Ayodha photo exhibition highlights communal harmony

Ayodha photo exhibition highlights communal harmony

A message of communal harmony through Ayodha

Sudhir Shetty speaks to visitors at the exhibition of his photos titled 'Hey Ayodhya' at Rangoli Art Center on MG Road Boulevard on Tuesday.

A photo exhibition at Rangoli Metro art gallery highlighted one of the values that the Mahatma stood for all his life: communal harmony. ‘Hey Ayodhya’, featured pictures from renowned photographer Sudhir Shetty’s visit to the land of Rama, explored the Babri Masjid-Ram Temple dispute from the perspective of people’s history.

“All my misconceptions about Ayodhya and the dispute were washed away when I met the litigant in the Babri Masjid case, Iqbal Ansari, who was chatting with the priest of a nearby Ram Mandir. Throughout Ayodhya, there is a communal harmony. But the focus on the dispute has left the economy in shambles,” Shetty said.

The photographs show Ram bhakts singing ‘qawwali’ and a video features Hindus organising the ‘iftar’ for Muslims, who form only six percent of the local population. “Both Hindus and Muslims in the area are angry with the politicians who rake up the issue every election. They are demanding that governance and development should be the first priority,” Shetty said.

Shetty said 800 other Ram Mandirs and several ponds “where Rama is said to have dipped his hands or feet” are in decrepit condition. “I thought people should see through this. If my exhibition encourages them to visit Ayodhya and witness the reality, I will think of it as a success,” he said.

The exhibition was one of the major draws among other events, live drawing and painting, public art installation and recital of Gandhi's favourite songs, organised at the Boulevard on Tuesday.