Exactly a year ago, a news-break by IANS rocked the Indian parliament about an imminent legal ban on the Bhagvad Gita, Hinduism's revered text and philosophical treatise, in Russia, forcing Moscow's intervention.
The crisis blew over and the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon), the official name of the Hare Krishna Movement, continued to exercise the right to distribute the Gita's Russian translation.
A year later, a bigger crisis looms. A cocktail of religious idiosyncrasy and byzantine municipal laws is leading to Iskcon's eviction from its only temple in Moscow on January 15.
The socio-religious group with following across the world, including top business leaders of Indian origin, has now invoked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take the matter up when Russian President Valdimir Putin visits New Delhi for the 13th India-Russia Annual Summit on Monday.
Putin, on his part, has a woe list of his own, ranging from Russian telecom major Sistema's $3.2-billion investment in India that is stuck in litigation and the stalled nuclear plant in Kudankulam.
In a letter addressed to Pulok Chatterji, principal secretary to the Indian prime minister, and backed by dozens of legal documents and translations, Iskcon has urged that their plight be heard, the imminent destruction of the temple on January 15 is red-flagged and the Russians told in clear terms that eviction from the makeshift premises — an iron shack constructed after the main temple was razed in 2004 — would be unacceptable to India.
A chilling video of devotees of Lord Krishna braving the minus 18 degree Moscow temperatures, a few still pictures and a petition have also been shared with Chatterji and other interlocutors, including External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid.