Thursday, July 24, 2008

Rama Setu: by denying Setu, Union of India has lost its right to govern

By Dr S. Kalyanraman

The latest affidavit denying Rama Setu may mark

the beginning of the end of the UPA government temporarily ruling over Union of India.

Union of India may have just lost its right to govern

since Setu is the very embodiment of national unity and integrity,

the very quintessence of India's heritage and cultural traditions.

UPA may stay in sattaa by horse-trading MPs' votes,

it cannot clam the right to govern by denying the very identity of Hindu rashtram –

a nation with over 83% Hindus.

In Sri Rama's time all were Hindus,

some of them may be present day practitioners of Islam or Christian faiths,

but their ancestors were Hindus who take the sankalpa saying,

Sri Rama Rameti, vyapohati nasams'ayah and

go on to define their locus in space and time from the kalpas...

The very aatman of India inheres in the received cultural memory of Rama

and Setubandha. Remember,

Kings Pravarasena and King Damodara Sena wrote

Prakrit kavyas titled Setubandha kaavya in 5th and 6th centuries.

Narimaan, to note. (I hope someone will forward this note to this learned counsel).

I do not know if it is the cleverness of Narimaan or

the political obduracy of Sonia Gandhi determined to destroy Rama Setu,

it is ridiculous to read about the arguments being advanced.

Narimaan might have just contributed to the repeat of a situation

which led to the Union of India withdrawing its sworn affidavit.

Narimaan, CJ of Madras HC asked the first question:

what is the meaning of 'setu'?

Abhidaana kos'am, a Tamil encyclopaedia defined setu

as 'man-made bund.'

Do you know that the word,

bandha as in setubandha,

setubandha rameshwaram is the root for the English word 'bund'

which means a man-made embankment?

It is unfortunate that learned counsels quibble

without attempting to read the orignal texts.

If Sri Rama has broken the Setu, so be it.

It is just an admission that the setu existed, it exists.

No human power has any authority to meddle with this divine Setu.

Citizens of India rightly denied the rights to the Courts or

Governments under Art. 25 and 26 to meddle with issues

divine or with matters of faith –

as argued earlier by Soli Sorabjee, Parasaran,

KK Venugopal, Vaidyanathan and Dr. Subramanian Swamy.

Suggestio falsi, suppressio veri seems to be Narimaan's game plan.

He cites Kamba Ramayana out of context and fails to refer to the evidences

provided by Skanda Purana, Kalidasa's Raghuvams'a,

Mahabharata, apart from Valmiki Ramayana,

Sangam literature texts like Akananooru,

and even the 19th century verse of Pamban Swamigal.

He also fails to acknowledge the references

cited in Madras HC judgemennt of 19 June 2007,

citing cartographic (maps), Marco Polo,

Al Beruni, Royal Asiatic Researc papers,

epigraphs of Rameshwaram temple,

epigraphs on Velanjeri copper plate of Parantaka Chola

referring to the Setu and the fact that

it functioned as a causeway for people to cross

between Talaimannar of Srilanka to Rameshwaram of India.

Narimaan also ignores the puja vidhanam mentioned in Skanda Purana;

he does not have to teach the faithful on modes of prayer at Dhanushkodi.

That the Rama Setu is supported by an enormous body of living tradition

(as evidenced by the affidavits from Rameshwaram temple,

Rameshwaram fisherfolk,

apart from volumes of documentation submitted to the Court),

cannot be wished away by anecdotal references taken out of context.

What Kamban reports is a continual phenomenon of breaches to the Rama Setu

as was the epigraph in Rameshwaram temple reporting breaches at three places

during the 1480 cyclone

(clearly demonstrating that until that year,

the Rama Setu served as a bridge used by pilgrims

to go across from Rameshwaram Shiva temple to Tirukkedeeswaram

Shiva Temple. Skanda Purana notes and

confirmed by Pamban Swamigal that there is a third shivalingam

installed on the Rama Setu itself.

It is the responsibility of marine archaeology wing of

Archaeological Survey of India to find tis shivalingam

and associated mandiram on the Setu.

