The purely scientific case for Rama’s Bridge

September 16, 2007

 

Rediff took out my little dig at those crass ‘Dravidians’: so I’ve put in crossout what they deleted. Here is what I originally sent to Rediff, in its entirety.

The purely scientific case for Rama’s Bridge

Rajeev Srinivasan on the unintended consequences of messing with the seas

In these days when we worry about global warming, it takes great chutzpah or ignorance, or both, to proceed with a plan to induce major environmental changes, with uncertain consequences. Fortunately, India’s politicians are amply blessed with both chutzpah and ignorance. When combined with first-class greed, you get black comedies like the Sethu Samudram Project for destroying the remnants of the ancient land-bridge, known as the Rama Sethu or Rama’s Bridge, connecting India and Sri Lanka.

The point is that geo-hydrological systems are hugely complex, just like the weather system. Chaos theory suggests that a minor perturbation in some corner has some large result elsewhere: as in “the beating of a butterfly’s wings may cause a storm”.

There are several well-known examples of the unintended, and grave, consequences, of large-scale terra-forming experiments gone awry. One is in the Florida Everglades in the US; another is the absolute cataclysm in the Aral Sea in ex-Soviet Central Asia; and a third is the construction of the Aswan High Dam in Egypt.

There are smaller examples, such as in the recurring inundation in California’s former flood plains in the Central Valley and the dead moonscape of Mono Lake; in the filling-in of most of Bangalore’s small water bodies; in the mis-handling of the marshlands in Louisiana that magnified Hurricane Katrina’s impact, etc. These are less spectacular, but they, too show us how little we know about the engineering of water bodies.

Consider what happened in the Florida Everglades wetlands. The government, using highly questionable economic models, asked the US Army Corps of Engineers to drain the marshland, build levees and canals, and straighten out meanders in the rivers. But the result has been disastrous. After decades of floods, loss of species, and general mayhem, Florida is now thinking of undoing much of this, at a cost of many billions of dollars!

The Aral Sea was, as recently as 1960, the fourth largest fresh-water body in the world. Soviet authorities decided to divert the Amu Darya river that fed the sea. They wanted to grow cotton, a notoriously thirsty crop, in a semi-arid area. The result: the Aral Sea has lost more than two-thirds of its surface area, there is pesticide contamination from runoff. What remains is an increasingly briny, dying sea, where the fish have been wiped out. And the cotton? Well, there is no cotton crop either.

The negative outcomes of building massive dams are many, and the positives often small and relatively short-lived. Take the giant Aswan Dam on the Nile, a showcase Soviet project. It is true that the Aswan does generate electricity and irrigation water, but the very life-giving silt from the famed annual floods that has sustained Nile-delta agriculture for millennia has now become a problem. The catchment area has silted up faster than expected (so the useful lifetime of the dam is shortened). Evaporation losses from the reservoir are enormous (3.5 cubic miles, close to the total amount of water used in a whole year by a mid-sized rich country!). There have been outbreaks of disease from the stagnant water. Basically, the Nile has been turned from a blessing into a curse.

I imagine there will be terrible, but as yet unknown, consequences to the huge Three Gorges Dam in China, too. The consequence of their plan to divert the Brahmaputra northwards in Tibet, of course, are known: north India will become a desert. Three Gorges may only have local impact, but the Brahmaputra certainly will affect India. There are quite possibly, other, unknown and unpredictable outcomes as well.

We can consider a couple of other terra-forming experiments. One, of course, is the release of hydrocarbons from human activity in general and the burning of fossil fuels for electricity and for transportation in particular. A vivid illustration of the law of unintended consequences: surely the melting of glaciers and the rise in sea-levels were not foreseen when Henry Ford unveiled the Model T.

The second is the paving over of forest and agricultural land – and river basins – for cities and for factories. Forests and agricultural land tend to be sponges for rainwater and help sustain the hydrological cycle. Cities, in addition to being generators of CO2 and heat, force water to run off. Industrialization and urbanization disrupt global cycles of heat, water and CO2.

