10.30 a.m., 9 November 2019: A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court of India unanimously ruled that the land where the Babri Masjid once stood in Ayodhya belongs to the lord, Ram Lalla. The decision was expected to end the conflict between Hindus and Muslims in India, who have been asserting their religious rights over the 2.77 acres of disputed land for five centuries. But Ayodhya still remains a divided city.Journalist Sutapa Mukerjee has frequented the town since 1998. After the apex court decree, she returned to the land now gifted to Lord Ram and reconnected with the locals. Her narrative takes off from the historic 2019 Supreme Court judgment, traces the milestones of the seventy-year-long legal battle for the disputed land and even goes back a few centuries to give cultural and civilizational context to the conflict in Ayodhya, before culminating in a ground-zero account of the Babri Masjid demolition. Ayodhya: Past and Present gives voice-through innumerable personal interviews-to the people of the pilgrim town, both the movers and shakers of the Mandir-Masjid tussle as well as the commoners caught in the crossfire. A history of Ayodhya, the book brings alive the reality of this once-quaint town that is on its way to becoming a commercialized pilgrimage destination.