Rama Setu: myth is history, tradition is evidence

Rama Setu: myth is history, tradition is evidence

Objective

This monograph presents a legal argument that Laws of evidence have to be in sync with the history of thought and spiritual darshanas, thus accepting tradition as ‘evidence’ and recognizing that myth is history. Myth is often a metaphor of history.

Rama Setu as history

“History is Philosophy teaching by examples”, noted Thucydides (c. 460-c. 400 B.C.), Athenian historian. Quoted by Dionysius of Halicarnassus in: Ars Rhetorica, ch. 11, sct. 2.

Why are Rama and Rama Setu abiding episodes of history? An answer is provided by this statement of Nietzche: “Only strong personalities can endure history, the weak ones are extinguished by it.” — Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), German philosopher. Thoughts out of Season, pt. 2, sct. 5 (1874).

F. W. J. Schelling notes (in the eighth chapter of Introduction to Philosophy and Mythology): “Mythological representations have been neither invented nor freely accepted. The products of a process independent of thought and will, they were, for the consciousness which underwent them, of an irrefutable and incontestable reality. Peoples and individuals are only the instruments of this process, which goes beyond their horizon and which they serve without understanding.”

“What has history to do with me?  Mine is the first and only world! I want to report how I find the world. What others have told me about the
world is a very small and incidental part of my experience. I have to judge the world, to measure things.” — Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), Austrian philosopher. Notebooks 1914-1916, entry for 2 Sept. 1915 (ed. by Anscombe 1961; later refomulated in Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, sct. 5:63, 1921, tr. 1922). Wittgenstein paraphrased: “I am my world. (The microcosm).” “It would strike me as ridiculous to want to doubt the existence of Napoleon; but if someone doubted the existence of the earth 150 years ago, perhaps I should be more willing to listen, for now he is doubting our whole system of evidence.”
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), Austrian philosopher. On Certainty, sct. 185 (ed. by Anscombe and von Wright, 1969). [Many perceptions of many intellectuals involved in the history of thought may be noted from the citations in Annex A –What is history?]

Where myth and history intersect, life-experience is the only reality. When people of Ramanathapuram do not use a plough to cultivate the land, they cherish the memory of Sita Devi who had made a shivalinga using this land and hence do not use the piercing plough, but only spades and shovels. When a muslim, christian or hindu fisherman harvests for algae from the marine bioreserve and when they pull out a piece of rock from the Rama Setu, they perform prayasc’ittam at Ramapadam on Gandhamaadana parvatam, asking for kshamaa for taking out a piece of the sacred bund (setubandhana). Ancestors of these people have walked across the Rama Setu to reach Srilanka where the tradition of venerating Ramayana episodes continues even today.

So it is, that the Madras High Court bench in their order of 19 June 2007 asked the Archaeological Survey of India to indicate archaeological studies done, deeming this an ancient monument of national importance under the 1958 Act.

This order is based on the following reading:

The Ancient monuments and archaeological sites and remains Act, 1958 :

2.Definitions. In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,- (a) “ancient monument” means any structure erection or monument, or any tumulus or place of interment, or any cave, rock-sculpture, inscription or monolith, which is of historical, archaeological or artistic interest and which has been in existence for not less than one hundred years, and includes- (i) the remains of an ancient monument, (ii) the site of an ancient monument, (iii)such portion of land adjoining the site of an ancient monument as may be required for fencing or covering in or otherwise preserving such monument, and (iv)the means of access to, and convenient inspection of, an ancient monument; …

58 (b) “antiquity” includes- (i)any coin, sculpture, manuscript, epigraph, or other work of art or craftsmanship, (ii)any article, object or thing detached, from a building or cave, (iii)any article, object or thing illustrative of science, art, crafts, literature, religion, customs, morals or politics in bygone ages, (iv) any article, object or thing of historical interest, and (v) any article, object or thing declared by the Central Government, by notification in the Official Gazette, to be an antiquity for the purposes of this Act, which has been in existence for not less than one hundred years ; (c) “archaelogical officer” means an officer of the Department of Archaeology of the Government of India not lower in rank than Assistant Superintendent of Archaeology ; (d) “archaeological site and remains” means any area which contains or is reasonably believed to contain ruins or relics of historical or archaeological importance which have been in existence for not less than one hundred years, and includes- (i)such portion of land adjoining the area as may be required for fencing or covering in or otherwise preserving it, and (ii)the means of access to, and convenient inspection of, the area;… http://www.commonlii.org/in/legis/num_act/amaasara1958472/

The evidence produced is emphatic that Rama Setu is reasonably believed to contain ruins of historical and archaeological importance, in existence for more than 100 years.

Where myth and history intersect, the episodes of cultivation method or seeking kshamaa are living realities, even today. Sita Devi is exemplified by the metaphor of the plough as she, as an infant, was found on a ploughed field.

Collective memory as tradition as irrefutable evidence

“Universal history is the history of a few metaphors”, said Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), Argentinian author. Pascal’s Sphere (1951; repr. in Other Inquisitions, 1960; tr. 1964). Setu or Rama Setu is one such metaphor, based on the reality of the land-link between India and Srilanka which had existed for thousands of years, etched in the collective memory of the people of the region near Rameshwaram.

Our direct spiritual experiences shape our views about ‘the world as it is’. This reality is thus subjective and relates to an individual’s or a group of individuals’ life experience, transmitted as collective memory of a society. This is the reason why Ramayana episodes have become integral to the identity of crores of people as followers of sanatana dharma.

A Dutch philosopher, Eric Schliesser notes that myth is history. Sankhya darshana philosophical tradition views tradition as evidence. The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote: “Don’t kill my demons, you might kill my angels too.” Newton accidentally forced a turning-point in history’, argues Dr Eric Schliesser. ‘Before Newton, philosophy and science were studied as a single discipline. After Newton, the two were split into separate disciplines.’

http://research.leidenuniv.nl/index.php3?c=341

Yogasutra 48 says: rtambhara tatra prajna (rtambhara means, ‘Supreme Truth Bearing’; prajna means ‘inner wisdom’self-arises, dawns and prevails.)

Christopher Chapple and Yogi Ananda in “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali” (Sri SATGURU Publications, Delhi, 1990) translate this as: “This wisdom sustains the movement of life. Ignorance is to fall from this [intrinsic] order.”