Therefore, based on prior experience, there are major risks in embarking on giant geo-hydrological projects. The problem is that we simply do not know enough. Computer models and simulations are not powerful enough, and we do not know all the independent variables involved. This is the reason that I have been an opponent of the proposed river-linking project in India, even though good friends of mine argue passionately for it, and I am very concerned about India’s water issues, which I rate as the single biggest problem facing the country in the medium term. See my previous columns on this topic, “Water Wars: Cauvery, ‘Chinatown’ and ‘Cadillac Desert’”, “The River Sutra”, “The coming water wars”.

On the one hand, I fear that there will be disastrous, unimagined end-results to river-linking. On the other hand, the very rationale will go away: there will be no excess water from the Himalayan rivers. The disappearance of the glaciers will mean the Ganga and the Brahmaputra will dry out in the summer, and in any case, the Chinese will divert most of what remains in the Brahmaputra to their thirsty northern areas.

The Sethu Samudram project is another dubious terra-forming project. The negative fallout can be very high; there have been persistent scientific concerns about the flora and fauna (including endangered coral reefs) in the area, the loss of the suspected benign role of the barrier as an absorbent of tsunami surges, and the general patterns of sea-erosion around southern peninsular India. So far as I know, nobody has done detailed modeling in an oceanographic lab.

Let us note that tsunamis are not unknown in this region. There are intriguing submarine structures off Kanyakumari and Mahabalipuram that are almost certainly the remnants of submerged cities. A future tsunami surge barreling through and accelerated by the funnel of a defunct Rama’s Bridge may wreak tremendous damage on the Kerala coast, which, ironically, rose up from the sea as the result of an underwater tectonic movement in pre-historic times.

For the Sethu Samudram, the sums simply do not add up. The alleged benefits are illusory: that a few ships can avoid going around Sri Lanka en route from the west coast of India to the east coast. But coastal shipping in India is insignificant, and the major shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean skirt the east coast: they go from the Persian Gulf down the Arabian Sea and clear across the Ocean to the Straits of Malacca. Not even 1% of this traffic will brave a newly excavated channel in untested waters which would, incidentally, add to the length of their journey; besides, most of the traffic consists of tankers (VLCCs) and other large ships that need unobstructed deep water anyway.

The Sethu Samudram project is a prestige issue for so-called ‘Dravidian’ politicians. It is a matter of hubris waiting for nemesis. There is an unfortunate vanity among some groups that they can, god-like, mold the world. The ‘Dravidians’ are such a neo-Semitic quasi-religious group, with blind faith in some easily refuted axioms, exactly like the Communists. This is not to discount, of course, the very rational and real lure of lucrative drilling and dredging contracts, but King Canute does leap to mind.

Just as the Communists did with the Aral Sea and the Aswan Dam and the Three Gorges, the ‘Dravidians’ of Tamil Nadu will also act in haste and repent at leisure. Alas, the rest of peninsular India will have to pay for their folly.

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18 Responses to “The purely scientific case for Rama’s Bridge”

  1. wanderlust Says:

    Very informative. Do publish your entire article here. it needs to be circulated wide.

  2. juchu Says:

    Rama’s Bridge (or Rama’s Sethu) is the apt name for it, and thank you for using it. This name, and not *that* psecular name, should be used whenever referring to the Sethu.

    As always, glad to see your articles that propound similar views as I hold.

    -Satya

  3. travi95 Says:

    Contradictions!

    You started with the environmental consequences & uncertainties and continue to mention the ignorance of the politician but no where you have referred to the NEERI report (Professional opinion on the same consequences & uncertainties). You sound like just because there are uncertainties one should not decide/ act; thats not a progressive thinking. Based on an objective analysis obvious benefits are outweighing the imaginary & possible but not probable negative impacts then one has to act. In my humble opinion inaction is not a progressive solution.

    The portion not included in the rediff article which doesn’t reflect well on your intentions.

    Ravikumar
    Chennai

  4. prasantks Says:

    It is a fantastic article supported by few case studies. However, if the Ram Sethu project has been undertaken based on the study of effects it has on envirnment and result is negative, there is nothing wrong with it.

