Declare Ram Setu cultural heritage site; Ram debate needless: Expe

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New Delhi, Sept 17 (UNI) Sanskrit and Greek scholar and an expert on Hinduism Dr Bharat Gupt has demanded that Ram Setu be declared a cultural heritage site.

''Whether Lord Ram actually existed or not is a needless debate.

The Adam's bridge or Ram Setu is so closely associated with our cultural moorings that it would be worth preserving it,'' Dr Gupt told UNI.

In this country, some people have an irresistible tendency to make a controversy out of everything, and trigger frivolous debates to create dissensions in the society, which would lead the country nowhere, he said.

''And then we take a very limited view of scientific reason. Ram Setu is so much interwoven with the cultural history of Rameswaram and of the country as a whole that bringing the factor of the historicity of Lord Ram was absolutely unnecessary,'' he said.

Dr Gupt said personally he found no contradiction in the scientific explanation of the existence of Ram setu and the Hindu belief about its construction by the army of Lord Ram.

''The setu is a natural formation. Fine. But can't humans add to it. After all what they build is only an addition to what nature has already provided,'' he would reason.

It is sad to see that how in India people do not value their cultural heritage. In marked contrast to that, In the West even small sites like a lane associated with any cultural or historical figure is preserved and taken full advantage of from the point of view of tourism.

''Ram Setu should not be destroyed but be developed into a place of tourist attraction, he stressed.

In Dr Gupt's view there was one more difficulty with the Sethusamudram Project.

Once, the canal was created, it will be considered international waters, which entails many political and strategic implications for the country, he at pointed out.

Lashing a DMK chief M Karunanidhi for his stand in the controversy, he said people like him have no knowledge of history and have not read vital texts They themsleves do not know what tradition they belong to, he added.

The controversy arose after the ASI's affidavit in the Supreme Court said that there was no proof of the historicity of Lord Ram.

The controversial affidavit, which has now been withdrawn, was in response to a petition challenging the Sethusamudram project envisaging construction of a ship canal by dredging it with Adam's bridge or Ram Setu.

Under the proposed project, the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar between India and Sri Lanka would be linked by the canal to be created through the shallow sea sometimes called Setu Samudram, and through the island chain of Rama's Bridge.

The canal would provide a continuous navigable sea route around the Indian Peninsula.

UNI

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