They are at it again! Yes, you guessed it right. Our esteemed representatives in and out of Parliament are fighting again. Making a mountain out of a molehill and inciting communal tension. With the Left politicising the US-India Nuclear Deal, the Congress government already had enough on its plate. Now, the BJP and its cronies are politicising what should be a normal development activity. And yes, I am talking about the much-delayed Sethusamudram Project. The BJP is up in arms, yet again, against the affidavit filed before the Supreme Court by the Archaeological Survey of India on behalf of the government yesterday. In the affidavit, the ASI has said that there is no historical or archaeological evidence that the Ram Sethu Bridge (Adam’s Bridge) was man-made, or more specifically, built by Lord Ram. The BJP, in its protests against the affidavit says that the ASI, and by consequence, the Central Government, has “hurt the sentiments of Hindus worldwide” by doubting the veracity of the Valmiki Ramayan and other Hindu scriptures.
Now, this is getting ridiculous. The ASI has said that the said Bridge is simply a natural formation of shoals and sand dunes that have assumed the form of a bridge over the millennia. Should the ASI be made to back-track and apologise for stating an archaeological fact simply because the BJP thinks it hurts the sentiments of pious Hindus across the globe? Apparently, the ASI’s statement that there is no archaeological evidence for the existence of Lord Rama is blasphemous too. So what if there is no archaeological evidence? Are we going to believe any less in God because the ASI doubts its veracity. The Ram Sethu is a tricky situation. We leave the well-knows realms of history and travel into the hazy world of myths and legends. How can the ASI be blamed for wanting to stick to established fact? The ASI is called the archaeological survey for a reason, it relies on archaeological data and not on theology. How can the nation’s best historians be expected to accept the word of a centuries-old story of Ram, handed down to us through oral tradition, until it was finally written down by Valmiki, without question or concrete evidence? Being a historian is tough. Say it and you are damned; and don’t say it, and you are damned anyway.
As for the BJP and its entourage, less said the better. I was once a sympathiser of the party, but now, am ashamed to admit I ever was one. Ram is not a national idol as Advani makes it his business to claim. He is simply another God in the Hindu pantheon. He is, no doubt, venerated and worshipped by Hindus across the world, but that does not mean a project as important as Sethusamudram can be stalled for him. It is time we learnt to distinguish myth from reality.
That Ram built the Adam’s bridge is myth. That he defeated Ravan who has ten heads, is myth too. Well, maybe he defeated Ravan. But the said Ravan certainly did not have ten heads. That millions of Hindus across the world venerate and worship him as God is faith. That the BJP and Co. is mixing up faith, myth, reality, history, legend, development economics and politics is just plain dirty.