பரிசளிக்கப்படும் என அறிவித்தார். இதற்கு அமைச்சர் ஆற்காடு வீராச்சாமி கடும் எதிர்ப்பு தெரிவித்து அறிக்கை வெளியிட்டுள்ளார். அந்த அறிக்கையில் தலைவர் கருணாநிதியை அவததததூறாக பேசி வருவதை பொறுக்க முடியாது. இதற்காக சுயமரியாதை ரத்தம் ஓடும் எங்களால் இது போன்ற கருத்துக்‌ளை தாங்கி ‌கொள்ள முடியாது. எனவே விரைவில் பா.ஜ., மற்றும் விஸ்வ இந்து பரிஷத் அலுவலகம் முன்பு போராட்டம் நடத்தப்படும் என்றார்.



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Next elections: It’s UPA versus Rama?
Sunday September 23 2007 02:37 IST
S GurumurthyThe Sethusamudram canal project, that was progressing by the hour with a daily report on website on how much of the Rama Sethu was being dredged out every day, suddenly hit a roadblock a week ago. This forthwith landed the Central Government and the UPA in yet another crisis and led to an undignified tirade against Rama himself. The backlash of it threatens to bring Rama himself back to national politics, with or without Ayodhya.Who is to be faulted for this? No one other than the protagonists of the Sethusamudram canal project, the DMK, themselves. Those who opposed the canal project in its present form were crying from housetops that they were not opposed to the canal as such. They only wanted the canal to be realigned so that the Rama Sethu was not harmed. But the DMK contemptuously dismissed them again and again. It kept seeing the Rama Sethu as a villain of the Sethusamudram canal as if without breaking the Rama Sethu the canal was a non-starter.Consequently, the entire judicial battle and street brawl over Sethusamudram canal centred around the physical violation of the Rama Sethu that looked inevitable.This forced the defenders of the Rama Sethu to bring Rama himself as the defence. They relied on the Ramayana and the Rama traditions to contend that the Rama Sethu was a historic monument. This forced the proponents of Sethusamudram to deny historicity to Rama Sethu. For that Rama himself had to be declared as a figment of Valmiki’s imagination.The underlying trigger for the avoidable debate on Rama was the hoax played on the people that if the Rama Sethu were to exist the Sethusamudram had to be given up. This is what led to a disastrous actionreaction syndrome which has the potential to change the complexion of politics in the country.First, it compelled those who wanted the Rama Sethu preserved to rely on Rama for its historicity. Next, it forced the Central Government to contend on the ill-fated affidavit that as Rama was an imaginary character, the Rama Sethu was no monument and so it could be done away with. When this brought forth a tsunami of angry response, the government ran away from the court not only taking back the affidavit and throwing it into the dustbin, but also almost telling the court that it would implement the project only with the consent of all.In this rapid development, the DMK was left shell-shocked. With the Central Government U-turning on the affidavit and the Law Minister asking who can deny the existence of Rama, the DMK got into double jeopardy. Not only was its pet project stymied, but also its ideology of atheism – of course selectively limited to Hindu Gods – got into serious risk. How could Dr Karunanidhi stomach Law Minister Bhardwaj’s declaration that Rama is as certain as the Himalayas. He had to counter that, saying that Rama is a Himalayan lie! This is how the DMK retaliation started, almost mindlessly.In his speech at Erode on September 15, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister gave vent to his anger at being bowled over twice, with an unbelievable tirade against Rama himself. “Who is Rama? Where is the proof for his existence? Where did he learn engineering to build the Rama Sethu? Is it not the return of the dark days of superstition to cite a non-existent Rama to block a development project?” He was unstoppable.The campaign against Rama which started in Erode reached its peak, five days later, on September 20 at Chennai with the Chief Minister telling the media that Rama’s biographer Valmiki himself had depicted Rama as a drunkard after all. Later, obviously feeling that he had dwarfed the debate to a slum-grade language, Dr Karunanidhi hastily issued a press release by dropping the word drunkard and saying that Valmiki had said that Rama had taken ‘somapana’.But, according to those who have read Valmiki Ramayana in Sanskrit, which Dr Karunanidhi could not have done, nowhere does Valmiki say that Rama took somapana; on the contrary the biographer says that Rama and Lakshmana were angry with Sugreeva over his drinking habit. But, this being not the place for a debate on the issue, now back to the sequence.But unfortunately only after questioning Rama’s existence and His engineering skills to build the bridge to Sri Lanka and abusing Him as a drunkard, has the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister come out with a stunning statement that he had never opposed the realignment of the Sethusamudram canal so as not to disturb or destroy the Rama Sethu. Why the hell all the dispute in the court and the struggle on the streets over Rama Sethu and Rama were for then?Had he made this statement six months back, why even a month back, the Rama Sethu would not have become a national issue, Rama would not have been dragged into it and then into inelegant war of words leading to Rama’s character assassination. The ridiculous issue of whether He existed or not issue notwithstanding, Sri Rama has always been and is still a reality in India and for its people. He is perhaps the only personality who functioned from the deeper Indian consciousness of the distant past and influenced modern politics.Just take two illustrative examples. First, Rama’s influence over Mahatma Gandhi, the most powerful political leader India ever produced, was total. Gandhiji never felt shy and, in fact, he ever felt proud of expressing his obsession with Rama and repeatedly acknowledged the hold of Rama over his heart and mind. He saw Rama as the remedy to all ills of humans, including physical illness! Thus, Rama publicly guided Gandhiji’s every move.Next, after the country attained freedom, the biggest mass movement centred on Rama and a temple for him at his birth place in Ayodhya exposed the pseudo-secular polity, shifted the political