Friday, 16 November 2007

Obscurantism wins again

India's (kind of) secular government wants to dig a canal between its southern tip and Sri Lanka. This would save about 24 hours shipping time (and the associated costs) and reduce the risks from pirates who infest the seas there.

The canal would need to be dug through some sandy shoals. Not much of a technical problem, but a big religious one. The Ramayana, a Hindu mumbo jumbo text, says the shoals are the remains of a bridge that was built by a working group of monkeys at the behest of a Hindu god, Ram. (Doesn't the extra pair of arms really suit him?) He duly crossed over and wrested his wife Sita from a Sri Lankan demon.

Seems reasonable to me, just like Mohammed riding up to heaven on his horse and negotiating with God, or the virgin birth, or rising from the dead. Quare things happen.

And just as those in the West cave into Muslims, the Indian government has caved in to violent threats from Hindu fundamentalists. The project has now been dropped.

3 comments:

tvoh said...

My good man,

I'm not going to look this up, but is not Sri Lanka an island? If SL and India are separated by water, a bridge is a more likely solution. If India wants to construct a canal across water, they have even bigger problems than strange gods.

tvoh said...

Or maybe a tunnel?

curious said...

How exactly do you build a canal through water?