Though as per Arnold Toynbee, ?Civilizations die from suicide, not murder?, a unilateral war is being waged by anti-Hindu forces to wipe out Hinduism and Hindu heritage from earth the way other native cultures and religions have been erased all over the globe. The proposed demolition of Ram Sethu by the Congress-led UPA government is a similar assault on symbols of Hindu religion and Hindu heritage.
Apart from being the ancient-most sacred symbol of Hindu faith and heritage, Ram Sethu symbolises Bharat. To save Ram Sethu is to save Bharat.
And to save Ram Sethu is to save Sethusamudaram ?territorial waters? from becoming ?international waters? which will endanger Bharat'ssecurity. To save Ram Sethu is to save vast thorium deposits which can meet Bharat'slong term energy needs. Saving it also saves vast areas of Bharat from future tsunamis.
Why this undue haste?
The undue haste with which the government is proceeding with Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project (SSCP) shows that it is bent upon demolishing this holy monument.
In the wake of havoc caused by tsunami in December, 2004, several queries were raised by the Prime Minister'sOffice. As reported in a section of the press, Tuticorin Port Trust furnished its report to the Prime Minister'sOffice on June, 30, 2005.
But without a proper appraisal of the said report and without examining the national security concerns, and without consulting the concerned experts, scientists or even the Indian Navy, the Prime Minister and the Congress president inaugurated the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project on July 2, 2005.
Surprisingly, while five other better and cheaper routes which do not destroy this shrine are available, the route that destroys Ram Sethu has been selected.
Former Supreme Court Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer has cautioned that this project would undermine India'ssecurity concerns with American presence in Sethusamudram waters. Besides, he has mentioned that ?The callousness with which such a big project is conceptualized and implemented is an unpardonable act.? Moreover, he has termed the project as ?an open challenge to age old Hindu beliefs?, and has called upon ?every Indian to see that this historic and holy monument is protected.?
A matter of faith
Religion is a matter of faith. And for Hindus, Ram Sethu is the ancient-most and sacred symbol of their faith, heritage and history. As per Ramayan, Bhagwan Ram'sarmy had built the bridge that connects India and Sri Lanka. Sages Valmiki, Kamban and many others have described the construction of Ram Sethu in their Ramayans. It is also narrated in Mahabharata, Skanda Purana and many other works. There are detailed references to Ram Sethu in Sanskrit and Tamil literature. Set up in 1767, ?Survey of India'slogo, ?aaSethu himachalam? (from Sethu to Himalaya) also acknowledges the existence of Ram Sethu.
Of course, Ramayan and Mahabharat are a part of Hindu theology and Hindu history, and not mythology, as wrongly propagated by anti-Hindu Marxist historians.
There is irrefutable historical, archaeological, scientific, literary, epigraphical, cartographical, scriptural, sculptural and numismatic evidence about the existence of Ram Sethu. Ram Sethu as appearing on the 1788 map drawn by explorer Joseph Parks was renamed as Adam'sbridge in 1804 by J. Rennel, the first Surveyor General of East India Company. But the people have always known this shrine as ?Ram Sethu?. Being associated with Ram, it has got special place in Hindu heart as even now many children bear names like Ram Sethu.
Illegal and unconstitutional
As explained below, the proposed demolition of Ram Sethu is illegal and unconstitutional.
As per section 295 A of Indian Penal Code, ?Whosoever destroys, damages, or defiles any place of worship, or any object held sacred by any class of persons with the intention of thereby insulting the religion of any class of persons or with the knowledge that any class of persons is likely to consider such destruction, damage or defilement as an insult to their religion, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both?. Shockingly, the UPA government that should punish any insult to any religion is bent upon insulting Hindu sentiments by demolishing Ram Sethu.
In this connection, the Supreme Court'sfollowing observations made in paragraph number 7 of its judgement reported as S. Veerabadran Chettiar v. E. V. Ramaswami Naicker and Others (AIR 1958 Supreme Court 1032) are relevant:
??.Any object however trivial or destitute of real value in itself if regarded as sacred by any class of persons would come within the meaning of the penal section (295 of Indian Penal Code). Nor is it absolutely necessary that the object, in order to be held sacred, should have been actually worshipped. An object may be held sacred by a class of persons without being worshipped by them.?
Even as per the Supreme Court'sabove-mentioned judgement, Ram Sethu is a sacred object for Hindus, and destroying, damaging or defiling it will insult the religious feelings of Hindus punishable under section 295 of Indian Penal Code.
Besides, the proposed demolition will be unconstitutional since it would hurt Hindu sentiments, and thereby violate the Constitution'sPreamble which proclaims India as a secular State; and would also violate Article 25 of the Constitution which guarantees that all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and to propagate their religion.
Destroying Ram Sethu would be like destruction of Hindu temples by marauding invaders over the centuries.
Instead of destroying this shrine, government should declare it as a national monument under Article 49 of the Constitution, and as a ?protected monument? under Section 3 of the Ancient Monuments Protection Act, 1904.
Sakand Puraan has a touching request from Bhagwan Ram to the future rulers to save Ram Sethu in these words: ?Bhooyo bhooyo bhavino bhoomipaala natva natva yaachte Ramchandrah / Samanyo ayam DharmaSethur naranaam kaale kaale paalniyo bhaviddhih? which means, ? Ramchandra humbly and repeatedly requests the future rulers to protect this Dharma Sethu at all times.?
Since instead of protecting Ram Sethu, the present rulers of Bharat are determined to demolish it, the masses have to protect Ram Sethu and force the government to halt its outrageous move. As this world allows only the fittest to survive, only a pro-active mass movement can force anti-Hindu forces to respect Hindu sentiments, and save Ram Sethu. We must remember that as per Rig Veda (4.33.11), ?Na ruteh shrantasya sakhayay devaha? (Gods do not help inactive people).
(Author is former Chief Commissioner of Income Tax. His e-mail address is: [email protected])