Mahabharata, Vana-parva 313.117: “Dry arguments are inconclusive. Philosophers are known for their differences of opinion. Study of the branches of the Vedas will not bring one to the correct understanding of dharma. The truth is hidden in the heart of a self-realized person. Therefore one should follow the path of such great souls.”

This tradition, this wisdom passed down from generation to generation, from mother to child, from guru to student becomes the lived experience. So is the experience of Rama and Rama Setu in the hearts of millions of people the world over who look upon Rama as vigrahavaan dharmah, the embodiment of dharma, who built the Setu to protect dharma and vanquish a-dharma. This collective, received memory (termed also as the sacred tradition or sacred history) is as emphatic as any evidence and rules of evidence.

What is perceptible by senses is vyakta. What is realized by consciousness is avyakta. If vyakta is its reflection in consciousness, as ‘I am’. Avyakta is the universal and pure ‘I’ or aatman.

In Kapila’s sankhya, two means of proof are identified: perception and inference. The empirical (evidential) universe is thus seen as the duality: vyakta (evolved) and avyakta (not evolved). The evolved phenomena are perceived; the unevolved are inferred.

Purusha is the observer, the knower, the witness. Purusha observes Prakriti — the nature or multifaceted stuff the universe is made of –, in manifest and unmanifest (vyakta and avyakta – prakaTa or aprakaTa – publicized or unexpressed) forms. One such Prakriti is Rama Setu which links India and Srilanka which is considered sacred tirthasthana. Crores of hindus who accept the reality of Rama are the witness to received prajna from mother to child, from guru to student.

The root for vyakti, vyakta and avyakta is: an~j (= to annoint, decorate, make clear, make appear); the preposition vi- is the intensifier. Laws of evidence have to accept this traditional body of knowledge in Hindu thought, exemplified by the sankya darshana of Kapila. The prajna that has given the identity to crores of people as purusha (witnesses) living their lives reaching out to the ideal, vigrahavaan, Rama and emulate his life lived for protecting dharma is the sanatana dharma of this land, this punyabhumi. This is inalienable evidence, pramana which is integral to the very life-experiences of the people who live by this prajna. Courts of law as the arbiters of dharma have to accept this prajna as evidence.

There are case laws which support this. One is the London Nataraja case decided by the Privy Council (details in Annex B – London Nataraja case) and the other is the Navajo community’s sacred mountain declared by a US superior court. (details in Annex C –Navajo sacred mountain case)

Not all caves, all waters, all oceans are tirthasthanas. Some get experienced as tirthasthanas, like the Amarnath cave, or the Ganga river or Setutirtha near Rameshwaram, where the s’ivalinga gets venerated because they were experienced as memories of the sthapana by Rama, Sita and Hanuman. When people reasonably belief in the sacredness of such a tirtha, it is a tirthasthana, based on tradition. Such tradition needs no other evidence but the avyakta pramana (unmanifest perception). The evidence and laws of evidence have to become subservient to this perception which is at a level different from the vyakta (manifest) phenomena which are sometimes regarded as ‘evidence’ in law. The philosophical framework of sankhya of Kapila thus provides for tradition as evidence, for myth as inhering the very essence of history.

Vyakti-vyakta-avyakta is the absolute.

avyakta (“unmanifest” or ‘noumenal’): beyond the perception of the senses ; ayamatma brahma: “This soul is Brahman”-one of the four great pronouncements of the Vedas. avyakta (“unmanifest”) is a term that belongs to the ancient vocabulary of the Yoga and Samkhya traditions. It generally refers to the matrix of Nature (prakriti), the source of the manifest forms, corresponding to the Greek notion of arche.

vyakta, the manifest (or phenomenal) nature, prakriti – the current and the undercurrent. Vyakta is the current on the surface which is visible, which is seen, creating different waves and movements.

avyaktaadeeni bhutaani

vyakta madhyaani bhaarata

avyakta nidhanaani eva

tatra kaa paridevanaa

In the beginning all are unmanifest, they are manifest in the middle, and in the end, o descendant of Bharata, they are all gone, therefore why complain when it is all like that? 2.1.28 Bhagavadgita

The world, manifest or un-manifest, according to Samkhya, is not derived from the purusa ie the Nature, does not have its matrix, in+ the Mind. The world is comprehended in the term of purusa, but does not originate from it neither is it grounded in it. This purusa is not personal though it is discreet and individual (Karika, 38).4 It is the propinquity of this purusa, to prakriti which gives rise to the world of appearances. In the absence of this nearness, the world is there but it simply remains avyakta, un-manifest. ‘The world is that which is perceived or witnessed, lokyanti iti lokah, and thus the world of appearances serves the purpose of the individual purusa, purusartha.(Karika, 63).5

This discrete and individual purusa is in itself translucent and transparent; it is a witness; it is a fact of consciousness and that is its primary mode of function, witnessing or seeing the world (Karika, 19).6 It is inherent in this primary function of the purusa that by so functioning it appears different from what it is; it appears as if it were a panorama of appearances, and appearances likewise appear as if they were possessed of consciousness. That is how a double obfusciation afflicts the basic human situation, namely concerning its awareness of the world and of himself (Karika, 20).7

4 tanmatra… vises as tebhyo mrta … panca pancabhyah

5 purusartham prati vimocayaty ekarupena

6 kaivalyam madhyasthyam drastrtvakar trtra bhavas ca

7 tasmat tatsamyogad acetanam ceta navad iva lingam
gunakartrtvai ca karteva bhavatity udasinah

http://www.sikhspectrum.com/092002/nature.htm

Myth and history represent alternative ways of looking at the past. Defining history is hardly easier than defining myth, but a historical approach necessarily involves both establishing a chronological framework for events and comparing and contrasting rival traditions in order to produce a coherent account. http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-23591/myth

It is true there are connections, even verbal parallels between India and Greece coming from an ancient Indo-European connection. But in India the myths were subsumed into a rich religious and philosophical tradition, while the Greek parallels floated loose in a semi-secular society which had no systemic view of religion or any serious working theology. http://community.middlebury.edu/~harris/SubIndex/greekmyth.html William Harris, Humanities and the Liberal Arts

J R Tolkien said, “I have tried to modernize the myths and make them credible.” Both as a mythmaker and as a philogist Tolkien knew the importance of mythology to language and culture. Myths develop a link with the past, A continuity that hleps people weather the present and look forward to the future. In an era of unprecidented change, the links to the past are stretched to the breaking point, and people without roots are likely to become, analogously,a people without brances or flowers. The roots of the past -mythology-are no longer acceptable in their traditional form and have to be reread in a contemporary, relevant mode.”

