1990 - A YEAR OF FANATISM & UNSCIENTIFIC APPROACH

B.Premanand

While the politicians and the bureaucracy advise the people to cultivate scientific temper, here are a few instances of politicians, scientists, the government and the judiciary practising Scientific Temper.

1990 was a year of hope for the Skeptics, but it was also a sudden explosion of religious fundamentalism and unscientific approach. A year of conferences and workshops in Occult sciences(?) starting from astrology, psychic phenomena, alternative medicine, holistic treatment and what not, all sponsored and chaired by the government and ministers and scientists! Also for the first time a god-woman held Dharna before the Prime Minister's residence to save her from the Skeptics.

Starting with the general election in November 1989, it was a prosperous year for the occult sciences(?). For the first time since 1952 the Congress party launched its poll campaign without releasing its manifesto. Though it was to be released on 3rd, it was cancelled as the stars were not favourable on 3rd and the astrologers advised the release on Monday. With all these precautions, Congress failed in the election.

Starting with Yajnas and propitiating gods and goddesses, the ruling party forgot the people who had voted them to power and went behind godmen. The result? An alternate government came into power with V.P. Singh as the Prime Minister formed with the help of the leftists on one side and the fundamentalists on the other!

While predicting about the election results, many of the astrologers felt that congress I will come back to power with absolute majority.

Some said that though Rajiv will return to power the number of states under non-congress government will increase.

Some 101 litres of milk being poured over a model of Gobardhan mountain made out of cowdung last week by Mr. K. Natwar Singh, minister of state for external affairs, in his new constituency of Mathura. Mrs. Singh is seen lending a hand. - UNI (Times of India, 6-11-1989.)

Jagjit Uppal of Bombay predicted that it would be difficult to state numerically about the kind of majority Rajiv will get, but he is sure to come to power again. The horoscope of Rajiv shows a favourable placing of stars!

Harikrishna Yagnik opined that there seems to be some controversy on the Kundali of our Prime Minister. But whatever the differences, since Jupiter is strong, Rajiv will prove to be victorious.

Raghuvir Vyas predicted that Rajiv can't be out voted till 1994.

But the street astrologer of Bombay said that the corruption charges against our Prime Minister are too many in number to be forgotten even by the commonest of the common men.

The Delhi based astrologer said that the Congress I would get about 130-140 seats. Rajiv Gandhi is on his way out. The ruling party will fail because Uranus and Neptune are degree to degree in conjunction. The national front, with support from the Communist parties will be able to muster about 270 seats.

But none predicted that the opposition party Government would come to power with the help of the left parties and Hindu fundamentalists! And the Hindu fundamentalists would bring down the government.

In the book titled "Astrology and the Hoax of Scientific Temper" by Mrs. Gayatri Devi Vasudev, daughter of B.V. Raman, believed to be the doyen of Indian Astrology concludes as follows:

"The mere fact a prediction is not fulfilled is no argument against astrology. Do you call medicine a fraud because hundreds of patients die all over the country inspite of life saving drugs? Do you denounce engineering because bridges and buildings not only collapse but also kill thousands of people?"

"Every profession has its quota of cheats and quacks and incompetents but you do not denounce the science they profess to practice. The impalatable truth is astrology is the only science which is judged by its failures while all other sciences are assessed by their successes. Bias and partiality have no place in science. Yet some men of science display both traits in ample measure when decrying astrology."

It is her ignorance of the subject which makes her compare the efficacy of medicines and engineering skills with treatment and the collapse of the buildings and bridges.

When the bridges or buildings collapse it is not the fault of the engineering techniques, but the fault of the spurious materials used and incorrect quantity. In astrology the predictions of each astrologer is contrary to the other, while obviously there can only be two answers, "Yes" or "No" in predictions. Moreover there cannot be different systems of astrology each contradicting the other if it is to be a science and the results should be the same to all astrologers.

It would be wonderful if each so called astrologer makes a list of who is the cheat and who is competent amongst them. Each astrologer calls the other incompetent, a quack and a cheat. The astrologers association would do well if they publish a directory of the competent astrologers. There is also not a single astrologer who does not author the astrological column in the news papers including B.V.Raman. nor have any one come forward with the research papers to prove that astrology is a science!

The Indian Government and the scientists sponsored "ATHIRATHRA SOMAYAGA" for prosperity and well being of the people of the world in May 1990. This yaga did not reduce the suffering of the people while on the other side we saw mass hysteria created by the fundamentalists causing billions of rupees worth destruction to the properties, murders, and fights. The situation in the border areas increased and the economy of the country was shattered.

In the Indian Express of 7.8.1987 a PTI news appeared under title "Predictions come true". This was a reply by S.K. Kelkar to A.S. Mithra who had refuted his predictions under title "Incorrect Preditions". IN DEFENCE OF ASTROLOGY (Courtesy: The Afternoon Despatch & Courier, May 11, 1987).

I may invite attention to the letter of Mr. A.S.Mitra of Goregaon published in The Afternoon Despatch & Courier, May 11, 1987 along with my photograph under the caption "Incorrect Predictions."

