Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hey Ram !

I will get to the question of the existence of Shri Ram shortly, but first, while agonizing about Google falling in my eyes on the issue of its cooperation with the Mumbai Police, I had completely forgotten just how much I was in love with Google Earth. Even if we leave aside the fact that someday I hope to be able to bring out my closeted voyeuristic tendencies and spy through some pretty girls bedroom window, the news articles today led me to search for and view the Adam's Bridge AKA Ram Setu. Lo and Behold -

View Larger Map

Pardon my ignorance, but I had absolutely no idea that you could actually see a "bridge" between India and Sri Lanka. I was under the impression that the bridge was just a mythological/literary one. But the civil engineering wonder, a monumental construction completed by the industrious Vanara Sena is clearly visible, albeit under water. It is also interesting to note, (and I quote the ASI here) -

“the Adam’s Bridge formation can be classified as a series of shoals or a series of barrier islands, both of which are naturally occurring formations caused by tidal action and sedimentation.”
It is truly remarkable !

Now, the more interesting part. While the Center has submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court stating that mythological texts, while being great literary works, cannot be treated as historical record, L K Advani has asked Manmohan Singh to withdraw it as, ".. it might hurt the sentiments of Hindus and questions the faith of millions." Also, BJP Spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad said that this government was mounting a "crude effort" to insult Hindus and was questioning the very existence of Ram and Sita.

So here is the real deal. About 2400 years ago a great poet wrote a classic, that broke through all the charts at the time. It gave literature a whole new dimension, influenced all subsequent Sanskrit poetry, art and culture and became one of the texts that the Hindus take great pride in. But seriously, what is with this need for taking, what is undoubtedly a great literary classic in every sense of the term, and trying to move it from the fiction section into the nonfiction section?

Why can't we appreciate great works of fiction for what they are? Great works of fiction!


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