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  Rama Sethu: Historic facts vs. political fiction - III  

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Rama Sethu, Ram Setu, Ramar Bridge, History, Facts: Part III

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By: V Sundaram, IAS, Retd.
May 24, 2007
iews expressed here are author?s own and not of this website. Full disclaimer is at the bottom.


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A Non-Hindu Christian Union Cabinet Minister for Culture Mrs.Ambika Soni spoke like an Occidental Christian Despot of the Middle Ages when she recently informed the Lok Sabha: ""There is no archeological or historical evidence regarding the existence or otherwise of the Rama Sethu Bridge or Adam's Bridge in Rameswaram"" The Union Minister for Shipping T.R.Balu and the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi are committed to the supreme Dravidian cause of destruction of the Rama Sethu Bridge just in order to deal a death blow to the sacred feelings and susceptibilities of millions and millions of Hindus in India and the world. Karunanidhi and T.R.Balu, deathly enemies of Eternal Hinduism, have shown again and again that they are no less ignorant than Mrs.Ambika Soni in their Himalyan ignorance of historically established facts about the Rama Sethu Bridge or Adam's Bridge.

I can do poetic justice to the self-opinionated, self-proclaiming arrogance of the anti-Hindu trio of Mrs.Ambika Soni, T.R.Balu and Karunanidhi only in the words of one of the greatest of Chinese poets of classical antiquity Lao-tz?(6th century BC) who described the impotent and ignorant Cabinet Ministers of his time in these words:

""Those who speak know nothing
Those who know are silent
Those who know and speak are impotent""!

The trouble with Mrs Ambika Soni, T R Balu and Karunanidhi is that even though they know nothing on Rama Sethu and do not want to know anything about it, yet they can never be silent on it. Theirs is a kind of vocal, loud and raucous Imperial ignorance on stilts! For them shame - both inner and outer- is communal and non-secular; brash shamelessness is secular, non-communal, refined, cosmopolitan and global!

Another Chinese poet Su Tung-p'o (1036-1101 CE), in a great poem which he composed after the birth of his son and which lives in common speech even today, prayed to the Almighty that his new-born son should never become an ignorant Cabinet Minister. Here is the poem:

""Families, when a child is born
Want it to be intelligent.
I, through intelligence,
Having wrecked my whole life,
Only hope the baby will prove
Ignorant and stupid.
Then he will crown a tranquil life
By becoming a Cabinet Minister.""

To silence if not to outwit the arrogant, irresponsible Cabinet Ministers in high office in New Delhi and Madras today, I would like to cite a few references from printed books and documents where there are textual references to Rama's Bridge or Adam's Bridge or Sethu Bandhana.
1.Marco Polo (1254 -1324) was a Venetian trader and explorer who gained fame for his worldwide travels, recorded in his book IL MILIONE (""The Million"" or The Travels of Marco Polo). He visited several ports in India. A book ""On The travels of Marco Polo"" translated by Marsden into English was published in England in 1854. In this book Rama"s Bridge has been described as SETABUND-RAMESWARA which only means Setu-Bandha (page-380).

2.Catalogue of the Mammals in the Museum of the Hon. East-India Company, East India Company Museum written by Thomas Horsfield (1773-1859), was published in England in 1851. In this Catalogue, Rama's Bridge was used as a reference point to define the expanse of Bharatam. We can see from this Catalogue, adequate pointers to the rich biodiversity of the flora and fauna of Rameshwaram and its environs.

3.Sir William Jones (1746-1794) in his ""Discourses delivered before the Asiatic society"" published in 1801 (p. 29) has observed as follows:


4.Arnold Hermann (1835) in his ""Historical researches into the politics, intercourse, and trade of the principal nations of antiquity"" translated from the German into English, Oxford University Press (p.89) wrote: 


5.William Yates, 1846, A dictionary of Sanscrit and English, designed for the use of private students and of Indian colleges and schools, Baptist Mission Press, (p.821)


The entry, samudraaru or samudraarah is given the meaning: Rama's bridge.
6.William Fordyce Mavor, 1807, Universal history, ancient and modern, Oxford University Press (p.216)


7.A.J. Valpay, 1825, THE CLASSIC JOURNAL, Vol. XXXI, Cl.Jl., No. LXII, Oxford University Press (p.26) wrote:


8.Clements Robert Markham, 1862, "Travels in Peru and India" published by Murray, (p.423). Markham was Surveyor General of India in the 19th century. Markham wrote:


9.Charlotte Speir Manning, George Scharf, 1856, ""Life in Ancient India"", Oxford University Press (p. 117).


