Sethusamudram is the bridge joining India to Sri Lanka. Wikipedia says: “ It encompasses the Gulf of Mannar, the Palk Strait, and a shoal of islands and bays that separate them called Adam's Bridge (or Rama Bridge).”
It’s called ‘Ram’s bridge’ or Ram Setu because of it’s association with the Hindu Epic Ramayana, which is the story of the prince Ram of Ayodhya. The tale tells of how Ram is actually an incarnation of the Lord Vishnu, and encompasses his birth, tutelage under the Sage Vishwamitra, battles with demons, his marriage to the princess Sita, banishment from his kingdom, an idyllic romance with Sita, her capture by the Lord Ravan of Lanka (now Sri Lanka), and Ram’s war on Ravan to rescue his beautiful wife.
The bridge comes into the story because Ram needs a way to get to Lanka, and since there’s a sea separating the isle from the main continent, Ram prays to the sea to allow him and his troops a way to get there . The Sea God tells Ram to built a bridge or a setu to Sri Lanka. He says that as long as every bit of building matter like rock or whatever else they used had Ram’s name on it, it would stay afloat in the water. Ram finally walked across this setu to Lanka and rescued Sita after a long war which concluded in a confrontation between Ram and Ravan.
Now I’m not particularly religious, and I don’t think very highly of Ram for what he did to Sita once they reached Ayodhya, but I’ve been in love with the epic ever since my grand mother 1st read it out to me when I was a very small child, and I actually believe this story to be true. That being as it is, I don’t take very kindly to being told that Ram didn’t exist by members of the ruling coalition government recently.
This happened because of the Sethusamudram Canal Project they want to undertake, so that the Indian Navy doesn't have to circumnavigate around Sri Lanka in order to patrol our coasts...
When the opposition protested, they had the guts to file an affidavit in the apex court saying "There's no proof that Ram ever existed!"
Well, since then 2 middle level ASI employees have been fired, and calls have been coming for minister Ambika Soni's resignation, but what I want to ask is this: had it been a phenomenon associated with any other community, would these high and mighty politicians have the nerve to suggest such a thing?
To me, it's not sacrilegious, but I do find it insulting to be told by some beyond- cure dishonest politicians that someone not just I, but also a long line of ancestors has been looking up to as God does not, and did never, exist- because really, these people would know all about devotion and Godliness, wouldn't they?
And, then there's the environmental aspect... the Ram Setu is at a strategic point in our planet. Environmentalists have been screaming themselves hoarse over the fact that the place supports a fragile eco system which will be forever destroyed if the dredging goes through, but I guess the government is not interested...
Now, though, they may be forced into looking up both these issues, and since they're already red in the face, both my objections may actually get some attention from the concerned authorities.