Facts and myths about Adam’s Bridge: A rejoinder

Facts and myths about Adam’s Bridge: A rejoinder

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Gautam Kaul
Gautam Kaul
former Director-General
ITBP, India
[email protected]

This rejoinder is with reference to the paper titled ‘Facts and Myths about Adam’s Bridge’ authored by Dr S M Ramasamy, Director, Centre for Remote Sensing, Bharathidasan University, India published in the December 2003 issue of [email protected]

The brief note of Dr S M Ramasamy on the origin and evaluation of the Adam’s Bridge between India and Sri Lanka should be read only on the facts revealed ([email protected], December 2003, Vol. 7 no. 12). The author has vainly attempted to link it with Ramayana without adequate provocation. No historian has ever attempted to find links in this aspect. Only mendicants and Aryan believers, for whom Sri Rama is sacred, have reason to connect Adam’s Bridge with the Ramayana.

Let us talk Sri Lanka geologically. The island was once in pre-historic period linked to the sub-continent. The presence of a local species of elephant has linkage to the elephants of the sub-continent and not the sub-species of the African family. The island is adrift, moving in a north-easterly direction and in some distant millenium may be located in the middle of the Bay of Bengal.

The island was not inhabited for long and certainly no Ram or Sita ever visited it. The various names assigned, to the island: Serendip, Swaran Dweep, Ceylon are all recent. The word ‘Lanka’ has no local vernacular origin, nor in Sanskrit, Tamil or Hindi. Of all things, the word is only found in two aboriginal dialects of the Gond and Mandvi tribes. Our interest should rest on the Gondvi dialect as ‘Lanka’ means a piece of land surrounded by water! To any thing respectable, big or honourable we add the Sanskrit word ‘Sri’. The Asokan army when it landed at the island carried the Ramayana legend along and its tribal soldiers went along with the lashkar language – ‘Sri Lanka’ was thus born.

The text of the Ramayana was not written before 283 BC. The ‘ring’ as an ornament was unknown in jewellery on the sub-continent. This ornament features in Valmiki’s epic poem.

The story is a rehash of Dashrath Jataka, a Buddhist text, which first surfaces in Pali language. The moral of this Jataka was that a king cannot hold personal emotions above state interests. The setting of the story is the Iron Age of human civilisation, or for us when the migrating Aryans were consolidating their suzerainty in North India. This is past Harappan age as the horse was not known in North India, though new finds suggest the animal remains have been discovered in South India recently and may have come from Arabia, though this is only a conjecture.

The Ramanad District has remained a dry-parched part of Tamil Nadu because for centuries it falls on the rain shadow of both Eastern and Western Ghats. This is not a 4,000 years old story. The general vegetation is semi-desert with palm at the coast. Ramayana talks of Saal or Teakwood in forest conditions. This in reality is impossible in historical time. The mere carbon dating of old beaches have no relevance to the Ramayana as the epic is embedded to North India and definitely North of present day Hyderabad.

There is no historical evidence to suggest the Aryan culture going to South India in Ancient India because Aryans built on riversides and South Indian rivers were all rain-fed and had no dedicated water supply. Thus we have ancient ports in South, and no inland city civilisation until the Sargam era when control of water was evolved.

As a geological end to the sub-continent, the Adam’s Bridge is explainable; let its geography be not entangled unnecessarily with myths.

Sri Lankans in fact do not like this at all!