by P.T. Choudary, Chairman IDEAz
The RAM SETHU Controversy
This controversy arose over the decision of the Government of India to dredge a passage through the Palk Straits, so as to avoid the necessity of ships having to go around the Island of Srilanka on their journey from the West coast of India to its East coast and vice versa - an economic decision. However the major objection raised was religious, that such dredging would cut in to the land bridge built by Lord Ram (Ram Sethu) on his way to Lanka.
Let us now consider the validity of such an objection based on religious sentiment.
Given that it was Lord Ram who got the Ram Sethu constructed, providing a 48 kms long land link from Dhanushkodi in India to Thalaimannar in Sri Lanka.
Given also that this link is said to have been passable on foot till 1480 AD when a cyclone is reported to have submerged the Bridge, obviously as willed by Lord Ram. There is also a version of the Ramayana story which says that Lord Ram himself drew the edge of his bow at Dhanushkodi (Bows end) to sever the Land Bridge as it had served its purpose. Thus in either case it was the Lord’s decision because of which there is no bridge now, as it is all under water.
Again it was obviously the Lord only who allowed Mankind to develop into intelligent beings capable of building machines to dredge the sea-bottom and using them where they recognized a valid need.
Since the Sethu Samudram Project does not interfere with Lord Ram’s intention to let the sea cover the original land bridge as he has already allowed it to be submerged, to now claim in his name that the Project is objectionable would not be a valid or rightful claim.
Also the display of some coral stones, that float on water due to the air pockets sealed within, and claiming them as miraculous stones used by Lord Ram to build the Ramsethu, is false and misleading. Nowhere has it been written in the Ramayana that the Ramsethu was a floating bridge and in any case such a bridge would have not remained with its foundation from the sea bed. Also the existing evidence on the ground does not support any such interpretation.
Objections, if any, should thus only be on an economic or technical basis, or with regard to the compensation to those adversely affected by the Project. Ofcourse even so, if a way can be found to execute the project without at all effecting the ‘Ramsethu’, it should be preferred, if only in acceptance of a sentiment however erroneous it may be as the effort to explain it away would also be a cost to be considered.
However semi – technical sounding reasons such as given below should be exposed for the fraud they are and discarded.
That the dredging of the Channel will:
Allow a free passage to Cyclones