Saturday, August 23, 2008

Lord Rama myth or truth -- Vivek Arya

Lord Rama myth or truth
By Dr. Vivek Arya
Rama - The Role Model
Recently issue of Ramsetu is in vogue. Government filed an affadavit before supreme court stating that Rama has never existed on this earth. However, on strong opposition by other political parties and Hindu activist they withdrew the affadavit. Hindu organizations like Vishwa Hindu Parishad etc claim that question relating to existence of Rama cannot be simply resolved by scientific or historical findings.
Existence of Rama is basically a question of faith for millions of people. Therefore no Government can deny existence of Rama. But these greatest advocates of Hindusim did not show guts to take on Government/Karunanidhi and prove that Rama is as historical fact and not a myth.
Neverthless , they got support from an unexpected quarter i.e Hurriyat conference from Kashmir. Hurriayat also claimed that scientific or historical evidence are not yardstick to judge various issues related to religion.
Hence, whether Rama existed or not cannot be decided on base of scientific or historical findings. This is basically associated with religious sentiments of millions of people therefore government interference is unwanted.
In the mean time some of the scientists, based on astronomical data, have propounded that Rama existed around 5044 BC. In such a perplexing situation it becomes very difficult for common masses to arrive at any conclusive view regarding the existence of Rama. Hence, before deriving any conlusions we have to first analyse various facts regarding Rama and his epic Ramayana.
This article will put forth various facts which will help in resolving the issue of Rama's existence and will strongly conclude that Rama was an historical Mahanayaka and not any mythological character.
Maharishi Valmiki wanted to write an historical epic which can act as guiding principle for future generations. He was in dilemma over this issue. When he consulted Narada Muni, Narada Muni then suggested Valmiki to write about Rama, son of Dasratha who was born in the clan of Raghu. Here one should remember that Valmiki wrote Ramayana long after the period of Rama . This facts goes contrary to the prevalent legend that Valmiki wrote Ramayana before Rama was born. This fact has been very well stated in Valmiki's Ramayana.
Similarly Mahakavi Kalidas wrote Raghuvansham. This books throws light on lineage of Raghu and also states various kings who ruled after Rama. So, now the point of argument is that if Rama was a mythological character then how could Valmiki provide history of forefathers of Rama ?

Whereas in Raghuvansham Kalidasa has provided details of forefathers of Rama and his various Santatis(successor) who ruled after him. In present times various books dealing with stories of Rama are prevalent in India and around the world. We will throw light on this issue in the latter part of this article.

WHEN WAS RAMA BORN:-(based on Valmiki's Ramayana)
The burning topic in present times is, when was Rama born ?
Before dwelling on this point, first of all we have to understand that our great Maharishies has systematically divided period of shristi in Manvantars. Each Manvantar is furthur divided into chaturyugis. Each chaturyugis consist of Krita(satyuga), traita, dwapar and kaliyuga. Present Manvantar is Vaivast Manvantar. Already 27 chaturyugies of this Manvantar have passed. This is the 28th chaturyugi and first charan (period) of this chaturyugi is in continuation.

It is well known fact that Rama was born during the latter part of traita. Hence, if we assume that Rama was born in the present chaturyugi then it means he was born at least 10,00,000 years ago. The period of his birth may be more than this.

However, Vayu purana provide us the correct chronological period of Ramayana. If we take Vayu purana period into consideration then period of Rama goes to atleast 1,80,00,000 years back. Hence we can easily conclude that period of Rama is atleast 10,00,000 years to 1,80,00,000 years (this issue will be resolved in another topic "Blunders of Indian History") .

This view is also supported by the fact that when Hanuman went to Lanka in search of Sita, there he saw elephants having four teeth. Hence this is now for archeiologist/biologist to ascertain when did such elephants exist on earth ? (The calculations of chaturyugies will be dealt in another topic "Age of present shristi", whereas difficulties encountered in establishing chronological correctness of historical events for period before Christ will be dealt in "blunders of history").

Another interesting fact that has been mentioned in Valmiki Ramayana is that the paternal home of Bharat and Shatrughan was in a country where mode of transportation was vehicle being carried by dogs or deer. When both the brothers returned to Ayodhya from their maternal home they crossed many places covered by snow and were wearing wollen clothes. Which place does this episode points to has to be ascertained.
By our logic it is Russia, as phonetically Russia sounds like misnomer of Rishi (this has been established in our article blunder of Indian/World history) Above mentioned facts clearly give us an insight into the period when Rama was born. So those who claim that Rama is only a mythological character we are providing them some more proofs which will establish that before the advent of Christinity and Islam Rama was revered throughout out the world as an international cult figure.

The Deccan Herald, dtd 15 dec 1972, at its front page gave a news which states that in Elista, capital of Kalmyk in Russia, story relating to Ramayana had been published. The news further states that various legends of Ramayana are popular among people of Kalmyk. Various version of Ramayana are already stored in libraries in Kalmyk. The news clearly states that legends of Ramayana are very popular since time immemorial. Domodin Suren, a Russian writer, has compiled various legends popular among Mongolian and Kalmyk peoples. Prof C F Glostunky's manuscript 'Academy of sciences' is stored at Siberian Branch of erstwhile U S S R. That book deals with various legends popular along the coast of Volga river. This manuscript is in Kalmyk language. In Leningrad also various books dealing with stories of Ramayana in Russian and Mongolian languages are preserved.

In china, collection of Jatak stories relating various events of Ramayana, belonging to 251 AD. were compiled by KANG_SENG_HUA . Another book, of 742 AD, relating story of plight of Dasratha after Rama was ordered to go for Vanvasa is still found in China. Similarly in 1600 AD, His-Yii-Chii wrote a novel with title Kapi (monkey) dwelling on the stories of Ramayana, predominantly that of Hanuman.

Naresh Kumar Dhatusena alias Kumardasa, who ruled Srilanka in 617 AD wrote 'Janakiharan'. This is the oldest Sanskrit literature available in Srilanka. In Modern times C Don Bostean and Jhon d'silva have written stories based on Ramayana. Till today majority of population adore and revere Rama and Sita.

Various rock inscription belonging to 700 AD are found in Khmer region of Cambodia. These rock inscription are based on stories of Ramayana. Various temples constructed during the reign of Khmer dynasty depicts the story of Ramayana on their walls. The temples of Angkor are very famous for the stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata. These temples belong to the earlier part of 400 AD to 700 AD. One astonishing fact in these engraved pictures is that Hanuman and rest other Vanars are not shown with tail as against the popular belief of masses. (Whether Hanuman etc are monkeys, this issue will be dealt latter)

According to De Casperis, there was a temple named 'Chandi loro jongrong' which has stories of Ramayana engraved on its walls. This temple was of 9th century AD. In Indonesia another version of stories of Ramayana named Kakavin is very popular. This story was bit different from that of Prambanan. Besides that various other version of Ramayana stories were very popular in early centuries after christ which itself proves that Ramayana was very popular among Indonesian people before advent of Islam. It is also an astonishing fact that first international convention on Ramayana was organized in Indonesia few years back.

When the local people pronounce Laos in their language it phonetically sounds like the name of one of the sons of Rama. Besides remains of temples of Vat- she-fum and Vat-pa-Kev depict the story of Ramayana on their walls. Whereas temples of Vat-pra-kev and Vat-sisket are having books containing epic of Ramayana. Lafont, French traveler translated story of 'Pa laka-Pa lama' in his book named P'ommachak in french. This book also deals with story of Ramayana popular among masses of Laos.

Stories of Ramayana are still very popular among masses. In early centuries after Christ many kings who have Rama as either prefix or suffix in their name ruled this country. Just as we organize play of Ramayana in India, similarly various dramatic versions or Ramayana are oraganised in Thailand till today. Similar dramatic versions of Ramayana are still organized in various south-east asian countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Combodia etc.

In Malaysia till today plays are oraganised based on the stories of 'HIKAYAT SERI RAMA' ,written in 14 century AD,. Dalang society organize nearly 200-300 plays relating to Ramayana. Before commencement of the play people conduct various prayers and ablutions revering RAMA and SITA.
9) RAMAYANA IN BURMA:- King Kayanjhitha who reigned during 1084 –
1112 AD; regarded as descendant of clan of Rama. Various books relating to the stories of Ramayana as early as 15 century AD are still found in Burma. Books like 'Kavyadarsh' , 'Subhasit Ratanidhi' are based on the stories of Ramayana. Zhang-Zhungpa, commentary of Ramayana was written by Taranath, which is not available in modern times. In Burma also various form of plays are conducted based on the stories of Ramayana.
Oldest version of Ramayana, belonging ot 1075 AD is still found in Nepal.
Effect of stories of Ramayana can easily be felt in the customs, traditions and legends of majority of masses. Prof Juon R Francisco found that among Marineo Muslims, legend based on Ramayana is popular, in which Rama has been depicted as Incarnation of God. Similarly among Magindanao or Sulu folk Muslims also various legends based on the stories of Ramayana are popular.
In Hyderabad city, capital of Andhra Pradesh, there is museum named Salarjung. There one portrait is depicting a burly monkey having a very big stone in its hand. This portrait reminds one of Hanuman holding Dronagiri. Similarly Marco Polo in his book (translated by Sir Henry Yule in English) wrote at page no 302, vol II about a peculiar belief among Muslims, spread from Afganistan to Morocco and Algeria. These Muslims believed that members of imperial house of Trebizond were endowed with short tails while mediavel continentals had similar stories about Englishmen as- Mathew Paris relates…. ; We are of the belief that if one seriously starts investigating various legends prevalent, before advent of Islam and Christianity, in Arabic countries and European countries then existence of Ramayana and Mahabharta can be proved. Due to barbaric and dogmatic acts of these peoples a wide range of literature and buildings of historical importance has been wiped out.

In Italy, when excavation were carried out in the remains of Astrocon civilization, then various houses were found having peculiar type of paintings on their wall. These paintings, on closer investigation, seems to be based on the stories of Ramayana. Some of the paintings shows peculiar persons having tails along with two men bearing bows and arrows on their shoulders, while a lady is standing besides them. These paintings are of 7 century BC. It should be remembered that once Astrocon civilization was spread over 75 pct of Italy.

Sir Henry Yule in his translation of works of Marcopolo has referred to the belief prevalent among Medival Europeans that their Ancestors were having small tails. The same fact has been referred by Maharishi Dayanand in his magnum opus 'Satyarth Prakash'. There Swamiji states that people of Europe were called as Vanaras (monkeys) , due to their appearance in our epic like Mahabharta, Valmiki Ramayana etc. If we analyse this statement in present context, then how are we going to define various statements like kangaroos (Australian team) meet men in blue (Indian team) at Calcutta.
Similar sort of epithets were used during World war to describe armies of different countries or else we see that we have helicopters named cheetah etc. As these words (epithets) are just a way to describe different sets of people, arms etc, similarly words like Rakshas, Vanaras etc were used in our legends. These facts clearly indicates that legends of Ramayana are not work of fiction and were very popular around the world.
People of Ethiopia call themselves as descendents of Cushites. This word Cush is basically phonectic misnomer of Kush, the son of Rama. This fact is verly established by Satpath Brahamans, commentary on Vedas. These Brahamans while explaining various mantras of Vedas uses many histrorical events to elucidate the topic.

Astonishingly in Satpath Brahaman we find reference regarding the rule of King Bharata (predecessor of Kaurav and Pandavs) in Rhodesia .

Besides many inconsistent legends inspired by epic of Ramayana are prevalent in African Communities and they basically refers to various activities of vanars.

Egypt basically derives its name from Ajpati which is one of the names of forefather of Rama. If we analyse various legends prevalent in Egypt there we will found references of Dasratha (father of Rama). These facts can be very well established from various historical references of Brahamans (for the proof of it see our article Blunders of Indian/World history)

Before Columbus discovered North American continent European people were not knowing about it. However A DE QNATREFAGES in his book, THE HUMAN SPECIES, categorically says that Chinese people were aware about the American continent and they used to have trade relations with them. America was referred as Fad-Sang. Similarly in Japanese people it was known as Fad-See. Similarly, if we refer to various historical reference in Mahabharata, Valmiki Ramayana etc we will find that American continent has been reffered as Patal Desh (Patal means below foot). If we geographically see then we will find that American continent is just below the Indian Subcontinent. We will throw greater light on this issue in our topic, BLUNDERS OF INDIAN HISTORY/WORLD HISTORY.

But for your reference we are providing you some prevalent legends.

a) beautiful girl in Mexican tribal area till today are called as Ulopy. If we see in Mahabharata we find reference of Arjuna marrying a girl named Ulopy who was daughter of King of Patal Desh.
b) W H Prescott in his book , ' History of conquest of Mexico', provides various references which prove that earlier civilization of American subcontinent have major similarities with that of Indian (Aryan) civilization.

However here we are providing you one reference which clearly state that Ramayana is not mythological epic but it bears historical testimony. According to writer of the book there is popular legend in Aztec community which states that a beautiful person named Quevtsal Katal came there from east and taught them various aspects of advanced civilization; as a result his period was treated as golden era. He then went back to his original homeland because of persecution by some divine creature. This legend surprisingly does not throw light on the reasons why he returned.

Another interesting fact that has been stated by Prescott is that this legend is available in documented form. Now, none except Indian tradition can claim that they bear root to this legend. The same story has been narrated in Valmiki Ramayana, in uttarkand where it is mentioned that Salkantak Rakshas who dwelled in Lanka were persecuted by Vishnu. Due to this persecution they left Lanka and went to Patal Desh. The leader of this group was Sumali. According to Ramayana they lived in Patal Desh for long time. When they found condition congenial they returned to their homeland.

