Monday, March 3, 2008

Rama Setu in this 'living' country with a rich past!

Ram sethu acquires importance because it is a pilgrim centre,still flocked by lakhs of pilgrims every year.

Sethu-snanam is an important propitiatory act for a variety of problems (dOsha).

But sethu-snanam will have relevance only as long as Sethu exists.
Part of it may have been washed away by natural causes
and the bridge may be sub-merged for long stretches.
But that does not diminish its existence as a bridge
as any natural damage to it will be only construed as Nature's Will.

But any wanton damage done to it, for whatever reason,
will certainly diminish the very purpose of Sethu snanam.
It will deprive the entire lot of future generations from getting
the benefits from Sethu snanam,
which have been detailed in many Hindu scriptures.

A bunch of politicians who have no knowledge
of Hinduism, its scripture, this country's past and practices
have NO RIGHT to even talk about it - leave alone embark on a canal
work across it.

The committee appointed by the Government to look into the evidences
for the Ramsethu
has noted (on Page 113 ) a submission regarding ancient human
settlements dating to 18000 to 8000 years before present and at the
same time states that this reported evidence has no relevance to
events mentioned in the Ramayana.

First of all, do the committee and the Government recognize that this
country has an unbroken past stretching beyond 10,000 years?

If yes, have they ever thought what that past could be?

When a country is still a 'living' country with more than 10,000 years of past,
what will form the basis of delineating its past events -
archeology or traditions?

Archaeological survey is useful to unearth abandoned societies.
But in a country like ours which has a continuous living tradition,
only we the people, our practices, customs and our traditional belief system
become the mirror of our past.

The 8,000 to 13,000 year past is not a myth.
We have textual evidence in Tamil that
the Tamil Sangams have lived for 1850 +3700 +4440 = 9990 years
before the advent of Christ.

The textual evidence of Ramayana by Valimki also
points to the same period of activity of the Ikshvakus (Rama's dynasty)



To read Mr S. Kalyanaraman's views:-
"Centre's affidavit bucks State's Constitutional responsibility"
Hon'ble Supreme Court cannot be asked to adjudicate State
incompetence. The court should pass an order of injunction staying
the project disaster called mid-ocean Channel passage.

Constitution empowers the Court is with the responsibility of
enforcing the Rule of Law. Under clear separation of powers, it is
State responsibility to respect peoples' sentiments, which is the very
foundation and basic feature of the Constitution of the Republic of
India, a Republic of laws.

A prima facie illegality has been committed by not conducting
archaeological study before inaugurating work on Alignment 6 for the
mid-ocean Channel, an undertaking unprecedented in human history.

Rama Setu: Centre's affidavit, bucking the State's Constitutional

Mirrored at:

It is the submission of the Petitioners that matters of sentiment and
tradition do not have to submitted to mundane frameworks of
historicity. Mythology is essence of history – the very essence of
peoples' perceptions of their identity and world-view --and tradition
is evidence. This identity and world-view constitute sentiments of
millions of people worldwide in relation to Rama, Ramayana and Rama
Setu which is a metaphor for the victory of good over eveil, victory
of dharma over a-dharma.

In Paragraph 85 of the Respondent (Min. of Shipping) Affidavit, it is
stated: "In Chapter 9, views expressed against and in favour of the
project from the historical and cultural perspectives have been
enumerated. It has noted that no archaeological studies have been
undertaken in the Ramasethu/Adam's Bridge area by Archaeological
Survey of India. Following this comprehensive study, conducted on the
basis of several previous studies carried out by individuals and
institutions over the years, the Committee has come to certain
conclusions, which are enumerated in Chapter 10. The Committee has now
submitted its Report and it is placed before the Hon'ble Court for
appropriate decision."

Chapters 9 and 10 mentioned above are reproduced below.

It is extraordinary that the Respondent (Secretary, Ministry of
Shipping, Road Transport and Highways) who claims that the Counter
affidavit is on behalf of the Respondents Union of India, fails to
note that the Committee was NOT appointed by the Hon'ble Court but by
the Union of India.

Since the Committee was engaged by the Union of India,it is the
responsibility of the Union of India, in particular the Respondents
Archaeological Survey of India and Ministry of Culture to either own
up their own appointee's that is, the Committee's Report.

It is strange that the Union of India now disowns its own Committee's
observations. The Respondent's affidavit notes in Paragraph 87:
"Whereas the Committee of Eminent Persons has examined the available
evidence and arrived at certain conclusions relating to the nature of
the structure called Adam's Bridge/Ram Setu, issues of faith, except
those in which historicity of an event is subject to adjudication,
cannot be resolved by taking recourse to science or scientific
evidence." This averment, absurd by itself, directly contracts the
views of the Committee contained on Page 111 (Committee's Report):
"The Committee scrutinized the literary, epigraphic, numismatic,
sculptural, cartographic and other lines of evidence cited by the
petitioners and others in support of the historicity of Rama Sethu.
Popular beliefs and traditions about the Ramayana and Rama Sethu have
an antiquity covering at least 1500 years in the country. In Tamil
Nadu these traditions/beliefs cover 400 to 500 years."

Why should the Court be called upon to adjudicate or arbitrate between
Union of India and a Committee appointed by the Union of India itself
– an entity created by the Union of India. The Committee is not a
Court-appointed Advocate's Commission. It has been argued separately
that the Committee composition, procedures and biases, atheist
foundations and conflicts of interests of some members make the entire
Committee deliberations illegal and unacceptable. The Committee's
Report also selectively culls out the submissions/objections and
presents with a pre-conceived bias in support of the Project.

