Because it is Ram Setu and not Nehru bridge
Date: 02 Aug 2008
Because it is Ram Setu and not Nehru bridge
Tarun Vijay, rediff.com
August 01, 2008
There is an old haveli in Allahabad where Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was born. We learnt from our textbooks that he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. It is an old British idiom, meaning his family was very rich. That house has been declared a national monument and all his spoons, clothes, almirahs, achkans etc have been preserved as national heritage for public viewing. The expense for this is paid by the Indian public and not by the family of the person who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and whose descendants are not below the poverty line either.
Another house in the heart of New Delhi , a palatial one since the viceroy used to live there, which Nehru used as our first prime minister, has also been declared a national monument, and all his belongings including spectacles and churidars are well-preserved for posterity. This too is done using public money because he was a beloved leader of the people.
There are important roads in Delhi and all over the country named after Motilal Nehru, Kamla Nehru, Swarup Rani Nehru and of course Rajiv and Sanjay Gandhi. Quite justifiably so, because they were all leaders of India. The other family-wallahs were just followers and hence can be forgotten like Veer Savarkar, Subhas Chandra Bose, K B Hedgewar, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Ram Manohar Lohia, Jayaprakash Narayan, Lal Bahadur Shastri, etc. The best way to protect your illegal slum colony and get into the voters list is to name it after the Nehru clan. No one would dare to touch it, ever. It becomes instantly sanctified and a national heritage. It's true of Delhi, Mumbai and other metros.
But Ram Setu? Isn't it named after a person who called himself Ram? He has become a new icon for saffron communalism and hence should be discarded. The millennium-old collective memory all over the globe about the bridge he built is unprovable by any document.
So, our learned counsel, Fali S Nariman, whose Parsi ancestors were driven out of their homeland Iran by Islamic zealots and given refuge by the ardent followers of Ram, said in the Supreme Court on July 29 that the coral structure known as Adam's bridge or Ramar bridge cannot be declared a national monument because there is no proof of it having been built by Ram.
Nariman had presented an affidavit in the Supreme Court on July 22 too on behalf of the Union government to justify Ram Setu's destruction. He indeed did a great injustice to Ram, god of the Hindus and ancestor to all Indians. He misquoted the Padma Purana and Kamba Ramayanam to stress that Ram had himself destroyed the Setu after his victory over Lanka.
The fact is, both the scriptures say that Ram did not come to the Lankan shores after installing Vibhishana as king but returned Ayodhya by the Pushpak Vimana along with his divine consort Sita. The Padma Purana has 55,000 verses which we searched and in none of them is a reference whatsoever to a breach caused by Sri Rama to the Setu.
In affidavit after affidavit (the first was that Ram did not exist), this government has ridiculed the faith of the land, and this attitude may not remain unanswered for long.
The question this approach raises is, why is the government seen to be in such enthusiasm to find a way out or to collect invalid data and offending propositions for just one purpose -- destroying the Ram Setu? Should that be the prime concern or motive of democratic governance that owns a responsibility to represent all people and their aspirations? Who are the people this government considers worth listening to, and who are the 'others' identified as expendables having discernibly worthless opinions?
First they said Ram did not exist and then they filed another affidavit saying Ram destroyed the Setu, so we can blast whatever remains. Why? Should a naked lust for money overpower our cultural, security and biodiversity concerns?
Two young scholars, Sarvesh Tiwari and Jayashree Saranathan, researched minutely both the scriptures quoted by Nariman and found he has misled the court and offended the sentiments of Hindus, once again, as far as this government is concerned. The Padma Purana comprises 55,000 slokas arranged into five books: the Shrishti Khand, Bhumi Khand, Swarga Khand, Uttam Khand and Paataal Khand. The last book, Paataal Khand, contains, among other subjects, a mysterious version of the story of the eight Vishnu incarnations up to Krishna. The story of Ram is the largest among these.