It is for readers to decide when such conclusive proof are there to establish that epic of Ramayana is not mythological legend but it is historical evidence which bears testimony to various legends prevalent around the world. Till today play named Ramasitotav is
played in various communities of Mexico. To our amazement Rama has been mentioned in Bible, new testament, Mathew ch 2/18, where it is mentioned " his voices was heard in RAMA". Rama is proper noun there, now it is for biblical society to define who was Rama and why he has been mentioned in Bible.
Even the name of Dasratha and Ayodhya are there in Bible. We will be referring to these facts in Blunders of Indian/world History.

Now we would pose some tickling questions to the historians:

1) Why month of fasting among muslims is called Ramadhan ?
2) Why place in Gazastrip is called Ramallaha ?
3) Why place in London is named as Ramsgate ?
4) Why capital of Italy is known as Rome(misnomer of Rama)

We can provide various examples where word Rama has been used as suffix or prefix with the names of various historical places/persons or misnomer of Rama has been used as name for historical places/persons. None of the historical evidence provides conclusive answer to these facts unless we take Indian historical evidences into account.
In our article ' Blunders of Indian/World history ' we will provide proof for it. We also believe that if barabaric religions like Christinity and Islam had not gained popularity then we would have more data to prove our point conclusively. These two semetic religions have inflicted unparrelled havoc on historical data and buildings. They destroyed all the libraries/monuments of historical importance which did not conform to their beliefs.

Still we have lot with us and we can recreate correct chronological data of world history. It is widely accepted that the King Alexander invaded India. It really sounds ironical that we are accepting this theory without any historical evidence, on the other hand we go on to deny existence of Rama despite various historical evidences are there to prove that he was not mythical but a historical Mahanayak.

These historians in order to defy Rama's existence are ridiculously harping on the same old tone of theory of evolution which does not have any scientific proof. (Why and how theory of evolution gained importance will be dealt in our article How the universe is created. The only thing of significance regarding theory of evolution, we want to state here is that it was a tool which was invented to challenge the anarchaic/draconian supremacy of church. The church use to claim that this world was created by God out of nothing and the age of this Univerese is not more than 10000 years. By the help of evolutionary theory scientific world challenged the supremacy of church and overcame the clergy.)

This is for readers to decide by themselves how they are going to treat Rama. We think that we have provided lot of food for thought. Those who are illogically biased may still refute the existence of Rama while those who are logical and believe that mythological character can never gain such world-wide respect/reverence will start looking upon Rama from wider historical evidences.

Here we want to clarify following points:
1) Rama was not an incarnation of God but he was Mahanayak, a legendary person who lived a pristine life and is an example to be emulated till today.
2) Ramasetu, on which lot of controversy is being created, might not be built by Rama as the period of Rama is at least 10,00,000 years. During this time geographical conditions has changed drastically.
3) Valmiki Ramayana is not fiction but an epic based on historical evidence. We can analyze the issue of Ramasetu only on the basis of environmental/economical viability.

For those who are questioning existence of Rama, let them first justify wether their forefathers ever existed, by using the same yardstick which they are using for existence of Rama.

From: Asavari Date: Sat, Aug 23, 2008 at 5:44 AM

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Setu project alternative alignment; experts' committee meet on 22 Aug. 2008

Let us hope that the Pachauri Committee will conduct its deliberations honestly and with transparency fully involving the public and all experts. Surely, the Committee should have the freedom to recommend scrapping the channel project and find alternatives to improve the livelihood of coastal people and use container-rail-road coordination alternatives.


Setu project alternative alignment: experts’ committee meet today (Aug. 22, 2008 ) – Dinamalar, Tamil daily

Following upon Supreme Court suggestion to examine the feasibility of an alignment for Setu channel project between Rameshwaram and Dhanushkodi, Pachauri committee is meeting today to examine it. Chief Justice of SC, K. Balakrishnan had advised that the review of the possibility of realigning the channel alignment. Consequently, Govt. of India had appointed the Pachauri examine the CJ’s suggestion.
The committee headed by Pachauri was appointed. A review meeting of this Committee will take place today.

Addl. Secretary of Shipping Ministry, Rajesh Shrivatsava, Chennai Port Trust Chairman Suresh met with the Committee Chairman and the three of them discussed the issue.

The Committee is expected to analyse and decide after reviewing the feasibility of an alternative alignment between Rameshwaram and Dhanushkodi. When the Committee was constituted no time limit was set for completing the investigations by and recommendations of the Committee. Reliable sources, however, inform that the Committee is likely to submit its recommendation on the feasibility of the alternative alignment within a month or two.

Our Delhi Correspondent.

சேது சமுத்திர திட்ட மாற்றுப்பாதை : நிபுணர் குழு இன்று ஆலோசனை
ஆகஸ்ட் 22,2008,00:00 IST

சேது சமுத்திர திட்டத்தை நிறைவேற்ற சுப்ரீம் கோர்ட் அளித்த யோசனையை அடுத்து தனுஷ்கோடிக்கும் ராமேஸ்வரத்துக்கும் இடையில் மாற்றுப் பாதை அமைக்க முடியுமா என்பது குறித்து, ராஜேந்திர பச்சவ்ரி தலைமையிலான நிபுணர் குழு இன்று கூடி ஆலோசனை செய்கிறது. சேது சமுத்திர திட்டத்தை மாற்றுப் பாதையில் நிறைவேற்றுவதற்கு சாத்தியங்கள் உள்ளதா என்பது குறித்து ஆராயும்படி சுப்ரீம் கோர்ட் தலைமை நீதிபதி கே.ஜி.பாலகிருஷ்ணன் அறிவுறுத்தியிருந்தார். இதையடுத்து, ஒரு நிபுணர் குழுவை அமைத்து தலைமை நீதிபதி யோசனை குறித்து ஆராய்ந்து, தனது கருத்தை சொல்வதாக மத்திய அரசும் தெரிவித்திருந்தது.

இதற்காக, ராஜேந்திர பச்சவ்ரி தலைமையிலான ஐந்து உறுப்பினர் குழு அமைக்கப்பட்டது. இக்குழுவின் ஆலோசனைக் கூட்டம் இன்று நடைபெறுகிறது. இக்குழுவை, மத்திய துறைமுக இலாகா இணைச் செயலர் ராஜேஷ் ஸ்ரீவஸ்த்தவா மற்றும் ராஜிவ் குப்தா, சென்னை துறைமுக தலைவர் சுரேஷ் ஆகிய மூவரும் நேற்று சந்தித்துப் பேசினர். தற்போது மாற்றுப் பாதையாக தனுஷ்கோடிக்கும் ராமேஸ்வரத்துக்கும் இடையில் பாதை அமைக்க முடியுமா என்பது குறித்து இந்த நிபுணர்கள் குழு ஆராய்ந்து முடிவெடுக்கவுள்ளது. மத்திய அரசால் இக்குழு அமைக்கப்பட்ட போது எத்தனை நாட்களுக் குள் இறுதி அறிக்கையை அளிக்க வேண்டுமென்று கூறப்படவில்லை. இருப்பினும் சேதுசமுத்திர திட்டத் தை மாற்றுப் பாதையில் அமைக்க முடியுமா என்பது பற்றி ஆராய்ந்து, தனது இறுதி அறிக்கையை ஓரிரு மாதங்களில் இக்குழு மத்திய அரசிடம் அளிக்கும் என்று தகவலறிந்த வட்டாரங்கள் தெரிவிக்கின்றன.

