(Pic adopted from NASA)
Still having no internet at my new home, I was out of touch with my usual update on TamilNadu and Indian News. Just realized that Ram has been politicized (again). Hailing from the contentious place (i.e., Rameswaram), my two cents on the whole issue:
* It is clear that the Sethu Samudram project is more of a prestige issue for the Dravidian parties. The canal is not even remotely as important as Suez or Panama canal, where huge landscapes prevented easy access to financially and industrially important places. Sri Lanka is too small an island for ships to worry about extra costs to reach India's east coast. Sure, it would make a difference for, say, a cruise from India's west coast to east coast; but, road is a far more viable option than the sea route. So, bypassing Sri Lanka through the new project, causing irreversible changes to the water world of Southern Tamil Nadu is, IMHO, literally, dissolving hundreds of crores of rupees into the sea.
* For those religious ones to protest against the damage to the 'Sethu Bridge', I donno what to say.. If we assume that the thin line of rockbed seen in many NASA photographs is indeed the bridge built by Ram, what has anyone done so far to increase its importance, than it being merely on photos? I can say that less than 10% those who visit Rameswaram, go to Dhanushkodi, the Indian tip where Ram is believed to have started building the bridge. And, no pilgrim takes a cruise or even a motor boat to travel the path of Ram in the ocean, atleast until the Indian limit. So, make a big deal about something which we haven't cared about at all, for centuries?
* Having said that, the remarks by Mr. Karunanidhi on the existence of Ram, and questioning which Engineering college he went etc. were totally unwarranted. Which Engg. college did Karikalan, who built the great 'Kallanai' attend? What degree did the architects of many wonderful Tamil Nadu's temples, such as the 'Thanjavur temple' and the 'Rock temple' of Mahabalipuram have? Such frequent and uncalled-for comments of his, spoil the good impression I have on him.
* Lastly, his hunger strike and his call for a Bandh, especially against the court orders, are shocking. People say he is just following Gandhian ways of showing his protest by Satyagraha, and by non-cooperation; but, if Gandhi was alive, all he would have said is "Hey, Ram!"