The full text of the Paataal Khand, fifth khand of the Padma Purana, which contains an account of the Ramayana , is available in full here. In the scriptures there is no reference whatsoever to any breach caused by Sri Rama to the Setu. Veteran Ram Setu-ologist Kalyan Raman says, "Simply put, Nariman is hiding the fact that until 1480 (when a cyclone caused breaches as recorded on an epigraph), the Setu served as a bridge between Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar as recorded in the Royal Asiatic researches and Rameshwaram temple epigraphs."
Nariman also said that if something has already been destroyed, how could the Hindus worship it now? Dr Subramanian Swamy has pleaded in his petition that the tradition of veneration of Setu is unquestionable and continues even today, with over five lakh pilgrims going on ashadha amavasya day to Rama Setu to offer pitru-tarpanam -- a worship for ancestors exemplified by Sri Rama. The faithful argue, even if Nariman brings in some kind of an argument that Ram had damaged the Setu, so what? Does it cease to be a place of reverence and heritage?
Both the scriptures quoted by Fali Nariman say that once having reached the Lankan shores through the Setu, Ram directly climbed the Suvela hills and went ahead with his war plans. He did not return to the Setu or the shores of Lanka or Rameshwaram. Both Kamba Ramayanam and Padma Purana mention that Ram flew back to Ayodhya from Lanka in the Pushpak Vimana. On the way he showed Sita the places he visited including the Setu, which he praised for its greatness as a 'kshetra' (holy area) for propitiation of the people of the three worlds'.
As far as the Setu Samudram Project is concerned, it's proving to be good for nothing. There were alignments for its construction that would have the kept Ram Setu unaffected, but they were not considered. Why? There were serious objections raised by Vice Admiral R F Contractor, director general of the Indian Coast Guard. That too was ignored. Why? The objections of reasonable and independent scholars and jurists like Justice V K Krishna Aiyar and Justice K T Thomas (who opposed Ram Setu's destruction in an exclusive interview with me) were simply set aside without citing any grounds.
International tsunami expert Dr Tadepalli Sathya Narayana Murty, or Tad Murty, opined that the destruction of Ram Setu might increase the volume of catastrophe on Kerala in the event of a tsunami ("Significant tsunami energy did not propagate through the waters separating India and Sri Lanka during the December 2004 event and did not impact much the southern part of Kerala. Deepening and widening the Sethu canal, will provide a more direct route for some of the tsunami energy to travel and impact southern Kerala," he told rediff.com).
Moreover, experts cautioned that dredging Ram Setu would adversely affect the large reserves of thorium on Kerala's shores (India has one of the largest thorium reserves in the world), apart from harming the marine sanctuary and the biosphere in the water region of Ram Setu.
What is bewildering is the fact that the entire government machinery, financed principally by Hindus, is being used to collect material that would help justify the destruction of icons held in the highest esteem by Hindus themselves. Shouldn't the State be interested in doing just the opposite? Instead of invoking the memory of Ram in times like these, when terrorism has become a major problem before the nation, we tend to deride the source of our strength and valour.
Now the rethink message on Ram Setu has arrived, but not to respect Hindu sentiments, but fearing a vote-reduction and a possible use of the issue by a political adversary. If the bridge was named after Gandhi or Nehru, the secular government would have taken a different course of action.
Ram's path of winning a war
Being politically incorrect, we have become so communally compartmentalised that even on national matters we look pathetically ghettoised. No one on this planet has ever fought terrorism so valiantly and successfully as we have done. The ancestor of all Indians eliminated terror in the most practical way with human grace unparalleled in world history.
And the people remember those victories with great fondness. Though Indians born after the Constitution, a leftover of the colonialist forces, became the State's religion forgot to institutionalise their victory days like December 16 (India's victory over Pakistan in the Bangladesh war in 1971) or July 26 (victory in Kargil), as a civilisational society we have been celebrating Vijayadashmi, a day of victory over terrorism without fail since millenniums.
Ram didn't go to war at the first instance in spite of the gravest provocation. He tried to talk, urge and engage the enemy in a reasonable discussion for getting justice without bloodshed.
What were Ram's strategy and points of strength?
He stood for Dharma, ie, righteousness. Ravana was a doer of immoral acts. Hence the first great point of strength for Ram was his righteousness.
