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Rama Sethu, Ram Setu, Ramar Bridge, History, Facts: Part II
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By: V Sundaram, IAS, Retd.
May 23, 2007
expressed here are author?s own and not of this website. Full disclaimer
is at the bottom.
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Rama Sethu, Ram Setu, Adam's Bridge - Part I - History, Facts, Information
Rama Sethu, Ram Setu, Adam's Bridge - Part II - History, Facts,
Rama Sethu, Ram Setu, Adam's Bridge - Part III - History, Facts,
Rama Sethu, Ram Setu, Adam's Bridge - Part IV - History, Facts,
Rama Sethu, Ram Setu, Adam's Bridge - Part V - History, Facts, Information
Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project
: Good Thing Done Badly!
It has been rightly said that the two eyes of history are geography and
chronology. Both geography and chronology get vitally linked through
cartography. WE HAVE IRREFUTABLE CARTOGRAPHICAL EVIDENCE ABOUT THE FACT OF
RAMA SETHU BRIDGE AS IT WAS KNOWN FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS OR ADAM?S
BRIDGE AS IT CAME TO BE CALLED DURING THE COLONIAL BRITISH PERIOD.
|| This map
above was prepared in The Netherlands in 1747. In this map we can see
the description of 'Raman Coil' shown near Dhanushkodi Island
Mapping the world is one of humanity's most
enduring passions, something we"ve done with varying degrees of success
for over a thousand years. Cartography has been described as the meeting
place of Science and Art. On the other hand, one of the cartographer?s
chief concerns is to avoid producing an ugly map. The primary purpose of a
map is to convey information or to ?get across? a geographical concept or
relationship. The cartographic process rests on the premise that the world
is measurable and that we can make reliable representations or models of
that reality. Mapmaking involves advanced skills and attitudes,
particularly the use of symbols to represent certain geographic phenomena,
as well as the ability to visualize the world in an abstract and
scaled-down form. Maps have traditionally been made for centuries using
pen and paper, but the advent and spread of computers after the II World
War has revolutionized cartography. Most commercial-quality maps are now
made with map-making software that falls into one of three main types;
CAD, GIS, and specialized map illustration software.
|| We can see
above the map of Hindustan dated 1st January 1988 Prepared by J Rennel,
a pioneer in map-making. In this map, 'Rama Temple' and 'Ramar Bridge'
were shown. This map. THis map is available in Saraswathi Mahal
In the 18th and 19th centuries in Western Europe and also British India,
cartography was based on three pillars: 1.There were official surveys with
the aim of topographical map series in large and medium scales and with
problems in the geodetic field and in relief representation. 2. Atlas
cartography, especially hand atlases and family atlases, with problems in
getting and mastering the widespread source material and the appropriate
design of small scale maps. 3. Education cartography, particularly school
atlases and wall maps, with problems in didactically based map design and
the representation of relief and altitude.
In so far as British India is concerned, innumerable maps coming under all
the three categories above are available to prove the existence of Rama
Sethu Bridge or Adam?s Bridge in all the main libraries of the world.
Starting from 1747, some historic and rare maps are available for public
scrutiny and judicial scrutiny to prove the reference to the existence of
Ramar Coil/Rama Sethu Bridge. I am presenting below a map which was
prepared in Netherlands in Europe in 1747. In this map we can see the
inscription of the words ?RamarCoil? near Dhanushkodi. This map is
available for public viewing in the Saraswati Mahal Library in Thanjavur.
In a 1788 map, ?Rama temple? and ?Ramar
Bridge? were shown. Here I am referring to "A map of India entitled as a
map of Hindoostan or the Moghul Empire from the latest authorities
inscribed to Sir. Joseph Banks Bart President of Royal Society? which was
produced by Mr. J. Rennel, a pioneer in map making on 1st January 1788.
The original print of the map (112c.m x 106c.m) is available in the
Saraswati Mahal Library."
Next I am presenting below another map from a book titled CEYLON-AN
ACCOUNT OF THE ISLAND by Sir. James Emmerson Tennent published in 1810.
In the book referred to
above, Sir James Tennent has referred to the Adam?s bridge as follows
?On the north-west side of the Island, where the currents are checked by
the obstruction of Adam?s Bridge and still water prevails in the Gulf of
Manaar, these deposits have been profusely heaped, and the low sandy pains
have been proportionally extended; whilst on the south and east, where the
current sweeps unimpeded along the coast , the line of the shore is bold
and occasionally rocky. The explanation of the accretion and rising of the
land is somewhat opposed to the popular belief that Ceylon was torn from
the main land of India by a convulsion, during which the Gulf of Manaar
and the narrow channel at Paumbam were formed by the submission of the
adjacent land.The two theories might be reconciled by supposing the
sinking to have occurred at an early period, and to have been followed by
the uprising still in progress.
