In Indian politics, astrology always played an important role right from 15t August 1947. Most of the Indian politicians had their personal astrologers even those politicians who were known for their scientific temperament and analytical mind. They used to behave as totally secular, hating Hindu value system but used to visit Astrologers quite frequently before nomination, before filing papers, before elections and at the time of Oath taking ceremony. In fact timings of nomination, filing papers and Oath taking were decided by Astrologers based on planetary positions for a trouble free political career. This astrological practice in India has gained further momentum with the advancement of science and technology in due course of time. This is totally bizarre thing that how in Indian politics, this Astrological belief got strengthened with increased research and the use of Artificial Intelligence, robotics and Information technology.
In Rajkot, Gujarat a narrow street behind an unremarkable government office leads to a dark two-room house that sees lot of activities. This is where an Astrologer, Pranab Kumar Bhatt receives visitors. That name won’t ring a bell in Rajkot. But mention Guruji and everyone in this town can lead you to his house. The no-nonsense astrologer is patronized by the common man and chief ministers alike.”My doors are open to everyone,” Bhatt adds. Indian politics today, with it’s despite use of social media obsession, excel sheet forecasts and campaign management consultants, and might look immortalized when a galaxy of astrologers and the alignment of planets determine so much. Nearly all of our leading politicians continue to consult astrologers. Timings for special events, décor for residences and office rooms, key aides, cabinet portfolios are all put to astrologers.
Again go back to fifties and sixties, practically all Indian politicians had their very personal astrologers to be called by various myriad names: Guruji, Panditji, Mahatmaji, Maharaj ji, Acharya ji. These surprising characters used to have saffron or orchard robes mostly or sometimes plain white Dhoti Kurta or Payjama Kurta. But one thing was common that these astrologers were simple, available to common people and till those times, 5 star hotel cultures had not make inroads into the lives of Astrologers.
Slowly and gradually, these astrologers seemed to be replaced by Yoga teachers or various shades of Brahmcharis. But the old timer astrologers refused to vacate their positions in the corridor of powers and now these astrologers at least some of them offered Tantra as a solution of all the woes of our politicians. Some of these Tantriks used to take guarantee for the success in elections and a “RICH” money making ministry in the Governments. Sometimes these Tantriks used to advise to politicians to defect to other parties for a better fortune. The Tantrik puja were common sites for their chosen sponsor politicians B.Day, just before elections and just before Government formation. It was quite different that these sponserer used to deride Hinduism and lectured on how to come out from blind beliefs bereft of all scientific explanations.
By now these Tantriks learnt the trick of tradecraft that the astrological predictions were and are most lucrative business. Now these Tantriks themselves became Astrologers and made many predictions about political future of their sponserers. Not only predictions, as a side business, they offered Tantrik Puja to solve all their problems. These Astrologers cum Tantriks now realized their cash rich potential and then were converted into totally family owned Astrologer cum Tantriks solely for the purpose of Politician families. This was the time for two developments to come; first, a common man was a total alien and secondly 5 star hotel culture entered in to their lives, moving in Ferraris, Jaguars and other imported vehicles.
By this time a new trend had started that elections were declared and fought on the advices of Astrologers and based on planetary positions. This group of Astrologers cum Tantriks was mostly of dubious characters. Some of them had criminal cases, had visited jails and convicted in number of cases. Their background had lost all social stigmas and their criminal record had lost the black spot to give them the honor and prestige in the society based on only one statement that these cases were politically motivated by their opponents. Gradually the religious preachers also joined the bandwagon of select favorite group of their sponsor politicians. They also used to arbitrate in the family matters, social issues and acted as reconciliators between warring politician families, political groups or opponents’ parties or settle the issues of party changers as a horse trading.
These Astrogers/Tantriks predictions were so perfected in the times of Social media that their data sheet and predictions were tailored to suit their party future and win in elections and to influence the voters. This new trend had already started to use the views and predictions to mould the public opinion in favor of their sponsored party. These views and predictions were used both ways to enhance the image of their political party and side by side to attack the opposition party. Mostly the enhancements were personal about a personality but the criticism was slanderous in nature about some opposite party member on personal basis. These personal attacks were mixed with all the spices and now public also used to enjoy these personal attacks and feuds, some of them even entered into the opponent leader bedrooms.
