Friday, September 14, 2007

Ram and an Army of Monkeys

Did Ram and an army of monkeys build a bridge between India and Sri Lanka? This religious and historical controversy is causing problems in India as reported by the BBC in Report on Hindu god Ram withdrawn.

The article notes, "The Indian government has withdrawn a controversial report submitted in court earlier this week which questioned the existence of the Hindu god Ram. The report was withdrawn after huge protests by opposition parties. The report was presented to the Supreme Court on Wednesday in connection with a case against a proposed shipping canal project between India and Sri Lanka. Hindu hardliners say the project will destroy what they say is a bridge built by Ram and his army of monkeys."

Scientists and archaeologists say the Ram Setu Bridge is natural. It is composed of a natural formation of sand and stones. This finding is offensive to some Hindus in India. Hence, the government retraction of the report.

I don't suppose it was possible for Ram to have built the bridge using naturally occurring stones and sand? Perhaps both the scientists and the devote Hindus are correct...

This has a real potential to block a plan for a canal. The article notes, " The canal project proposes to link the Palk Strait with the Gulf of Mannar between India and Sri Lanka by dredging a canal through the shallow sea. This is expected to provide a continuous navigable sea route around the Indian peninsula. Once complete, the canal will reduce the travel time for ships by hundreds of miles and is expected to boost the economic and industrial development of the region."

It would be a shame if this project was blocked as it would benefit India economically. However, I certainly understand why many would not like to see the Ram Setu Bridge damaged. I see no easy answer here.

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