Mr. Mitra has criticised my prediction about S.B. Chavan at that time. The prediction came true later on, but Mr. Mitra did not rise to the occasion and appreciate it.

The second instance was the prediction in the Diwali issue of Grahankit, Pune, when the present PM of India resigned as defence minister, when news of the Bofors scandal broke out.

It was hinted therein, that the then ruling congress would break up. This has proved true. The Congress-I could hardly secure 200 seats in the Lok Sabha. Mr. Mohd. Iqbal's letter is also incorrect. Both of them should read what I had said earlier.

What I wish to bring to your notice is that it has become a fashion among a section of intelligent people to criticise the science of foreknowledge and astrology. The media should be alert to criticise. If predictions are proved false and be quick to appreciate when predictions prove to be correct.

Whether I deserve a doctorate in astrology is not the concern of the common man. The concerned institutions will check the genuineness or other wise.

S.K. Kelkar, 983/a, Shukrawar Peth, A-24, Saras Nagar, Opp. Nehru Stadium, Poona 411 002. Dec.7.

It is natural that one candidate would win at a time or fail at the other time. When the candidate S.B. Chavan failed when it was predicted that he would win, the prediction is wrong.

For the other prediction, just read his exact wording of his prediction:

"It was hinted therein, that the ruling Congress would break up."

What is the meaning of break up? Does it mean that they would fail in the election? Moreover the "break up" prediction was made when the Bofors scandal broke up.

Break up means that Congress I would become two and not fail in the election. This is how the astrologers predict. They give vague predictions which does not mean anything definite and interpret them to prove that their predictions were correct!

There was another article in Illustrated weekly of India, dated July 22, 1990:

CRY, THE BELOVED COUNTRY...

Vinod Pande, as anyone even remotely familiar with political trivia knows, is that species of unique cabinet secretary who slips in astrological predictions along with the Top Secret files and determines the planetary positions conducive to V.P. Singh's every action. These days, however, the bureaucrat abandoned Rajasaab's concerns for those of a far more important entity - the motherland. Private Eye learns that a couple of weeks ago, Pande dropped everything to chart out the horoscope of the country and devise a solution (strictly astral, of course) to its many ills. Task over, the patrika was handed over to the cabinet which then had a serious discussion on it. The outcome, of course, remains a State secret, but Private Eye is eagerly awaiting the day when one will be called upon to spell India with a double A.

On 4.11.1990 Sunday Mail carried the following article:

'EVIL SPIRITS' AT RACE COURSE:

The reluctance of the Prime Minister to move into his official 7, Race Course residence has given rise to considerable speculation.

It is believed that Chandra Shekhar has been told by his astrologers and tantriks, including Chandraswamy, that the official residence has become the abode of evil spirits and that he should move in only after it has been purified. The grapewine has it that Chandraswamy, who has suddenly emerged as a powerful adviser to the Prime Minister, at least on religious matters, is busy gathering the required samagri to carry out the purification.

The other speculation, originating obviously from the opposition camp, is that the Prime Minister progmatic as he is, if fully aware that given the present political scenario, he may not be able to hold on to the office for long. It will be prudent for him, therefore, to remain where he is till he is certain that he will survive at least a term.

LUKCY NUMBER:

Prime Minister V.P. Singh seems to have a fascination for the number 7. Does he think that it is lucky? Or has some crystal-gazer or tantrik advised him about his beneficial effects.

When the date for the special session of Parliament was mooted V.P.Singh said that it be held on November 7. And advised the President accordingly. Now that there is talk of a snap election, he is reported to be keen on having it on, you guessed it, January 7, 9 and 11. It seems that, V.P. Singh wants the process to be set in motion on that auspicious day.

It is not clear on whose advice he has picked up this number. One name being mentioned in this connection is that of Vinod Pande, who is also a numerologist.

The Scientists are not different. The following is the news published by Kerala Kaumudi dated 22.1.1990:

Kozhikode, 21.1.1990: To get out of bad time due to Rahu Kalam, the inauguration of the Lal Bahadur Shastry Centre for Science & Technology was inaugurated before 4.30 p.m.

Though the function was fixed at 4 p.m. the ministers arrived late and so the function started only at 4.15 p.m.

The scientists and the doctors of the Centre became panicky fearing that the minister would go on lecturing beyond 4.30 p.m. So they approached the Chairman of the function about Rahu Kalam and the two ministers wound up their lectures and inaugurated the Science & Technology centre and Computer Centre before 4.30 p.m.

Another instance is of a Scientist of the Atomic Energy Centre of Bombay, Mr. Gangadharan who conducted a THULABHARAM" with Kurunthotti (a herbal root for rheumatic complaints) at Guruvayur temple. He was suffering from spondylitis for several years and was directed by the Cardiologist of the Atomic Energy Hospital to vow to Guruvayurappan. 65 kg. roots were necessary for the ritual.

Inaugurating a five day seminar cum workshop on "Medical systems with a holistic approach" on 10th December the Health Minister advocated the use of alternative forms of medicine which he claimed that the benifits of such forms of medicine should be widely publicised all over the world.

