Vrindavan, 2017.05.02 (VT): The world-famous widows of Vrindavan took to the streets on Monday to protest the proposed merger of Mathura and Vrindavan. Other elderly women and sadhvis also joined the demonstration, which paraded through the grand road in front of Shri Rangji Temple.
Bela Devi from Assam said, “Vrindavan is where Krishna played with Radha. But Krishna left Vrindavan and went to Mathura. He never came back, and his family and friends almost died from sadness. How can Vrindavan become a part of Mathura? We can never accept this. It is wrong on every level.”
The widows passionately discussed their objections to merging the two cities. For example: meat and alcohol are legally sold in Mathura, while they are banned in Vrindavan. Even the British banned hunting all around Vrindavan, out of respect for the strong religious sentiments of the local people. But if Mathura and Vrindavan are merged, the centuries-old prohibition will likely be destroyed.
“I did not leave my village in Bengal to live in a concrete jungle where meat and alcohol are sold in the streets,” commented Kanchana Devi. “If that was what I wanted from life, I could have just moved to Calcutta.”
“When I first came here,” she continued, “the forest was so beautiful that people would cry at the sight of it. We used to drink the water of the Yamuna river to sustain our lives. Now even the water pumps have started giving sewage instead of water. When I go for parikrama, I fear for my life. I have to dodge speeding cars and busses all the way. Now they want to make Vrindavan a real city. I would rather die than see that day.”
The people of Vrindavan certainly want development, but with a sane approach. The town is overflowing with historic sites, most of which are lying in a state of disrepair. But instead of being preserved, the wooded areas and ancient landmarks are being destroyed wholesale, and concrete buildings are built on top of them with government permission.
This is not development but destruction, pure and simple. Locals say that the Mathura-Vrindavan merger is yet another case of greedy people in the government looking for new ways to make money; nothing more than that.