The youngest nation on the globe should become the brightest to lead the comity of nations on the path of dharma. - Dr.S.Kalyanaraman 25/12/2007 04:49:52 By B.R.Haran for Haindavakeralam
Dr.S.Kalyanaraman was born on 20th October 1939. Despite belonging to a Tamil Brahmin Family, he had his school & undergraduate education in Telugu & Sanskrit in Andhra Pradesh. He is very well conversant with Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Sanskrit and Hindi languages, apart from English. He graduated from Annamalai University in Economics & Statistics. He has a Doctorate in Public administration from the University of Phillipines. After having served as a Member of the Indian Railway Accounts Service from 1962, he joined The Asian Development Bank in 1978 based at Manilla, Phillipines. Since 1995, after his return from Phillipines, he has been working on Sarawathi River Research Project through his "Saraswathi Sindhu Research Center" based in Chennai. He has also presented a Paper on his research findings in the 10th World Sanskrit Conference. He has devoted himself to promote the projects for the revival of Saraswathi River. He has authored several volumes on Saraswathi Culture and Civilisation.
Dr.Kalyanaraman's Master Piece is "An Etymological Dictionary of South Asian Languages" published by Asian Development Bank, Manilla, Phillipines, which can be called as a "Landmark" in the world of languages, linguistics and culture. It is considered as a lexicon & encyclopaedia. His other notable work is Indian Alchemy:Soma in the Veda. He has also contributed to Professor Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya's multi-volume work on History of Science and Technology in Ancient India. In simple words, Dr.Kalyanaraman is a Great Cultural Archealogist!
He has been spearheading the Rameshwaram Rama Sethu Protection Movement right from the beginning and we caught up with him in Chennai for an exclusive interview for Haindvakeralam.
Namaste Dr.Kalyanaraman ji! First of all, Please accept our hearty & sincere congratulations for all that you have done for the Protection of Rama Sethu.
HK: Rameshwaram Rama Sethu Protection Movement has come a long way in the last one year. Can you briefly tell us what led to the formation of this movement and how it got started?
S.Kalyana Raman(SKR):Swayamsevaks were performing their seva work among the coastal people of India to enable them to overcome the disastrous consequences of the devastating tsunami which struck on Dec. 26, 2004. While this seva was continuing, the Central Government inaugurates a Setusamudram Channel Project in Madurai on 2 July 2005 with a lot of fanfare, despite opposition to it by the marine people. This led to an intolerable situation of adding insult to injury as the people realized that the project disaster was being put on the fast track with little care for the fisherfolks' livelihood.
What added to the hurt of the people was the choice of a channel alignment cutting through Rama Setu, the only living monument in memory of Sri Rama. When even 35 lakh signatures of concerned people submitted to the President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam evoked no response, the Rameshwaram Rama Setu Protection Movement began.
HK: People across the world are eager to know about the main office bearers who are involved in the RRSPM and the major activities taken up by the movement towards the main objective of Protecting the Rama Sethu. As the President of RRSPM, can you please highlight those things?
SKR:The founders of the movement are people of Rameshwaram, a place revered for the S'ivalingas installed by Sri Rama, Sri Sita Devi and Sri Hanuman. D. Kuppuramu, Advocate of Ramanathapuram founded the movement and lodged a case in Ramanathapuram Court on behalf of Swami Omkarananda. RRSPM is now a national movement to create awareness among the citizens of the world on the imperative of protecting the world heritage that is Rama Setu and to look for projects to care for the marine people along the long 8000 km. coastline of India. It is a non-governmental, non-profit forum, not affiliated with any political party of concerned citizens from all parts of the country. All sadhus and sants are at the vanguard of this movement and with their guidance, the Raksha Manch is organized in every region of the country. There are also supporting organizations in other countries of the world. Shri S. Vedantam, Working President of VHP is the National General Secretary and has many National Secretaries including D. Kuppuramu, Raghavulu.
HK: How well coordinated is this movement with other Hindu Organizations across the Nation? Has the awareness been created across the country? What sort of supports are you getting from other states?
