Portraits From Ayodhya: Living India's Contradictions

Scharada Dubey, Westland Books, 2012, Pbk, 327 p, ISBN : 9789381626214, $20.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Portraits From Ayodhya: Living India's Contradictions

Almost two decades after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, Scharada Dubey, an Ayodhya resident, studies the barricaded Ram Janmabhoomi site, travels through temple alleyways, visits the residents, ordinary and prominent, of a town that has known no peace. What follows is Portraits of Ayodhya a startling compilation of oral history.

In this book of narrative non-fiction, we meet Ayodhya denizens from all walks of life from the almost omnipotent Mahant Gyandas (head of the Hanuman Garhi temple), to the unassuming Ram Sharan Das, whose occupation is cleaning gutters. Even as we witness two sides to every story, we spot a thread binding all the major figures: a love for Ayodhya, a longing for quiet.

If places are defined by people, Portraits of Ayodhya is testament to this belief. Unflinchingly honest and sincere, this is a book that presents an Ayodhya never seen before.

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