Thursday, 18 October 2007

Setu Samudram

Politicised beyond recognition, the Setu Samudram Project which proposed to build a linkage between Srilanka and India at a staggering cost got mired in controversy from the beginning. That the resultant project would be useful only to a select few and rather unnecessary at the moment raked up controversy upon controversy, both political and religious. The finding of the committee that there was no evidence of the existence of Rama and if he did not exist, how could a bridge built by him and his followers exist over the ocean? Point noted.
Everyone with a rational point of view will agree that Rama could have been a ficticious character endowed with godly hues. But a small doubt scratches at my mind. How could the writer of the epic envisage such a huge project, a bridge over the sea, connecting a continent with a group of islands thousands of years ago? And that too at a time when it was taken for granted that our planet was flat and stretched to infinity? It is another matter altogether that the satellite pictures of the last century proved it to be true. Remnants of a structure, in all probability, a natural phenomenon was photographed by satellites. Now the question remains how come the knowledge of the vast seas and continents came to visit on a writer. But yes, nothing is impossible for a writer.
PS I get a nagging feeling each time the feelings of the majority community is brushed off under the carpet as being nonsensical and not of much importance. What matters is the appeasement of the minority with an eye on the vote bank politics.

3 comments:

Nazeer said...

True, the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project (SSCP) project has been politicised and it is the Sangh Parivar who is primarily responsible for this. Remember, the nation-wide campaign launched against it by the VHP recently. And it is not the `staggering cost'of the project that has prompted the Parivar to oppose it. The Parivar only wants to play the game it knows best: invoke Rama to incite passions among the people.Remember who announced the project in the first place? That stalwart of the saffron party who headed the previous government at the Centre. It was Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee who announced at a rally organised by the MDMK in Chennai in September 1998 that the project will be implmented. I don't know whether it is a wasteful venture or not. But the project, once completed, can avoid circumnavigation of an additional 400 km for a vessel passing between east and west coasts of India. I assume that it will certainly benefit Tamil Nadu and not the `select few'.
The ASI's affidavit in the Supreme Court that there was no evidence that Rama did exist has raked up a controversy. The ASI being a scientific body, hurting or appeasing religious sentiments of a religious community is not its objective. The ASI was only dealing with the question of truth, not that of faith. One has the right to believe that faith healing is very useful in treating cancer and a lot of cancer patients may get comfort from faith healing. But a scientific medical researcher should not be prevented from announcing that it is bogus on the basis of studies just because it will hurt the sentiments of the advocates of faith healing.
Archeological
finding is that Ram Sethu (Adam's bridge) is not a man-made construction, but an underwater ridge that connects the mainland and the islands. It is a natural formation made up of shoals and sandbars, according to experts. The mythical bridge having a width of 80 miles and length of 800 miles
is humanly and divinely impossible. That is the rational point of view. Of course, some Hindutva websites used NASA's satellite images as evidence of the remains of the mythical bridge. But NASA has officially clarified that this `interpretation is certainly not ours''.
As for your view of `appeasement of the minority', the very idea is inherently illogical. Why should political parties appease the minorities if appeasing the majority community is would have been more fruitful (vote bank) politically. What the parties are doing is appeasing all communities. The Rajiv Gandhi Government's appeasement of the minorities in the wake of the Shah Bano case was followed by the government deciding to open the Babri Masjid to the Hindus. Why did the Manmohan Singh Government withdraw the ASI affidavit. Is it not to appease the majority? It is not correct to say that only the minority communities are the beneficiary of appeasement.

Chandini said...

As you must have noticed, I definitely did not delve into the technicalities of the SSCP project. I have also mentioned the ASI report which I wholeheartedly agree. That it is a natural formation is beyond doubt. What I was wondering about was how come the author of Ramayana could even imagine such a possibility in those times when even continents were not known to exist?

Latha said...

Politics, politicians and power play are all unavoidable aspects of modern life. The sooner we realise it the better it is.

As for linking up Ram, Ramayana, Hinduism, Science, it serves one purpose--grabbing headlines. just as actors pull "scandals" to resurrect their careers, so do these folks.

Let us apply our intelligence and write back asking them to shut up.

As for the famous author conjuring up visions of a bridge, well, the best of writers around the world have written fiction which appear to be true later. I guess a combination of vivid imagination with the ability to logically connect events combined with great narrative skills should be rspected for what it is--a great creative mind.

Ashte! In kannada, Ashte means "that's all!"

Latha