Writer, philologist, and religious thinker J.R.R. Tolkien expressed a similar opinion: “I believe that legends and myths are largely made of ‘truth’, and indeed present aspects of truth that can only be received in this mode.” Letters, no. 147.

The word mythology refers to a body of myths/stories that a particular culture believes to be true and that use the supernatural to interpret natural events and to explain the nature of the universe and humanity. From the Greek μύθολογία mythología, from μυθολογείν mythologein to relate myths, from μύθος mythos, meaning a narrative, and λόγος logos, meaning speech or argument.

Myth. OED distinguishes the meanings

1a. “A traditional story, typically involving supernatural beings or forces or creatures , which embodies and provides an explanation, aetiology, or justification for something such as the early history of a society, a religious belief or ritual, or a natural phenomenon”, citing the Westminster Review of 1830 as the first English attestation

1b. “As a mass noun: such stories collectively or as a genre.” (1840)

2a. “A widespread but untrue or erroneous story or belief” (1849)

2b. “A person or thing held in awe or generally referred to with near reverential admiration on the basis of popularly repeated stories (whether real or fictitious).” (1853)

2c. “A popular conception of a person or thing which exaggerates or idealizes the truth.” (1928)

Categories of traditional stories (myths) are:

  • myths – sacred stories concerning the distant past, particularly the creation of the world; generally focussed on the gods
  • legends – stories about the (usually more recent) past, which generally include, or are based on, some historical events; generally focussed on human heroes
  • clip_image002folktales/fairytales (or Märchen, the German word for such tales) – stories which lack any definite historical setting; often include animal characters

Relief of the “Descent of the Ganga” in Mahabalipuram (also Mamallapuram), India; detail of the central part, the complete relief is 9 m high and 27 m wide.

Similar is the reality of Nala, son of Vis’vakarma constructing the setu bund on a geological feature which is a ridge formed by collapsed canyons.

Annex A: What is history?

Annex B: London Nataraja Case

Annex C: Navajo sacred mountain case
Annex A

What is history? 

Here are views from all over the world and across the ages: 

History is, strictly speaking, the study of questions; the study of answers belongs to anthropology and sociology.
W. H. Auden (1907-73), Anglo-American poet. The Dyer’s Hand, pt. 3, “Hic et Ille,” sct. B
Histories make men wise; poets witty; the mathematics subtle; natural philosophy deep; moral grave; logic and rhetoric able to contend.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626), English philosopher, essayist, statesman. Essays, “Of Studies” (1597-1625).
The best history is but like the art of Rembrandt; it casts a vivid light on certain selected causes, on those which were best and greatest; it
leaves all the rest in shadow and unseen.
Walter Bagehot (1826-77), English economist, critic. Physics and Politics, ch. 2, sct. 2 (1872).
History. An account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools.
Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914), U.S. author. The Devil’s Dictionary (1881-1906).
That great dust-heap called “history.”
Augustine Birrell (1850-1933), British essayist, Liberal politician. Obiter Dicta, “Carlyle” (1884).
Acts themselves alone are history. . . . Tell me the acts, O historian, and leave me to reason upon them as I please; away with your reasoning and your rubbish!  All that is not action is not worth reading.
William Blake (1757-1827), English poet, painter, engraver. A Descriptive Catalogue, no. 5 (1809; repr. in Complete Writings, ed. by Geoffrey Keynes, 1957).
English history is all about men liking their fathers, and American history is all about men hating their fathers and trying to burn down everything they ever did.
Malcolm Bradbury (b. 1932), British author. Stepping Westward, bk. 2, ch. 5 (1965).
All true histories contain instruction; though, in some, the treasure may be hard to find, and when found, so trivial in quantity that the dry, shrivelled kernel scarcely compensates for the trouble of cracking the nut.
Ann Brontë (1820-49), English novelist, poet. Agnes Grey, ch. 1 (1847).
The history of the world is the record of the weakness, frailty and death of public opinion.
Samuel Butler (1835-1902), English author. Notebooks, “Pictures and Books” (1912).
If man is reduced to being nothing but a character in history, he has no other choice but to subside into the sound and fury of a completely
irrational history or to endow history with the form of human reason.
Albert Camus (1913-60), French-Algerian philosopher, author. The Rebel, pt. 3, “State Terrorism and Rational Terror” (1951; tr. 1953).