    Prasant
    Muscat

  5. nohibernation Says:

    It’s really a nice post.Anything Hindu is ridiculed in this country ,hats off to British historians we still believe in the aryan dravidian theory which they introduced to divide us , i recommend you to visit this link http://www.stephen-knapp.com to know lot things about our real history not the distorted and also this blog pseudosecularism.blogspot.com

    WAS THERE EVER AN ARYAN INVASION?
    (source:http://www.stephen-knapp.com)
    One of the major reasons why a consideration of the idea of an Aryan invasion into India is prevalent among some Western researchers is because of their misinterpretation of the Vedas, deliberate or otherwise, that suggests the Aryans were a nomadic people. One such misinterpretation is from the Rig-veda, which describes the battle between Sudas and the ten kings. The battle of the ten kings included the Pakthas, Bhalanas, Alinas, Shivas, Vishanins, Shimyus, Bhrigus, Druhyas, Prithus, and Parshus, who fought against the Tritsus. The Prithus or Parthavas became the Parthians of latter-day Iran (247 B.C.–224 A.D.). The Parshus or Pashavas became the latter-day Persians. These kings, though some are described as Aryans, were actually fallen Aryans, or rebellious and materialistic kings who had given up the spiritual path and were conquered by Sudas. Occasionally, there was a degeneration of the spiritual kingdom in areas of India, and wars had to be fought in order to reestablish the spiritual Aryan culture in these areas. Western scholars could and did easily misinterpret this to mean an invasion of nomadic people called Aryans rather than simply a war in which the superior Aryan kings reestablished the spiritual values and the Vedic Aryan way of life.

    Let us also remember that the Aryan invasion theory was hypothesized in the nineteenth century to explain the similarities found in Sanskrit and the languages of Europe. One person who reported about this is Deen Chandora in his article, Distorted Historical Events and Discredited Hindu Chronology, as it appeared in Revisiting Indus-Sarasvati Age and Ancient India (p. 383). He explains that the idea of the Aryan invasion was certainly not a matter of misguided research, but was a conspiracy to distribute deliberate misinformation that was formulated on April 10, 1866 in London at a secret meeting held in the Royal Asiatic Society. This was “to induct the theory of the Aryan invasion of India, so that no Indian may say that English are foreigners. . . India was ruled all along by outsiders and so the country must remain a slave under the benign Christian rule.” This was a political move and this theory was put to solid use in all schools and colleges.

    So it was basically a linguistic theory adopted by the British colonial authorities to keep themselves in power. This theory suggested, more or less, that there was a race of superior, white Aryans who came in from the Caucasus Mountains and invaded the Indus region, and then established their culture, compiled their literature, and then proceeded to invade the rest of India.

    As can be expected, most of those who were great proponents of the Aryan invasion theory were often ardent English and German nationalists, or Christians, ready and willing to bring about the desecration of anything that was non-Christian or non-European. Even Max Muller believed in the Christian chronology, that the world was created at 9:00 AM on October 23, 4004 B.C. and the great flood occurred in 2500 B.C. Thus, it was impossible to give a date for the Aryan invasion earlier than 1500 B.C. After all, accepting the Christian time frame would force them to eliminate all other evidence and possibilities, so what else could they do? So, even this date for the Aryan invasion was based on speculation.

    In this way, the Aryan invasion theory was created to make it appear that Indian culture and philosophy was dependent on the previous developments in Europe, thereby justifying the need for colonial rule and Christian expansion in India. This was also the purpose of the study of Sanskrit, such as at Oxford University in England, as indicated by Colonel Boden who sponsored the program. He stated that they should “promote Sanskrit learning among the English, so as ‘to enable his countrymen to proceed in the conversion of the natives of India to the Christian religion.’”

    Unfortunately, this was also Max Muller’s ultimate goal. In a letter to his wife in 1866, he wrote about his translation of the Rig-veda: “This edition of mine and the translation of the Veda, will hereafter tell to a great extent on the fate of India and on the growth of millions of souls in that country. It is the root of their religion and to show them what the root is, I feel sure, is the only way of uprooting all that has sprung from it during the last three thousand years.” (The Life and Letters of Right Honorable Friedrich Max Muller, Vol. I. p.346)

    So, in essence, the British used the theory of the Aryan invasion to further their “divide and conquer” policy. With civil unrest and regional cultural tensions created by the British through designations and divisions among the Indian society, it gave a reason and purpose for the British to continue and increase their control over India.