SKR: The movement gained strength when Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh passed a resolution calling for the protection of Rama Setu. Not only Hindu organizations but many other communities are also supporting and participating in this movement. That awareness was created across the country was demonstrated on September 12, 2007 when over 12 lakh people participated in chakka-jam awareness campaign for two hours in over 5,400 locations. This was a stunning demonstration of a peoples' movement and their aakrosh at the attempts made to devastate a world heritage monument, much like the Taliban demolishing the Buddha pratimaa calling it mere stone. The support from and the resolve shown by almost all the 6 lakh plus villages of the nation is total and an inspiration to the movement.
HK : You have the state units of RSS, VHP and BJP in Tamil Nadu. You also have the Hindu Munnani. Are you all united and work under the banner of RRSPM? Are those units having separate activities also?
SKR: The remarkable part of the Rameshwaram Rama Setu Raksha Manch is that whatever the affiliations of people, the platform and fora provided by the Manch is open to everyone and programs drawn up under the guidance of the sadhus and sants are followed up unitedly. So, it is natural that people from the organizations mentioned are also part of the Manch. As far as the Manch focus is concerned, there is only one united peoples' movement.
HK: Are you satisfied with the support you are getting from the other Hindu organizations, spiritual organizations and Mutts? What about the help you are getting from other intellectuals and experts from various fields?
SKR: It is a privilege to be guided by our sadhus and sants. They are the protectors of dharma. It is heartening that many intellectuals and experts from many fields have endorsed the awareness campaigns of the Manch. Over 8000 pages of scientific evidences were submitted to the Courts and other fora on the imperative of protecting Rama Setu and abandoning the Setu channel which is a project disaster from economic, ecological, security and national sovereignty perspectives.
HK: What is the reason for the adamancy shown by the UPA in the state and the UPA in the centre in demolishing the Rama Sethu?
SKR: In coalition politics, there are demands made by coalition partners. Unfortunately, the Setu Channel project has been demanded without carefully evaluating the disastrous consequences of the project. As parties realize the seriousness of the adverse impacts, they have abandoned their support to the project. Irrespective of the alignments discussed, the key issue which has not been given attention is: for whose benefit is the project? If the objective is to reach out to the marine people, there is an alternative of setting up Marine Economic Zones along the coastline. For example, marine people of Nagapattinam, Thiruvarur, Pudukottai, Ramanathapuram, Thuthukudi, Kanyakumari district contribute to the annual earning of Rs. 2000 crores foreign exchange through marine product exports. This earning will be gone and the marine people impoverished if the channel is in place because both the channel and the marine industries cannot coexist. There is potential to increase the annual foreign exchange earnings from these six districts alone to Rs. 10,000 crores in the next two years. This will be an effective developmental project and can be pursued with urgency instead of harping upon the Setu channel project disaster. There is no such channel in the mid-ocean anywhere in the world. It will be foolhardy for the nation to venture on a risky enterprise like this unprotected channel which is an invitation to the next tsunami to devastate the coastline of India. I would only say that it is a mark of statesmanship to backdown when a project has been shown to be unviable and instead to promote Marine Economic Zone to develop the country's economy and the livelihoods of marine people.
HK: UPA often goes to the Defensive mode by saying that the project was originally devised by NDA, and that they are only continuing from where the NDA had left. Is it true that the NDA had chosen this particular alignment affecting the Rama Sethu?
SKR:I have gone through the details of the project including all the studies done during the British regime. It should be noted that after the tsunami of Dec. 26, 2004, the project should not have been approved and inaugurated on 2 July 2005 without studying the serious implications of another tsunami through the chosen channel passage in the mid-ocean. The problem has assumed very serious proportions. On 6 Sept. 2007, the renowned Nature magazine came out with a scientists' warning that another tsunami more devastating than the 2004 tsunami is coming which will put at risk 6 to 7 crore people along the coastline. It is disheartening that this warning has not been heeded. All projects along the coastline should be suspended until a multi-disciplinary team examines the warning and until protective measures such as tsunami walls of Japan are put in place. Ensuring safety of the people and integrity of the coastline are the fundamental duties of the state.
