Regarding Sethusamudram

Is there business in the dredging?

Here’s something from The Acorn’s archives that should inform the current debate over the Sethusamudram canal project.

…a key factor, and perhaps the most important one, has not quite received the attention that it should. And that relates to the commercial viability of the project.

The Indian government has just taken a gamble. If the project can achieve the objectives that the government has set for it, it may even mitigate the damage it is causes the environment. And for the time being at least, New Delhi can count on high oil prices to keep it from looking silly. [The Acorn]

Related Posts: Ram Setu for dummies, via Reality Check; On the controversy it has dug up: Jaffna over at the Cynical Nerd’s blog; Nita Writer; Rational Fool and of course, GreatBong.

16 thoughts on “Regarding Sethusamudram”

  1. I think we must recognize distinction between theological (or rather spiritual), mythical and historical strains which are interwoven in an epic or tradition.
    Now the first error that ASI made was to phrase its affidavit so that historical claims were confused with the other two.
    But even more serious is outright dismissal of historicity claim because it is based on “merely” Ramayana (Perhaps they are expecting “avi” files of Bhagwan Rama). I admit I am a bit amused by rationalist assurance here, for history mostly involve inconclusive and disconnected evidences and lots of conjectures which are constantly validated, and in this an epic is admissible evidence to form some basis behind historicity. For example Historicity of Jesus (as opposed to divinity) is a serious topic (i.e. not limited to church), even though the basis is just Gospels and Account (disputed) of Jospehus.

    Also read Varnam

    Regarding GB’s post, what can I say ! May be victory of bad form over good content 😐

  2. As far as I know, the controversial part of the government’s affidavit does refute or even question the existence of Ram. It simply states that Ramayana and its derivative works “cannot be said to be historical record to incontrovertibly prove the existence of [Ram]…” [emphasis mine]. I read this as a well qualified statement on whether Ramayana could be considered as a rigorous proof for the historicity of Ram [I wish ASI had used “historicity” instead of “existence”]. After all, it is questionable if Ramayana incontrovertibly proves the existence of even Valmiki!

    Of course, there is no reason why ASI should have included any statement at all on Ram in its affidavit, when all it had to do was to show proof or lack of it for the Sethu Samudram formation to be a man- made structure, or it’s a ridge or chevron that was formed from natural causes – a massive Tsunami for example, perhaps the same Tsunami that resulted from the Burckle crater?

    The rest is politics as usual.

  3. Oops, the first sentence should read “affidavit does not refute or even question”. I am glad that I am not a lawyer, and my earlier comment is not an affidavit submitted to a court 🙂

  4. Please for god’s sake let’s stop denying our civilization. Has this been the worst government India has every seen since the 1990s? Even the Deve Gowda & IK Gujral governments had some logical people. I strongly believe that it should be mandatory for every Indian to spend 5 years in the US. Indians in India have a complete misunderstanding of why the US is a great country. They fail to realize how much every American loves his/her country and the values that America stands for. It will make them appreciate their own culture more than ever.

  5. Hi Nitin,
    I want to thank you again for linking me to this post. I have been going through your site and like it. Have added you to the blogroll, under the category of Useful Links.
    Thanks again.

  6. KPS Gill in The Pioneer:

    There is a new and escalating insensitivity in Indian secular thought, which not only insistently neglects the sensibilities of the majority community, but, worse, appears eager to cause injury to such sentiments. India’s opportunistic political secularists – as distinct from those who are, in fact and practice, actually wedded to the secular ideology – feel that they cannot sufficiently proclaim their secularism without displaying at least a measure of contempt for Hindu beliefs and practices.

    By contrast, the most extraordinary sensitivity – often transgressing not only the limits of good sense, but even considerations of national interest – is prominently displayed towards the Muslim minority vote-bank (though other minorities – with their smaller shares in electoral contests – are ironically treated with the same contempt that is directed against the majority community). These tendencies appear to be getting worse with the passage of time, and a precipitous decline in the quality of political debate and intelligence is manifest.


    The Ram Setu issue, moreover, goes beyond science, to the very heart of faith and of the collective consciousness of a nation – and these considerations cannot be irrelevant to a legal determination of the issue. If, indeed, they were to be treated as extraneous and immaterial, then there could be no objection to razing every religious structure in the country to the ground, on considerations, purely, of expediency. The greatest caution must be exercised when intervening in these issues, and the clumsiness, the political chicanery and the opportunism – across party lines – that characterised the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid issue should be avoided at all costs.


  7. A general comment (thought from reading the NYTimes article linked above):

    We all know what will happen, right? International (read Western/ non-Indian) “experts” will decide that there is something to be said for similar flood / wholesale destruction “myths” in different cultures and go look for evidence and find it; though, like all experiments the results would not be incontrovertible and the scientific conclusions will be hedged this way and that (though all practicing scientists will keep the unhedged picture in their minds for their own clarity and for teaching students).

    At that magical moment of history secularists will declare that they knew this from time immemorial and that hindus were still jerks

  8. Shell shocked by bus burning barbarism.There is so much hatred for tamils in bengaluru.Care to analyse TN-karnataka relations

  9. @xyz,

    There is so much hatred for tamils in bengaluru.

    what the hell are u smoking? how did u come to this breathtaking conclusion?

    Care to analyse TN-karnataka relations

    definitely. and while at it we will also analyse TN-Kerala, TN-Andhra and TN-Rest of India relations. plus throw in a particular international situation too.

    isn’t it so easy to take things out of context and make any particular community or people look bad?

    frankly the only ignorant hatemonger i can see here is yourself individually.

  10. Apollo,
    i will not stoop to your level.You are exhibiting the same liberal viewpoint which was mugging you earlier.One must have the honesty to analyse internal contradictions within the indian polity.

    What has happened in bangalore is barbaric.There has been no denunciation by the liberals/deshbhakths of this savagery.Though ostensibly provoked by karunanidhi,the relations between tamils and kannadigas in the mysore region is simmering.It is already near flashpoint.Any incident can ignite the spark.

    Why is there no remorse in karnataka for killing two innocent persons?Does this situation exist in the relations between any other states?

    There is pent up fury and anger.I have great sympathy for karnataka’s predicament in south india.I am no fan of tamil chauvinism.One must analyse TN-karnataka relations.If symptoms of kannada chauvinism are ignored,it can trigger riots in TN and karnataka.

    Effective steps have to be taken to address grievances of karnataka and stop appeasement of tamils.Tamils and kannadigas have different perceptions of indian nationalism because of the differences in their history and their languages.

    I hope you liberals will have time to look at the ground reality from your lofty towers of libertarian thought.

  11. XYZ,

    Why don’t u spare us ur boring lecture and declare that as a tamilian and a DMK sympathiser u r angry about the incidents of violence in bangalore.

    I think ur definitely entitled to that. Human beings naturally feel agitated when someone of a similar belief/ethnicity/race/nationality/religion/colour/sex/ideology etc… are in trouble somewhere. so peace out and try to look things from a broader viewpoint and with a calmer state of mind.

    and as far as i know there are substantial number of tamilians in Bangalore and in the rest of Karnataka and an equal number of Kannadigas in tamil nadu, chennai etc… and they get along quite well.

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