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Talk About Jobs, Not Mandir-Masjid: Ayodhya’s Hindu & Muslim Youth

Ayodhya’s youth wants to move beyond the Mandir-Masjid debate and talk about jobs and development.

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(Video Editor: Vishal Kumar)

“It doesn't matter what judgment comes, whether it favours the Hindus or the Muslims. The young generation wants jobs and development.”

Ansari, a law student in Ayodhya’s KS Saket PG College, takes a break from pouring oil into the earthen lamps lined up at the Ram ki Paidi ghat on the eve of Diwali. Growing up in this Uttar Pradesh town that has been making headlines for 27 years now, Ansari has often heard people discuss “the issue that has sparked a country-wide debate.”

With the Supreme Court verdict on the Ramjanmabhoomi land dispute case just round the corner, we met a generation in Ayodhya that longs to move beyond the ‘Mandir-Masjid’ debate and seek jobs and development.

“Whenever people talk about Ayodhya, it is always about temple or mosque. At least if the Supreme Court verdict comes out soon, people will stop debating about this and start focusing on development,” says Viren Pratap, with whom Ansari said he shares a bond like that of “Ganga-Yamuna”.

While Viren and Ansari focused on arranging the lamps that was said to have created a world record on Diwali, we moved to another part of the town where 19-year-old Aryan Singh was getting ready to volunteer for the grand programme planned for UP CM Yogi Adityanath and his guests at Ram Katha park.

“I am pursuing engineering from Institute of Engineering and Technology in Faizabad. After fourth year I have to move out because there are no jobs here. There are no engineering companies so naturally no placements take place.”
Aryan Singh
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In another part of the town, we met Athar, the 5-year-old grandson of Ramesh Pandey, who died in the police firing during the Babri Masjid demolition. Athar recited the Ram Katha for us but continues to be oblivious of the 27-year-old dispute that changed his hometown’s social identity forever.

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