Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Saturday compared the arrows “used by Lord Ram” in Ramayan to ISRO’s missiles, and credited him for building infrastructure and engaging in social engineering. Addressing engineering students at the convocation of Institute of Infrastructure Technology Research and Management (IITRAM) — an autonomous university set up by the Gujarat government — Rupani said, “Ram na ek ek teer, ek ek missile haata. Ane ISRO je kaam kare chhe, yeh Bhagwan Ram ye, tyaare chhodta hata. (Every arrow of Ram was a missile. The work that ISRO is doing, Lord Ram used to release those).”
Tapan Misra, director of ISRO’s Space Applications Centre, was among those present at the event. Praising the “engineering skills of Lord Ram”, he said: “Bhagwan Ram ne infrastructure saathe jodiye; yeh samayne ne, Ramayan ne toh Ram Setu bridge je Bhaarat ane Sri Lanka ne jodto… Ae Ram Setu, ae vakt ni kalpna karo, ke Ram passe kyaan engineero haase, kevi reeti Ram Setu baniyo haase. Khiskoli pan pootanu yogdaan aape… Aaje pan loko kahe che, ke Ram Setu na aavshesho che, ane dariya mein ram setu bridge che. Toh Ram Setu te divase Bhagwan Ram ni kalpana thi, ane tyaarna aa badha engineerio ye Ram Setu tatkalik banaiyo haato (If infrastructure is linked to Ram and Ramayan, then imagine what kind of engineers Lord Ram had to build the Ram Setu that links Sri Lanka and India… Even squirrels offered their help in building the bridge… Even today people say that remnants of Ram Setu are in the sea. Ram Setu was the imagination of Ram, and engineers then had built the temporary bridge.”
As the audience applauded, Rupani referred to more anecdotes from Ramayan. He said: “When Laxman fell unconscious in the battle, experts knew that there was a herb in the North which could cure him — research was available then. When Hanuman forgot which herb to pick, he brought the entire mountain. What kind of technology existed then which could help shift an entire mountain? This is also a story of infrastructure development (Ladai ma Lakshman bhebhan thai gaya, ane tyaare tyaana expert loko ne khabar haati, k tyaan uttar ma jai ne aa prakar na vanaspati laavse, ane ema thi dawa banshe, toh Lakshman saaja thai jaashe. Ye research available hato. Ane Hanuman ne mokaliya. Hanuman bhooli gaya k aamathi kaayu lai javanu che. Aakhu parvat upaadi ne lai aaiva. Have kaiyu tyaare technology hase k aakha parvat ne laine aavya, k lai liyo je jootu haase e. Yeh pan infrastructure development nu katha chhe.)”
Besides weapons and infrastructure, Ram also engaged in social engineering, Rupani said. “Back in those days, he had brought all castes together. The fact that he ate berries offered by Shabri shows that he had earned the trust of adivasis. Imagine Sugreev, Hanuman and the army of monkeys…it was social engineering,” he said. According to Rupani, Mahatma Gandhi spoke about “this Ram Rajya, and Prime Minister Narendrabhai (Modi) is working towards establishing it”.