Lord Rama not a Homo Sapien!
Before I could recover from the hang-over of writing the post Aryan Invasion: History or Politics? about politizising history, this one caught my eye. First an intro, excerpts from an article from india.krishna.org.
NASA Images Discover Ancient Bridge between India and Sri Lanka - Space images taken by NASA reveal a mysterious ancient bridge in the Palk Strait between India and Sri Lanka. The bridge's unique curvature and composition by age reveals that it is man made. The legends as well as Archeological studies reveal that the first signs of human inhabitants in Sri Lanka date back to the a primitive age, about 1,750,000 years ago and the bridge's age is also almost equivalent. This information is a crucial aspect for an insight into the mysterious legend called Ramayana, which was supposed to have taken place in treta yuga (more than 1,700,000 years ago).Now let me take you to this superb article The Hoax Of The NASA Bridge by Prabir Purkayastha.
THE recent story of NASA discovering a “mysterious 1.75 million year ancient bridge”... was initially propagated by Vaishnava News Network an ISKON web site and was promptly hailed as a scientific proof of Ramayana by Hindutva internet sites. Not much notice would have been taken of such claims... if PTI and television channels had not picked up the story.NASA has distanced itself from such claims:
...we need to delve into the mindset of the Hindu fundamentalists... This mindset believes that there is a deep-seated “western” conspiracy to deny Hindus the rightful place as the most ancient civilisation. The "proof" of this conspiracy is that there are a few “western” men – David Frawley (initiated name Pandit Vamadeva Shastri) and Michel Cremo (initiated name Drutakarma Dasa) -- who are themselves saying that there is a “western” conspiracy to deny Hindus their rightful place.
Frawley, who by his own admission is close to VHP and has met with the senior RSS leaders gets all the RSS luminaries in attendance when he visits and “lectures” here. ... David Frawley runs an Institute called American Institute of Vedic Studies and provides astrological consultations and runs correspondence courses on astrology. Similarly, Michael Cremo... has met with Murli Manohar Joshi to discuss the Drwarka marine archaeology attempt to date an alleged sunken ancient city off the Gujarat coast. This is in spite of having no expertise in archaeology of any variety.
The problem with the age of the yugas is that it then suggests that human beings were around from Sat Yuga and therefore for millions of years. Yet the fossil record is very clear. The Homo sapiens have been around for about 150,000 to 180,000 years. Homo erectus emigrated out of Africa about 750,000 years back and even the hand axe had not been discovered 1.7 million years ago, the supposed time of occurrence of Ramayana.
The need of fundamentalists all over the world is similar: all of them find evolution supported by the fossil record runs counter to what is written in the scriptures. In the case of the Christian fundamentalists, the age of all living beings cannot be older than 6,000 years and of course God created the first man and woman. The Muslim fundamentalists also support the Adam and Eve myth and therefore deny evolution.
The creationists in the USA have been trying for the last hundred years to stop the teaching of evolution in schools...It is the same debate that is now reaching India. Just as the fundamentalists there tried to get various parts of scriptures enter the schools, the fundamentalists here have attacked the school curriculum. The Ramayana epic and its historicity is obviously a major issue. After the Ramjanmabhoomi “movement”, it is necessary to focus Ramayana as more than just an epic, which may or may not have historical basis. The method here is also similar: the Ramajanmabhoomi – as per the VHP – is a matter of faith and not of proof. Similarly, the chronology of Ramayana must also be a matter of faith. If science is an obstacle to such claims, then science must be demolished. And if it can be done using science itself, then so much the better.
The scientific community in India is not aware of the kind of attack that the Hindu fundamentalists are planning on the entire educational system. The current changes in the NCERT textbooks are only symptomatic of this mindset. The aim here is to subvert the method of science and substitute instead with belief in myth and prejudice. It is this mindset that proclaimed that sun revolved around the earth and punished Galileo. It is the same mindset that suggests that the scriptures must be correct and science wrong if human beings as we know them today have arisen only 150,000 -180,000 years back. And it is the same belief in scriptures that leads a Giriraj Kishore to claim that the life of a cow is much more important than the life of five dalits. And unless the scientists are willing to join the fight against this distortion of education, and knowledge we are likely to lose the battle for a better future.
"The images [...] may be ours, but their interpretation is certainly not ours. [...] Remote sensing images or photographs from orbit cannot provide direct information about the origin or age of a chain of islands, and certainly cannot determine whether humans were involved in producing any of the patterns seen."Are we moving towards a world full of misinterpreted history and science?