Skip to comments.Hindus up in arms as god clashes with government
Posted on 09/13/2007 11:24:55 PM PDT by bruinbirdman
Thousands of furious Hindus took to the streets after the Indian Government claimed that the epic that forms the cornerstone of their religious beliefs was a work of fiction.
Police used teargas to disperse crowds in the central state of Madhya Pradesh, where protesters accused the Government of blasphemy.
The row erupted when the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), an arm of the Culture Ministry, told the countrys highest court that there was no evidence to support the existence of the characters in the Ramayana, a revered ancient text. Nor was there any historical record that Lord Ram, one of Hinduisms most popular heroes, was a real person or that any of the events in the epic took place.
The highly controversial claim formed part of statements submitted to the court in support of a plan to dredge a channel between India and Sri Lanka that would allow cargo ships a faster route around the tip of the sub-continent, cutting 36 hours off a typical passage.
Many Hindus oppose the £250 million scheme because the proposed shipping lane would demolish a submerged stretch of limestone shoals that Hindus believe was constructed by Lord Ram to rescue his kidnapped wife, Sita. They want the Ram Setu to be declared an ancient protected monument. The controversy over the fate of Ram Setu Adams Bridge as it is known to nonbelievers has dragged on for years, but is reaching a climax.
The court has allowed dredging work to continue but will consider at a hearing today whether the bridge can be touched. C. Dorjee, the monuments director of the ASI, said in the 400-page affidavit: The issue has to be approached in a scientific manner . . . [it] cannot be viewed solely relying on the contents of a mythological text.
The blasphemous statements were seized on by the opposition Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), whose supporters blockaded roads. It accused the Congress-led Government of assaulting Hindu sentiments.
The Government has set in motion the process of questioning religious beliefs. We will launch a nationwide movement if it does not withdraw immediately this blasphemous submission questioning the very existence of Lord Ram, Rajnath Singh, the BJP president, said.
Historians and scientists have long disputed the legitimacy of Ram Setu and have questioned the authenticity of the Ramayana, considered to be set 1.7 million years ago, and its original author, Valmiki. Geologists consider the bridge to be only 5,000 to 7,000 years old.
Belief has to be separated from historical facts, T. K. Venkatasubramaniam, professor of history at Delhi University, said. Ram Setu has gotten into the culture and psyche. Even in the 21st century it is very difficult to come out of that belief.
Keeping the faith
The construction of a bridge from Goolwa to Hindmarsh Island in the Murray River estuary, South Australia, was halted in 1994 after a local tribe of Aborigines claimed that the island was sacred to them for reasons that they refused to reveal. A year later other Aborigines went public with accusations that the objections of the tribe were a hoax, and the construction of the bridge was reauthorised by the Government.
In northern Arizona this year a consortium of Native American tribes successfully blocked the expansion of a ski resort that lay well outside their tribal borders. They claimed that the use of wastewater in snow making machines would desecrate peaks that they hold sacred
I don’t believe in the Hindu Religion, but I am not thr government of an overwhelmingly Hindu country. If the facts here are correct, this is incredibly stupid of the bureaucrats.
Why are they so upset? Just look at the Scientologists—they believe in works of science fiction, too! Hail Xenu! :P
The average man votes below himself; he votes with half a mind or a hundredth part of one. A man ought to vote with the whole of himself, as he worships or gets married. A man ought to vote with his head and heart, his soul and stomach, his eye for faces and his ear for music; also (when sufficiently provoked) with his hands and feet. If he has ever seen a fine sunset, the crimson color of it should creep into his vote. The question is not so much whether only a minority of the electorate votes. The point is that only a minority of the voter votes.G.K Chesterton
India is no more a secular state than the US was prior to the Prayer in Schools decision of the USSC.
The gentleman in question is the leader of the opposition and former Prime Minister.
How do you know they are “cynically using religion to win votes”? I would think leaders of a religiously based party are probably sincere in their beliefs.
You are correct, he is merely the presumed PM if his party retakes power. The way folks over there add credibility to their stands on religion is to form a mob of a million people or so, then they go around burning government buildings and mosques. I don’t know about you, but I think this could lead to a problem with two hostile nuclear powers facing off on the subcontinent. IMHO you have a problem understanding that while you may be a rational political actor, most people in the world are not.
"Adam's Bridge, known in India as Rama's Bridge or Rama Setu, is a chain of limestone shoals, between the islands of Mannar, near northwestern Sri Lanka, and Rameswaram, off the southeastern coast of India.
"The bridge is 30 miles (48 km) long and separates the Gulf of Mannar (southwest) from the Palk Strait (northeast). Some of the sandbanks are dry and the sea in the area is very shallow, being only 3 ft to 30 ft (1 m to 10 m) deep in places, which hinders navigation." - Wikipedia
Hindu Rage Boy!
What a stupid thing for a govt to say.
Fifteen thousand years ago, at the end of the Ice Age, that geologic formation known as Adam’s Bridge would have been above sea level. (Sea level has risen approximately 500 feet since the large ice masses began melting.)
In fact, present day Sri Lanka (Ceylon) was a penninsula of land attached to the Indian subcontinent during that long ago Ice Age. The stories of ancient Hinduism are no more fanciful or outrageous than that of our Christian Bible, but rather indicative of a lost and very, very ancient civilization.
Anyone care to as Mitt about gold plates, salamanders, or tribes of nephites?
Agreed but the necessary transportation channel need not be dredged by arguing that a certain God of the majority religion of the country does not exist and did not exist.
It would be on the same logic that the Israelis would be denied Jerusalem.
Blasphemy? Hindus believe in blasphemy?
I thought EVERYTHING was acceptable to a Hindu. It’s like a huge sponge, the borg religion. How do they know the government’s viewpoint isn’t just the doctrine of one of their millions of gods?
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