நமது டில்லி நிருபர்

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Scrap Setu Project, Pachauri committee: Signatory states of IOSEA Marine Turtle MOU

August 20, 2008 Bali, Indonesia

RESOLUTION ON THE SETHUSAMUDRAM SHIP CANAL PROJECT, GULF OF MANNAR & PALK BAY, India and Sri Lanka Geopolitical perspective and security in the Indian Ocean: Sethusamuderam Project: Reasons for the Construction of the Canal and its Economic & Environmental Impact on Sri Lanka by Donald Jayantha Gnanakone
Adopted by the Fifth Meeting of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation and Management of Marine Turtles and their Habitats of the Indian Ocean and South-East Asia (Bali, 20-23 August 2008)

Recognizing that the waters of the Gulf of Mannar, including Palk Strait, Palk Bay, and Adam’s Bridge, provide critical habitats such as extensive seagrass beds and coral reefs which support regionally important concentrations of endangered and threatened migratory marine wildlife, including four species of marine turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea, Caretta caretta, Eretmochelys imbricata, Chelonia mydas, Marine Mammals such as Dugong (Dugong dugong), Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus), Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus), Fin Whale (Balaenoptera physalus), Sei Whale (Balaenoptera borealis), Bryde's Whale (Balaenoptera edeni), Short-finned Pilot Whale (Globicephala macro), Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin (Sousa chinensis), Striped Dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba), Spinner Dolphin (Stenella longirostris),Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis), Bottle-nosed Dolphin (Tursiops truncates), False Killer Whale Pseudorca crassidens,- Whale Shark, (Rhincodon typus) and birds – Spot billed pelican, Oriental darter, Lesser flamingo, White ibis and Painted stork.

(Bird List from Dr. Balachander of the Bombay Natural History Society who is based in the region- these are near threatened IUCN status)

Ceteaceans in Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar (From “A Catalogue of Indian Marine Mammal Records” by Kumaran Sathasivam 2004)

Acknowledging that this project area has unique historic, cultural and economic importance to the people from India and Sri Lanka, in addition to providing essential living marine resources for more than 500,000 fishersfolk in India and Sri Lanka;

Concerned that the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project (SSCP), will involve dredging and maintaining a 89 km long channel, which will be 300 meters wide and 12 meters deep in 3 segments across the Gulf of Mannar to allow passage of ships up to 30,000 DWT which will unquestionably cause changes to the sediment flow, oceanographic parameters, nutrient cycles and irreversible damage to critical marine habitats, endangered and migratory species, within the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay. The globally significant and endemic species of this biodiverse region stands threatened.

Conscious that the proposed project will be within 6km of India's first and largest Biosphere Reserve, which is internationally recognized within the framework of UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme.

Recalling that Biosphere Reserves are nominated by national governments under the UNESCO's MAB Programme to “reduce biodiversity loss; improve livelihoods and enhance social, economic and cultural conditions for environmental sustainability”.

Aware that various documents fundamental for the justification of the SSCP, such as the EIA report, Detailed Project Report, Technical Feasibility and the Economic Analysis report, have been criticised by several experts in environmental science, earth sciences, oceanography, geology, naval hydrography, marine biology, environmental policy, law, economics, and maritime navigation who have concluded that the environmental and social impacts on the biodiversity of the region, including endangered or threatened migratory species and their habitats as well as the financial viability of the project have not been adequately assessed or predicted.

Further acknowledging that analyses of the project by economic, shipping and marine navigation experts conclude that previous cost-benefit analyses and financial feasibility studies have not adequately or accurately forecast the costs to potential SSCP users, thereby questioning the project’s economic viability;

Concerned that this project will have severe, deleterious impacts on the above mentioned endangered and threatened migratory species and their habitats, local marine and coastal biodiversity, fisheries and marine related livelihoods of communities in the region of Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar;

Recognizing the strong public opinion and opposition against this project from local fisher communities as well as civil society due to its implications on the environment, ecology and the local livelihood as articulated in the prayers of the petitions being heard in the Supreme Court of India [Special Leave Petitions (SLP) (Civil) Nos. 19176 of 2005 and SLP (Civil) 20758 of 2005];

The Signatory States to the IOSEA Marine Turtle Memorandum of Understanding

Urge that a comprehensive regional environmental impact assessment study be carried out by an independent agency to determine the likely impacts of the project on the environment within the contiguous marine and terrestrial territories of India and Sri Lanka, including all endangered and threatened migratory species and their habitats, and a report prepared for public consultation in India, Sri Lanka, and other States likely to be affected before any further construction activities related to the SSCP are taken forward;

Urge that a comprehensive and independent economic and financial feasibility analysis be carried out by an independent agency any further construction activities related to the SSCP are taken forward;

Urge that these analyses take into account views and opinions of various relevant inter-governmental bodies and agencies, including, but not limited to, CMS, UNESCO, UNEP, FAO and IMO, and also take into account written statements from various community institutions (such as village committees, traditional panchayats and gram panchayats) of each coastal village in the area of influence on the project;

Urge that the above documents are translated into the local languages and disseminated to communities and civil society for public consultation and for the purpose of conducting fresh public hearings in India and Sri Lanka on the SSCP to assess the full environmental and economic implications of the project.
Dear all,

Please find the above draft resolution on proposed Sethusamudram Canal which will be adopted by the Fifth Meeting of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation and Management of Marine Turtles and their Habitats of the Indian Ocean and South-East Asia (Bali, 20-23 August 2008). For Sri Lankan conservationists and politicians, this document may be with great importance.

