The legacy of a winged monkey army
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2007:
CHENNAI–The Central Bureau of Investigation raid on the Blue
Cross of India came about two weeks after chief executive Chinny
Krishna prominently criticized a government plan to breach Ram Sethu,
or Adam’s Bridge, an underwater rock formation linking India to Sri
Krishna wondered after the September 28, 2007 raid whether
the intense political controversy over breaching Ram Sethu might have
been involved, but ANIMAL PEOPLE found no hint that it was.
Krishna pointed out, as many others have, that Ram Sethu
helped to break the force of the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
Promoted by the Congress Party, which presently heads the
Indian federal government, the breach would cut about 30 hours and
considerable fuel use from the itineraries of coastal cargo vessels.
But it would also considerably alter the aquatic ecology of the
strait between India and Sri Lanka, and would be considered an act
of sacrilege by many Hindus. Controversy over the proposal
reportedly could be a factor in forcing the Congress government to
call early elections.
Tradition holds that Ram Sethhu was built by the Lord Rama
and his army of winged monkeys in Vedic times, en route to rescue
Lord Rama’s wife from a Sri Lankan kidnapper, as related in the epic
While Ram Sethu may have begun as a chain of natural
limestone shoals, as the Congress government contends, it has been
above sea level at various times in recorded history, was
historically the main avenue for migration of land animals from India
to Sri Lanka, and there is archaeological evidence that it was
reinforced at some point by a walled, paved causeway.
Breaching Ram Sethu, discussed for decades, has been
opposed by former federal environment minister and minister for
animal welfare Maneka Gandhi throughout her political career. Mrs.
Gandhi, who founded People for Animals in 1984, has long been
closely allied with Chinny Krishna and the Blue Cross.
Originally elected to the Indian Parliament as a member of
the Congress Party, Mrs. Gandhi later served as an independent
member, and is now a member of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya
The BJP fiercely opposes breaching Ram Sethu, and has
regained political momentum from the issue after losing badly in the
most recent Indian national election.
Chinny Krishna’s comments about Ram Sethu may carry
particular influence because of his prominence as one of the
engineers of the Indian space program, which traces symbolic origin
to Rama’s winged monkey army, and because his wife Nanditha Krishna
is a prominent Hindu scholar and art historian.