Camus was criticizing Hegelian theory.
History, as an entirety, could only exist in the eyes of an observer outside it and outside the world. History, only exists, in the final analysis, for God.
Albert Camus (1913-60), French-Algerian philosopher, author. The Rebel, pt. 5, “Historic Murder” (1951; tr. 1953).
Happy the people whose annals are vacant.
Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), Scottish essayist, historian. History of the French Revolution, pt. 1, bk. 2, ch. 1 (1837), written in reply to an aphorism of Montesquieu, “Happy the people whose annals are tiresome.”
History, a distillation of Rumour.
Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), Scottish essayist, historian. History of the French Revolution, pt. 1, bk. 7, ch. 5 (1837).
Only the history of free peoples is worth our attention; the history of men under a despotism is merely a collection of anecdotes.
Sébastien-roch Nicolas de Chamfort (1741-94), French writer, wit. Maxims and Considerations, vol. 2, no. 487 (1796; tr. 1926).
The disadvantage of men not knowing the past is that they do not know the present. History is a hill or high point of vantage, from which alone men see the town in which they live or the age in which they are living.
G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936), British author. All I Survey, “On St. George Revivified” (1933).
History is nothing but a procession of false Absolutes, a series of temples raised to pretexts, a degradation of the mind before the Improbable.
E. M. Cioran (b. 1911), Rumanian-born French philosopher. A Short History of Decay, ch. 1, “Genealogy of Fanaticism” (1949).
History is a needle
for putting men asleep
anointed with the poison
Of all they want to keep.
Leonard Cohen (b. 1934), Canadian singer, poet, novelist. Flowers For Hitler, “On Hearing A Name Long Unspoken,” st. 3 (1964).
History is the present. That’s why every generation writes it anew. But what most people think of as history is its end product, myth.
E. L. Doctorow (b. 1931), U.S. novelist. Writers at Work (Eighth Series, ed. by George Plimpton, 1988).
We as women know that there are no disembodied processes; that all history originates in human flesh; that all oppression is inflicted by the body of one against the body of another; that all social change is built on the bone and muscle, and out of the flesh and blood, of human creators. Andrea Dworkin (b. 1946), U.S. feminist critic. “Our Blood: The Slavery of Women in Amerika,” speech, 23 Aug. 1975, to the National Organization for Women, Washington, D.C. (published in Our Blood, ch. 8, 1976).
A people without history is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern
Of timeless moments. T. S. Eliot (1888-1965), Anglo-American poet, critic. Little Gidding, pt. 5, in Four Quartets.
“History is more or less bunk. It’s tradition. We don’t want tradition. We want to live in the present and the only history that is worth a tinker’s
damn is the history we make today.” Henry Ford (1863-1947), U.S. industrialist. Interview in Chicago Tribune (25 May 1916). Ford later sued the paper for libel after an editorial had described him as an “anarchist” and “ignorant idealist.” In the course of the action, the motor magnate was cross-examined for eight days during which he was forced to defend his views of history. The Tribune was found guilty and fined 6 cents.
There is a sort of myth of History that philosophers have. . . . History for philosophers is some sort of great, vast continuity in which the freedom of individuals and economic or social determinations come and get entangled. When someone lays a finger on one of those great themes-continuity, the effective exercise of human liberty, how individual liberty is articulated with social determinations-when someone touches one of these three myths, these good people start crying out that History is being raped or murdered.
Michel Foucault (1926-84), French philosopher. Interview in La Quinzaine Littéraire (15 March 1968; repr. in Didier Eribon, Michel Foucault, 1989; tr. 1991).
History . . . is, indeed, little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind.
Edward Gibbon (1737-94), English historian. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ch. 3 (1776).
There are only two great currents in the history of mankind: the baseness which makes conservatives and the envy which makes revolutionaries.
Goncourt Edmond de (1822-96) and Jules de (1830-70), French writers. The Goncourt Journals (1888-96; repr. in Pages from the Goncourt Journal, ed. by Robert Baldick, 1962), entry for 12 July 1867.
But what experience and history teach is this-that peoples and governments have never learned anything from history, or acted on principles
deduced from it.
Georg Hegel (1770-1831), German philosopher. The Philosophy of History, Introduction (1807).
World history is a court of judgment.
Georg Hegel (1770-1831), German philosopher. The Philosophy of Right, pt. 3, sct. 3, “World History” (1821). See below, a similar statement on history by Schiller.

Regarding History as the slaughter-bench at which the happiness of peoples, the wisdom of States, and the virtue of individuals have been victimized-the question involuntarily arises-to what principle, to what final aim these enormous sacrifices have been offered.
Georg Hegel (1770-1831), German philosopher. The Philosophy of History, sct. 3, “Introduction” (1837).
History is a child building a sand-castle by the sea, and that child is the whole majesty of man’s power in the world.
Heraclitus (c. 535-c.475 B.C.), Greek philosopher. Herakleitos & Diogenes, pt. 1, Fragment 24 (tr. by Guy Davenport, 1976).
To study history means submitting to chaos and nevertheless retaining faith in order and meaning. It is a very serious task, young man, and possibly a tragic one.
Hermann Hesse (1877-1962), German novelist, poet. Father Jacobus, in The Glass Bead Game, ch. 4 (1943; tr. 1960).
History seems to us an arena of instincts and fashions, of appetite, avarice, and craving for power, of blood lust, violence, destruction, and wars, of ambitious ministers, venal generals, bombarded cities, and we too easily forget that this is only one of its many aspects. Above all we forget that we ourselves are a part of history, that we are the product of growth and are condemned to perish if we lose the capacity for further growth and change. We are ourselves history and share the responsibility for world history and our position in it. But we gravely lack
awareness of this responsibility.
Hermann Hesse (1877-1962), German novelist, poet. The Glass Bead Game, ch. 11 (1943; tr. 1960).
Events in the past may be roughly divided into those which probably never happened and those which do not matter. This is what makes the
trade of historian so attractive.
W. R. Inge (1860-1954), Dean of St. Paul’s, London. Assessments and Anticipations, “Prognostications” (1929).

Who has fully realized that history is not contained in thick books but lives in our very blood?
Carl Jung (1875-1961), Swiss psychiatrist. Woman in Europe (1927; repr. in Collected Works, vol. 10, para. 26, ed. by William McGuire, 1964).
History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.
Karl Marx (1818-83), German political theorist, social philosopher. Paraphrase of the opening sentences of Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852; repr. in Karl Marx: Selected Works, vol. 2, 1942). The actual words were: “Hegel remarks somewhere that all great, world-historical facts and personages occur, as it were, twice. He has forgotten to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.”
Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly found, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living.
Karl Marx (1818-83), German political theorist, social philosopher. The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, sct. 1 (1852; repr. in Selected Works, vol. 2, 1942).
We know only a single science, the science of history. One can look at history from two sides and divide it into the history of nature and the history of men. However, the two sides are not to be divided off; as long as men exist the history of nature and the history of men are mutually conditioned.
Karl Marx (1818-83) and Friedrich Engels (1820-95), German social philosophers, revolutionaries. The German Ideology, sct. 1, footnote (1845-46; repr. in Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Collected Works, vol. 5, 1976). This note was crossed out in the finished version.
History does nothing; it does not possess immense riches, it does not fight battles. It is men, real, living, who do all this. . . . It is not “history” which uses men as a means of achieving-as if it were an individual person-its own ends. History is nothing but the activity of men in pursuit of their ends.
Karl Marx (1818-83) and Friedrich Engels (1820-95), German social philosophers, revolutionaries. The Holy Family (1844-45).
All history is the record of man’s signal failure to thwart his destiny-the record, in other words, of the few men of destiny who, through the recognition of their symbolic rôle, made history.
Henry Miller (1891-1980), U.S. author. The Wisdom of the Heart, “Creative Death” (1947).
History is the myth, the true myth, of man’s fall made manifest in time.
Henry Miller (1891-1980), U.S. author. Plexus, ch. 12 (1949)
We have need of history in its entirety, not to fall back into it, but to see if we can escape from it.
José Ortega Y Gasset (1883-1955), Spanish essayist, philosopher. The Revolt of the Masses, ch. 10 (1930).
I believe that history has shape, order, and meaning; that exceptional men, as much as economic forces, produce change; and that passé abstractions like beauty, nobility, and greatness have a shifting but continuing validity.
Camille Paglia (b. 1947), U.S. author, critic, educator. Sex, Art, and American Culture, “Sexual Personae: The Cancelled Preface” (1992).
What is history?  Its beginning is that of the centuries of systematic work devoted to the solution of the enigma of death, so that death itself may eventually be overcome. That is why people write symphonies, and why they discover mathematical infinity and electromagnetic waves.
Boris Pasternak (1890-1960), Russian poet, novelist, translator. Nikolay Nikolayevich, in Doctor Zhivago, ch. 1, sct. 5 (1957).
Anyone, however, who has had dealings with dates knows that they are worse than elusive, they are perverse. Events do not happen at the right time, nor in their proper sequence. That sense of harmony with place and season which is so stong in the historian-if he be a readable historian-is lamentably lacking in history, which takes no pains to verify his most convincing statements.
Agnes Repplier (1858-1950), U.S. author, social critic. To Think of Tea!, ch. 1 (1932).
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
George Santayana (1863-1952), U.S. philosopher, poet. Life of Reason, “Reason in Common Sense,” ch. 12 (1905-6). William L. Shirer used this quote as an epigraph in his Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (1959).

