On the 26th anniversary of Babri Masjid demolition, the academia and locals of Ayodhya are more concerned about education and the nitty gritties of daily lives, even as 'Shaurya Diwas' and 'Yaum-e-Gham' programmes have become "routine affairs" here every year.
Nilay Tiwari, who teaches at Gautam Buddh Government Degree College, says students of the present age value education and do not wish to muddle in the politics of the land.
"Be it 'Dharm Sansad' or programmes like Shaurya Diwas (day of bravery) or Yaum e Gham (day of sorrow), all are organised by different factions of political parties. The students of the present times are very mature and academics comes first for them as they have grown up seeing the Ayodhya dispute and its repercussions," he said.
"Notwithstanding the hype outside, the life and discussions on campuses here remain normal. Though routine life is disturbed with an inflow of people and media persons from outside, but it has, over a period of time, become a routine affair," Tiwari said.
Echoing the sentiment, Professor Manoj Dixit, Vice Chancellor, Ram Manohar Lohia Avadh University (RMLAU), said the students are told in clear terms to concentrate on their education.
"The students have been told with clarity to concentrate on their studies. Having said that, if someone has any political affiliation, he cannot be stopped, but majority of the students of the university understand that their future lies in academics," he told PTI Thursday.
"Our campuses are functioning normally. Even on November 25 (the day when the VHP organised Dharam Sabha) we did not shut down and functioned as usual. The strength, however, was less due to the hype. But hostellers and others from nearby areas attended the classes," Dixit said.
As the academicians advocated peace and education, locals prayed for an early court verdict in the Ayodhya dispute.
"We want the ongoing Ayodhya dispute to settle and pray that the Supreme Court gives a decision on the matter soon. It will end the everyday politics here. The common man is struggling to make both ends meet. The political events around the dispute do not charm the locals any more, except those belonging to political parties," says Gaurav Mani Tripathi, former student leader of Saket Mahavidyala.
Yet, there are many who are proud to be the residents of this temple town.
Vatsala Tiwari, a young employee of RMLAU, says she has always seen Ayodhya hog the limelight.
"I was born and brought up here. I did my schooling and higher studies from here. My father was a professor in the RMLA university. We have seen big gatherings and as a child enjoyed school holidays on such days. We know Ayodhya has been used for 'political purposes', but we want only peace here. I am proud of being a resident of the city," she adds.
On this day, the Babri Masjid was demolished in 1992 by 'karsevaks' who had converged as part of a movement by the BJP and Hindu outfits for construction of a temple dedicated to Lord Ram at the disputed site.