    However, under scrutiny, the Aryan invasion theory lacks justification. For example, Sir John Marshall, one of the chief excavators at Mohenjo-Daro, offers evidence that India may have been following the Vedic religion long before any so-called “invaders” ever arrived. He points out that it is known that India possessed a highly advanced and organized urban civilization dating back to at least 2300 B.C., if not much earlier. In fact, some researchers suggest that evidence makes it clear that the Indus Valley civilization was quite developed by at least 3100 B.C. The known cities of this civilization cover an area along the Indus river and extend from the coast to Rajasthan and the Punjab over to the Yamuna and Upper Ganges. At its height, the Indus culture spread over 300,000 square miles, an area larger than Western Europe. Cities that were a part of the Indus culture include Mohenjo-Daro, Kot Diji east of Mohenjo-Daro, Amri on the lower Indus, Lothal south of Ahmedabad, Malwan farther south, Harappa 350 miles upstream from Mohenjo-Daro, Kalibangan and Alamgirpur farther east, Rupar near the Himalayas, Sutkagen Dor to the west along the coast, Mehrgarh 150 miles north of Mohenjo-Daro, and Mundigak much farther north. Evidence at Mehrgarh shows a civilization that dates back to 6500 B.C. It had been connected with the Indus culture but was deserted in the third millennium B.C. around the time the city of Mohenjo-Daro became prominent.

    The arrangement of these cities and the knowledge of the residents was much superior to that of any immigrating nomads, except for military abilities at the time. A lack of weapons, except for thin spears, at these cities indicates they were not very well equipped militarily. Thus, one theory is that if there were invaders, whoever they may have been, rather than encouraging the advancement of Vedic society when they came into the Indus Valley region, they may have helped stifle it or even caused its demise in certain areas. The Indus Valley locations may have been one area where the Vedic society disappeared after the arrival of these invaders. Many of these cities seemed to have been abandoned quickly, while others were not. However, some geologists suggest that the cities were left because of environmental changes. Evidence of floods in the plains is seen in the thick layers of silt which are now thirty-nine feet above the river in the upper strata of Mohenjo-Daro. Others say that the ecological needs of the community forced the people to move on, since research shows there was a great reduction in rainfall from that period to the present.

    We also have to remember that many of the Indus sites, like Kalibangan, were close to the region of the old Sarasvati River. Some Hindu scholars are actually preferring to rename the Indus Valley culture as the Indus-Sarasvati culture because the Sarasvati was a prominent river and very important at the time. For example, the Sarasvati River is glowingly praised in the Rig-veda. However, the Sarasvati River stopped flowing and later dried up. Recent scientific studies calculate that the river stopped flowing as early as around 8000 B.C. It dried up near the end of the Indus Valley civilization, at least by 1900 B.C. This was no doubt one reason why these cities were abandoned. This also means that if the Vedic people came after the Indus Valley culture, they could not have known of the Sarasvati River. This is further evidence that the Vedas were from many years before the time of the Indus Valley society and were not brought into the region by some invasion.

    As a result of the latest studies, evidence points in the direction that the Indus sites were wiped out not by acts of war or an invasion, but by the drought that is known to have taken place and continued for 300 years. Whatever skeletons that have been found in the region may indicate deaths not by war but by starvation or lack of water. Deaths of the weak by starvation are normal before the whole society finally moves away for better lands and more abundant resources. This is the same drought that wiped out the Akkadians of Sumeria, and caused a sudden abandonment of cities in Mesopotamia, such as at Tell Leilan and Tell Brock. The beginning of the end of these civilizations had to have been near 2500 B.C. This drought no doubt contributed to the final drying up of the Sarasvati River.

    Regarding Mohenjo-Daro, archeologists have discovered no sign of attack, such as extensive burning, or remains of armor-clad warriors, and no foreign weapons. This leaves us to believe that the enemy of the people in this region was nature, such as earthquakes, flooding, or the severe drought, or even a change in the course of rivers, and not warrior invaders. So again, the invasion theory does not stand up to scrutiny from the anthropological point of view.