The history of the world is the world’s court of justice.
Friedrich Von Schiller (1759-1805), German dramatist, poet, historian. Inaugural lecture, 26 May 1789, as Professor of History at the University of Jena, Weimar, Germany. See Hegel on HISTORY above, rendering a similar idea.
The subject of history is the gradual realization of all that is practically necessary.
Friedrich Schlegel (1772-1829), German philosopher, critic, writer. Dialogue on Poetry and Literary Aphorisms, “Selected Aphorisms from The Athenaeum,” aph. 90 (1968; first published 1798).
Science and Technology revolutionize our lives, but memory, tradition and myth frame our response. Expelled from individual consciousness by the rush of change, history finds its revenge by stamping the collective unconscious with habits, values, expectations, dreams. The dialectic between past and future will continue to form our lives.
Arthur M., Jr. Schlesinger (b. 1917), U.S. historian. “The Challenge of Change,” in New York Times Magazine (27 July 1986).
History is not what you thought. It is what you can remember. All other history defeats itself.
W. C. Sellar (1898-1951) and R. J. Yeatman (1897-1968), British authors. 1066 and All That, Preface (1930).
The principle office of history I take to be this: to prevent virtuous actions from being forgotten, and that evil words and deeds should fear an infamous reputation with posterity.
Tacitus (c. 55-c. 120 A.D.), Roman historian. The Histories, bk. 3, sct. 65.
Social history might be defined negatively as the history of a people with the politics left out.
G. M. Trevelyan (1876-1962), British historian. English Social History, Introduction (1942).
There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.
Harry S Truman (1884-1972), U.S. Democratic politician, president. Quoted in: William Hillman, Mr. President, pt. 2, ch. 1 (1952).
The very ink in which history is written is merely fluid prejudice.
Mark Twain (1835-1910), U.S. author. Following the Equator, ch. 69, “Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar” (1897).
History should be written as philosophy.
Voltaire (1694-1778), French philosopher, author. Letter, 31 Oct. 1738.
A country losing touch with its own history is like an old man losing his glasses, a distressing sight, at once vulerable, unsure, and easily disoriented.
George Walden (b. 1939), British Conservative politician. Times (London, 20 Dec. 1986).
As soon as histories are properly told there is no more need of romances.
Walt Whitman (1819-92), U.S. poet. Leaves of Grass, Preface (1855).
The one duty we owe to history is to rewrite it.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. Gilbert, in The Critic as Artist, pt. 1 (published in Intentions, 1891).
Americans, more than most people, believe that history is the result of individual decisions to implement conscious intentions. For Americans, more than most people, history has been that. . . . This sense of openness, of possibility and autonomy, has been a national asset as precious as the topsoil of the Middle West. But like topsoil, it is subject to erosion; it requires tending. And it is not bad for Americans to come to terms with the fact that for them too, history is a story of inertia and the unforeseen.
George F. Will (b. 1941), U.S. political columnist. Statecraft as Soulcraft: What Government Does, ch. 7 (1984).
http://www.deanza.fhda.edu/faculty/williams/Just_what_is_history.html

