Just suspend the two officials who had the temerity to say that “religious texts were not evidence that Lord Ram ever existed” I could not have said it better myself, but hey, this is India, where an allegorical tale about a king who is the paragon of virtue and fights a big battle with the evil king of Sri Lanka to reclaim his abducted wife Sita is now the rallying point for a religion not known for its rallying.
Officials had presented the argument in court to support construction plans for an area devotees believe has remnants of a bridge built by the Hindu god Ram.
Minister Ambika Soni said she would quit if asked to by the prime minister.
She also confirmed that two directors of the Archaeological Survey of India, which prepared the court affidavit, had been suspended.
In the course of Rama’s battles, he enlists an army of “monkeys” in South India to help him build a bridge between the Southern tip of India and Sri Lanka.
Firstly, this whole army of monkeys thing screams of race differences (Macaca, anyone?). Southern Indians tend to be darker than their Northern brethren thanks to fewer Central Asian influences. There were also quite a few dark tribes in the South. So, if Rama indeed came that far South, it’s likely he enlisted local help from us darkie southerners. Yeah, call us monkeys, will ya!
Secondly, Rama is the least Hindu of all gods. He is a one-dimensional uber god with no faults, vices or weaknesses. He rescues his wife from the clutches of the evil Lankan king, only to make her walk through fire to prove her chastity. She passes this fire test rather easily, after some divine intervention, only to to be summarily banished to the forest (while pregnant, mind you) when aspersions are cast about her chastity by a snarky subject.
Yes, paragon of every patriarchal, women as helpless property loving, godly virtue is our Lord Ram. Hinduism is filled with interesting goddesses and gods, and is replete with tales of cheating gods, philandering goddesses, short tempered goddesses, could these folks not have picked a cool goddess such as Kali, or Durga (ha, same person!)? I guess the reason Rama was picked by the Sangh Parvivar (Parivar means family in Hindi, so saying Sangh Parivar is kinda like saying Corleone family) because he’s a nice stick figure paragon of male virtue that makes for a simplistic and easy rallying cry.
Well, in the classic inverse-inverse pyramid style of blogging, one long rant about Hindu fundamentalism aside, what is all the fuss about? Well, there’s a project to dredge some of the sand bars just off the South Indian coast to open up some shipping lanes and save some time. I had blogged about it quite a while back, there are definitely some environmental concerns. But Rama’s bridge, c’mon!