10.Lodovico de Varthema, George Percy Badger, John Winter Jones, 1863, The travels of Ludovico di Varthema in Egypt, Syria, Arabia Deserta and Arabia Felix, in Persia, India..., Published for the Hakluyt Society, London (Translated into English from the original Italian edition), (p.185)

""...The expedition of Ram to Ceylon, and his victory over Rhavan or Rhaban, King of that island, is one of the fables of Hindu mythology, but he passed into the island at the strait, since called, by the Mohamedans, Adam's Bridge. The whole country round, in consequence of this, preserves the memorial of his conquest. There is a Ramanad-buram on the continent close to the Bridge; a Rami-Ceram, or country of Ram, the island close to the continent; [Rameswaram, called Rammanana Kojel by Baldaeus, and Ramonan Coil by D"Anville;] and a Point Rama on the continent.

 Prambanan (BrahmaVana)Temple
Complex In Indonesia (9th century AD).
 Vanara Sena Rama Setu Sculpture at
Prambanan Temple in Indonesia.

The Bridge itself, formed by the shoals between Rami-ceram and Mannar, is Rama's Bridge; and in Rami-ceram is Ramar-Koil, the temple of Ram. This Koil or temple (Koil means temple in Malayalim) is undoubtedly the origin of Koru; and the repetition of it three times in Ptolemy is in perfect correspondence with the allusion to Ram at the present"".

Mrs.Ambika Soni, the disgraceful Union Minister for Culture, soaked and steeped in her self-chosen, imperious, insolent, comfortable, cozy, and self-confident ignorance, may not be aware of the fact that there are exquisite sculptures of Rama Setu carved in the 9th and 10th centuries AD at Prambanan Temple, Java, Indonesia. Also known as Loro Jongrang Temple (Temple of the Slender Maiden), Prambanan Temple was built in the 9th century and is the largest Hindu temple complex in Indonesia.
This is the largest temple compound dedicated to Shiva in Indonesia. The UNESCO (a non-saffronized International Organization!!) has declared this temple complex as a World Heritage Site. Rising above the centre of the last of these concentric squares are three temples decorated with relief's illustrating the epic of the Ramayana, dedicated to the three great Hindu divinities (Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma) and three temples dedicated to the animals who serve them.

One of the most beautiful sculptures at Prambanan Temple is the one depicting the Vaanara Sena carrying stones, in their arms and on their heads, to build Rama's Bridge or Rama Setu or Nala Setu to Sri Lanka, followed by SRI RAMA, carrying a sword.

The details and the authentic facts about the continued existence of the Rama Setu Bridge I have presented above will serve to show that ancient books and documents serve as mile stones in the development of the human spirit. All of them have shaped or left their mark on our thinking as Hindus today. The Pioneer 10 Plaque, sent into space on 2 March 1972, was the first man made object to escape from the Solar System into inter-stellar space. To some persons, Pioneer 10 Plaque may seem foolish and even superfluous. One may ask: Is there any point in proclaiming our existence into a void- into a dark, boundless, unknown and unknowable future? The great sages and saints who wrote the Vedas and the Upanishads in ancient India, authors and transmitters of the great human statements we have inherited as an integral part of our ancient Hindu heritage-did any of them know whether their good tidings would ever survive in the uncharted future, when and where their words might take effect, when or how later generations might change or even deform them? These ancient men's uncertainty, the risk they ran, was no less great than that of the Pioneer 10 Plaque let loose in space in 1972. All these defiant gestures prove for all time that man is an intrinsically transcendental creature who realizes himself to the extent that, step by step, flight by flight, he crosses the obstacles that nature and the elements have put in his way. At the same time he must also conquer the difficult obstacles that confront him and besiege him from within, in order to become more human than he is today.

(To be contd...)

V Sundaram, IAS, Retd.

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Rama Sethu, Ram Setu, Ramar Bridge, History, Facts Article Series

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