Annex B 
London Nataraja Case

May 1991

British Courts Free Siva Icon


Mathur, Rakesh

Stolen Dancing Siva Judged Legal Person, Returned To India
Fifteen years ago a gang of artifact smugglers broke into a Siva temple in Pathur, Tamil Nadu, India, hustling off a 3-foot high, 1000-year-old Siva Nataraja. In 1982 it surfaced in London, when business executive Robert Borden bought it for US 500,000. Scotland Yard impounded the stolen artifact when Borden brought it to the British Museum for restoration. The legal battle between Borden and Indian authorities has lasted nine years. On Mahasivaratri – February 12th – 1991, the appeal court in London ruled that the Siva should be returned to the Tamil Nadu hinterland. The judgment upheld a ruling given in 1988-also on Mahasivaratri-that the Siva has a legal personae existence in Britain, as they do in India. Thus, the diety could sue.
The bronze image depicts the famed cosmic dancer-but in court Siva was represented as the Siva-lingam, also found at the temple. The Siva Nataraja is thought to have been buried at the Pathur temple for safety at the time of the Muslim invasion of South India in the sixteenth century.
In a 163-page document the court dismissed the appeal of Bumper Development Corporation, of which Robert Borden is the chairman. The company failed to prove its contention that its Nataraja was not the stolen one. Then they contested that the deity/temple had no right to sue, offering the slippery argument that the Queen was the highest power and hers was a Christian nation.
Representing Siva-and India-were Bhasker Ghorpade and Adrian Hamilton, guided by solicitor Lawrence Graham. Graham conjectured that the ruling could be applied to other religious artifacts that can be traced back to an active place of worship. But Britain’s most famous foreign religious artifacts, the Elgin Marbles, removed from the Athens parthenon in the 1900’s are unlikely to be affected, since the ancient Greek religion is no longer practiced.
A parallel case occurred in the US. In August 1989, US Federal Judge James E. Noland, heard a case concerning fourth century mosaics from Cyprus. The four religious works, were stolen from a small village church after Cyprus was invaded by Turkey in 1974. They were purchased in Switzerland in 1988 for US$1.2 million by American art dealer Peg Goldberg. Judge Nolan made his decision in Indianapolis, US: the mosaics were the property of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Cyprus and not hers to sell. Noland accepted the claim of the Orthodox Church and the Greek Cypriot government that Goldberg should have suspected the mosaics were stolen and illegally offered for sale. Archbishop Chrysostomos of the Cyprus Church said: “This just decision by the American court will help put an end to the illegal marketing of looted archeological items worldwide.” Experts at that time agreed that it set an important precedent for regulating trade in antiquities.
The precedent in the Nataraja case is from the Mallick v. Mallick case of 1925. A bedrock legal principle of Hindu law (1925) says, “a Hindu idol is according to the long established authority founded upon the religious customs of the Hindus, and the recognition thereof by the courts of law in India and the Privy Council a juristic entity. It has a judicial status with the power of suing and being sued.”
Mr. Justice Kennedy remarked in his judgment, “If the English Courts admit a man or a woman to swear on oath by the supreme being of the Hindus, and they do, how consonantly with any notion of tolerance should they discountenance giving assistance to a foundation which seeks to promote the practice and teachings of that religion. Hinduism is practiced in Britain. What of an idol in a Hindu temple in England; if it should be stolen, would it be an answer to say that it is the symbol of God, and the temple can’t sue in that capacity, this country? There may be spiritual discord between religions, but that should not affect the right to the return of the Nataraja.”
Representing God – Talking With Siva’s Lawyer
Rakesh Mathur spoke with Bhasker Ghorpade, the Hindu barrister on the team representing the Siva deity.
HT: What was this case’s Hindu factor?
BG: We relied on the 1925 case in India-which was an English decision – that said the Hindu deity has a personality of its own. A Hindu god or goddess can sue or be sued in a court of law. Also we applied the principle of once a deity, always a deity; it remains a deity wherever it may be.
HT: Your thoughts on winning.
BG: Now it has become accepted that a Hindu temple can sue for stolen property in England. It is very novel because this is the first time this principle has been accepted.
HT: Are the museums reacting?
BG: So far there has been no reaction. They are reading the judgment very carefully.
HT: What kind of support came from the religious communities?
BG: Full support, wholehearted support both here in London and in Tamil Nadu-all over India. The Hindus felt strongly about it and probably know that both judgments in this case occurred on Mahasivaratri.
HT: Is this a coincidence?
BG: I don’t know. God was working from somewhere.
HT: You have plans for the temple this Nataraja comes from.
BG: Yes. This temple in Tamil Nadu badly needs restoration. I think people in London can quite well look after it and build the temple again or see to the repairs. I shall shortly start fund raising.
HT: Will you he pursuing other cases in your personal capacity?
BG: I shall certainly be doing so because it is a topic I studied very carefully. I feel very strongly about it. We must claim our heritage.
HT: Is your Hinduness the main reason you fought for this?
BG: Not necessarily. I believe in India’s prestige. Of course I am a Hindu and proud of it. In this case we had to do something extraordinary, and that was Hinduism, the principles and religious matters came into play to persuade the judges.

 
http://www.hinduismtoday.com/archives/1991/05/1991-05-04.shtml 
 
The most outstanding contribution of Dr.R.Nagaswamy to Indian Art is his appearance in the London High Court on behalf of India as an Expert Witness in the now famous London Nataraja Case and winning the case, the brief history of which is as follows.
 
A 12th cent Chola bronze Nataraja image found lying burried in Tanjavur
District in 1976 was smuggled out of the country and bought by a Canadian oil Magnate. This image on transit was seized at London by the Scotland yard Police in 1982. The Government of India filed a case in the London High Court for the return of the bronze. The case was taken up in the year 986. Dr. Nagaswamy appeared on behalf of Government of India as an expert itness and gave evidence on matters of History, Art history, Temples,Religion and Rituals and Sanskrit and Tamil texts, inscription and Architecture. His book "Master Pieces of South Indian bronzes", publisdhed by the National Museum, New Delhi served as the most important source book in the Court  which was referred to frequently in the proceedings of the Court and also relied upon in the Judgement. The case was won by the Government of India. This is the first time an art object of one country smuggled out to a foreign country and a case filed and fought in the court of Law of that foreign country.The case was won and art object got back. The following are some of the relevent passages from the judgment of the London High Court.
 
1998. Justice Ian Kennaedy, Trial Judge of the London High Court in his judgement
 
     Dr.Nagaswamy is an acknowledged expert in the field of Chola  bronzes 1-4-7
     Dr. Nagaswamy, who I am satisfied, is an unequalled expert in his subject.1-4-7
 
I have already stated my conclusion that I prefer Dr.Nagaswamy's methodology to that of Dr.Schwindler. 1-4-7(IV)
 
Now considering the matter of style, again I prefer the evidence of Dr.Nagaswamy to that of Dr. Schwindler . As to the methodology I have no doubt whatsoever and as to their conclusion I am satisfied that Nagaswamy is right in his summary taking the broader feel and treatment of the main points I feel they all form a group. I am satisfied that stylistic judgements in relation to Medieval Chola bronzes can not be more precisely determined than when Nagaswamy expressed his conclusions in his evidence.1-8-5"
 
The trial judge has agreed with Nagaswamy's conclusions in 21 instances during the course of his judgement  which enabled Government of india to win the case.
 
Mr. Adrian Hamilton, Queen's Counsel, London in his written submission to the London High Court.
 
"Dr.Nagaswamy has brought to bear unequalled learning and experience in the historical, Cultural, and religious aspects of the Chola Empire and the Hindu religion which flourished and which still flourish in Tamilnad and on the understanding of the Inscriptons in the temples and on statues".
 
The buyer went on an appeal to the Court of Appeal presided over by three senior most Judges. During the course of appeal the Indian High commission again requested the assistance of Dr.Nagaswamy through a telex . The relevant part of the telex seen below shows the  crucial role Nagaswamy played in the case.
 