HK: Does RRSPM focus only on protection of Rama Sethu or is it totally against the SSCP as well? What are the reasons?
SKR: RRSPM is totally against the SSCP not only because it destroys the world heritage monument of Rama Setu but also because there are other project alternatives such as Marine Economic Zone to improve the livelihood of the nations' citizens and to achieve the vision of Developed India 2020.
HK : Both the UPA and the DPA deny the existence of Rama Sethu by saying that it is only a natural formation. The Culture Minister Ms.Ambika Soni has also asserted in the parliament that there is no scientific evidence for the existence of Rama Sethu. Your views?
SKR: The Madras HC gave a 11-page judgement accepting the evidences. The evidences included:(cartographic, archaeological, sculptural (including sculptures in Brahmavana temple in Indonesia, published by Archaeological Survey of India in their reports), numismatic, epigraphic, literary, Asiatic Research Society proceedings, Manual of Madras Presidency 1903, Ramanathapuram District Gazetteer 1972, satellite imaging, oceanographic studies, geological including geotectonic and geothermal studies that Rama Setu is a world heritage monument, a man-made physical structure on top of a geological feature of collapsed canyons. Even a copper plate inscription of Parantaka Chola of 10 th century (called Velanjeri copper plate) was shown which mentions that the Chola king went to Rameshwaram to offer setutirtham and tulaabhaaram. Even the Cilappadikaram a Tamil classic by a Jaina Muni, Ilango Adigal, which has given Kannagi the embodiment of Tamil paramparaa refers to Sri Rama and Rama Setu. It is unfortunate that some people indulge in suggestio falsi and suppressio veri denying the evidences.
HK: The TN Chief Minister Mr.Karunanidhi had ridiculed repeatedly Lord Rama, Ramayana and Rama Sethu hurting the religious sentiments of millions of Hindus world wide. What was the reaction from RRSPM and how did the people of Tamil Nadu react to it?
SKR: The reaction was shown on Sept. 12, 2007 by the aakrosh of over 12 lakh people (including over 8000 people of Tamilnadu who courted arrest in over 400 places). This aakrosh also found its echo in the Supreme Court which remarked: 'Don't play with fire'. The government realized the enormity of the blunder and withdrew the sworn affidavits submitted to the Supreme Court. Some cases are ongoing under Section 305 of IPC which prohibits hurting of any community's sentiments and also related to Contempt of Court proceedings.
HK:After committing to the Supreme Court and gaining three months time, the center constituted a "Committee of Eminent Persons on SSCP", which was not welcomed by RRSPM. Can you tell us why and explain how the Committee worked?
SKR: The Committee composition was not transparent and was biased in favor of those who had earlier publicly supported the SSCP. What was announced as a public hearing became a private hearing and the Committee did NOT consult the people concerned, nor did they get the opinions of experts from many fields. Though the Committee was advertised in all language dailies, submissions were asked for only in English and the limited hearing for a few days were held only in Chennai. This negated the offer made in the Supreme Court that the highest traditions of democracy and transparcncy will be followed to receive objections, comments and suggestions. Many concerned peoples' voices were not heard.
HK: Now since the Committee has given its recommendations for the continuance of SSCP in the same alignment, do you foresee the lifting of "Stay" given by the Supreme Court? If so, what will be your future course of action?
SKR: There is only a newspaper report. The case is subjudice in the Supreme Court which had repeatedly noted that the Committee was not appointed by the Court and that it was only a Government Committee. The Court has observed that after Government decides on the Committee report, the Court can be approached again with all objections. If the stay is vacated the whole case becomes infructuous since the petitioners persistently demand that the sacred monument Rama Setu, the stunning symbol of nation's identity, should not be touched.
