...In Krishna’s country Braj, which includes Mathura (where Krishna was born), Gokul (where he was smuggled to escape Kansa’s tyranny), Vrindavan (where he grew up and met Radha) and Govardhan (the mountain he lifted) — there’s no Krishna to be seen or sensed. Poor city planning at Vrindavan has left neither ‘vrinda’ (tulsi) nor ‘van’ (forest). Garbage has expanded the small town’s periphery, providing a base for roads to run on, pushing river Yamuna (in which Krishna fought Kaliya) 70 metres or so away. The cowherd — a term Krishna was often called derogatorily in later life but one he was proud of as it brought back memories of Radha — his flute and Vrindavan, have been replaced by the goon trying to seek ransom from devotees, turning what could be one of the world’s most visited religious destinations into an experience that leaves faithless ashes in the mouth.
Opinion in The Indian Express, September 10, 2007