Kind regards

Thushan Kapurusinghe
Project Leader - Turtle Conservation Project (TCP)
Marine Turtle Specialist - IUCN/SSC-MTSG

Monday, August 18, 2008

Setu project: secret meeting and survey by Shipping Ministry and other officials

Review of alternative channel in Setusamudram
Tamil daily: Dinamalar, 18 Aug. 2008
A group of Delhi officials visited Dhanushkodi and nearby areas to review the alternative channel and alignment 4 for Setusamudram project. Supreme Court had ordered the review of dredging a channel through in Dhanushkodi sea waters without damaging the shoal banks forming the Rama Setu.
Accordingly, the Centre had ordered such a review by a committee. Many organizations had demanded that while selecting the alternative channel path protection of environment, of aquatic fauna, assurance of the livelihood of fisherfolk had to be ensured. In this context, Revenue and Land Survey department officials are already engaged for the last two days. to survey the land allotted by Tamil Nadu Government consisting of 2,500 acres starting from Rameshwaram temple to Arical (erosion point) Munai of Dhanukodi, for the Setusamudram Project,
To indicate that survey has been done, between Dhanushkodi and Arical Munai, flagposts have been erected. In this situation, officials led by the Secretary of Shipping Minister, Govt. of India, AP Sharma visited the areas from Mandapam using the helicopter of Navy Coast Guard. The areas visited were: Kodanda Ramar temple, Dhanushkodi, Arical Munai.
Later, the team reviewed with the officials the alternative channel 4. Subsequently, the team also visited the sandbanks of Rama Setu in Dhanushkodi sea waters. In this secretly conducted visit and review, Senior official of Setusamudram Corporation, Srinivasa Kannan, Ramanathapuram Collector Kirloshkumar and other officials of different departments participated.
சேது சமுத்திர கால்வாய் மாற்றுப்பாதைக்கு ஆய்வு
ஆகஸ்ட் 18,2008,00:00 IST (Dinamalar, 18 Aug. 2008)
ராமேஸ்வரம்: சேது சமுத்திர கால்வாய் மாற்றுப்பாதை மற்றும் நான்காவது வழித்தடம் குறித்து டெல்லி அதிகாரிகள் குழுவினர் நேற்று தனுஷ்கோடி உள்ளிட்ட பகுதிகளைப் பார்வையிட்டு ஆய்வு செய்தனர். சேது சமுத்திரத் திட்ட கால்வாய் தோண்ட தனுஷ்கோடி கடலில் அமைந்துள்ள ராமர் பாலம் மணல் திட்டுகளைச் சேதப்படுத்தாமல் மாற்று வழிகுறித்து ஆய்வு செய்ய சுப்ரீம் கோர்ட் உத்தரவிட்டது.
அதன்படி மாற்றுவழியைத் தேர்வு செய்ய சேது சமுத்திரத் திட்ட கழகத்துக்கு மத்திய அரசு உத்தரவிட்டது. மாற்று வழி தேர்வு செய்யப்படும் போது சுற்றுசூழல், கடல் வாழ் உயிரினங்கள், மீனவர்கள் வாழ்நிலை பாதிக்காத வகையில் வழித்தடம் அமைய பல்வேறு அமைப்புகள் கோரிக்கை விடுத்துள்ளன. இதனிடையே ஏற்கனவே சேது சமுத்திர கால்வாய் திட்டத்துக்காக ராமேஸ்வரம் கோதண்டராமர் கோவில் முதல் தனுஷ்கோடி அரிச்சல்முனை வரை தமிழக அரசு வழங்கிய இரண்டாயிரத்து 500 ஏக்கர் நிலத்தை சர்வே செய்யும் பணியில் வருவாய் மற்றும் நில அளவீட்டுத் துறையினர் கடந்த இரண்டு நாட்களாக ஈடுபட்டு வருகின்றனர்.
சர்வே செய்த அடையாளத்துக்காக தனுஷ்கோடி முதல் அரிச்சல்முனை வரை கொடிகளை நட்டு வைத்துள்ளனர். இந்நிலையில், நேற்று டெல்லியிலிருந்து வந்த மத்திய அரசின் கப்பல் போக்குவரத்துத் துறைச் செயலர் ஏ.பி.சர்மா தலைமையிலான அதிகாரிகள் குழுவினர் மண்டபத்திலிருந்து கடலோரக்காவல் படைக்குச் சொந்தமான ஹோவர்கிராப்ட் கப்பலில் சென்று கோதண்டராமர் கோவில், தனுஷ்கோடி, அரிச்சல்முனை கடற்கரை ஆகிய பகுதிகளைப் பார்வையிட்டனர்.
பின் அதிகாரிகளுடன் சேதுக்கால்வாய் தோண்டுவதற்கு மாற்றுப்பாதையான நான்காவது வழித்தடம் குறித்து ஆய்வு செய்தனர். இதைத் தொடர்ந்து தனுஷ்கோடி கடலில் ராமர் பாலம் மணல்திட்டு பகுதிகளையும் பார்வையிட்டனர். ரகசியமாக நடத்தப்பட்ட இந்த ஆய்வில் சேது சமுத்திர கப்பல் கால்வாய் திட்ட கழக பொது மேலாளர் சீனிவாச கண்ணன், ராமநாதபுரம் கலெக்டர் கிர்லோஷ்குமார் உட்பட பல்துறை அதிகாரிகள் கலந்து கொண்டனர்.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Scrap SSCP, a white elephant -- Vice Admiral Arun Kumar Singh.

Arun Kumar Singh

THE GOVERNMENT'S recent decision to set up a panel of experts, headed by Dr RK Pachauri, to look at alternate routes for the Sethusamudram Shipping Channel Project (SSCP) is indeed welcome.

Given Dr Pachauri's experience and reputation, it can be expected that this six-member panel will take a holistic view of the project, which includes security concerns raised by the Director General Coast Guard recently.
These concerns have added a new dimension to the already complex issues ranging from inflamed religious beliefs to flawed comparisions with the Suez and Panama canals.
About the SSCP: It is an open sea channel that is 167 km long, 300 metre wide, with a 12 metre depth (to permit two-way transit by ships below 32,000 Dead Weight Tonnes). It has three legs — southern, central and northern — and dredging is to be carried out only in southern and northern legs. This will involve dumping 70 million cubic metres of dredged mud in dumping sites located in depths greater than 25 metre.

Let us assume that the SSCP is finally made "operational", as originally envisaged, and that the projected 3,055 ships, of which, 60 per cent ply international routes, use the channel in the first year itself. But what are the security threats these ships are likely to face?

The LTTE has shown enormous ingenuity and fanatical determination when employing its 3,000-strong "Sea Tigers" and the smaller but suicidal "Black Sea Tigers" in seaborne attacks not far from the proposed SSCP site. In addition, the LTTE has frequently used crude seamines to disrupt Sri Lankan shipping on its east coast.
LTTE's "Air Tigers" have modified Czech-made light aircraft to carry out reasonably-accurate night bombing attacks on Sri Lankan airports — SSCP area falls within strike range of these aircraft.

The Palk Bay area has dense fishing boat activity, with some 10,000 boats operating in a small area. This heavy traffic would provide the LTTE an ideal environment should it decide to carry out surprise attacks. A ship sunk in the channel would not only result in loss of life and marine pollution, but also block the channel for a prolonged period. In case of a ship being hit by a sea mine, the Navy would need to clear the channel by mine sweeping which takes days, sometimes weeks.
Another threat to SSCP would be hijacking of ships by the LTTE which could be used in terror attacks to block the SSCP or ports like Tuticorin, Colombo, Chennai by sinking a ship at strategic place. In all, such cases insurance rates will go up and ships will avoid the area, thus affecting the economies.