    The best known archeological sites of the Indus cities are Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa. Excavation work at Mohenjo-Daro was done from 1922 to 1931 and 1935 to 1936. Excavation at Harappa took place from 1920 to 1921 and 1933 to 1934. Evidence has shown that temples played an important part in the life of the residents of these cities. The citadel at Mohenjo-Daro contains a 39-by-23 foot bath. This seems to have been used for ceremonial purposes similar in the manner that many large temple complexes in India also have central pools for bathing and rituals. Though deities have not been found in the ruins, no doubt because they were too important to abandon, images of a Mother goddess and a Male god similar to Lord Shiva sitting in a yoga posture have been found. Some of the Shiva seals show a man with three heads and an erect phallus, sitting in meditation and surrounded by animals. This would be Shiva as Pashupati, lord or friend of the animals. Representations of the lingam of Shiva and yoni of his spouse have also been easily located, as well as non-phallic stones such as the shalagram-shila stone of Lord Vishnu. Thus, the religions of Shiva and Vishnu, which are directly Vedic, had been very much a part of this society long ago and were not brought to the area by any invaders who may have arrived later.

    Another point that helps convince that the Vedic religion and culture had to have been there in India and pre-Harappan times is the sacrificial altars that have been discovered at the Harappan sites. These are all of similar design and found from Baluchistan to Uttar Pradesh, and down into Gujarat. This shows that the whole of this area must have been a part of one specific culture, the Vedic culture, which had to have been there before these sites were abandoned.

    More information in this regard is found in an article by J. F. Jarrige and R. H. Meadow in the August, 1980 issue of Scientific American called “The Antecedents of Civilization in the Indus Valley.” In the article they mention that recent excavations at Mehrgarh show that the antecedents of the Indus Valley culture go back earlier than 6000 B.C. in India. An outside influence did not affect its development. Astronomical references established in the Vedas do indeed concur with the date of Mehrgarh. Therefore, sites such as Mehrgarh reflect the earlier Vedic age of India. Thus, we have a theory of an Aryan invasion which is not remembered by the people of the area that were supposed to have been conquered by the Aryans.

    Furthermore, Dr. S. R. Rao has deciphered the Harappan script to be of an Indo-Aryan base. In fact, he has shown how the South Arabic, Old Aramic, and the ancient Indian Brahmi scripts are all derivatives of the Indus Valley script. This new evidence confirms that the Harappan civilization could not have been Dravidians that were overwhelmed by an Aryan invasion, but they were followers of the Vedic religion. The irony is that the invasion theory suggests that the Vedic Aryans destroyed the Dravidian Indus townships which had to have been previously built according to the mathematical instructions that are found in the Vedic literature of the Aryans, such as the Shulbasutras. This point helps void the invasion theory. After all, if the people of these cities used the Vedic styles of religious altars and town planning, it would mean they were already Aryans.

    In a similar line of thought in another recent book, Vedic Glossary on Indus Seals, Dr. Natwar Jha has provided an interpretation of the ancient script of the numerous recovered seals of the Indus Valley civilization. He has concluded that the Indus Valley seals, which are small soapstone, one-inch squares, exhibit a relation to the ancient form of Brahmi. He found words on the seals that come from the ancient Nighantu text, which is a glossary of Sanskrit compiled by the sage Yaksa that deals with words of subordinate Vedic texts. An account of Yaksa’s search for older Sanskrit words is found in the Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata. This may have been in relation to the Indus Valley seals and certainly shows its ancient Vedic connection.

    The point of all this is that the entire Rig-veda had to have been existing for thousands of years by the time the Indus Valley seals were produced. Therefore, the seals were of Vedic Sanskrit origin or a derivative of it, and the Indus Valley sites were part of the Vedic culture. This is further evidence that there was no Aryan invasion. No Aryan invasion means that the area and its residents were already a part of the Vedic empire. This also means that the so-called Indo-Aryan or Indo-European civilization was nothing but the worldwide Vedic culture. From this we can also conclude, therefore, that the so-called Indo-Aryan group of languages is nothing but the various local mispronunciations of Sanskrit which has pervaded the civilized world for thousands of years.

