Historical evidence for world religious figures rare: Dr Karan Singh

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New Delhi, Sep 29 (UNI) Congress leader and an authority on Hinduism, Dr Karan Singh, today said "historical evidence" for most of the outstanding religious figures in the world would be difficult to find, particularly as many "are lost in the mists of antiquity".

However, it was a question that affected the beliefs and sentiments of crores of people around the world, he said, criticising the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for filing a "downright derogatory" affidavit questioning the very existence of Ram as a historical figure.

"This is not a question for Ph.D dissertations, but one that affects the beliefs and sentiments of crores of people around the world.

In his article "The Ram I Know," published in the latest issue of Congress mouthpiece "Sandesh," Dr Singh pointed out that there were numerous places in India and Sri Lanka which were closely linked with the events in Ram's life including Ayodhya and Janakpuri, Rameshwaram and Dhanushkodi.

"It is now well accepted by historians that so-called myths and legends very often have a strong basis in actual events and personalities." Stating that the story of Lord Ram had been told and retold in almost every language of the world, he said the "immensely fascinating" tale was engraved in the minds of the vast majority of Hindus around the world and "he is as real to them as any so-called historical figure".

Dr Singh said Hindus in India, South and South-East Asia and other countries around the globe looked upon Lord Ram as an incarnation of God, as the "Maryada Purushottam," the ideal man.

"When Mahatma Gandhi envisaged his ideal society, he went back to invoking Ram Rajya." "Keeping all these factors in mind, the ASI affidavit was distinctly unfortunate, unfair and and dowrnright derogatory, not only to Hindus in India and around the world, but to all those who treasure our unique pluralistic cultural heritage." He concluded the article by saying : "Let us recall that in many parts of India it is Ram's name that accompanies people on their last journey to the cremation ground--Ram naam satya hai." UNI

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