Can "reasonable" security be provided for the SSCP? The answer is yes, if (and this is a big "if") finances are made available to acquire additional patrol boats, maritime and fighter aircraft, helicopters, hover craft, mine warfare vessels and shore-based radars along with instant communications, data link and real-time intelligence.

And provided we accept the possibilty of collateral damage amongst the over 10,000 Indian fishing boats which operate in the restricted Palk Bay area. The cost of this security cover would exceed the Rs 2,400 crore capital cost of the SSCP. Given the long lead time required to recruit and train additional manpower, along with building security infrastructure, this activity should have started in 2005 so that security is in place when SSCP becomes operational — originally, the SSCP was to be commissioned in 2008. There is no indication that additional security requirements have been factored in the plans.

The security issue becomes relevant only if the SSCP is economically viable and poses no other major problems. Unfortunately, the SSCP is not economically viable for many reasons. It is designed to take ships below 32,000 DWT, while international shipping is heading for larger ships above 60,000 DWT .

Also, adding to the woes is the fact that the rapidly-growing Indian Coastal Shipping is reducing its ship size from 4,000 DWT to 1,900 DWT, and thus will contribute little by way of toll tax to the SSCP. Simple calculations show that international shipping from the Cape of Good Hope, Persian Gulf and the Red Sea areas will actually save time and money if it bypasses the SSCP (where it has to pay toll tax, use up time to embark and disembark a pilot, and proceed at very slow speed in the channel to avoid grounding damage due to "squatting effect") and goes around Sri Lanka. For the same reasons, even Indian coastal shipping will find it more economical to avoid the SSCP and go around Sri Lanka.
The Rs 2,400 crore SSCP may not earn enough profits to pay back its original capital cost.

It must also be noted that the SSCP, which reduces the distance by mere 340 to 434 nautical miles (nm), cannot be compared to "true inland canals" like the Suez and Panama which save thousands of nautical miles, and are not exposed to the vagaries of ocean currents, rough weather or seaborne attacks.

This means that the SSCP is located in one of the five known "high siltation" areas. This means that regular "maintenance dredging" would have to be carried out, perhaps every 1 to 3 years, to keep the channel open and safe for shipping.
Indeed, dredging is the primary reason for the high cost of SSCP. Add to this the fact that the Tamil Nadu coast is cyclone prone and, according to statistics, has been hit by 64 cyclones between 1891 and 2001, with 23 hitting the SSCP site.
To conclude, there are enough reasons to take a good hard look at the SSCP. There really is no point in first creating a target for the LTTE and then spending enormous amounts of time, money and effort to protect a white elephant.

VICE-ADMIRAL ARUN KUMAR SINGH retired as Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command, Visakhapatnam

Friday, August 1, 2008

Dancing dervishes of UPA vs. Rama and Rama Setu

Dancing dervishes of UPA vs Rama and Rama Sethu-I

V SUNDARAM | Fri, 01 Aug, 2008 , 03:18 PM
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, by hook or by crook, in India and the world.
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Congress – DMK together in Ram Sethu Destruction Dance

Anti-Hindu Sonia-Congress Party and the equally anti-Hindu and atheistic DMK Party are working together to destroy the sacred Rama Sethu bridge in Rameshwaram using the political umbrella of Sethu-Samudram Shipping Canal Project (SSCP). Both Sonia Gandhi and Karunanidhi are 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 patent fact has now become very clear because of the hardened criminal fashion in which the anti-national and anti-Hindu Sonia-directed UPA Government, filled with Sonia-chosen nincompoops, have been presenting the Rama-Sethu case of the government of India, not in a District Munsif’s Court, but in the Supreme Court of India. The recent stellar performance of Fali Nariman, the Chief Counsel for the government of India, would make any third grade mofussil lawyer in a District Munsif’s Court laugh with unconcealed contempt! Nariman stated that Lord Rama himself destroyed the Rama-Sethu Bridge and therefore the question of Government of India destroying it cannot arise. As an international authority of Tamil and Sanskrit Literature (apart from law!), he was quoting from Kamba Ramayana and Padma Puranam. He also arrogated to himself the Supreme legal wisdom and authority to question the timeless faith of more than 800 millions of Hindus of India in the timeless sacredness and sanctity of Rama Sethu. When he was reading out certain portions from an affidavit relating to Rama Sethu which was earlier filed in September 2007 by the government of India and which was later withdrawn by Gopal Subramaniam, the counsel for government of India, the Supreme Court Judges asked Fali Nariman as to whether he was stating the same facts from the same affidavit which was withdrawn earlier, Fali Nariman replied ‘Yes’. Government of India has somersaulted as many times as the Rama Sethu case has come up before the Supreme Court so far!

To begin with government of India said that there is no evidence regarding the existence of Ramayana, Lord Rama or the Rama Sethu Bridge. They said that Lord Rama is a fictitious character. Lord Rama is a mythological character. Rama Sethu Bridge is a natural formation and not a man-made Bridge etc. etc. The atheistic and anti-Hindu Karunanidhi went overboard and had the temerity to ask, ‘Where did Lord Rama get his Engineering Degree from?’ In its earlier affidavit government of India had said ‘There is no scientific or historical evidence to prove the existence of Lord Ram. Issues of faith cannot be resolved by taking recourse to science or scientific evidence. India is a secular state and respects all religions and religious faiths and beliefs. A secular state cannot espouse the cause of any religion, faith or belief. In a multi-religious, multi-cultural society, the state cannot and should not be called upon to determine issues of faith’. This callous anti-Hindu attitude led to widespread public protests and agitation throughout the country. Panicked by the political repercussions and the VHP’s move to go to the streets to mobilize public support, the central government in a knee-jerk response decided to withdraw the ‘offending remarks’. Gopal Subramanian, the Counsel for the government of India told the Supreme Court that government of India had withdrawn their earlier affidavit and that they would be filing a fresh affidavit. The Union Minister for Law (-lessness!) H.R.Bhardwaj shamelessly somersaulted from his earlier pseudo-secular, anti-Hindu position and said with calculated and diabolic dissimulation ‘Lord Rama is an integral part of Hindu faith and its existence can never be doubted. As Himalaya is Himalaya, and, Ganga is Ganga, Rama is Rama. It is a question of faith. There is no requirement of any proof to establish the existence of Lord Rama based on faith. The Government of India would be filing a supplementary affidavit on this issue before the Supreme Court and that would be cleansed of offending remarks that were noticed in the earlier affidavit which has been withdrawn’.

