In Hindu tradition, our entire environment is regarded as sacred and there are specific instances which provide important symbols for this. Witness the reverence Hinduism has for the great rivers – for example the sacred Ganga river – for their life giving and life sustaining qualities, the mountains which source these life giving forces and provide protection and indeed the
whole land which is regarded as the Mother in addition to the regard for the millions of plants and animals. The Rama Sethu land formation (also known as Adam'sBridge), linking southern India to northern Sri Lanka, is an example of such a sacred
symbol which is revered in Hindu tradition as the bridge constructed by Lord Rama and his army to cross into Lanka and defeat the demon Ravana.
India has recently revived the idea of having the Sethusamudram canal built
between itself and Sri Lanka. This means digging a big hole through the Rama Sethu Bridge and effectively destroying it. The economic benefits are said to be enormous as it will allow maritime vessels to no longer be compelled to circumnavigate Sri Lanka, but sail directly between the two countries, thus boosting trade. In practice it will save at most just a day in travel time. There are also high economic costs – estimated at hundreds of millions of Rupees which will probably escalate into billions by the time the project is completed. But there are non-economic costs too, the first of which is the offence caused to Hindus for destroying a traditional place of pilgrimage and worship. This is comparable to a recent news story from the USA which we highlighted here in HHR where the American courts disallowed the use of sewage for artificial snow on a sacred mountain used as a place of worship and pilgrimage by the Native American people.