July 17th 2017
The Honorable President of India
Sub: Protecting the spiritual identity of Shri Dham Vrindavan by restoring the Vrindavan Municipality.
Radhe Radhe! We the undersigned officers of the Braj-Vrindavan Heritage Alliance, on behalf of the devotees, residents and visiting pilgrims of Shri Dham Vrindavan, have the honor of submitting our humble request for your kind intervention.
As you know, Vrindavan is a globally-famed spiritual destination for the devotees of Shri Radha and Krishna. Your Excellency has visited Vrindavan in the past, and you are well aware of the traditions and culture of this holy city. It will not be an exaggeration if Vrindavan is called ‘the Vatican for Hindus and Vaishnavas’.
Recently, the Government of Uttar Pradesh led by Shri Yogi Adityanath ji has merged the civic bodies of Vrindavan and Mathura by issuing a notification to form a Municipal Corporation. The formation of the New Municipal Corporation by merging these two cities of vastly different culture has hurt the faith of hundreds of thousands of devotees of Vrindavan from around the world. The city of Vrindavan is facing a serious identity crisis since the two cities were amalgamated.
The temple town of Vrindavan was re-discovered by Lord Chaitanya in 1515 as the holy abode where the Divine Couple Shri Radha and Krishna performed the pastime ‘Maha Raas’. Lord Chaitanya’s followers Shri Roop Goswami, Shri Sanatan Goswami and others settled in Vrindavan and established the township of Vrindavan, maintaining its identity separate from Mathura. The grand temples of Govind, Gopinath, Madan Mohan, Radha Vallabh, Yugal Kishore, and so forth, were built with the financial assistance of the then-Mughal Empire, the nobles and zamindars.Emperor Akbar officially created the city of Vrindavan by merging the three villages of Dhaulera, Rajpura and Dusayaj, and gifted the city to the temples of Govind, Gopinath and Madan Mohan. The revenue of this town was collected by these three temples. Later the Vrindavan municipality was formed in 1866 by the British Government.
Vrindavan is the only city to be named after a van (forest), but the state government has “upgraded” it into a metropolis instead of recreating its forests. Vrindavan has become so famous that many cities and colonies in the country and abroad are named after Vrindavan. People around the world envision Vrindavan as a woodland paradise. It is only recently that a major portion of the town has been covered in concrete by cutting down the precious ancient trees. Visitors are filled with horror and anxiety to find Vrindavan being transformed into a concrete jungle.
Mathura has been influenced by Buddhism, Jainism and many other cultures, whereas Vrindavan has always belonged purely to the Vaishnava sect. Vrindavan should have been conserved as a World Heritage City for its unique identity, as it has become a subject of devotion for the international community. The small villages and forests of the Braj Chaurasi Kos Yatra are the beauty of Braj- Vrindavan, where some glimpses of wooded land can still be seen.
It is of great interest to note that even the British Government and the Mughals paid respect to the dignity of Vrindavan; the British Government by forming the Vrindavan Municipality in 1866, and prior to that, the Mughal Emperor Akbar by formally recognizing Vrindavan as a city. Had they wanted, they could have avoided giving an official identity to Vrindavan by merging it with the Mathura Municipality.
Moreover, Vrindavan is a dry area, and non-vegetarian food and liquor are strictly banned here, whereas Mathura has a number of meat shops, and a large section of the population there are Muslims, who eat meat. Once the merger is instituted, equal law will be enforced upon Vrindavan and Mathura, leading to the immediate degradation of Vrindavan’s culture. Furthermore, there have been restrictions on high-rise buildings in Vrindavan, but now, it having become part of Mathura’s civic body, the law of both the cities will be the same. High-rise buildings will be constructed without any restriction, which will surpass the height of the temples.
We feel that small cities can be managed better than big cities. There are several examples where townships with their own unique identity have been kept separate from the neighboring Municipal Corporation. For example, the Swami Bag and Dayal Bag areas of Agra have been kept separate from the Agra Municipal Corporation, with great success. Similarly Pushkar has been kept separate from Ajmer. Even in Delhi, the New Delhi Municipal Council entertains a separate identity from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.
Your Excellency has also visited Vrindavan in past occasions. Only your intervention can restore Vrindavan in its original form.
We humbly request you to write to the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh regarding this matter.
All the devotees of Shri Dham Vrindavan