Accordingly Gopal Subramanian told the Supreme Court of India in September 2007, ‘The government will form a committee shortly, which will be entrusted with the task of hearing the grievances of the people including the petitioners on this issue. The government has total respect for all religions, and Hinduism in particular, in the context of the present case. The government is alive and conscious of religious sensibilities, including the unique, ancient and holy text of Ramayana. The government is also keen that its decisions bind and bring the society together rather than cause any disruption in the religious and social psyche of one true India. The centre respects each and every individual within the parameters of the Constitution, and acknowledges every citizen’s fundamental right to feel a part of the composite cultural and religious heritage of the country’. Thus acting on behalf of government of India, Gopal Subramanian became a great legal somersault in India’s legal history. This distinguished record was squarely beaten by Fali Nariman through his resplendent performance of ‘secular’ somersault in the Supreme Court last week. Here are the laughable details of his unsurpassed performance.

In his arguments in Supreme Court on 23 July, 2008, (Wednesday), Fali Nariman had stirred a hornet’s nest by quoting from the scriptures like Kamba Ramayana and Padma Puranam. He said that these scriptures show how Lord Ram himself broke Ram Setu. The basis of objection by several petitioners in the Supreme Court (Individuals and NGO’s) stemmed from the fear of possible destruction of Ram Setu as it fell in the way of the projected alignment. With the existence of Rama Setu itself being a matter of doubt (or under cloud) as per the scriptures, Nariman wondered how anything that does not exist could be revered. Great Tamil scholars and Sanskrit scholars whom I have consulted have categorically confirmed that Nariman has misled the Supreme Court in a calculated manner as desired by the Government of India.

Government of India somersaulted shamelessly for the nth time in open Supreme Court last week by saying that Rama Sethu cannot be declared as a national monument and backed its stand by relying on an affidavit, which it had withdrawn earlier in September 2007, in the wake of a country-wide furore over its contents doubting the existence of Ramayana, Lord Rama and their link to Ram Sethu. Its Special Counsel Fali S Nariman read out portions of the withdrawn affidavit to show that the Centre had taken a consistent stand that ‘Rama Sethu does not fulfil the criteria to be declared as a national monument. The stand of the government is crystal clear on this all the time in Parliament and in courts.’

But it soon became a little awkward, especially for a counsel of Nariman’s standing, when a bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices R V Raveendran and J M Panchal, taking a cue from petitioner Subramanian Swamy, pointed out that the centre could not rely on an affidavit that had already been withdrawn. The Bench asked Nariman: ‘Are the paragraphs from the withdrawn affidavit, which you are reading in support of the centre’s stand, incorporated in the fresh affidavit?’ Mr. Nariman said: ‘we take the entire blame for the withdrawal. The affidavit was withdrawn because people reacted in a certain manner. The assertion of the Union government that it is not a monument does not get diluted by the withdrawal of the affidavit’. This did not impress the bench, which said: ‘Why did you not re-file the affidavit if you are relying on it except for the paragraph which was objected to by public on the issue of faith? You did not say you are withdrawing only the problematic paragraph, but you withdrew the entire affidavit. The problem is that it cannot be relied upon as it had been withdrawn’.

This was a moment of infamy in the chequered history of our Supreme Court after Independence. By reading out in open court from an earlier affidavit already withdrawn by the government of India in September 2007, Nariman indirectly showed that he has contempt for law, rule of law, rule of equality before the law and the overriding majesty of law. He also made it clear through his political somersault that the rule of law can be vetoed by the rule of men, depending upon the exigencies of the moment, from time to time!

The VHP General Secretary Pravin Togadia has rightly said: ‘The Centre’s affidavit in the Supreme Court is the result of a trade-off between Sonia Gandhi and Karunanidhi as part of which the latter agreed to support the confidence vote sought by Manmohan Singh (on 22 July, 2008) on the condition that the UPA government will ensure that the Rama Setu is brought down. The centre’s stand before the apex court is fraught with dangerous consequences for the country... The same people (the centre) who first questioned the very existence of Ramayana, Lord Ram and Ram Setu are now invoking Kamba Ramayana and Padma Purana to say that Lord Rama destroyed the Rama Setu, but are not willing to look at the original Valmiki Ramayana, which has no such mention. It is a clear case of conspiracy to divide the nation, which will go up in flames and Sonia Gandhi will be responsible for it. The VHP would launch a nation-wide protest against the ‘conspiracy’ to destroy the Ram Setu’.

TAILPIECE: Karunanidhi And T R Baalu To Sonia Gandhi:

‘Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, will you join, with gusto and enthusiasm, the Dravidian Ram Sethu Destruction dance?’

Sonia Gandhi: ‘Would not, could not, would not, could not, could not join your delightful Dravidian Ram Sethu Destruction dance. Let us secularly plot for broader lands and better days’.
Saturday, 02 August, 2008 , 03:32 PM

When the government of India through their Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam gave several assurances in writing and filed an application before the Hon’ble Supreme Court on 14-9-2007 seeking permission
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to withdraw their earlier affidavit, a reasonable public expectation was created throughout the country to the effect that the Government of India would not damage or defile the Rama Sethu while implementing the SSCP and that care would be taken to see that the time-honoured religious feelings and sentiments of the Hindus in absolute majority are not hurt in any manner whatsoever. The following assurances were given by Gopal Subramaniam before the Supreme Court;

First that, ‘The government of India is alive and conscious of religious sensibilities including the unique, ancient and holy text of Ramayana’. Second that, ‘The government of India is also keen that its decisions bind and bring the society together, rather than cause any disruption in the religious and social psyche of one true India’. Third that, ‘without any reservation, in a spirit of inclusiveness and high democratic tradition, to consider a different point of view, withdraw the present affidavit to re-examine the entire matter’.

It was based on these explicit assurances, and on trust, that the petitioners like Subramaniam Swamy and others did not object to the withdrawal of the said earlier counter-affidavit that contained some highly objectionable averments on Sri Rama, and Ramayana.

These assurances read together created a right for the petitioners to legitimately expect a different counter affidavit from the government of India at a later stage. Unfortunately when the government of India filed their revised counter-affidavit in the Supreme Court in the last week of February 2008, they stuck to their original position and said that the SSCP can be effectively implemented only by destroying the Rama Sethu Bridge. In other words they made it clear that Alignment No.6 (which involved the destruction of Rama Sethu) will not be given up. Thus the government of India showed indivisible contempt for the popular and widespread public sentiment and religious belief of reverence for the Rama Setu, and it’s age-old sacred status in Hindu society. Government of India in a shameless manner said that we are a secular country and that the government cannot take note of matters of faith. They left it to the Supreme Court of India to adjudicate on this aspect.