    Another interesting point is that skeletal remains found in the Harappan sites that date back to 4000 years ago show the same basic racial types in the Punjab and Gujarat as found today. This verifies that no outside race invaded and took over the area. The only west to east movement that took place was after the Sarasvati went dry, and that was involving the people who were already there. In this regard, Sir John Marshall, in charge of the excavations at the Harappan sites, said that the Indus civilization was the oldest to be unearthed, even older than the Sumerian culture, which is believed to be but a branch of the former, and, thus, an outgrowth of the Vedic society.

    One more point about skeletal remains at the Harappan sites is that bones of horses are found at all levels of these locations. Thus, the horse was well known to these people. The horse was mentioned in the Rig-veda, and was one of the main animals of Vedic culture in India. However, according to records in Mesopotamia, the horse was unknown to that region until only about 2100 B.C. So this provides further proof that the direction of movement by the people was from India to the west, not the other way around as the invasion theory suggests.

    Professor Lal has written a book, The Earliest Civilization of South Asia, in which he also has concluded that the theory of an Aryan invasion has no basis. An invasion is not the reason for the destruction of the Harappan civilization. It was caused by climactic changes. He says the Harappan society was a melting pot made up of people from the Mediterranean, Armenia, the Alpine area, and even China. They engaged in typical Vedic fire worship, ashwamedha rituals. Such fire altars have been found in the Indus Valley cities of Banawali, Lothal, and Kalibangan.

    He also explains that the city of Kalibangan came to ruin when the Saraswati River dried up, caused by severe climactic changes around 1900 B.C. Thus, the mention of the Sarasvati River also helps date the Vedas, which had to have existed before this. This would put the origin of Sanskrit writing and the earliest portions of Vedic literature at least sometime before 4000 B.C., 6000 years ago.

    In conclusion, V. Gordon Childe states in his book, The Aryans, that though the idea of an Asiatic origin of the Aryans, who then migrated into India, is the most widely accepted idea, it is still the least well documented. And this idea is only one of the unfounded generalizations with which for over seventy years anthropology and archeology have been in conflict. In fact, today the northern Asiatic origin of the Aryans is a hypothesis which has been abandoned by most linguists and archeologists.

  6. chakrsc Says:

    You could have used some other term that nobody would object to, like kazhagams.
    I’m surprised that Rediff has such high standards for those who write articles, when the responses contain so much abuse (e.g. anti-Muslim comments).

  7. Patriotic Fool Says:

    Today’s Washington Post ran a story on the issue. While the byline and the intonation are skewed, Rakesh Kumar Jagenia, the wildlife warden at the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve is quoted as saying, “Sea animals communicate through waves, and the dredging work disturbs them. In the last six months, sea cows are losing their way and are seen closer to the shore. It will get worse once the ships start sailing, with the high noise levels and thermal pollution.”

    The fishermen in the area, many of them Christians, are agitating as the sea lanes will restrict their fishing activities and could cause them to lose their livelihood.

    But, since when have Indian politicians cared about the good of the people they claim to represent?

  8. grammarofrandomness Says:

    One is reminded of Asimov’s The Gods Themselves.
    The theme of the novel is about a “cheap & clean” energy generation scheme “discovered” by a lesser but fiercely motivated “scientist”. Thanks to the “success” of the scheme, he eventually becomes high and mighty in the establishment and revered in the public imagination. The scheme has a minor problem though: it would ultimately
    cause Sun to become a Supernova. Attempts by a young scientist to highlight the dangers are ridiculed and his career destroyed. Out of fear or due to naivete others remain silent. Fortunately everything ends well. One wonders if the real world will be lucky enough with reckless characters like the DMK chief: “Against stupidity the Gods themselves contend in vain”.
    ===========================================================
    An aside: I remember reading in Ramayana that the stone bridge floated on the sea, it was not an anchored. Rama’s anger at the ocean initially devouring the boulders makes the Samudra Raja to repent and seek forgivance, he assures Rama that the stones will not sink and will float instead.
    Apart from this, there is a mention of the boon that was bestowed upon Nala and Neela that would make any stone touched by them to float on water. [I’m sure one would still pause for a moment in this SMS era to remember the squirrels filling in the leaks with pebbles. This gives hope that even a small but honest effort gets noticed.] I don’t remember any mention of Rama and his army using the the bridge when they depart from Lanka I guess they (at least the major characters) took a pushpaka vimanam to hasten their return journey to Ayodhya.
    ===========================================================

  9. kumar2007 Says:

    I don’t remember any mention of Rama and his army using the the bridge when they depart from Lanka I guess they (at least the major characters) took a pushpaka vimanam to hasten their return journey to Ayodhya.