In 1804, a map was produced by Major James Rennel (1742-1830) who was the
first Surveyor General of India in which he took particular care as a
colonel administrator to change the name of Ramar Bridge into Adam?s
Bridge. I am presenting below this map by James Rennel prepared in 1804.
James Rennel?s map of
1804?Note that ?Ramar Bridge? has been changed to ?Adam?s Bridge? in the
Major James Rennel was a remarkable geographer, historian and a pioneer of
oceanography. Born in 1742 in Devon in England, he entered the Royal Navy
as a midshipman in 1756, and was present at the attack on Cherbourg
(1758), and the disastrous action of St Cast in the Seven Years" War
(1756-1763). After the end of the Seven Years War in 1763, James Rennel
entered the service of the East India Company, and was appointed Surveyor
General of Bengal and India (1764), with the rank of Captain in the Bengal
Engineers. He worked as Surveyor General of India for the next 13 years
and retired in 1777.The remaining fifty-three years of his life were spent
in London, and were devoted to geographical research chiefly among the
materials in the East India House. His most valuable works include the
Bengal Atlas (1779), the first approximately correct map of India (1783),
the Geographical System of Herodotus (1800), the Comparative Geography of
Western Asia (1831), and important studies on the geography of northern
Africa - in introductions to the Travels of Mungo Park and Hornemann.
Beside his geographical and historical works James Rennell is known today
for his hydrographical works about the currents in the Atlantic and Indian
Ocean. During his last years he wrote his final and most important work
"Currents of the Atlantic Ocean", published posthumously by his daughter
Jane in 1832, which held its scientific authority until 1936. His opening
statement in this great book that "the winds are to be regarded as the
prime movers of the currents of the ocean" remains unchallenged to this
day. When James Rennel died in 1830, he was buried in Westminster Abbey
Clements Markham, President of the Royal Geographical Society, in his
biography of James Rennell published in 1895 paid this tribute to him:
"James Rennel was the founder of oceanography: that branch of geographical
science which deals with the ocean, its winds and currents".
In these columns yesterday I had referred to the seminal cartographical
work of Joseph E Schwartzberg titled A HISTORICAL ATLAS OF SOUTH ASIA,
published by the University of Chicago in 1978. In this book, there are
detailed, interesting and graphic maps which enable us to see and
understand how the environs of Rameshwaram and ?Rama Sethu Bridge? changed
or altered from pre historic India till the attainment of our independence
in 1947. I am presenting below a map from Joseph E Schwartzberg?s Atlas
relating to the Religious and cultural sites of the post-Mauryan period,
c. 200 B.C.-A.D
Religious and cultural sites
of the post-Mauryan period, c. 200 B.C.-A.D. 300 (http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/schwartzberg/pager.html-
Joseph E Schwartzberg?s Atlas page 22.)
In the above map, Dhanushkoti has been
referred to as Koti (which only means Dhanushkoti) We can also see from
Joseph E Schwartzberg?s Atlas that in PURANIC INDIA Ramar Bridge was
referred to as SETUKA. I am presenting below the concerned map relating to
Puranic India from this Atlas (page 27 of the Atlas)
An interesting map below relates to the
age of the Ghaznavids, Cahmanas, Later Calukyas, and Colas, c. 975-1200 AD
Schwartzberg Atlas, v. , p. 32.)
In the above map Ramar Bridge has been
referred to as SETU BANDHA
Next we have a map relating to the time of the Khaljis and Tughluqs 1290-
1390 AD (Schwartzberg Atlas, v. , p. 38.)
In the above map relating to
the period of the Khaljis and Tughluqs 1290- 1390 AD, we can see that the
Ramar Setu Bridge has been referred to as SETUBANDHA RAMESVARAM.
The cartographic facts I have presented above can be presented in any
court of law to prove that Rama Setu or Ramar Bridge has existed and has
been noted by rulers, geographers, explorers, scientists and cartographers
for centuries. To conclude in the timeless words of Justice Grier
(1794-1870): ?A number of concurrent facts, like rays of light, all
converging to the same centre, may throw not only a clear light but a
burning conviction; a conviction of truth more infallible than the
testimony even of two witnesses directly to a fact.?
(To be continued)
V Sundaram, IAS, Retd.
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