As recent as mid-eighties, Ayodhya, the mofussil town on the banks of Saryu would get media attention only once a year when the rivers entering India from Nepal would be in spate during monsoon. Or once every five years, when Communist Party of India would paint Faizabad—the district headquarters and the twin-town—red during elections season. For many years, Faizabad for some curious reasons remained a Communist stronghold in central Uttar Pradesh.
All this was about to change soon and the trigger interestingly was thousands of miles away in another non-descript village down South. In January 1981, 200 Dalit families at Meenakshipuram in Tamil Nadu rebelled against upper caste discrimination and converted to Islam, setting in motion a chain of events which culminated with the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.
The entire decade beginning with Meenakshipuram conversions and ending with Mandal-Kamaldal agitation would disrupt the Indian polity and alter socio-political dynamics for decades to come.
On 25th anniversary of Babri demolition, News18 looks at the turn of events in one of the most tumultuous phases of politics in Independent India. We tell this story through the lives that got entangled in the gushing torrents. Some went on to become powerful politicians, others still are ready to die as ordinary kar sevaks for Ram Temple in Ayodhya.