Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ram Setu and Arunachal-What’s the connection?

The Rs.2,427 Crore Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project, apparently approved by the NDA government during October 2002 and formally inaugurated by the UPA government on 2nd July, 2005 has snowballed into a major controversy after 2 years of commencement of project.

The row started with filing of PIL by Janata Party President Subramanium Swamy and subsequent affidavit by ASI and Centre’s stand on the project. Since then, it has become battle of ‘faith v/s national interest’. And this controversy has not left the state of Arunachal Pradesh being entangled in the controversy, either. It has, in fact, led to ‘Rashta Roko’ programme in the twin capital city of Itanagar and Naharlagun on 12th of September by Arunachal Pradesh unit of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and protest rally and ‘havan’ at Ziro on 22nd September.

“Hundreds of people comprising the rank and file of various religious denominations, priests, NGO’s, students and youth took out a protest rally on 22nd September at Hapoli township here against the Centre’s Sethusamundram project.

Nine kund yagna havens were conducted at Subansiri Stadium by the priests for the cause of protecting Ram Sethu and for world peace.

RSS Sanghchalak Nani Tatu, Ziro-Hapoli Gayatri Parivar chairman Gyati Nado, Apatani Priest Association president Mudang Pai, spiritual head of Maa Santoshima Mandir Dulley Allung and district labour union chairman Tage Khongkhung also participated in the protest.”

-Arunachal Front

The protest in the state and in particular, at Ziro has made me wonder, what’s the connection between Ram Setu and Arunachal; apart from the projects national interest?

Tamil Nadu has economic interest-it feels that the Sethusamudram Project would catalyze their economic growth, Hindus believe that the bridge Ram Setu or Adam's Bridge was built by Lord Rama's Vanara Sena and doesn’t want their mythological structure disturbed, BJP wants to cash in on the controversy (remember, it was only NDA government that approved the project) and the centre feels that it is in the national interest; but what’s the connection with Arunachal?

I tried hard but I failed to arrive at some sensible reasoning. The only tangible reasoning I could make out of the protest at Itanagar is that since the parent organization (BJP) is raising the issue, the state unit should also follow. But what about the protest at Ziro where even the Apatani Priest Association took part (or was made to take part) in the protest rally and subsequent yagna? Did the religious sentiments of the Apatanis really hurt? But then, doesn't Apatanis follow Donyi-Poloism which has different mythology and beliefs than the Hindu mythology? Or, is it any indication of Hinduasisation of Donyi-Poloism by Hindu missionaries? Shouldn't the people concetrate more on upliftment of the society rather than involved in religious fanaticism?


  • Anonymous

    The people of Arunachal Pradesh rightly decided that they have a stake in the agitation against the destructive alignment of the Sethusamudram Canal. The DMK in TN is known for its cavalier disregard for the environment. So if a party of these thugs can twist its senior partner - the Congress - imagine what could be done to Arunachal Pradesh?

    If you read something more edits from The Hindu you would know that the NDA does not oppose the Sethusamudram project in total. It is only opposed to the alignment being planned at present.

    Re Hinduism you are, to put it mildly, in error. Hinduism is not a religion like the Abrahamic faiths with claims to reveled truths and dogma. So there is no conflict between Hinduism and a tradition like Donyi-Poloism that similarly makes no claims to absolute truth. There are no demarcations regarding "mythologies" which is incidentally a derogatory term used by the some preceptors of the "reveled" and "dogmatic" religions to rubbish traditions they do not understand. By using the term mythology to describe the epic and literary traditions of both Hinduism and Donyi-Poloism you are simply rubbishing both the traditions.

    All living traditions Donyi-Poloism and Hinduism included have much to lose from religiously fanatic and nazi movements like the DMK.

  • Anonymous

    whoever is this anonymous man , he must not be a real arunachali , i am sure . if he had been one then he wont be blending his relegious sentiments wit interest of arunachal . it is because building of sethusundram will never effect arunachal in any way .racking up such religious in arnachal is not good for people of arunachal . one day it will lead to religious violence in the peacefull n highly tolerant stat like arunachal ..... whoever is this man i wanna say that pls do not spoil thinking of people of arunachal ........

  • AG

    First of all I would have appreciated you more if you had posted non-anonymously.Secondly, let me make myself clear first. I've not written the post to criticize the different stands taken by the Hindus or the DMK or the BJP or the UPA Government on the Ram Setu issue but my concern was why the innocent people of Arunachal is being dragged into this controversy.What's the connection between Ram Setu and people of Arunachal? Had the agitation been carried out for national interest, I'd have said that people of Arunachal had rightly put their stake in the agitation but the agitation had religious fervor involving locals and led by RSS representative. So I disagree with you that the people of Arunachal had rightly put their stake in the agitation.

    I'm not against Hinduism or Christianity or myths or epics whatever, but I'm against those Missionaries that is trying to dilute the indigenous faith by conversion or equating the indigenous faith with their faith and belief.

    And yeah you are right that all living traditions have much to lose from religious fanaticism (Hindu fanaticism included)

  • Anonymous

    I fully suport in this matter and would like to tell any citizen of this country not to drag arunachal in any kind of dirty politics or religious fanatism . The simple and innocent arunachalis have already learnt enough corruption from the mainland Indian politics .We no more want any troubles now . Please be let us in peace and help us in our prosperity if at all you want to do something for us Mr. ANONYMOUS.......

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