A closer look at Ram Sethu issue leads to a quagmire. I can’t see any real conflict. An objective analysis does not indicate any need for controversies, unless somebody really wants to create one. Perhaps that is what we are witnessing now.
It is the belief of millions of people that Ram Sethu was built by the forces of Lord Rama. There is also a belief that the events in Ramayana refer to a war between Aryans and Dravidians. These are all traditions that originated some time in the distant past and survived through thousands of years. As Henry James (1843-1916) said, “It takes an endless amount of history to make even a little tradition.” In this light, the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) affidavit before the Supreme Court on Ram Sethu, though subsequently withdrawn, was unfortunate.
There is another side to it, however. For instance, I am a Syrian Christian who firmly believes that
The objective of building Ram Sethu would have been a limited one – to send armies to Lanka and rescue Sita. Therefore, the requirement was not a solid structure to survive millennia but a functional temporary causeway sufficient for the immediate purpose on hand. Leaving the bridge usable after the target was achieved would not have been wise militarily either. In any case, there was no reason at that time to have a permanent land route to Lanka.
Where would such a bridge have been built? Naturally at the shallowest, easiest and fastest to construct alignment. The location of Ram Sethu confirms this. Logic brings one to the conclusion that a temporary causeway was built using the existing shoals as base. The
Is there something sacrosanct about Ram Sethu? If there is, would the BJP led government have, according to reports, reactivated the 1860 scheme of Alfred D. Taylor to cut a shipping channel through it to connect Palk Strait and
Now, will the project help the people? One view expressed is that it will only benefit the shipping companies and the politicians. I don’t know about the latter, but reducing the turnaround time of any carrier makes sound economic sense. The benefits are bound to percolate down to the people as well.
Another apprehension is that this project is meant to expedite the growth of
The real concern, I feel, should be the environmental implications of Ram Sethu project. The Techno-Economic Feasibility study for the scheme was reportedly done by the Tuticorin Port Trust. Was it an independent work by competent people, free of political interference? There was one indication that the World Monuments Fund had suggested that divers should be asked to collect samples from the seabed near Ram Sethu for analysis. I can’t trace any further information on this.
Those who are for the shipping canal project repeatedly assert that ecological hazards have been carefully assessed and addressed. One claim is that dredging process has been chosen for the scheme since blasting the seabed would cause environmental damage. According to them five different alignments were considered by two different governments. Some media reports say that the present route through Ram Sethu was accepted by both the earlier BJP led government and the present UPA one after studying all aspects.
In the name of a project that may or may not be implemented, enough damage has been already done by the politicians and the fanatics. Is this what Rama Rajyam envisages?
Cross posted to