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In Ayodhya, questions asked most: Ab kya hoga? Mandir kab banega?

As the temple town woke up on Sunday morning amid calm and nip in the air, the question in the minds of most of the Ayodhya waasi (residents) was same” “What’s next?”

Written by Maulshree Seth | Ayodhya | Updated: November 11, 2019 5:02:25 am
ayodhya verdict, babri masjid demolition, 1992 babri masjid, ram temple ayodhya, ayodhya verdict supreme court, muslims ayodhya verdict, supreme court ram mandir ruling Pilgrims visit the makeshift Ram temple in Ayodhya on Sunday, a day after the Supreme Court verdict. (Express Photo: Vishal Srivastav)

“Faisle se khushi toh hai. Lekin asmanjas bhi hai. Ab kya hoga?” (We are happy with the judgement but there is some confusion. What would happen next?)”, said Abhay Singh, who sells prasad near the makeshift Ram Temple in Ayodhya.

As the temple town woke up on Sunday morning amid calm and nip in the air, the question in the minds of most of the Ayodhya waasi (residents) was same” “What’s next?”. The trickle of tourists, on the other hand, had just one question: “Mandir kab bannaa shuru hoga? (When will temple construction begin?”).

While pilgrims talked about temple construction, shopkeepers around Hanuman Gari temple, around 200 of them, were more worried about their livelihood. The discussions on the streets ranged from the construction of Ram Temple, its size to how it would boost tourism and bring “rojgar” (employment) to the holy town.

Many hoped that “tourism”, which has been the main revenue for Ayodhya would “grow” as they expect the work on “Ram Statue” to start even before the construction of Ram Temple. But evetyone agreed that the task would not be as easy for the government as it appears to be.

“Kitni chauri kar denge? (How much would it be widened?)”, Abhay Singh asks Kandev Dubey, who also sells religious items near to his shop. “I have a family of five living behind the shop. I hope they (administration) would not displace us. But who knows what would happen next,” Abhay said, adding that if the roads are widened, like it has been done for Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi, then they might lose their living as well.

Explained: A to Z of Ayodhya verdict

Another shopkeeper, Om Prakash, who had opened his shop despite the low footfall of pilgrims, tried to convince them that only good will happen to them, “Ayodhya ka mukhya rojgar tourism hai… Mandir banegaa to rojgar barhega (the main business of Ayodhya is tourism, and once the temple will be constructed, more employment will be generated)”.

Meanwhile, BJP MLA from Ayodhya, Ved Prakash Gupta, said the time has come for the development of the town. “There are about Rs 2,500 crore worth projects, which are already in the pipeline. While another Rs 2,500 crore projects would come up, Ayodhya would see an overall development and there would be employment generation as well,” Gupta said.

Amid this, Muslim neighbourhoods in the town removed the decorative lights that had been put to celebrate Barawafat (Milad-un-Nabi), the birth anniversary of the Prophet. “During Barawafat, Muslims light their houses and many had put decorated their houses with the lights, but they were removed Saturday night,” said a youngster in Ayodhya city. They too, like their elders, wondered what would happen next.

The lane leading to the house of Iqbal Ansari, a litigant in the title suit, wore a deserted look and the people were not willing to talk.

But among the priests, the talks hovered around “big plans to build the grand temple”. “Next is to start the construction of Ram Temple and see where the land for the construction of a mosque is given. While it is the task of the government and we trust that they would find a proper solution but it just cannot be given anywhere.

While Hanuman Gari supports the construction of the mosque and is already supporting the construction of a mosque in Ayodhya but it just cannot happen anywhere and it cannot be in the name of (Mughal ruler) Babur,” said Mahant Raju Das, a senior priest at Hanuman Gari temple.

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