When the Rama Sethu case came up again before the Supreme Court last week, Fali Nariman, Special Counsel for the Government of India gave a death blow to the religious feelings, beliefs and sentiments of more than 800 million Hindus in India when he informed the Supreme Court that a decision has been taken not to declare Rama Sethu as a national monument since it does not meet the prescribed criteria. It is indeed a deliberate affront to the due process of law and tantamount to misleading the petitioners and the Honourable Supreme Court, apart from the public at large. After ten months of deliberation or no deliberation, the government of India have somersaulted full circle and completely gone back on the assurances given by the Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam in open Supreme Court on 14.9.2007.

The UPA is hell bent on hurting Hindu religious feelings. As part of its political deal to win the confidence vote with the help of the DMK Party, the UPA within 24 hours of winning the sham confidence vote, told the Supreme Court through its Special Counsel Nariman that Shri Ram himself destroyed the Sethu and therefore the broken Sethu has no spiritual sanctity and therefore there is no harm in demolishing it to complete the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project (SSCP).

Fali S.Nariman quoted the scriptures of Padma Puranam and Kambha Ramayanam to show how Shri Rama himself destroyed the Sethu to ensure nobody else would cross over to Sri Lanka. He said, ‘we are not destroying any bridge, as there is no bridge. We believe it was not a man-made structure. It was a super man-made structure, which was broken by Lord Ram himself. If it was something that was destroyed by the same man who built it, we are dealing with only a belief’. In order to counter the arguments of Nariman, the petitioners quoted from another scripture, Skanda Puranam, in point of time anterior to the Padma Puranam and the Kambha Ramayanam. There is no reference to the destruction of Sethu by Sri Rama in Skanda Puranam.

Arguing in the Supreme Court, Subramanian Swamy reiterated that the SSCP should be scrapped altogether if the government could not proceed further without destroying Ram Sethu. It is not economically viable as has been pointed out by the Union Planning Commission. He said the centre is not complying with the Court directions to find out whether Ramar Sethu is an ancient monument or not. Subramaniam Swamy pointed out that the centre wrote to the UNESCO urging that the Majuli Island in Assam be declared an ancient monument. Similarly the Brahma Sarovar in Punjab was declared a national monument, as people believed that Lord Brahma had a bath there. The centre is now seeking to implement SSCP by demolishing Ramar Sethu. Subramaniam Swamy told the Court that Ramar Sethu couldn’t be destroyed, as it is a place of worship for countless centuries. Anyone who tries to damage it should be booked for criminal offence under Section 295 of the Indian Penal Code. Swamy also told the Supreme Court that it should issue notice of contempt of Court to the Union Of India, particularly taking note of the way the courts’ directions and sentiments of millions of people are being toyed with by the government of India. Finally he said, ‘Scrap the SSCP; declare Rama Setu as a national monument and a world heritage centre; finally declare Rameshwaram as a divyakshetram’. Dr T N Ramachandran A great scholar and savant from Thanjavur

Let me now take up the flippant and casual observations of Nariman relating to Rama Sethu based upon his secondary knowledge of Kamba Ramayanam and Padma Puranam. Nariman has relied upon the following verse to reach his wrong and baseless conclusion that Bhagwan Rama himself destroyed Rama Sethu:

Marakkalam iyanga vendi,Varisilai kudayal keeri th

Tharukkiya idathhu,Pancha pdhagarenum saarin,

Perukkiya ezhu mundru piraviyum, pinikal neengi

Nerukuriya amararkku ellam nin needhi aavar anree (22.2)

I have consulted Dr T N Ramachandran of Thanjavur who is a great Tamil Scholar and savant on the point made by Nariman. I have it on his authority that the above verse upon which Nariman seems to have relied does not refer to the breaking of Rama Sethu by Lord Rama at all. Moreover the above verse is a verse which was later interpolated into the original text of Kambha Ramayana and which cannot be taken as either authentic or correct or reliable. This point relating to the fact of later interpolation has been clearly brought out in Murray Rajam’s edition of Kamba Ramayana published in 1959. The same point was also made by Prof.P.S.Sundaram who was commissioned by government of Tamil Nadu to translate Kamba Ramayana into English in 1992.

Dr.T.N.Ramachandarn says ‘How can Rama making a mark by scratching with his bow (‘keeri’ in Tamil) on the opening (mouth) of the Divine Bridge (causeway) be viewed as his breaking the Bridge?’ The scratching is done where the causeway begins. It is just an identification mark made on the causeway bridge. From there the cause way extends upto Ceylon. Lord Rama ordered that the Causeway Bridge should be guarded by Kappai and Siva. We should thank Fali. S.Nariman for citing the verse, though interpolated, which speaks about the careful safe guarding of the Bridge or Causeway by two divine Powers who were appointed by Bhagwan Rama to safeguard the Bridge. The information furnished to Nariman is by DMK Pundits. It is this DMK party which publicly burnt the Kamba Ramayana, the Periapurana and other puranams.

I fully endorse the assessment of Dr.T.N.Ramachandran: ‘The gubernatorial machinery of India, that is Bharath, pursues consistently a policy aimed at the accomplishment of impoverishment of Sanatana Dharma. India is today a paradise for the so-called Minority Communities. For the Hindus it is an inferno of ‘ever-burning sulphur unconsumed’. Ram Sethu is the greatest symbol of Indian integration. A pilgrimage to Kasi meets with its full fruition only when the pilgrim completes it by his visit to Rameswaram. To the Hindus the beckoning potency of Rameswaram is ineffably great. It is lofty, sacred and sublime. It is ecstatically hailed by the Hindus and it is here discriminations of caste, clan and the like stand subsumed traceless. The very thought of damaging Ram Sethu exceeds the combined and cumulative truculence of the pentad of all great sins (Panchamaha Pathakam ). It is an anathema pronounced on the unity of Bharath, which according to our Constitution shall be a Union of States. The suicidal policy pursued with crass obstinacy by our government is unexampled in the annals of the world. It was initially announced that Ram Sethu was but a natural formation and not one manually wrought. This stultifying proclamation perished the moment it was born. Then Bhagwan Rama stood condemned as one who had not graduated through a College of Engineering. This nefarious declaration received its fatal jolt when citizens, particularly women, debunked its utter untenability. Then was voiced forth the argument that Rama himself destroyed his bridge (the word ‘bridge’ is a misnomer. It is a causeway). The Senior Counsel who made bold to present this argument in the highest forum of India, alas, is only learned enough to misquote. Mahatma Gandhi dreamed of Rama Rajya. Lo! We are cursed to live in Congress Rajya!!’

To conclude with a beautiful and soul-stirring poem of PASUVAI UMA:

This beautiful poem gives a clarion call to all of us to join together on a pilgrimage to Rameshwaram to have the divine darshan of the sacred Rama Sethu. It motivates us to consider the pilgrimage as our sacred duty, and, the prayer as our penance. It encourages us to take on those who questioned the historicity of Bhagwan Rama and the existence of Rama Sethu and show them the divine reality, which has been existing for ages, protecting us. It advises us to continue our service to humanity by taking the Blessings of Bhagwan Rama at shores of Sethu.