Vrindavan: Why Braj Foundation and sewayats are fighting over Sewa Kunj?



By NewsGram Staff Writer

The holy Sewa Kunj in Vrindavan has been undergoing a crisis these days due to an ongoing clash between the Kunj’s priests and a local NGO, Braj Foundation.

The NGO had started the beautification of the Sewa Kunj in June 2011. Before the restoration, the premises of the Kunj were in an utterly bad condition. The site, which is famous for the Rasleela (Dance of Divine Love) of Radha-Krishna, overlooked tons of garbage around the premises. In fact, the garden, which once attracted visitors from all over the country, perished and got buried under the municipal trash.

However, the revered site transformed into a star attraction, when the Braj Foundation undertook this project to revive the lost heritage of Vrindavan.

This work done by the NGO has been appreciated by the locals. Girdhari, a local priest told a news agency, “Before the renovation and sprucing up of the area around the Sewa Kunj began, the holy forest was in ruins and buried under municipal debris. Those who visited the site became victims of monkeys who snatched away their belongings. But now, the scenario has drastically changed and even the monkeys are under control.”

However, the NGO is now facing the rage of Vrindavan’s goswamis, called the ‘sewayats,’ who are opposed to the idea of changing the landscape of the Kunj. They argue that this renovation has violated the original sanctity and design of the holy shrine. The priests state that the renovation has destroyed the ‘original swaroop’ of the shrine, and now it would take many years to revive the ‘swaroop.’ A priest, Bihari Lal Vashishtha, told a news agency, “They could have adjusted the restoration designs without harming the natural ambience. But they chose to go ahead with the construction work instead of planting new trees and helping the old groves to prosper.”

It was planned that Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik will open the renovated pond and the grove; however, he changed his mind due to the opposition.

“Some people are unnecessarily raising fears and confusion. We have restored the holy shrine and done our best to bring it back to its glory, but narrow interests are preventing some people from looking at the larger picture,” said Gaurav Gola, a spokesman for Braj Foundation. He also said that the NGO did not cut any tree inside the premises and utmost care has been taken of Kunj’s green cover.

It is ironic that these priests, who are condemning the NGO for demolishing the ‘original swaroop,’ did not do anything themselves to retain the glory of the shrine over the years and let it to reduce to ruins.