Modern Channel or Ancient Sethu : story of Wilful Ineptitude & Cynical Bigotry?

One of the reconstructed temples at Bateshwar. Courtesy ASI.

I have not been able to lay my hands on the ‘Affidavit’. Yes!, the very one, which has raised the hackles of VHP, BJP and the Bajrangees, who claim sole or pre-eminent right to represent Hindus and Hindutva. Apparently, the offending sentence they objected to said “
……there was no historical or scientific proof about the existence of Lord Ram or Ram Sethu as a man-made bridge, ………..” (Re diff News). It would be educating to know the process the draft went threw and who all were involved in it’s making. Two Sacrificial lambs have already been found to appease the forces of discord in the garb of ASI officials, who may be trained to weigh scientific evidence rather than to practice the craft of politics or legalese; while the others are running for cover to save their arses. “The (Culture) Secretary had made three amendments in the affidavit that I upheld and made notings on the file. While two corrections, rather deletions, were incorporated, one was left out. We have to see where this oversight happened,” averred Renuka Chaudhari, the Culture minister; while additional solicitor general, Gopal Subramaniam, was quick to take refuge in collective responsibility, “The affidavit was a result of inputs from all concerned. It was a team effort. We worked for six days and nights continuously to arrive at the document.“(Indian Express). Doesn’t it beg a question, if true, How then the axe fell on ASI officials with such alacrity? Why did those involved had to work 24×6?, and Was the work outsourced to a time zone 6:30 hours behind GMT to achieve this feat?

Those who have seized this opportunity to bilk the issue bone dry have held the government guilty of dishonouring the faith and the sentiments of Hindus and their ancient tradition. An affidavit is a statement of facts as known to the affiant and sworn before an Oath Commissioner or Public notary, who have to be lawyers. The offending sentence in the affidavit holds that there is no historical or scientific proof ……., and therefore it could be challenged based on the methods of science. Now the realm of faith is not amenable to scientific enquiry, at least when there are well entrenched vested interests out to capitalize their advantage. A scientist may be blind to the mischief such statement may cause in suitably eager hands, but a politician or a lawyer should have been alive to its nuances. It was an easily avoidable blunder without sacrificing the facts or the case. The lawyer or the minister or the secretary could have easily suggested an affirmation stating, “Scientifically it is possible to adduce that the nature’s forces & processes obtained in the region are on their own capable of creating the formation, which is referred to as Ram Sethu or Adam’s bridge or ……..”. Period! Nothing more or nothing less need to have been said. What suggests to the commonsense of a legally untrained and politically ignorant mind would certainly not have escaped the attention of seasoned operators. So, what happened then? Now that brings us to the realm of tantalizing conspiracy theories. Ms. Chaudhary has already allowed us a peep in to the “
oversight” angle. In an Op_Ed article of Indian express, “
……..Those extra sentences in the withdrawn ASI affidavit actually represented a project India is simply not ready for: putting religious faith to the same test of evidence and inquiry that we reserve for many this-worldly faiths……….“, has Mr. Chakrabarti inadvertently hinted to a secret project we are not privy to?(God&us)

Moving on to surer grounds where the test of evidence and enquiry could be confidently and correctly applied, that is to the physiography of sethusamudram, I recommend reading a studious blogicle (my coinage) by a friend (Go2Blogicle). Kher, no religious ritualist I can vouch, yet alive to the collateral damage the issue can cause, says “This is a controversial issue involving the religious sentiments of millions of Indians. I feel though that any detailed geological investigation of the Palk strait sediments will be able to explain Adam’s bridge as a natural consequence of sand shoal formation and coral reef dynamics.“.

Now I come to a strange thought that strayed in to my mind. Which is the earliest available edition of Ramayan? Does Ram Sethu find mention in it? (If you know, please write back). Following is one entry putting a limit on the antiquity that I found ‘….The reference to the Greeks, Parthians, and Sakas show that these Books cannot be earlier than the second century B.C……”[ The cultural Heritage of India, Vol. IV, The Religions, The Ramakrishna Mission, Institute of Culture ](RamKrishna Mission)’. Luckily, it is not from some godless source. I may then assume, of course without any basis right now, that its modernity too may not be later than say 200 C.E. If so, isn’t it perplexing that around 2000 years back, the writer of Ramayan, not only was aware of Ayodhya, but also this formation in the sea over 2000 kilometres away, and the route to take for reaching it. It would be a onerous task even for a big team to survey in those days this humongous area. To know what kind of data base and search engines were available to Valmiki, would be rewarding for a researcher and enlightening to us about the ancient materialist history of people and their pursuits; how they lived, collaborated, communicated or spun a yarn.

Cheers / Sadanand

Further Reading : (
Ashok Singhal=WinstonChurchil)

Ponder : ‘
The Bateshwar ruins used to be a dacoit hideout until ASI official persuaded them to allow reconstruction.The site, which lies on a mountain slope, dates back to the period between the 6th and 9th Centuries when the Pratihara dynasty held sway.(Bateshwar)’ Who did persuade the dacoits and does oversee the work with a missionary zeal? Must be some staunch Tilak-toting believer of Shiva! Wrong!! He is ASI Superintending Archaeologist, Bhopal Circle, Muhammad K K. In the 21st century, Muhammad & His team from ASI are reconstructing a complex with over 100 temples that were being built 1500 years earlier when another Muhammad in the distant Mecca/Medina was awakening with the yearning to praise the glory of god all mighty. Would Thogadias, Thackares, Katiyars take note??

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