6.June.90 INDIAN HIGH COMMISSION, LONDON,  London Nataraja case in the Court of appeal, telex- urgent- sent to Sri Varadarajan, Secretary, Government of India, Cultural affairs, New Delhi.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Could you kindly authorise "Dr.Nagaswamy 's visit and stay in London in order 
to assist Counsel in preparation for the Government resistance to Bumper Development Corporation's appeal in the Court of Appeal. 
Dr. Nagaswamy is an extremely important person for our case and 
Mr. Hamilton (Queens Counsel appearing on behalf of India) feels that without his presence and assistance in preparation for the appeal , it would be very difficult for us and counsel to prepare the plaintiff's case fully and properly to the Court of appeal." (Ref.Jurist . 667433  1/D HC 47050 Date 6th jun. 1990)
 
The court of  Appeal upheld the judgement of the Trial court and ordered the Return of the bronze. The matter was taken to the Privy council which also gave the verdict in favour of Government of India.
 
1990 
 
Lord Justice Purchas 
Lord Justice Nourse and
Lord Justice Leggat in their Judgement in the Court of Appeals
       "There was a considerable body of evidence to establish stylistic similarities led from Dr.Nagaswamy an acknowledged Expert Archaeologist and a devout Hindu. Justice Ian Kennedy not only analysed and considered this evidence in great detail but also supplimented it with a meticulous personal examination of the London Nataraja and Pathur Bronzes. In the final result he preferred the opinion of Nagaswamy to that of Schwindler. A finding of this sort is almost unappealable. (P.57)"
 
Thus the highest courts in London went into the case  of Indian art object and thanks to the services of Nagaswamy the Nataraja is back in India. This signal service of Dr.Nagaswamy will remain a land mark in the art history of India.
 
Excerpts from Dr. Nagasamy’s article:

As long as even a single slab belonging to the ancient ruined temple is found in the site, the temple continues to exist in the eye of law and has its right to claim its possession was the historic judgment delivered by the London High Court with the reference to an ancient Hindu temple that was ruined and remained with out worship for long. The Appeal Court in London presided over by three senior judges, to which the case was taken upheld this judgment, but the case was taken to the Privy Council and the apex court also upheld the judgment. Thus three Foreign courts that command greatest respect in the world of judiciary held that the presence of even one slab in the site empowers the ancient temple to be treated as an existing entity in the eye of law, irrespective of whether the temple was in ruins or was not under worship. This decision of the London high Court was delivered hardly fifteen years ago when the then Congress Government headed by late Rajiv Gandhi was Prime Minister of India, who enthusiastically supported and got the case filed in the London high Court in the now famous London Nataraja case. The present writer appeared in the case as an Expert witness in that case on behalf of Government of India.

One of the Pivotal arguments in the case advanced by the Indian Government was once a temple; it remains always a temple. The history of the case is as follows. A group of Bronze Idols including a Nataraja, was found in a land behind a ruined Chola temple at Pattur, in Tanjore District. The idols were found by a laborer who sold the Nataraja to an antique dealer and the image was smuggled out of India and was caught in London by the Scotland Yard Police. The Government of India filed a case in the London High Court claiming the Nataraja as a property of the ruined temple.

Among the various legal points raised in the case, a few are relevant. What constitutes the Hindu temple? Is it the structure, or the space around it or the enshrined image? When the temple has been ruined and worship ceased, whether it could claim ownership? The court agreed that not only the building and the image but also the consecrated space around the religious building constitutes the temple. The temple ritual treatises mention various causes of ruin such as vegetation on the buildings, fire, floods, earthquakes and the like besides destructions by enemy during invasion. Having examined the ritual and historical position, the court came to the decision so long as even one stone slab belonging to the ancient temple is found in the site, the temple continues to exist in the eye of law. Any ruined temple could be brought back to worship at any point of time by purificatory rites. The ASI, which is aware of this judgment, may be expected to appraise the Allahabad High Court while submitting the opinion and further clarifications the opinion of other Archaeologists who study the report from an objective angle may also be assistance in this case. It would also help to dispel the view that the ASI report is vague and contradictory as claimed by the other side. What ever be the case one thing seems to be certain that the vexed question of this case seems to be nearing an end.

http://www.hindureporter.org/hr/ayodhya.html 
Annex C 
 
Navajo sacred mountain case
 
U.S. court backs Indian tribe on sacred mountain
 

By Adam Tanner

REUTERS

10:46 a.m. March 12, 2007

 

SAN FRANCISCO – An Arizona ski resort’s plan to use treated sewage to make snow on a mountain sacred to several Native American tribes violates religious freedom laws, a U.S federal appeals court ruled Monday.

“We hold that the Forest Service’s approval of the proposed expansion of the Snowbowl, including the use of treated sewage effluent to make artificial snow, violates RFRA,” a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA, holds that the federal government may not “substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion.”

The dispute is one of the most prominent in recent years pitting the religious beliefs of American Indians against local economic interests.

According to the Navajo Nation, the San Francisco Peaks are sacred to more than 13 Native American nations.

“They walked all over our dignity,” Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. said in 2005. “You’re committing genocide; you’re demeaning us.” The Arizona Snowbowl ski resort, 150 miles north of Phoenix, wanted to use artificial snow to enable skiing throughout the winter and says the move in the San Francisco Peaks is crucial to its economic survival.

Organized skiing started at Snowbowl in 1938, but has depended on highly variable natural snowfall rather than using artificial snow as at many U.S. resorts. In many years, enthusiasts can ski for more than 100 days a year, although in the especially poor 2001-2 season there were only four days when skiing was possible.

Last year, a U.S. District Court judge backed the plans to allow a $25 million upgrade on the 777-acre facility on federal forest land to include the use of treated sewage water.

The Navajo Nation, which has an estimated 300,000 tribal members in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, joined several other tribes and environmental groups to fight the decision.

The appeals court decision described the religious significance of the Peaks to the Navajos, Hopi, Hualapai, Havasupai tribes, among others, and how sewage is treated to make reclaimed water.

“The record supports the conclusion that the proposed use of treated sewage effluent on the San Francisco Peaks would impose a burden on the religious exercise of all four tribes discussed above – the Navajo, the Hopi, the Hualapai, and the Havasupai,” wrote Judge William Fletcher.

“We are unwilling to hold that authorizing the use of artificial snow at an already functioning commercial ski area in order to expand and improve its facilities, as well as to extend its ski season in dry years, is a governmental interest ‘of the highest order.”

