Ayodhya: This temple town in Uttar Pradesh,
where the Babri Masjid was demolished 18 years ago, Muslim
traders in a lane close to the disputed site continue to weave
garlands offered to Hindu deities, setting a unique example of
Many shops run by Muslims on either side of the crowded
lane on the outer premises of Hanuman Garhi temple, just a few
metres away from the makeshift Ram Temple erected on the
debris of Babri Masjid, are packed with items used in temples
and worshipping Hindu deities.
Amid the crowd of Sadhus and visiting Hindu devotees in
the lane where the atmosphere is loaded with the mixed sounds
of chanting of bhajans and bells tolling in the Hanuman Garhi
and the adjacent Dashrath Mahal temples it is difficult for an
outsider to imagine a Muslim dealing in purely Hindu ritual
items in that area but there are many.
50-year-old Zohra Khatoon, who runs a shop outside her
home in the area, sells items of worship like drums, manjira,
sindur (vermilion), bangles, dafli, chheenka, kartal, dhoop,
lota and several other things used in temples.
Zohra, a widow, who supports her family with what she
earns from this business says, "We are not new to Ayodhya. Nor
have we migrated from Afghanistan or Pakistan. We are living
here for the last 300 years and get a lot of respect from the
Hindus here. There is no Hindu-Muslim feeling."
Echoing Zohra, another businessman in the area Muhammad
Kaleem says, "Hindus and Muslims are living here peacefully
and happily. It is only outsiders who create problems and
Besides these shop owners in the area there are Muslim
artisans too who continue to make floral decorations for Hindu
devotees as they have done for several generations and believe
that any political change induced by the Babri Masjid-Ram
Janambhoomi dispute will not affect the ties between the two
Weaving bonds of communal amity, around 15 Muslim
families in the Asharfi Bhawan area of Ayodhya have been
involved in making floral garlands and decorative offerings
for Hindu devotees.