Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ramar Sethu issue- Govt.'s illogical positioning continues

The Ramar Sethu issue is one which clearly exposes the UPA Govt's clear and defined attack on Hinduism and sentiments of millions of its followers. The Government decided to sign up to create a channel without realizing the strength of the people to fight it. The Supreme Court after going through the arguments by Dr. Subramian Swamy and others asked the Government for clarifications.
Apparently when hell freezes over, the Devil will start quoting scriptures.
In this case the UPA Government in a marked change from its earlier positions is now trying to quote versions of Ramayan to bolster its case.
The central argument being,
after returning from Sri Lanka upon His victory over Ravana, Lord Rama “took his heavy bow and with it made several breaches in the bridge so wide that nobody could pass over it on foot.”

This statement is quite ridiculous.
  • Unlike todays bridges which crack with a light storm or flood, the Ramar Sethu was build with layers of boulders and primitive cement (as per the ancient scriptures). Now if you take a jackhammer and try to make huge breaches so deep and wide that people cannot cross (say 4ft by 4ft by 10ft) it will take several days if not weeks to finish the task.

  • Secondly after the war and crossing the bridge, Lord Ram is supposed to have done a quick pooja to the Sea God and flown over to Ayodhya. (As per the same scriptures)

Another idiotic statement by Mr.Parasan, counsel for UPA Government,
“The religious texts relied [upon] by him themselves showed that the bridge had been built and had been broken by Lord Rama himself.” Mr. Parasaran had also argued that anything broken could not be worshipped.

Building any structure would mean that something else would've to be broken unless it exists naturally like Amarnath. Hence going by Mr. Parasaran's logic, Christians cannot visit churches as rocks were broken to build the church, same goes for Muslims too.
The Supreme Court should ignore these asinine statements and order a CBI and Income Tax investigation into the DMK leaders who benefit the most by the channel due to kickbacks from the construction and shipping companies.
For those interested, this article here details more historical evidence of existence of the bridge.


Pilid said...

I am actually quite sympathetic towards the UPA government on this issue. Two prominent objections have been raised against the Setu project – one religious, the other environmental. Of the two, the religious objections seem to have had much greater impact. The court, without explaining itself or debating the principles involved, even before hearing government counsel Fali Nariman, told him to reconsider the Setu route suggesting that the decision was based less on legal merits and more on political considerations. Neither the government’s position nor the ASI affidavit appear to have been properly taken into account. That forced the government to adopt religious counter arguments in order to prevail. Because the court has refused (so far at least) to decide the constitutional questions involved, both sides are busy making extraneous and irrelevant arguments trying to sway the judges to their side based on claims of reasonableness. Hence this farcical drama that has been going on intermittently for several months now.

Dirt Digger said...

There is other aspects you missed out.
The actual feasibility of the project. Several prominent naval engineers and marine engineers have come out against this project as its physically limiting the types of ships to a very small category hence will not be profitable for a project of its size.
Secondly financial improprieties involved in this case with the DMK family being the key beneficiaries of the kickbacks and there is no investigation to understand why the Government is trying to run roughshod without following proper process.
Thirdly the impacts to the livelihood of the fishing industry around that area is not yet properly analyzed and those people's interests are not being looked at. Wonder where Medha Patkar, Arundhati Roy and Teesta are when it comes to the interests of these people?

Pilid said...


There may no doubt be important policy considerations but these are issues to be raised in the public domain/parliament, not in court.

If there is evidence of corruption, bringing it forth will surely put the government on the backfoot.

There are plenty of people raising numerous questions about this project - impact on fishing, marine life, integrity of coral reef, you name it. It is impossible to tell how many of these are genuine. In some instances, it is hard to tell as no data is presented to base the conclusions upon. The point is virtually any project can be held up simply by having a lot of people make all kinds of allegations. You see this happening with every project in the country. A line needs to be drawn somewhere.

Dirt Digger said...

I agree with you that while a lot of protests can be agreeable for several if not all major infrastructure projects in India, this particular project lacks the rewards when compared to the risks and investment involved.
There are many articles done on the feasibility of this project done, one such is,
Sethusamudram Canal: An Expensive Voyage? (21st July 2007) Jacob John
details some of the economic issues.
Besides that, the south eastern tip of Tamil Nadu is a major hub of the fishing industry and this project will likely hit the locals hard.
Thirdly, this area borders a war zone and could be used by the groups in Sri Lanka for targets again in the short term make the shipping industry concerned about the viability.

Anonymous said...

Sainath imagines something and sheds his Marxist tears for Obama.


reason said...

On Ram-Setu, it is not clear if either the petitioners or the government brought up any constitutional questions to the court yet.

The issue before madras high court was whether Setu is a national or religious monument or not. The high court had observed that even if it is a natural formation, that need not mean it is not a monument. The then chief justice Shah made some good points on how secularism will treat monuments of other faiths, but that was reported only in the express.

Later in the supreme court, there was a point raised about whether any worship happens there. Swamy said people do take boats to the site to offer prayers, but even if they dont pray at the site that does not impact the faith behind it.

The fundamental issue to me is, how far do we let courts or other wings of the government get into matters of faith on presumably 'secular' notions like development or anything else. If we do, then it will be secular to not single out one particular faith and treat all faiths equally.

Remember the jallikattu case where the SC initially allowed an animal rights group to get a ban on it, and used 'cruelty to animals' among other reasons. If cruelty to animals is a concern with the courts, we would like to see how far one can go with trying to ban all meat, slaughters, bakrid, etc.

it gets absurd. but we can pretend that in order to be accepted 'secular', we should ignore the absurdity and speak only of development.

Pilid said...


Hindus worship many aspects of nature - rivers, forests, mountains, etc. In fact, there are even sanskrit verses exhorting the wheels of bullock carts. This is quite different from the semitic religions which are more narrowly defined.

The question then is whether natural formations such as this setu/bridge that are purported to have symbolic value should come within the ambit of the right to religion (yes if you agree with Soli Sorabjee who argued the case on behalf of some petitioners). If so, what would be the implication of such a principle with regards to dams, industrial development, etc.? That is the heart of the constitutional question which the court does not appear to have grasped properly.

reason said...

The fact that Hindus worship many things was mentioned by one of the judges at the SC during the Setu hearing. This is akin to christians asking Hindus to 'introspect' whenever the question of conversions is raised - helps them side-step and conveniently avoid introspecting themselves as to what causes in them the urge to convert - their belief that theirs is the only God and everyone else goes to hell.

The Setu case that we are discussing here involves a formation that Hindus believe existed for millennia and finds references in Hindu texts dating back several centuries. Let us focus on that and see if Hindus have the right to their faith backed up by centuries of memory.

On the question of evil, ignorant, not-introspecting Hindooos worshipping everything - let us get there if one of them files a case to stop a road coming up because his revered stone is on the way.

By the way, Bishnois defend their faith, including using the courts, to protect the trees and animals they hold sacred.

reason said...

off-topic comment. chindu chief is crying that Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam in TN attacked his offices in Erode and Coimbatore following his anti-LTTE articles.


There can not be any better time to remind us of this -

" In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;

And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;

And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;

And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up."

This same Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam went on arson attacking places of worship in Erode and Chennai and other places, including ransacking and breaking idols in a Raghavendra temple in Erode. The Chindu maintained secular silence then, did not even report the attacks. Dont the evil, stupid, ignorant Hindoos worship everything including stones?

I am in no way supporting violence, but the chindu needs to 'introspect' on the kind of perversity it brought to journalism under its dear demented chief editor. It is this perversity that led to groups like this periyar dravidar kazhagam get co-opted as 'progressives' and 'rationalists'. That suited these dear demented fellows as long as it was the stupid Hindoo that was being screwed by these 'progressives and rationalists'.