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/nation/20070312-1046-environment-navajos.html 

http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/ca9/newopinions.nsf/64C37FB597BF2F848825729C0058BFE8/$file/0615371.pdf

9th Circuit Court Appeals Rules for Navajo Nation, Hopi Tribe in San Francisco Peaks Case clip_image003 clip_image004 clip_image005

March 12, 2007

9TH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS RULES FOR NAVAJO NATION, HOPI TRIBE IN SAN FRANCISCO PEAKS CASE, SETS PRECEDENT FOR SACRED SITES

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – ­ In a precedent-setting sacred sites case, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday ruled in favor of the Navajo Nation, the Hopi Tribe and others in their effort to protect the sacred San Francisco Peaks from desecration.

In its 70-page decision, the appeals court reversed a Jan. 11, 2006, decision by U.S. District Court Judge Paul Rosenblatt that allowed the expansion of the Arizona Snowbowl and the use of sewage effluent to make artificial snow. Most significantly, the appeals court ruled that the U.S.Forest Service violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by permitting the plans, and failed to fully comply with the National Environmental Policy Act in its evaluation of it.

“If Appellants (the tribes) do not have a valid RFRA claim in this case,” wrote Judge William A. Fletcher for the court, “we are unable to see how any Native American plaintiff can ever have a successful RFRA claim based on beliefs and practices tied to land their hold sacred.”

As the news circulated by phone and e-mail, Navajos everywhere were overjoyed. Upon hearing the ruling, Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr., said he was elated, and that he had never given up hope.

“Medicine people will feel the same way I do, happy,” he said. “The Religious Freedom Restoration Act had never been tested. So I think this is a precedent-setting decision. Now tribes out there have every means of protecting their sacred sites, especially now that the law has been proven, and I just really appreciate the judges deciding in the way that they have.”

Howard Shanker, the attorney for the the Navajo Nation and several other tribes in the case, said the ruling is especially important because an earlier case, Lyng v. Northwest Indian Cemetery Protective Assn., held that Native Americans did not have First Amendment rights when it came to federal government land use decisions.

“Essentially, Native Americans have had no recourse challenging government land use decisions which oftentimes impact sacred sites and culturally-significant sites,” he said. 

“What we’ve done here is under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act is we’ve created an avenue for tribes to protect those sites that are sacred to them that impact their exercise of religion.”

This is the first case in which RFRA has been successfully used in an appeal, Mr. Shanker said.

“So it’s extremely important,” he said. “Tribes all over the country can benefit from this decision and utilize it to protect sacred and religiously significant sites. This is a tremendous step forward in preserving Native American cultural and religious beliefs.”

The Navajo Nation, Hopi Tribe and other plaintiffs sued the U.S. Forest Service over its decision to allow the Arizona Snowbowl Resort to expand its ski area over 100 acres of rare alpine ecosystem.

Additionally, the proposed plans would have allowed Snowbowl to make artificial snow from treated sewage effluent. To do this, a 10 million gallon storage pond would have been constructed on the mountain and a 14.8-mile long pipeline from the Rio de Flag wastewater treatment plant would have been built.

RFRA states that the federal government “may not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion.” The court noted that the 1993 law “provides greater protection for religious practices” than earlier U.S. Supreme Court cases had allowed. It said the district court erred by disregarding an amended definition of “exercise of religion.”

“We conclude that the (tribes) have shown that the use of treated sewage effluent on the Peaks would impose a substantial burden on their exercise of religion,” the court said. “This showing is particularly strong for the Navajo and the Hopi.”

Because of that finding, the court said, it was unnecessary to pursue the question in regard to the Hualapai and Havasupai, which held similar spiritual views regarding the mountain.

“The (Forest) Service has acknowledged that the Peaks are sacred to at least

13 formally recognized Indian tribes, and that this religious significance is of centuries duration,” Judge Fletcher wrote.

The court also found that the Forest Service “neither reasonably discusses the risks posed by the possibility of human ingestion of artificial snow made from treated sewage effluent nor articulates why such discussion is unnecessary.”

The court noted that the FEIS explains that the “often euphemistically called reclaimed water” does not produce pure water but has detectable levels of enteric bacteria, viruses, and protozoa, including Crytosporidium and Giardia. Noting that the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality approved the use of treated effluent for snowmaking in 2001, it said ADEQ “requires that users take precautions to avoid human ingestion,” and that Snowbowl would have been the first ski area in the country to make snow entirely from undiluted treated sewage effluent.

The court found that the use of effluent, and the resulting physical and spiritual contamination of natural resources, constituted a burden on the exercise of religion by the various tribes. The burden exists, it said, “because the practices require a belief in the mountain’s purity or a spiritual connection to the mountain that would be undermined by contamination.”

“The Forest Service itself wrote in the FEIS that the Peaks are the most sacred place of both the Navajo and the Hopi; that those tribes’ religions have revolved around the Peaks for centuries; that their religious practices require pure natural resources from the Peaks; and that, because their religious beliefs dictate that the mountain be viewed as a living being, the treated effluent would in their view contaminate the natural resources throughout the Peaks,” the court said.

The court also found there was no compelling governmental interest to allow artificial snowmaking. Because the ski area has relied on natural snowfall since 1938, the court said the record does not support the conclusion that the Snowbowl would go out of business if the proposed expansion does not proceed.

“We are struck by the obvious fact that the Peaks are located in a desert,” the court said. “It is and always has been predictable that some winters will be dry.”

President Shirley said the ruling was critically important to Native people because it helps preserve their culture and way of life.

“Whatever you do as a government, as an organization, as a people, when you start picking at sacred sites, or chipping away at culture, what ultimately happens is it’s a chipping away at a way of life,” he said. “Genocide might be a very strong word but that’s what comes to mind. As a people we don’t want to die.”

“My dream, my hope, my prayer for my people, my young, my Nation, my way of life, is that 100 years, 500 years, 1,000 years down the road I’d like to continue to believe that Navajo people are still here, talking the Navajo language with our culture, our way of life, that’s my hope, that’s my prayer,” he said.

“What I think this ultimately means is that it goes towards that, preserving our way of life, preserving my prayer, my sacred song, my sacred sites, my mother ­ the San Francisco Peaks. Years have been added to my life. I can’t express how happy I am. As a people, we’re elated.”

http://navajosquare.com/the_news/latest/9th_circuit_court_appeals_rules_for_navajo_nation_hopi_tribe_in_san_francisco_peaks_case_180_2.html

Read the 9th Circuit Court Ruling:

http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/ca9/newopinions.nsf/64C37FB597BF2F848825729C0058BFE8/$file/0615371.pdf?openelement

 
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