paradigm and effectively terminated the one-party rule at the Centre.Yes, the invisible Rama is the most powerful political force in India. It is foolish to see in Him just a religious icon. His tremendous power over Indians stems from the belief-cumfact that He is an illustrious example for life on earth. Whether He is a historic reality or not is irrelevant to the social and political theatre. That He is a political reality is what is relevant. So long as the DMK was a frog in the well, its inelegant description of Hindu Gods, including Rama, had its echo within Tamil Nadu and never attracted national attention. But with the coalition politics exposing the DMK and Dr Karunanidhi to national politics, the political culture and idiom of the DMK are also exposed to the national audience. The result is for all to see. Thanks to Dr Karunanidhi’s tirade against Him in Erode and in Chennai, Rama seems to be back in politics in Delhi, via Bhopal of course! Rama’s omnipresence is self-evident. Rama has seen hundreds of rulers and leaders of this nation come and go. He will see many more hundreds – believers like Gandhiji or nonbelievers like Karunanidhi included and will Himself remain as the single most powerful political force in India. This is where the usually alert Dr Karunanidhi failed to read the power of Rama over the people. He indulged in the usual DMK patented anti- Hindu idioms against Rama without understanding their impact in national politics where today, and unlike in the past, he is very much present and what he says is noticed.QED: Unless Dr Karunanidhi dumps his anti-Rama tirade, the UPA may have to dump the DMK. In default of either, the UPA may have to contest the next elections against Rama himself.comment@gurumurthy.net15 Sep 2007http://tinyurl.com/2y926a Swapan Dasgupta Faith flashpoints
23 Sep 2007, 0000 hrs IST , SWAPAN DASGUPTA
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Did Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi cock a snook at convention and good taste by ridiculing the Ramayana?There was a time when debunking Lord Ram wasn’t merely the luxury of heretical preachers and contrarians like the Bengali poet Michael Madhusudhan Dutt. Despite the enormous appeal of Lord Ram as a divine maryada purshottam (ideal king), minority currents not only gleaned his human frailties but even saw virtues in his enemies. The legend of the Baidyanath temple in Deogarh is linked to Ravana’s devotion to Shiva and the temple town of Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu is apparently named after Ravana’s brother, the indolent but virtuous Kumbakarna.Vimalsuri’s Ramayana in Prakrit, located in the Jain tradition, opens not with Ram’s genealogy but by identifying Ravana as one of the 63 Jain salakapurusas. Two years ago, a Brahmin community in Jodhpur established a Ravana temple to honour the King of Lanka in his sasural. That all the 300 or so versions of the Ramayan don’t follow the script of either Tulsidas or Ramanand Sagar is undeniable. Yet, it is also true that Ram is deeply venerated by an overwhelming majority of those who call themselves Hindus. For those who sit transfixed through a Ramlila, participate in boisterous Dussehra celebrations and see Ram in the image of Raja Ravi Varma’s oleographs, Karunanidhi’s scepticism is hurtful and provocative. The Ramayana is deeply etched into the cultural personality of India.Karunanidhi is emulating the spiritual guru of Tamil separatism E V Ramaswamy Naicker (Periyar). It was Periyar who converted the difference in religious and folk traditions into a political faultline. In August 1956, he turned Dussehra on its head at Chennai’s Marina beach with symbolic burnings of Lord Ram’s image. In 1970, he achieved further notoriety through a procession in Salem where effigies of Ram and Lakshman were beaten with shoes. For Periyar, the Ramayana was a tale of Aryan subordination of the Dravidians – a theme echoed by Karunanidhi in 2004, when he declared even the Bhagwad Gita had no place in Tamil culture.A curious feature of Indian history is that civilised, scholarly and often obscure debates on high philosophy have coexisted with crass and violent displays of one-upmanship. Till the late 19th century, it was common for assertions of faith to be accompanied by shrill attacks on false gods. Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi have written about their outrage at the abuse heaped on Hindu beliefs by European missionaries. Like Karunanidhi, the offensive evangelists often relied on literal readings of religious texts to belittle other faiths.Ironically, it was the introduction of democratic politics after Independence that helped make public discourse less offensive. Indian secularism has many faults but its one redeeming feature is that it has become unacceptable and even illegal to shower gratuitous insults on the faith of others, even if that faith is grounded in apparent irrationality. For reasons of sheer pragmatism, Indians have come to accept the virtues of restraint and self-censorship in matters governing religious beliefs. India has rightly presented the scientific temper with formidable no-go areas.These curbs haven’t put an end to communal conflicts centred on historical (not theological) antagonisms but have sharply reduced potential flashpoints. There are bound to be recurring conflicts over where to draw the line. These are already evident in the debates over personal laws and artistic freedom. With time and changing sensibilities, the Lakshman Rekha will be further redrawn.Maybe Karunanidhi’s intervention was part of that wider debate. Tragically, it was rooted in the archaic and unacceptable idiom of another age. Hopefully, there are few takers for his unenlightened rationalism.  http://tinyurl.com/37ayx9



2 Responses to Rama Setu: hurting by abusing Shri Rama

  1. DMK chief Karunanidhi is also required to sentiments of Hindus living across the world. These thing kinds of statements for lord Rama we can expect from person like him. It is important that DMK chief Karunanidhi should not make Ram Setu matter of his ego. Lord Ram has appeal across the all the cultures and religions and therefore he also need to behave in appropriate manner.

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