ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Mythologising Politics

Mythologising Politics The political frenzy that ensued from a recent affidavit filed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in the Supreme Court threatened briefly to take the country down a road recently travelled, with deeply traumatic results. All the ingredients that made the Ayodhya controversy such a lethal cocktail were present: the aggressive protestations that faith necessarily trumped reason, the identification of one particular tradition – of the many that make up the living cultural tapestry of the country – as the unique marker of the Indian national identity, and a craven political order that buckles under at the first signal of turbulence and fails to stand by the conscientious actions of its officials.

There are a number of sound reasons why the Sethusamudram project has stirred unease and anxiety in some quarters. Cutting a navigation channel by dredging up the shallow ocean floor in the Palk Straits may hasten communications between India’s eastern and western seaboards. But fishing communities will probably suffer an irreparable loss of livelihoods and the ecologically diverse and sensitive Gulf of Mannar may be irreversibly damaged. It is also less than apparent that the economic gains will be large enough to justify the project.

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