Ram had the support of common people like Vanaras and he earned their unflinching commitment.
Ravana refused to listen to the sagacious advice by his own brother Vibhishana and wife Mandodari. And obviously, he didn't care to listen to the commoners.
In Valmiki's Ramayana, Vibhishana tells Ravana: 'Dear brother! That act which cannot be accomplished by three well-known strategies (viz, conciliation, gift, and sowing dissension) is only then to be accomplished by exhibiting prowess, as stated by wise men.
'How do you wish to attack that famous Rama, who is always attentive, who has a will to conquer, who is established in strength, who has subdued his anger and who is difficult to be conquered?
'If the beloved wife of Rama is not given away of your own accord, the city of Lanka will indeed perish. All our valiant demons too will perish.'
So, Ram was attentive, had established his strength and won over his anger so his decisions would be taken after a cool thought. Once the foe was established, an unrepentant Ram won't pardon him till he was completely overpowered and annihilated.
We have been facing a terror war for more than two decades. Every time there is a barbaric attack, our prime minister and national security advisor issue a public statement accusing the Inter Services Intelligence, Pakistan's intelligence agency. Only recently, in the aftermath of the attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul, the same statement by the NSA M K Narayanan accusing the ISI was splashed all over. So, the wrongdoer is being warned, advised and engaged in table talk embroidered with track-two diplomacy since the last two decades.
We are neither attentive, nor have a will to overpower the wicked and win a war.
The result is seen in the form of Jaipur , Bangalore and Ahmedabad blasts. Sometimes we blame the ISI, then the Harkat ul Jihad i Islami, or Bangladesh-based terrorist organisations, taking ample care that neither the Pakistan nor Bangladesh government is accused directly, so that 'normalisation of relations' is not adversely affected.
We tend to think the governments of both countries are sincere and saintly but those mischievous jihadi elements are beyond their control, hence we must continue strengthening our relations with Islamabad and Dhaka while condemning the jihadis working under their nose to bleed us. We don't have the guts to ask tell Islamabad and Dhaka point-blank that whatever they are doing to the Taliban on the northern front to please their masters in Washington DC, will they do the same against the anti-India operations of the Taliban too.
Where is the will to annihilate the wicked forces, a serious and doable threat to their existence, to ensure the safety and happiness of the loyal citizens of the State? The seat of power, a symbol of Ram, remains a chronicler of hate attacks -- today here, tomorrow there, to be added in the annual report of the home ministry.
Ram was serious about punishing the unrepentant and the enemy took it seriously too. When we issue a condemnation and warning to the enemy, do they take us seriously? They laugh at us.
The State's willpower is well exhibited in enforcing communal reservations, extending ceasefire with the NSCN, defreezing Quatrocchi's bank accounts, talking to the Hurriyat, taking back Amarnath land and saving a nuclear deal at 'any' cost.
Only Ram's path can empower us to take on terror, not by deriding Ram.
Tarun Vijay is Editor, Panchjanya, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's Hindi weekly
India: A weakening civilisation
rediff.com; July 28, 2008
Since time immemorial smaller nations without a strong soul, or which are on the decline, have copied -- - and often blindly aped -- the strong prevailing civilisations of that moment. In that manner, when Rome was at its peak satellite nations copied the Roman style of democracy, clothes, food, mannerisms... And so it was for Egypt, Greece, Mesopotamia when they dominated, or even for ancient India whose dances, temples, customs, martial arts, were replicated all the way to China on one side and down to Greece on the other (many Greek gods are derived from Hindu deities).
One cannot call today's India a declining civilisation, although it has suffered tremendously from invasions in the last 1,500 years. Indeed, India is one of the few civilisations today which has managed -- albeit in a diluted manner -- to retain intact much of her culture and spirituality from the Vedic ages. If you look at civilisations like Greece, Egypt or Italy (erstwhile Rome) today, not much has come down from their times of domination and greatness -- whereas in India the knowledge of karma, of yoga, of the avatars and the hidden realities behind life are still there in teachers, gurus, ashrams, individuals, for us to learn from.
