Residents are reaping the benefits of Barsana’s status as a tirtha sthal (official pilgrimage site), as authorities have issued notices to several liquor shops, warning them that they cannot continue their operations in the Barsana township. On Wednesday, notices were issued to an English wine shop, two beer shops, and a desi (Indian) liquor shop.
Both Vrindavan and Barsana were declared to be official places of pilgrimage earlier this year. The status means that selling alcohol and meat is illegal in both the towns. Accordingly, there have been recent crackdowns on meat sellers in Vrindavan.
Most residents are pleased that authorities are taking action to stamp out activities that are against the principles of Hinduism, however, the effect of the ban on selling alcohol is somewhat diminished, since the shops will be able to reopen outside the Nagar Panchayat, in the surrounding villages.
Alcohol creates significant social problems and many village women suffer when their husbands drink. Vrindavan today has reported several instances of women demanding the closure of liquor shops in their village.
In order for the ban on alcohol to really have a positive impact, the whole of Braj must be declared as an official pilgrimage site so that the ban on meat and alcohol can be uniformly imposed across the region.