HK:The TN government has been saying that the SSCP would bring all round prosperity to the Coastal districts of Tamil Nadu. As you are against the SSCP, do you have any other suggestion, in place of SSCP, for the TN government, which will bring prosperity to the coastal areas?
SKR: The non-viable nature of the channel project makes it a project disaster with little contributions to the prosperity of the coastal regions. The channel means the destruction of the peoples' lives dependent upon marine resources. The situation created is: either the channel or fishing, NOT both. The alternative to SSCP is Marine Economic Zones (MEZ) in each of the states all along the long 8000 km. coastline of the nation. The fish landings have increased five-fold in the last 40 years. If these resources are harnessed in a sustainable manner through Marine Economic Zones, Tamilnadu coast alone can contribute upto Rs. 10,000 in foreign exchange earnings per annum through export of marine products. A note on the MEZ is attached. (Click Here for More on MEZ
HK: Do you believe that there is an International level conspiracy, particularly from the American side, to destroy Rama Sethu? If so, why should they conspire and what benefits would they get from it?
SKR: PMO raised in March 2005 16 objections to the SSCP with particular reference to the tsunami of Dec. 26, 2004 and expert opinions of people like Dr. Tad S Murty, the renowned tsunami expert. The answers were given by Chairman SSCP on 30 June. The inauguration of the project took place on 2 July 2005. Surprisingly, on 23 June 2005, a US Navy Operational Directive was issued stating that the waters of Gulf of Mannar-Palk Strait are international waters, that the USA does not recognize the joint claim of India and Srilanka that these are 'Historic waters' (under the Indira Gandhi-Sirimavo Bandaranaike June 1974 declaration). The inauguration of the project on 2 July 2005 lends legitimacy to this US Directive acknowledging that the channel alignment is in effect the international waters boundary. Thus, the historic waters declaration has been abandoned, impacting upon National Sovereignty. This was brought out in the statement and letter to PM addressed by the former Supreme Court Justice VR Krishna Iyer. The proximity of the world major thorium reserves as coastal sand placer deposits – monazite, ilmenite, rutile zircon, garnet -- (32 percent of the world reserves) in the coastline close to Rama Setu makes this creation of international boundary as Setu channel a kaarasthan (conspiratorial place) leading to the loot of thorium reserves and adversely impacting the nation's nuclear power programme for which use of thorium is central, instead of using imported uranium.
HK:Thanks a lot Dr.Kalyanaraman ji. As we have talked about America , let us move to the subject of Indo-US Nuclear Deal.
As a keen observer of this nationally important issue, what are your opinions on this? Is the deal good for the country? How bright are the chances for the deal to go through? Will the UPA finally attain success despite a stiff opposition from the Left and BJP?
SKR: Talking of the Left Front, which is not ready to face elections in the states controlled by them, there is also a need to refer to the UPA coalition partners who do not also want to face elections. There is a mating dance in process. The deal will be operationalised. Elections will be deferred. The deal is not good for the country since it shrinks the nation's sovereignty and does not put the thorium-based nuclear program on a fast track to make the nation self-reliant and gain energy independence.
HK: What do you feel about the intermittent interference of the Left front in the governance of the UPA and what do you feel about their own governance in West Bengal and Kerala? What is your opinion on the CPI(M) brutalities in Nandigram and Kannur?
SKR:What happened in Nandigram, killing poor innocent people and raping children, is a national shame. Communist parties should be banned in the nation since they have shown that the party cadre interests are supreme and override national interests, since they lack any ideology to promote peoples' welfare and since democratic governance has completely collapsed with subversion of the Constitution day-in and day-out.
HK:. As a Senior & Reputed Official retired from Asian Development Bank, How do you view the present economic surge happening in Bharat? Are we, as a developing country, going in the right track?
SKR:The economic surge is a mirage and has not reached the poorest of the poor, particularly those in the 6 lakh plus villages. The continuing impoverishment of the villagers has not been recognized as a serious national problem. The nation can be energized if people are empowered under dharma. One approach to achieve this empowerment, is to work for a National Water Grid to ensure water to everyone, to add 9 crore acres of additional wetland distributed to 9 crore poor families of the nation.