    This ain’t true. After Rama, Sita & Lakshman and his army crossed the shores back into Bharat, they prayed at current day Ramaeshwaram to atone the sin of killing Ravana. Hanuman was sent to look for a Shiv-ling and he took off to Kailash in search of same. Rama, Sita & Lakshman waited long for Hanuman to return. But as the auspicious hour closed in, they couldn’t wait much longer and Sita built a Linga of sand and they prayed to the same. When Hanuman finally arrived with the Linga, they installed it and prayed. To this day there are two Lingas at Rameshwaram.
    Vist the place or read up on it.

  10. grammarofrandomness Says:

    Hi Kumar, Thanks for your clarification. I remember the story of Hanuman trying to uproot a Shiva Linga from Kailash and his encounter with Lord Vinayaka. This is followed by Hanuman’s attempt to uproot the Linga built by Sita and his subsequent humbling (the sand Linga didn’t budge). I know these stories, thanks to my story telling by my grandparents and by reading Amar Chitra Katha and Chandamama (they being the medium of entertainment for the kids of 1980’s). I wonder if kids of the present day know these stories. I guess if the Sethu Samudram were to be conceived 20 years from now, there wouldn’t be any hue and cry in the name of Rama.

    Rama’s bridge apart, the ecological reasons that need close attention is not seriously studied or debated — Typical of the arrogance and ignorance that has become characteristic of political class and the media. I pray to Rama to instill some sanity in these people.

    regards
    suresh

  11. yamunaharsha Says:

    Shri Rajeev

    Your title clearly states ‘scientific case’ but please allow me to digress a bit: Karunanidhi states that Rama never existed. Agastyamuni has told that he met Rama and taught him the Aditya Hridayam in order to vanquish Ravana. Now, this would mean either that Agastya is telling lies or that Agastya himself is fictitious. Agastya is considered the ‘Father of Tamil’ or the source of the Tamil language. Now, either we have a liar ‘Father’ or a fictitious one. Karunanidhi being the scholar he is in Tamil, might as well tell this along with the statement about Rama.

    On the other hand, would he say that ‘Allah’ is a mono-syllabic blabber and does not in any way represent God. How do Muslims know the name of God? Therefore Allah is not God. Further, there is no God at all!

    If there is a way to bring these points to public knowledge, it would be good.

  12. wanderlust Says:

    i think this needs to be published in a leading national daily, like the New Indian Express or Deccan Herald.

  13. gvl46 Says:

    The SSCP will prove to be white elephant.Imagine dumping Rs2500 crores of the tax-payers’ money in the ocean, for helping the LTTE and for merely personal gains!The whole nation is being taken for a ride by the DMK and allied parties.National interests are not on their agenda.


