| 25 years after Babri Masjid, what has changed in Ayodhya? |
06 Dec 2017
|For most Indians alive today, Ayodhya is a prime aspect of their religious identity, and the question of whether a temple or a mosque should be built there has remained one of vital importance.
But the youths of Ayodhya have other issues to worry about: as the city got embroiled in a long-drawn dispute, they were left deprived of even the basics.
| The politicization of a religious destination |
|The ancient town of Ayodhya was politicized forever when the Babri Masjid was demolished in 1992.
The event unleashed communal violence and dented peace.
Twenty-five years later, there's still been no agreement on how to resolve the dispute as both Hindus and Muslims stake claim to the land.
The SC is now conducting the final hearing. The next hearing is scheduled for February'18.
| "We are young, have same aspirations as youths in metros" |
|There's Saima Ali, 25, who wants nothing more than a decent theatre, shopping arenas, or a place to just hang out.
Her friend Rani Mishra rues the fact that they have to go to Lucknow to eat at McDonald's or some other good place.
Even CM Adityanath's Diwali visit did nothing to put Ayodhya "at par with other metropolises", says Ravidas, a local.
| There's not enough facilities for education and health, even jobs |
|The city has failed to offer youths even basics like education. There's a lack of institutes for higher studies, forcing students to move out to Allahabad, Lucknow, Varanasi or elsewhere.
The best health facility is a community health centre. As of 2012-13, infant mortality rate was double the national average.
Roads are crumbling and filled with cows, drains are overflowing and public transport inadequate.
| Youths still concerned about temple dispute, but seek development more |
|It doesn't mean youths aren't concerned about the temple-mosque dispute. "Why cannot development and Ram Mandir follow each other?" asks 23-year-old Deepak Srivastava.
Then there are others for whom the only reason of supporting the cause is hope for a tourism boom and development.
Most blame religious politics for Ayodhya's condition.
But with the rise of the BJP, hopes are fluttering once again.
| Riddled with guilt, many kar sevaks have since embraced Islam |
|Meanwhile, the demolition has become a source of anguish for some kar-sevaks. Balbir Singh, the first to stand on the razed Masjid, has embraced Islam in repentance.
He now runs a school to spread Islam's teachings.
Shive Prasad, who trained 4,000 kar-sevaks, is now Mohammed Mustafa. He suffered from depression and guilt for years.
And these are just two of many.