In today’s world, political profession is the profession that can provide respect, fame, wealth, power and prosperity. But to achieve this, one has to have the trait of an orator who can command, provide insight, have leadership quality, and moreover does service to the mankind. To make successful career in astrology and politics, both need good convincing capacity with social engineering abilities. Nowadays, these are more lucrative and flourishing businesses. A belief in astrology is surprisingly widespread in modern India. You pick up any newspaper or news channel, astrology is widely liked by readers and viewers. Some channels have dedicated programmes on Astro- predictions. Indians are strong believers in astrology and superstition. Politicians are no exception. Newly elected governments take the oath of office on auspicious days and time chosen by astrologers. Once they assume office, ministers choose their rooms in the Secretariat after conducting due diligence of the rooms’ coordinates. They change the paint on the wall, drapery and upholstery and rearrange furniture as directed by their spiritual gurus. Then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was known to be fully guided by the astrological advice of a godman in doing practically anything. Modi to common man, everyone has some or the other astrologer to take care of their fortune.
Recently, a photo of the HRD Minister Smriti Irani having her palm examined by astrologer Nathulal Vyas in Rajasthan’s Bhilwara district that appeared in a daily was the subject of debate. Irani came under the media’s glare after visiting Vyas in his Karoi village. There are stories around that the astrologer had rightly predicted that even if she lost the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, she would become a minister. Along with her husband Zubin Irani, Smriti paid visit to Pandit Vyas. According to TV reports, in her four-hour long meeting with panditji, HRD Minister reportedly asked several questions on her political and personal future and also thanked the astrologer for his correct prediction. The no-nonsense astrologer is patronised by the common man and chief ministers alike. Former chief ministers Chimanbhai Patel and Chhabildas Mehta used to consult him.
A narrow lane behind an unremarkable government office in Rajkot leads to a dark two-room house that sees a flurry of activity. This is where Pranab Kumar Bhatt receives visitors. That name won’t ring a bell in Rajkot. But mention Guruji and everyone in this town can give you directions. Ninety nine per cent of politicians do believe in superstition, they all consult their astrologers to seek guidance before venturing in something. Anyway, astrology is a personal belief. It’s only for one’s own satisfaction; hence, should not make a difference to others.
Astrology, numerology is based on one’s belief and there is no harm in this. Also many celebs in India be it Industrialists or business Tycoons or actors, they all believe in this and many media group owners ask their own astrologers what should be their next step.
When a galaxy of astrologers and the alignment of planets determined so much, nearly all of our leading politicians continue to consult astrologers. Timings for special events, renovations in homes and office rooms, key aides, cabinet portfolios are all put to astrologers, whose soothsaying comforts the paranoia that universally afflicts the powerful. After the BJP government came to power in Rajasthan in recent assembly elections, the devasthan department of the state government swung into action and conducted mass prayers in temples, churches and mosques. Jaipur-based Pandit Kedar Sharma is one of the many astrologers that Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje is known to consult. Sharma said Raje would become India’s prime minister one day. There is another, Chennai-based astrologer Balan Nair, who is known to be patronised by leaders cutting across the political spectrum. Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda used to consult him. In the South, some towns are considered inauspicious for politicians. For many years, Karnataka chief ministers refused to visit Chamarajanagar, a town on the state’s border with Tamil Nadu, after a belief took root that visitors will lose their seats. Former chief minister Jagdish Shettar visited the town only at the far end of his term. Uttar Pradesh chief ministers have nursed a similar belief about Noida for years. Kalyan Singh, Ram Prakash Gupta and Rajnath Singh lost their chief minister’s jobs shortly after they happened to have visited Noida. Mulayam Singh Yadav never set foot in the booming town during his 2003-07 tenure. Mayawati also stayed away from Noida during 2007 to 2012, only to go there a few months before the end of her tenure.
Southern politicians are fond of adding letters to their names to numerologically optimise their fortunes. Jayalalitha became Jayalalithaa. Deve Gowda’s son and former Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy became Kumaaraswamy, only to revert to the original spelling later. Former BJP chief minister BS Yeddiyurappa issued an affidavit in October 2007, altering his spelling to Yeddyurappa.
We have history of such incidences, then why Smriti Irani is being attacked in particular? Almost, all the newspapers and TV channels have regular features and programs on astrology. Some Hindi channels were telecasting the news as if she has committed a murder. Is there any constitutional bar or has she officially declared astrology for education system? Astrological forecasts are published on daily basis year after year even in English dailies. Then why to attack on politician, don’t they have their personal life and priorities to live with?