The bias and illegal procedures are evidenced by the fact that the
Madras HC judgement of 11 pages delivered on 19 June 2007 have not
been presented in the Committee's Report despite the evidences
summarized in that judgement. The Committee have also failed to live
up to their Terms of Reference and have not submitted the entire sets
of over 8000 pages of submissions made to them covering over 160
topics. Petitioners will retain the right to call for these
submissions from the Union of India and to submit the available
documentation to the Court in support of the principal contention of
the Petitioners that the Project should not be complemented cutting
through Rama Setu and that Rama Setu should be declared/deemed to be
an Ancient Monument of National Importance.

The Committee's observations bristles with contradictions as may be
seen even from a preliminary reading. On Page 113, the Committee notes
a submission regarding ancient human settlements dating to 18000 to
8000 years before present and at the same time states that this
reported evide3nce has no relevance to events mentioned in the
Ramayana. How could the Committee conclude so when they have not found
it within their competence to the date the events mentioned in the

It is also shocking that in Paragraph 88 of the Respondent's Affidavit
that the following authoritative statement has been made: "The Union
of India is of the belief that it should not be called upon to respond
to issues of faith, except in recognizing their existence." This
averment raises a fundamental constitutional issue, impacting the
basic feature of the Constitution, the meaning of the word 'Secular'
used in the Preamble (as amended). The word is translated in the
Official Hindi version as 'pantha nirapekshataa' that is, neutrality
as to different paths of belief systems.

Rama Setu issue as submitted by the Petitioners is based on tradition
and sentiments of millions of people world-wide. This is reality, as
reality as the sacredness attached to Ganga or Himalayas (Amarnath or
Kedarnath or Gangotri) or Mahakumbh held every 12 years. It is an
emphatic reality of tradition that lakhs of pilgrims go to Rama Setu
to make offerings to the ancestors (pitru tarpanam) on Ashadha
Amavasya day, year after year and include this tirthasthaanam as part
of the chaar dham (four sacred tirthasthaana) yatras.

It is incumbent upon the Union of India to respect the sentiments
based on tradition wich is as emphatic as any evidence which can be
produced in the justice system. A civil society cannot be allowed to
behave like the Taliban who destroyed the Bamiyan Budedha calling it a
mere stone.

Rama Setu is not a mere stone or body or cave of water. It inheres the
very essence of the identity of the nation as evidenced by the Survey
of India logo: aasetu himachalam (meaning: from Setu to Himalayas),
defining this bridge effectively as the southern boundary indicator.
It also signifies the unity of the nation recollecting as received
socio-cultural memory of the travels of Sri Rama from Ayodhya to Sri
Lanka to win over a-dharmic forces. As noted by former Supreme Court
Justice Shri VR Krishna Iyer, to create a channel cutting through Rama
Setu, will be an unpatriotic act impinging upon national sovereignty
if the Historic waters of the IndiraGandhi-Sirimavo Bandaranaike
declaration of 1974 is converted into an International Waters boundary
by creating this channel exactly, just 3 kms. west of the medial line
between India and Sri Lanka.

In Paragraph 10.2 of the Committee's Report while citing the examples
of Suez Canal in Egypt and Panama Canal in Panama, there is a
surprising failure to note the fact that the proposed mid-ocean
channel passage (as opposed to Suez and Panama which are land-based
canals) is unprecended in the history of navigation anywhere in the
world. No such mid-ocean channel passage has ever been created and
bristles with problems of stability as noted by Sir A. Ramaswamy
Mudaliar in their first post-indepence Report on navigation across
Gulf of Mannar and Palk Strait. They clearly noted that the idea of
cutting a channel passage through Rama Setu/Adam's Bridge should be
ABANDONED. Despite Madras HC directive to answer this observation of
Ramaswamy Mudaliar Committee, Union of India remains silent. What is
left unstated in the submissions of the Respondent and the attached
Committee Report is a tale of shocking misleading statements,
indulging in suggestion falsi and suppression veri, thus negating the
very foundations of justice.

It is for the Union of India to engage the necessary expertise to
determine the nature of Rama Setu and the high-handed submission made
by the Respondent should be rejected as unjust and untenable "IT is
now for the Hon'ble Court to resolve the contentious issues raised by
the Petitions in the context of the evidence available…" Court is not
an appendage of the Union of India. It is not for the Hon'ble Court to
resolve contentious issues which should be deliberated upon by the
Union of India. The Hon'ble Court should take serious exception to
such a high-handed plea made shirking the responsibility of the State,
negating the very foundations of separation of powers, a basic feature
of the Constitution.

The Hon'ble Court can only respond to request for judicial opinion if
the request comes from Her Excellency the President of India in case
any constitutional issue or issue of law is referred to the Court for
such an opinion.

Given the tendentious nature of the Respondents in dealing with the
issues raised by the Petitioners, a humble submission is made to the
Hon'ble Court to declare an injunction absolutely staying all work on
the entire project and direct the Respondents to re-examine
alternative transport modes to achieve the same purpose served bya
canal to transship and navigate goods from Tuticorin to Nagapattinam
and beyond, if necessary using the existing Pamban Gap which operated
with a cantilever Railway Bridge.

Pages 102 to 117 of Vol. I of Report of the Committee of Eminent
Persons on Sethusamudram Project, November 2007:


No comments: