Fundamentalist Hindu parties in India are up in arms against the central government for wanting to demolish Adam's bridge (called Ram Situ by orthodox Hindus)in a five hundred million dollar project to dredge a passage which would reduce the time taken by cargo ships to sail from India's west coast to its eastern shore by 36 hours. The row erupted after the Archaeological Survey of India submitted an affidavit claiming that the bridge was not man-made and there was no evidence that Ram ever existed. Of course, we have known this all along (since the events depicted in the
are supposed to have taken more than a million and a half years ago, when modern man had not yet appeared on the planet).

Geologists say that the bridge is a submerged stretch of limestone shoals that formed naturally about five to seven thousand years ago. This casts further doubt on Ram's existence. But if Ram never existed, the claim that Babri Masjid was built on his birthplace is false, and there was no need for BJP and Shiv Sena to demolish the mosque, an event which resulted in the killing of thousands of persons. But, like our own militants, those across the border are also not willing to listen to anything which challenges their cherished beliefs. They want anyone who doubts Ram's existence to be tried for blasphemy.

Shakir Lakhani,