Demographics

The Ayodhya Verdict Data Story

What does the data say about how people reacted to the Ayodhya Verdict?

SUDHANVI VELLALA

Ayodhya, one of the holiest places in India, has been a topic of hot debate for years. The Ayodhya dispute was one of the longest-running legal battles in Indian history. It was finally concluded after the Supreme Court unanimously gave a verdict in favor of re-constructing Lord Ram’s temple that was previously demolished in the 1500s during the Mughal Emperor Babur’s rule. 

In the age of social media, it is easy for people to express their opinions for the world to see. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram have become more than just tools to connect with friends. Twitter’s default settings allow the post to be public and accessible by searching the keyword or hashtag. 

Many people voiced their opinion regarding the Ayodhya dispute verdict on Twitter. November of 2019 was flooded with millions of tweets in light of the Supreme Court’s verdict and the same occurred again in August 2020 on the occasion of the temple’s foundation being laid. These two events not only boasted a high number of tweets but also allowed people to counter their opinions.

To understand the reaction of people towards Ayodhya’s dispute, tweets were gathered over a period of 10 days in November 2019, mainly the tweets from the Indian subcontinent.

Word Frequency

Twitter is a brilliant place to share emotions and is also widely used for social media analytics research. Also, major events like Ayodhya verdict day become trending topics attracting many users to voice out their opinions. These trends can either be a keyword or a hashtag.

Some of the major trending hashtags on Ayodhya verdict’s day were #AYODHYAVERDICT, #AyodhyaHearing, #BabriMasjid, #hindumuslimbhaibhai, #RamMandir. 

For this analysis, we have focused on only the positive and negative reactions of the tweets discarding the neutral tweets. Though the dispute yielded so many differences between the Hindu and Muslim communities throughout the years, the verdict surprisingly had a more positive reaction.

A majority of the tweets were positive reactions

Many people celebrated the Supreme Court’s judgement. Shri Narendra Modi, the prime minister tweeted:

“The Honourable Supreme Court has given its verdict on the Ayodhya issue. This verdict shouldn’t be seen as a win or loss for anybody. 

Be it Ram Bhakti or Rahim Bhakti, it is imperative that we strengthen the spirit of Rashtra Bhakti. 

May peace and harmony prevail!”.

Users also took Twitter to oppose the verdict, with one user tweeting:

“Today’s #AyodhyaVerdict will never be digested by Muslims. ! #Unforgettable”

Positive tweets frequently had words such as “good”, “happy”, “peace”, “harmony”, “thank”, and “accept”, while negative tweets mostly had “defeat”, “fake”, “wrong”, “hate”, and “terror” as frequently used words.

Tweets by location

Delhi users actively tweeted about the historic event. Mumbai and Bangalore users followed. There were also several tweets from users in Lucknow, Kolkata, and other major cities as well as towns like Coimbatore, Ajmer, etc., and also other geotagged locations.

To gain a better understanding of where the positive and negative tweets were prominent, we analyzed geotagged tweets. 6% of positive tweets and 5% of negative tweets were from Delhites. 4% of positive tweets and 3% of negative tweets were from Mumbaikars.

Overall Sentiment

It is safe to say that the Supreme court’s judgment on the Ayodhya dispute was well received by most Indians throughout the country, with many tweeting about living together in peace and harmony. Though there are non-negligible amounts of negative tweets, the overall sentiment remains positive. 

Disclaimer: Views and opinions expressed in this article are merely an exercise in data journalism and may reveal information that is otherwise not highlighted in the mainstream media.