D Kuppuramu: BJP’s Candidate For Ramanathapuram Is The Man Whose Efforts Saved The Ram Setu

Aravindan Neelakandan

Mar 17, 2021, 05:10 PM | Updated 05:09 PM IST

D Kuppuramu and the Ram Setu.
D Kuppuramu and the Ram Setu.
  • Today, Ramanathapuram is also notorious as a hotbed of Islamist radicalisation in Tamil Nadu.
  • It is from such a seat that the BJP has fielded D Kuppuramu, an RSS leader and advocate.
  • One does not have to know the historicity of the Sri Ram Setu to save it. For all one knows, it may even be a natural formation. But the puranic sacredness of Sri Ram Setu is more real than any historicity.

    It is a part of the sacred geography of India. It is environmentally a significant structure.

    The coastal communities, the marine biodiversity, the Ramayana connection — they all work together in an organic manner and it is as if Sri Ram Setu in its own way chose to protect itself through evoking the imagery and puranic sacredness through the Hindu collective psyche.

    Or why would minds throughout the entire nation get excited by a structure probably most have never seen except through the now famous NASA photograph and through the Ramayana television serial, movies and illustrations?

    And the man Sri Ram Setu chose was D Kuppuramu, an RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) leader and advocate from Ramanathapuram.

    G P Srinivasan, a veteran journalist from Hindu Voice met Kuppuramu in 2007, even as the movement to save the Setu was beginning to take shape.

    The advocate countered every point of propaganda with facts. His words showed how much he knew about the multi-dimensional nature of the problem.

    It was not just a matter of belief. In fact, belief formed part of the web of protection around Sri Ram Setu.

    He stated in the interview:

    I am a son of the soil, born and brought up in Ramanathapuram. As a devout Hindu, I am proud of the rich culture and heritage of Bharathvarsha; as a responsible Hindu (Indian), having concern for the protection and preservation of ecology, environment, biodiversity, livelihood of lakhs of fishermen and their families living along the southern Tamil Nadu coast, national resources, viz. millions of tonnes of Thorium reserves, enough to produce nuclear energy for generation of electricity for over 400 years; and above all, national security, I have filed the petition to protect Sri Rama Setu on behalf of all Hindus.

    He was not the one to stop with court petitions. With a wooden carved sacred figure of Hanuman, he conducted a ‘nama japa’.

    Initially, it was estimated that less than 500 people would attend the event.

    More than 1 lakh people participated and the event saw the local population feeding the outsiders who came for the nama japa.

    At that time, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was in power at the Centre and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) was running a minority government in the state.

    The media was against the Rama Setu movement when it covered it but most of the time, ignored it altogether.

    But Kuppuramu fought bravely and it was his work that formed the basis of the later PIL (public interest litigation) in upper courts which attracted media attention and spotlight.

    To the question of who would protect the Ram Setu, his answer was immediate: “Lord Anjaneya is the sole protector of Ram Setu. We are like squirrels.”

    Today, D Kuppuramu is the BJP candidate for Ramanathapuram legislative assembly seat.

    The place where Kuppuramu has been working all his life is also a hotbed of Islamist radicalisation.

    Right near Agni-teertham, one of the holiest spots of pilgrimage in Rameswaram, is the spot where a Hindu sangathan worker, Munuswamy, was murdered by Islamists.

    The spot of balidan is marked by a lamp burning inside a small structure. As late as 2013, Hindu Front leader Nambu was murdered.

    In 2014, more than two dozen Muslim youths of Ramanathapuram posed with ISIS t-shirts — a photo that went viral in social media and created quite a stir.

    Fundamentalist and radical Islamist organisations have such a control in coastal villages with majority Muslim population that they can issue fatwas stopping ‘outsiders’ from entering the villages for election campaign.

    This was indeed the case in 2019 elections.

    With proximity to Sri Lanka, where radical Islamist organisations are becoming a terror threat too, Ramanathapuram has all the possibilities of emerging as a safe haven for such activities, provided the people’s representatives and the political leadership of the state are sympathetic to them.

    Sangh Parivar organisations in Ramanathapuram have been putting up a strong resistance on the ground against a radical Islamist takeover of the zone.

    Kuppuramu is knowledgeable with respect to this aspect of the region as well. He has pointed out that the killing spree in the region has claimed around 300 Hindu activists since the 1980s.

    Radical Islamist elements in the region have supported the DMK and now also Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK).

    It is time now for the people of Ramanathapuram to choose Kuppuramu and promote the development of Ramanathapuram — literally, the land of Rama.

    Aravindan is a contributing editor at Swarajya.

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