Monday, Jun 27, 2022
Outlook.com
ayodhya

A Town Divided

Eye of the storm: a pilgrim centre that has ruefully seen its leanest decade go by

A Town Divided
T. Narayan
A Town Divided
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

The bathing ghats, the maze of narrow streets lined with shops selling religious paraphernalia and most of the nearly 6,000 historic and ancient temples that give Ayodhya its character are deserted. A big change from the pre-December 6, 1992, days when on any given day about 30,000 people would visit the town. "The only occasions we see a crowd is when frenzied kar sevaks storm the town during programmes organised by VHP," says Kalawati Mishra, who sells Ram idols at Hanuman Garhi, the main temple at Ayodhya. "And their arrival ensures there will be no business," she adds sarcastically.

Kalawati is one of the local residents who had once whole-heartedly supported the movement to build the Ram mandir in Ayodhya. But like many other locals, she has become disillusioned over the years. "The VHP used us. They politicised the Ram temple and now I doubt if it ever will be built," says Shripal, a resident of the Tulsiwadi area. Pan shop owner Jai Shankar echoes this lingering resentment: "Gradually, people are realising that only the VHP and BJP gained from the Ram temple. The people and Lord Ram are the real victims."

Outlook Newsletters

Read More from Outlook

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

In happy times and sad, Habba Khatun’s sensuous songs make both young and old emotional. With the never-ending conflict bringing tragedies to every doorstep, Habba’s lyrics of separation amplify their mourning.

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

In India, only those relationships between a man and a woman are considered to be legitimate when there is a marriage between the two.

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Virat Kohli, 33, had recently stepped down as India's T20I captain and was subsequently removed as the ODI captain.

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

A Mahila Congress leader, who is the face of the ‘Ladki Hoon, Lad Sakti Hoon’ campaign, however, has accused the party of anti-women bias after she was denied a ticket.