  14. The environmental impact of the SSCP is very real and need to be thoroughly investigated. Also the economic viability of the SSCP is definitely to be questioned.
    But the above article is a mockery of that agenda. A roving rant of major projects around the world picked at random for their potential for sensational impact from the three gorges, the river linking project, the Aswan dam etc.., the only link between them, a dubious term “terraforming”. My dear friend, by your definition of terraforming, you buying a house in bangalore is also an instance of terraforming. Terraforming is a term used for scientists designing an ecology to transform a planet as is theoretically planned for Mars. You give too much credit to the Indian Govt!! Terraforming indeed!
    Why did you conveniently forget the panama and suez canals, the hoover and narmada dams, the taming of the Ganga’s basin, which is probably the world’s 2nd largest instance of your definition of “terraforming”, the first being the Yellow river.
    Um… excuse me the Model T and sea levels? Very seductive but a scientific and logical fallacy. Given that you are a luddite. But this is ludicrous.
    I don’t know if you’ve honestly managed to make yourself believe in the wide ranging, rant of unrelated issues and finally arrive at the conclusion that the SSCP is unviable without giving ACTUAL arguments against the SSCP or just cynically misleading your readers for whatever agenda.
    With friends like you, the environmentalists trying to gather credible evidence on the real impact of the SSCP need no enemies at all.
    Scientific!! Um.. lets see where you’ve given us “scientific” arguments..
    my favourites –
    1. ‘the beating of a butterfly’s wings may cause a storm’. Well lets all better start butterfly hunting soon shall we?
    2. “I imagine there will be terrible, but as yet unknown, consequences …” wonderful.. your imagination is very much needed in all major “terraforming” projects in the world
    3. “north India will become a desert” he he he.. your “scientific” argument with evidence based on your “imagination” I suppose. Would you please have a look at a map of India before you provide us your “scientific” arguments? Repeat after me.. the Brahmaputra in India flows through Assam and Arunachal…the Brahmaputra in India flows through Assam and Arunachal… now do it 100 times.
    4. “I fear that there will be disastrous, unimagined end-results to river-linking”.. oh, now your imagination ceased working??? come on…
    5. “Let us note that tsunamis are not unknown in this region.” .. oh yes. Other than the one in 2004, there was one that supposedly drowned the city of Poompuhar in 500 BC.. yes two in three millenia. very frequent indeed. Hmmm.. I suppose your “scientific” analysis of tsunamis missed out the fact that the MH-Gujarat coast has seen far more tsunamis than the TN coast.
    6. “It is a matter of hubris waiting for nemesis” the conclusion is very scientific thank you.
    7. “Just as the Communists did with the Aral Sea…the ‘Dravidians’ of Tamil Nadu will also…” oh now, its only the communists and dravidians who suffer from “hubris waiting for nemesis”?? Umm.. well the Tamils and Marxists who drained the Florida everglades, mis-handled the marshes of Louisana, logged the amazon, the Tams and Marxists around the world who singlehandedly handled all our “terraforming” must be very shamefaced indeed.

    What really is your agenda Rajeev?
    Regards,
    Nirmal


  15. Oh I didn’t really see your very objective and un-biased comments on “Dravidians” and “Communists”. Hmm.. throws light on your agenda actually.
    As for drilling and dredging contracts and your attempt at intelligently sarcastic insinuation, those would exist irrespective of any of the 5 routes taken. So umm.. I suppose you’ve made a “scientific” analysis of the differences in the values of the dredging contracts on the different routes and have come to the scientific conclusion that the current route provides someone with the maximum returns. I’m sure.


  16. […] concern is the ecological concern. I suggest readers read this article before saying another […]

  17. charlesd Says:

    Hi Rajeev,

    I read your article on Ramar Bridge. Very informative and suppoted by good examples. I hope, that govt does not go ahead with the plan. WE should rather learn to live within paramenters set by nature than trying to modify nature for our greed.

  18. rajeev2007 Says:

    I found the comment above by an apparent ‘Dravidian’ quite entertaining. Calm down, Nirmal Kumar, before you burst a vein! My agenda, Nirmal, is to ask people to think before they take a leap in the dark based on the spurious agendas of people who exhibit extreme bias and bigotry. It is prudent to do some modeling and experimentation before proceeding based on the exhortations of blind demagogues. Question the assertions of demagogues. Ask for proof. Take nothing for granted.

    These ‘Dravidians’ are akin to the churchmen who burned Giordano Bruno at the stake because they didn’t want scientific enquiry to mess with their holy, but wholly, idiotic notions.

    Suez and Panama compared to this useless channel? That is a laugh. Those two enabled ships to avoid going around Africa or Latin America — a distance of perhaps 7,000 nautical miles. And this channel?

    And right on cue, here are the Communists admitting they made a mistake with Three Gorges. The Communists strangely enough, are admitting their mistakes. I am not sure the ‘Dravidians’ (in quotation marks because their entire mythology is based on a complete hoax, much like the Piltdown Man) will have the grace to admit, about five years hence, that they were very wrong to destroy Rama’s Bridge. No, they will not, being true believers in the lies invented by good old Bishop Caldwell.

    Here are the Chinese on Three Gorges:

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/china-admits-miracle-could-become-disaster/2007/09/26/1190486395946.html


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