HK . You are doing a great service to our nation through your "Saraswati Research Foundation". We would like to know more about the objectives, achievements and future plans of the foundation.
SKR:I have been a student of Hindu civilization studies. We have two itihasa-s: Ramayana and Mahabharata, two great epics exemplified by Rama Setu and River Sarasvati respectively. River Sarasvati goes back to Vedic times with references in the Vedas. The objective of the foundation is to create a Hindu civilization online resource library to reach out to the youngest nation of the world, with 35% of the population less than 15 years of age. The handing over of the deepam of Hindu civilization is my social responsibility, my discharge of the rinam to the samajam which has given me my identity and the very raison d'etre for my existence.
HK . As a Proud devout Hindu, do you feel that the Hindu majority are enjoying their fundamental religious rights in our country? Are they undergoing different kinds of sufferings in different states? Do you feel the need of a separate legal team for the cause of Hindutva in all the states?
SKR:Everyone in India is a Hindu. Even the Muslims and Christians of India can trace their hindu ancestry with pride. Politicking has led to creation of vote banks promoted on false propaganda of divisiveness in a united samajam. Yes, indeed, Hindutva which is the identity of the Hindu civilization, needs to be the cause to be promoted everywhere. Hence, my website: www.hindu-tva.com
HK . What is your opinion about the mainstream media in India? Are they justified in their approach, reporting and handling of situations? Do you feel that they are neutral& unbiased?
SKR:Many media reports make for very sick reading. Day-in and day-out politicos look for photo-ops and unfortunately, the media people promote these desires by pampering the politico-s and highlighting their foibles and fancies. Such pampering leads to biased representation of the priorities of the samajam. The media is out of sync with the aspirations of the samajam.
HK . The state of TN has been under the Dravidian regime for the last 40 years. There has been a sustained campaigning to separate "Tamils" from the "Hindu" fold. Is the Tamil Hindu community aware of such a nefarious design? Are there any hopes for the state to get totally relieved from the Dravidian onslaught?
SKR:Dravida according to Patanjali refers to a people eating tamarind. It is thus simply a regional connotation. Conflating Dravidian and Aryan as races is a historical fraud committed by motivated indologists and lapped up by self-serving politicos. The narrow identities have to be replaced by the Hindu identity under dharma, the cosmic, eternal ordering principle.
HK . In many parts of Tamil Nadu, Christian Missionaries have become very active and similarly Islamic fundamentalism is also on the increase. Is there a Dravidian-Minority nexus? If so, how can the Hindu organizations counter them?
SKR:Many people are at work to promote their nefarious designs and with motivated agendas. There is a Mullah-Marxist-Missionary nexus in operation to breakup the unity of the Hindu samajam. The only way to counter is to build up on the Hindu identity and everyone in India should feel proud of being a Hindu, irrespective of their current affiliations to mathams or panthas.
HK . The ethnic Indians in general and Hindus in particular, are being persecuted in other nations such as Pakistan , Bangladesh, Gulf countries and the latest being Malaysia. Nepal has also lost its Hindu identity. Do you feel that, India must raise its voice in support of those people? Will such an action from India be respected by those countries or will it get the support of other countries?
SKR:It is the moral responsibility of India to fight for the causes of Hindus everywhere. This is the nation's destiny. Hence, the website: http://malayindians.blogspot.com
HK : We at Haindava Keralam are extremely glad and thankful Dr.Kalyanaraman ji, for having kindly allocated a portion of your time among the busiest schedules to us. Is there any special message for us and our readers as well?
SKR:It is the dharma of every Hindu to light a deepam and hand it over to the next generation. We owe a debt to our pitr-s, our ancestors, The way to discharge this debt is to keep the deepam burning bright. The youngest nation on the globe should become the brightest to lead the comity of nations on the path of dharma.
(Another Related Interview on Ram Sethu came in Organiser )