The 2014 general elections saw the full blown astrological prediction wars between BJP and others, each had appointed or hired their own Astrologers/Tantriks to eulogize the sponsor party and its leaders, predicted a hands down victory in general elections and a crushing defeat for opposition parties. A particular care was taken that the Win for their sponsor party and defeat to opposition party was predicted by different Panditji. The same game was played by BJP and other parties. Naturally the actual results were shock to one set of Astrologers and other group of Astrologers was thumping their chests. But the most interesting scene was visible in TV discussions; Both groups of Winning/Loosing Astrologers of both main parties justified their predictions. The loosing Astrologers cited certain fine planetary motions as responsible factors for their predictions going haywire. It was observed that these very own astrologers were fine tuning their predictions based on outcome of TV debates and mood of their sponser politicians and TV debates anchors.
Now it was prime time show for astrologers when BJP stated loosing the state by poll elections. Some of these politicians turned hostile and jumped in frying pan of Congress and other opposition parties. As the saying goes that recently turned friend into enemy is more dangerous than original enemy, these Astrologers predicted heavy defeat for BJP and they proved right at the time of results resulting their fee structure was revised and upgraded by various anti BJP parties. They bravely shown their hairy chest on public platforms by exhibiting the fact that the politician won only because of their predictions. They soon declared the doomsday for BJP and its allies. Off course the BJP astrologers were apologetic a lot.
2018 appeared on the scene and hell broke loose as the Astrological and Tantrik world of India, fought and are fighting a Mahabharat war of epic proportion as far as 2019 general elections are concerned. Not to be left behind, Muslim population also woke up to the reality and employed their own “Nazoomis” to predict the crushing defeat to their arch rival “Narendra Damodar Das Modi”. Suddenly all Astrogers/Tantriks/Nazoomis of all shades and colors jumped into the frying pan, mostly predicted hands down victory of BJP. In the recently concluded state elections when BJP was defeated, the very same astrologers were divided into 3 groups. First category sulked and disappeared from arena and public mind, second category were apologetic and begged excuse on the plea that BJP did not perform the particular puja hence defeat in these elections. The third category changed their colors overnight, became Congress supporters and now they are predicting the Congress Handsome victory in 2019 elections based on the weight of envelopes which they got from Congress.
On the basis of Astrological advices, RG moved from one temple to another from one attire to another, sometimes Shiv Bhakta, sometimes Ram Bhakta, and sometimes a Janeudhari Brahmin. It was claimed that Brahminism flows in the Congress veins.
One case of BJP supporter Astrologer is very interesting. First he predicted the victory of BJP in all states but when date of elections was very near his predictions changed to win in all states except Rajasthan where assembly would turn out to be hung. After result, the same astrologer begged excuse from public and held the PM Modi responsible because he did not perform a particular Puja. First the same astrologer was predicting 300 plus seats for BJP in 2019 general elections but after seeing the state results, he changed the tunes that if elections are declared and held on the particular muhurat of particular date, Modi shall PM and as a side gift if not held on particular date, Modi shall not become PM. On other date BJP shall be defeated. All political parties including Communists have hired various shades of Astrologers, Tantriks, Panditji to determine their party and their own fates and to suggest suitable Puja to treat the malefic planets in their kundli and their political lives. They are predicting all sorts of future with all combination and one Panditji went to such an extent that Mayawati shall be PM if she starts to wear a red colored Salwar Kameej. It is expected that various planets have their own preferred colors.
In the end, the question arises, whether these predictions mould and make public opinion. One may think that this is true and impacts only 5-10 % voters, the rest are influenced by Social and financial security, bread and butter that too on Social sites campaign. As the education level is increasing, these Astrological predictions may be a subject in social gatherings but hardly influence the voters and election results. These may influence the public perception in some cases. Let us see which side of Astrologer “Respected Pandit Ji” comes out with smiling face from Party office and Oh yes with a brief case full of currency notes.