Skip to comments.Report on Hindu god Ram withdrawn
Posted on 09/14/2007 11:45:44 AM PDT by Lorianne
The Indian government has withdrawn a controversial report submitted in court earlier this week which questioned the existence of the Hindu god Ram. The report was withdrawn after huge protests by opposition parties.
The report was presented to the Supreme Court on Wednesday in connection with a case against a proposed shipping canal project between India and Sri Lanka.
Hindu hardliners say the project will destroy what they say is a bridge built by Ram and his army of monkeys.
Scientists and archaeologists say the Ram Setu (Lord Ram's bridge) - or Adam's Bridge as it is sometimes called - is a natural formation of sand and stones.
In their report submitted to the court, the government and the Archaeological Survey of India questioned the belief, saying it was solely based on the Hindu mythological epic Ramayana.
They said there was no scientific evidence to prove that the events described in Ramayana ever took place or that the characters depicted in the epic were real.
Hindu activists say the bridge was built by Lord Ram's monkey army to travel to Sri Lanka and has religious significance.
In the last two days, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has launched a scathing attack on the government for questioning the "faith of the million".
Worried about the adverse reaction from the majority Hindu population of the country, the Congress Party-led government has now done a U-turn and withdrawn the statement submitted in court.
The government asked the court for three months to try and sort out the issue.
Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam, appearing on behalf of the government, said they would set up a mechanism to hear concerns expressed by those opposed to the canal project.
The court adjourned the matter for three months saying they would take up the case again in January.
In the meantime, the court has said that dredging work for the canal could continue, but Ram's Bridge should not be touched
On Wednesday, Hindu hard-line organisations blocked roads across India to protest against the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project.
Commuters in the capital, Delhi, were stuck in traffic jams for hours as Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) and Bajrang Dal blocked roads at various places.
Road blocks were also held in Bhopal, the capital of the central state of Madhya Pradesh, on the Delhi-Agra highway and on the Jaipur-Agra highway.
Train services were disrupted in many places across northern India.
The canal project proposes to link the Palk Strait with the Gulf of Mannar between India and Sri Lanka by dredging a canal through the shallow sea.
This is expected to provide a continuous navigable sea route around the Indian peninsula.
Once complete, the canal will reduce the travel time for ships by hundreds of miles and is expected to boost the economic and industrial development of the region.
Uh, I have to admit I hadn’t.
Well the first point is what the Hindu nationalist groups are saying,though it was a government led by the BJP itself which gave preliminary approval for the start of the project in 2003.
The problem with calling it important for the local populace is that there is considerable support for this shipping project in the Southern State of Tamil Nadu-it would have significant economic benefits.Ships which earlier had to go around Sri Lanka can cut upto 20 to 30 hours of travel time if a canal comes in.What’s developing is that there has been protests in the North of India,while it’s pretty much silent in the 4 South Indian states.There has usually been localised sentiment among most south Indians that they have been given short shrift from the North as well as Central Governments.Not a nice thing.
Thanks for bringing it down to the regional level for us. Interesting comments...
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Note: this topic is dated 9/14/2007.
Of course, but these people take the Ramayana very seriously, as a sacred text. These people almost started a civil war because they illegally destroyed a mosque built centuries ago over a "sacred" Hindu site.
Hey, I also have a hard time getting my brain around the idea that a polytheistic religion survived into the 21st century.