In the final days of World War II, as the Allied forces closed in, the Burma National Army switched sides that day and turned against the Imperial Japanese Army to lead the underground Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League.
For a week beginning October 25, 1988, nearly 500,000 farmers took over the heart of the Capital, occupying Boat Club and its lawns, within earshot of North and South Blocks, and Parliament where the winter session was to start days later.
An academician, who did not wish to be named in this report, said, “Muslims have accepted the defeat in the courtroom. In any case, this has gone too long, and has done no good to both the country and the community. We just wish the new generation doesn’t have to go through what we did.”
For the Parivar, August 5 is the realisation of a dream, the end of a journey and the start of another. Article 370 and the Ram temple were two ideological issues that the BJP, in the NDA’s earlier avatar under Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had been forced to place on the backburner due to coalition compulsions.
Hoardings of every size jostle for space to welcome the Prime Minister to the bhoomi pujan for the temple of Ram at his janmabhoomi, once the disputed site and now settled with the imprimatur of a unanimous Supreme Court ruling nine months ago.
Sixty years ago, from the very spot Amit Shah reiterated the Indian position on Aksai Chin, prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru had informed the nation, belatedly, about what the Chinese had been up to in Aksai Chin, “where not even a blade of grass grows”.
These lines could well have been from 26 years ago when Mahant Avaidyanath, Adityanath’s mentor, the head of the Gorakhnath Math and one of the leading lights of the Sangh Parivar’s temple movement, had hit out at the “delay”.
In September 2010, the Allahabad High Court ruled that Nirmohi Akhara, Sunni Central Wakf Board, UP and Ramlalla Virajman were joint holders of the disputed property, and awarded each a third of the land at the site.
Revisiting Ayodhya: An iron fencing painted yellow runs around the entire acquired area with a three-tier security arrangement in place. The disputed site is in the red zone, guarded by CRPF personnel including women.
In December 1992, reporter Rakesh Sinha and photographer Praveen Jain chronicled the demolition of the Babri Masjid. Their reports and photographs led the Liberhan Commission to call them as key eyewitnesses. 25 years later, they return to Ayodhya to track the new battle lines in an enduring conflict.