My First ‘Ayodhya’ Post
No matter what, there is always a first.
Say, your first Cadbury Bournville (you’ll need to earn it), or your first pay cheque (literally, you need to earn it!). Remember your first lame joke (nobody expected it), or your first black eye (as a direct consequence of the first first)?
As the title (subtly) suggests, this is my first ‘Ayodhya’ post. (Slow build-up of background score, reaching a loud and rather unnerving high-point and suddenly stopping dead)
(On a side note, all background scores sound the same. They’ll have a low-bass hum slowly building up volume, panning from left to right, and at some point a random violin comes in furiously plucking away its strings, only to drop dead some 30 seconds later. Note to self: Possible future career.)
Ayodhya in the Past
Ah yes, Ayodhya. Wikipedia tells me here that Ayodhya was once-upon-a-time a grand and magnificent city. As an important trading center lying on the banks of the river Ganga, Ayodhya has seen many different kingdoms – and cultures – ruling it.
Before I forget, there’s the holy significance part. Bathing on the banks of the river Ganga is supposed to destroy even the deadliest sins. The city Ayodhya finds itself mentioned in many historical scriptures, specifically the Ramayana, and is fabled to be the birthplace of the God Rama as well as a long list of kings. It has been historically significant for the growth and development of many religions – Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, etc.
Even the Thai kingdom and city of Ayutthya was named after Ayodhya (it turns out that there was a common Southeast Asian practice of adopting names of places after kingdoms in the Indian mainland).
(Why doesn’t Bangalore return the favour and call itself Bangkok? Or Benegakhokhe after some political party thinks it’s not Indian enough!)
Ayodhya in the Present
Ayodhya is no longer the grand and magnificent city that it used to be. Once the capital of a strong kingdom, its now a small city in Uttar Pradesh. It has a population of a little below 50,000 (as per Wikipedia and numerous other sites that copied Wikipedia). It lost its strategic and economic significance to Lucknow and Kanpur sometime in the 16th century.
With such a past, it’s funny how time has left it with such a present.
(You got it? Ha!)
Possibly the most interesting thing to have happened in the past few centuries is the Ayodhya dispute.
The Ayodhya Dispute
Simply put, multiple parties have been debating over a certain plot of land. Some claim it has historical significance as the birthplace of Ram and some more add that the Babri Mosque at that site was built after destroying a Hindu temple. Sadly, the Babri Mosque was razed to the ground on 6th December, 1992. This demolition led to one of the worst outbreaks of communal violence in the country.
Luckily, this dispute went to the courts.
As per a Mint article (The Ayodhya Trial, PDF):
The high court has heard arguments on 28 issues including historical and mythological issues. All four title suits (filed in 1950, 1959, 1961 and 1989) were initially heard in the Faizabad civil court till a special bench was constituted in July 1989 by the Allahabad high court, acting on the plea of the then Uttar Pradesh government for speedy trial of the case.
A speedy trial of the case, indeed!
Can the Law Resolve this Dispute?
The latest news is that the Allahabad High Court verdict will be out on 30th September, 2010. There are some who have waited 60 years for this.
Considering that all parties involved aren’t exactly the sweet and amicable types, and have hot-headed followers to please, I doubt that this verdict would be enough. (They can always appeal to the Supreme Court, or resort to taking the law in their own hands).
The Ayodhya issue has out-grown itself. It’s immersed in historical interpretation, political mileage, human blood from riots and a rather deserted 67 acre plot.
I agree with the Beatles for their famously over-quoted words:
Let it be, let it be
(Photo Credits: Elishams)