Why a Science Channel documentary on Ram Sethu has got Smriti Irani and co excited

 "There are Hindu legends that the God Rama placed a bridge here connecting India and Sri Lanka," says a geologist in the video clip.

A Science Channel documentary clip on Ram Sethu or Adam’s bridge, touted to have connected India with Sri Lanka in the past, has gone viral with the likes of Subramanian Swamy and Smriti Irani tweeting about it. The video apparently vindicates the stand of many right-wing ideologues that the bridge was indeed built by Lord Rama.

In a documentary, titled “What on Earth: A land bridge”, a group of oceanologists and archaeologists are seen analysing the satellite images of the bridge that have stones sitting on top of sand bars. They conclude that while the stones are 7,000 years old, the sand on which it is sitting is only 4,000-year-old. Following this observation, they conclude that the discrepancy in the age of the sand and the stone proves that the stone bridge must have been built by human beings. The 2-minute clip ends with one of the experts referring to an ancient Hindu text, that talks about Rama’s existence about 5,000 years ago.  “There are Hindu legends that the God Rama placed a bridge here, connecting India and Sri Lanka,” says a geologist named Dr Alan Lester, Geologist. Another expert adds that building such a bridge at that point of time in history would have been a “super human achievement”.

The clip has now gone viral.

Many are tweeting it as a counter to the previous government, led by Congress, whose official stand was that Valmiki Ramayana and Ramcharitmanas cannot be treated as historical records of Ram’s existence.  The UPA government had said this to the Supreme Court that was hearing a case on the controversial Sethusamudran project.

Subramanian Swamy was one of the first to take note of the video on Twitter.

Later, Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani also tweeted it with the caption “Jai Shri Ram”

Here are some other reactions from tweeples.

Here’s a transcript of the 2-minute long video clip:

A NASA satellite passes over the shallow waters of the Indian ocean. It sends back images of largely submerged objects. Investigators find that the line of rocks is over 30 miles long. The rocks are in an area mentioned in an ancient Hindu poem that refers to a magic bridge. The stones are sitting on something that oceanographer call shoar or a sand bar. The sand bar may be natural.

There are stones that have been brought from afar and set on top. How these stones got here is a mystery. When geologists date the stones the mystery deepens. Scientific analysis reveal that rocks are 7000 years old but are sitting on top of sand that are only 4000 year old. This suggest that the structure was built by humans. Some scholars believe that the Hindu text refer to a time 5000 year ago. At this point of time building such a bridge would be super human achievement.

While the BJP has always maintained that the bridge has religious sentiments attached to it, in 2004, the UPA had mooted the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project (SSCP) project that aimed at linking the east and west coasts of India without the need to go around Sri Lanka. According to a Wire report, the construction of the project required “dredging (or even blasting) of the 20-km-long coral-reef platform known as ‘Adam’s Bridge’ or ‘Ram Sethu’”. In 2007, justifying  the construction, the UPA government had told the Supreme Court,

“Valmiki Ramayana and Ramcharitmanas admittedly form an important part of ancient Indian literature, but these cannot be said to be historical records to incontrovertibly prove the existence of the characters and occurrences of events depicted therein.”

The Narendra Modi government has said that any re-alignment or damage to the sethu wouldn’t be approved. Several environmentalists have also red-flagged the project.