Why is it, then, that at the moment India seems to be paralysed into inaction in the face of an all-out war against Indian liberties and values by Islamic terrorists? Why is it that Indians are aping so much the Western type of democracy without caring to adapt it to the Indian psyche and conditions, that anybody can twist the system, cheat and win in the end? Why is it that it appears at this very moment that there never has been so much corruption, debasement and selfishness in Indian politics?
Why it that the Indian government appears hell-bent to impose upon the nation a nuclear deal, which will neutralise India's weapons of nuclear deterrence in the face of China's and Pakistan's aggressive nuclear weaponisation and castrate India's independence in foreign policy, as well as bring with it immense Westernisation, not to mention a strong influx of Christian missionaries? Why is it that sections of Indian journalism seem to have touched a new low just to get more ratings?
Look how the United Progressive Alliance won the vote of confidence in Parliament, with the connivance of the press and Indian politicians, and the ways and means which were used to secure that vote.
Special: How the trust vote was won
Look at the role of Speaker Somnath Chatterjee ? Should he not have satisfied himself about the veracity of allegations of bribery before undertaking further proceedings in Parliament? If votes were procured in a brazen manner, affecting a crucial outcome for the nation, should he not have deferred the trust vote?
Posterity will also judge him on the history museum he built in Parliament annex at a cost of Rs 100 crore from the taxpayer's money and which shows Indian history starting with Ashoka, continuing with Akbar, and more or less jumping to Subhas Chandra Bose and Nehru, without any mention of the great Hindu political and spiritual leaders from Kalidasa to Sri Aurobindo, from the great Sri Krishnadeva Raya, the last king of the last great Hindu empire of Vijayanagar, to Bal Gangadhar Tilak, a true nationalist. So much for the Communists' view of Indian history.
Look at the silence of the business community on the ethics of what has just happened in the last two weeks. One can understand the silence of an Anil Ambani who stands to benefit from the Amar Singh-UPA entente. But what about others like Ratan Tata, the Jindals, Hindujas, Birlas, who may be swayed by the prospect of doing big business with the Americans, or by the possibility of the government going in for last-minute liberalisation after it got rid of the Communists' hurdle?
Do any of these tycoons first think Indian and not of profit for themselves? Do they think for a minute of the price, or shall we say in a more Indian manner the karmic price that India, their country, will have to pay sooner or later for the manner in which the nuclear deal has been won and the low depths to which Indian politics and ethics have sunk to in the process?
Look at the inertia of the government and the press after the Bangalore blasts and then the horrible Ahmedabad blasts. Does the UPA think the common citizen of India is a nitwit and that he does not understand that on one hand, if the Government of India keeps pointing fingers at Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence, or at some Bangladesh outfit, it is to deflect the fact that most of the recent terror attacks have been perpetrated by Indian Muslims, with or without Pakistani or Bangladeshi (or Al Qaeda ) help?
It is not only a matter of vote banks in times of coming elections, but also a fact that politicians in India want to keep a blindfold on their citizens and pretend that nothing is happening. Does not the government, on the other hand, understand that we have all become cynical to its usual conduct on these occasions when it: a. condemns 'in the strongest terms' this 'barbarous act'; b. appeals for calm and 'communal harmony'; c. gives a few lakhs each to the families of the deceased or injured, so that they shut up; and d. never catches the culprits and goes on as before till the next terrorist act.
But look at America, the most hated and targeted country in the world: it has not suffered a single terrorist attack since September 11, 2001. Which Indian politician will have the courage to call a spade a spade and tackle terrorism with courage and determination?
Is it not time that India reminds itself that it is still a great civilisation with a composite society that has always accepted diversity? That it has entered another period of Renaissance and that it needs to think Indian, to protect its borders, its women and children, to retain, in the true Spirit of the Bhagavad Gita, the will to fight, physically if necessary, for the preservation of dharma and knowledge?
Yes, India can borrow what is good from the West in terms of technological advancement and ecological conservation, but it should not discard all the great things that come down from ancient India and make this country so unique, so wonderful.