Affidavits have also been filed showing that earlier generation pilgrims

used to go this Setu Shivamandiram praying for children

and fulfilling their sankalpa venerating their ancestors.

This together with Gangasagar are the places

where during the month of Ashadha amavasya offerings are made

to the pitru-s, ancestors by offering sankalpam and tarpanam.

Every year about 5 lakh pilgrims go on ashadha amavasya day to Rama Setu.

This living tradition cannot be wished away by hypocritical,

twisted references by the learned counsel of the Union of India.

This Setu is a matter of fait not only for Hindus but also for Christians,

Buddhists and Muslims.

A Muslim family has given an affidavit that

they celebrate marriages in their families singing the glory of Sri Rama

remembering that their ancestors came from Ayodhya.

A rejection of this tradition and faith is a clear violation of Section 295 of IPC,

a note which was also underscored in the Madras High Court judgment.

Vinaas'akaale vipareeta buddhih.

Evil minds in times of destruction.

These are the swan songs of an atheist supported government

and learned counsels who indulge in casuistry

in a pathetic show of juristic gimmickry.

Shame on some counsels who cannot see their responsibility

to sustain the identity of the nation,

the integrity and security of the nation's coastline and

act like pied-pipers to a governance governed by evil.

We are continuing to use dharmic means through the justice system

with the full confidence that the courts will not be parties to illegalities—

illegalities of national laws, illegalities violating international covenants,

illegalities dismissng the concerns of neighbouring states and

illegalities violating the Law of the Sea and

international laws and norms of behaviour.

Protection of Rama Setu is not a one issue concern of Hindus' faith.

Protection of Rama Setu is protection of nation's identity,

integrity and unity.

A court is expected to uphold dharma and these national imperatives,

transcending narrow interpretations of jurisdictions and boundaries

between state responsibilities and responsibilities of the justice system.

If the fence eats away the field, who will protect the crop?

Madras HC judgement has clearly recognized that Rama Setu

is an undeniable fact in tradition and faith.

The faith concerns millions of Hindus

who venerate Sri Rama under whose command the Setu was constructed

to protect dharma and to win over a-dharma.

Veda Vyasa states this categorically.

ramas'yaajnaam puraskritya dhaaryate girisannibhaah

(Trans. It is Rama's command to protect this Setu, famed as Nala Setu...)

Rama's command is divine order and is inviolate.

Denying Rama and Rama Setu is blasphemy and

denial of the very rashtram, the nation.

Narimaan should do well to read the 8000 pages of evidence

in 160 volumes made available during court deliberations

instead of relying upon suppressio veri, suggestio falsi tactics,

thinking that points can be scored on points of law.

Sure, law is an ass but don't allow the case

to hurt the sentiments of millions of believers just to benefit a few,

however high and might.

It is a sad day when counsels forget their larger responsibilities to the nation.

The call of duty cannot become a wrestling bout on technical points of law

but grounded on national interest.

The national interest does not lie in creating a white elephant

with the prospect of incurring Rs. 1000 crore loss per annum

in perpetuity just to benefit a few dredging contractors and mariners

owning small ships.

It is the responsibility of jurists to explore the real development opportunities

to enssure abhyudayam of coastal people and

not an unmaintainable mid-ocean channel passage –

a unique experiment, untested experiment in human history –

without answering the question: for whose benefit is the benefit contemplated?

Evidence is there.

It is for the justice system to render justice,

with fairness, equity and compassion.

There is enough expertise in the country of

archaeologists, geologists and oceanographers

(as in National Institute of Oceanography, Geological Survey of India)

who can be commissioned to objectively find scientifically viable solution

to the project disaster including options such as Marine Economic Zone,

rail-road-container-port coordination.

If there is a political will, there is a way.

If the political will is skewed and motivated,

the citizens will have to reconsider the covenant

they established when they gave themselves a Constitution,

constraining the powers of the executive and the judiciary

and setting up checks and balances to ensure

that the development projects do not violate the rule of law.

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