Ayodhya

The ongoing Ayodhya debate here in India is making my head spin. The judgement from the courts was supposed to be made last Friday. Since this is a religious disagreement between the Hindus and Muslims, outbreaks of violence were anticipated. Last Wed., two days before the decision was to be made, the government declared Friday and Saturday a “holiday” for schools.

The children would be staying home on Friday. Not a big deal but we also had plans to do a Habitat for Humanity build (as a family) on the Saturday. We worried that it would be cancelled now too.

However, late Thursday afternoon (come on, keep up with me now) the courts decided to postpone judgement until Tuesday, Sept. 28th. Shortly after that we received an email from the school saying, “school is back on.” The kids weren’t thrilled, but off they went to school and we looked forward to Habitat on Saturday.

However, Friday night much to our disappointment, we received an email cancelling Habitat because the organizers felt there still might be some unrest in the village. They didn’t want to risk 45 foreigners getting in the middle of a religious confrontation.

I guess I should quickly mention what the Ayodhya debate is. The main issues (and we’re going back centuries here) revolve around a temple built at the birthplace of the Hindu God Lord Ram. When a Muslim emporer defeated the Hindu King in 1527, the temple was torn down, and the Babri Mosque was built on the same site. Fast forward to 1992 when the mosque was demolished by Hindu radicals who believe it is a sacred Hindu site.

Hindu or Muslim? The courts are supposed decide tomorrow. But no “holiday” has been declared for the children, in fact there has been almost no news about it at all. We suspect that the decision will continue to be delayed – with the Commonwealth Games next week and then Obama’s in India, and then it’s Diwali – just too much going on. I don’t think they can risk anymore bad press right now.

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