He said that there was an immediate need to give these systems a try since they take into account, not only the body, mind and the soul but also the environment on which a patient lives!

Allopathy had not really offered a cure for many diseases and allergies and the side-effects were also frightening, he said. He hoped that physicians of all - hues of alternative forms of medicine pooled their knowledge so that the best from each could result in the formation of a new system. He also wanted an anthology of the various systems of holistic medicine made available in educational system.

There are laws against practising of Magical remedies and the following news in Times of India dated 30.1.1990 see how the law enforcement department works:

IPS officer Chandrabhanu Satpathy experimenting with a youth inside his pyramid which he claims produce cosmic energy to cure many illnesses like hypertension, Insomnia and also helps plante grow.

PYRAMIDAL CURE FOR NEUROSIS:

New Delhi, January 29(PTI): Taking a cue from ancient Egyptians who preserved the bodies of their kings and treasures in pyramids, a senior IPS Officer has developed a device which he claims can help cure ailments like hypertension and insomnia as also stimulate the growth of plants.

The "Cosmic" energy produced inside his pyramid could cure patients suffering from hypertension, insomnia (sleeplessness), psychoneurotic and many physical ailments. The police officer, Mr. Chandrabhanu Satpathy, now working as additional commissioner (Security) in the civil aviation ministry here said.

Mr. Satpathy, who has been dabbling in astrology and occult sciences for about two decades, said he conducted experiments by developing a "model" pyramid here and the results in curing mental and physical disorders were "phenomenal."

Mr. Satpathy told PTI that the 1.8 metre high pyramid, made up of nikelite - a translucent substance with appropriate mathematical proportions, generates an energy field at a certain height from the apex of the structure.

The model pyramid is angled at 56 degrees, facing north-south cardinal points. Patients enter it through a "trap" door.

Mr. Satpathy said a number of patients had shown "positive" improvement after spending 20 minutes a day in the pyramid for a week or more.

In the process of experiments, it has been found that there is a positive co-relation between "yoga" and the pyramids. He said, a man in yogic position (squatting with both the arms stretched over the knees) creates a triangular form.

The temple personnels are also not free from blame. The Times of India of 30.1.1990 published the following news of PTI:

TEMPLE "HUNDI" FRAUD:

Tirupati (PTI) : Four personnel of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) trust board were arrested during the past two days by CBI-CID sleuths in connection in a hundi meant to deposit only cash and coins.

The accused, including a gold appraiser and three attenders, charged with possessing properties disproportionate to their incomes, were arrested and remanded to judicial custody on Monday.

The deputy superintendent of police (CBI-CID) said that during searches, it was found that the gold appraiser alone was having tangible assets worth Rs.40 lakhs besides some documents pertaining to land, buildings and business houses.

What does this prove? Does this not prove that places of worship are nothing but exploitation of the gullible and the idols, there, can do nothing? On one side these people propagate the powers of the god and on the other side they rob the wealth accumulating in the Hundi Box as they very well know that these gods are puppets in their hands for the exploitation of the gullible believers!

If I am to go on with what has happened in 1990, thousands of pages would not suffice.

With all these problems, it was a good year for skeptics. Sabarimalai Temple authorities confessed that the divine light seen on the evening of 14th January every year was lit by their staff by burning camphor.

The Goddess in Kodungallur (Kerala) who had lost her powers after it was found that small pox had nothing to do with her powers or curse, is in trouble now. She is believed to enjoy vulgar sexy prayers, but in 1990 festival, the Kerala Police arrested the devotees reciting these vulgar sexy prayers.

Lots of godmen were arrested in Maharashtra and the Home department there has issued orders to all police stations that skeptic groups should be given all help by them and also should be protected.

In Bihar a father who had three daughters of marriagable age found an easy way to give dowry for their marriage. He publicised that his youngest daughter is the incarnation of Goddess Subhadra and claimed that she is able to cure all incurable diseases. The suffering ones rushed to the child for a cure and it was not difficult for the father to amass lakhs of rupees for dowry, within a short time. But the patients did not get a cure and they complained to the Police and in the end he was arrested.

In most of the cases of the fraud godmen, the police, ministers, the bureaucracy and the judiciary are their protectors. So no complaints against them sees light. But they now know that if people come together to expose them, no red tapism or non-cooperation of the departments can stop them and they would have to bow down before the peoples power. Even inspite of the fact that the law enforcement department did not take any action against a godman in Gurgaon, Haryana, as the Director General of Police was his accomplice as the Baba had helped him to get the post and the politicians in Haryana and the centre are with him, the whole town of Gurgaon joined together to bust this godman in December 1990.

Indian Express, 1-12-1990:

CONFINEMENT OF WOMAN, DAUGHTER - ARREST OF "GURU" DEMANDED:

New Delhi 30 Nov. 1990.

Cases of keeping two women in illegal confinement and causing serious physical harm to them were registered on Thursday night against a "guru" who used to "cure sick from sector 7 of Gurgaon, and reportedly had several senior government officials and political leaders among his devotees. The case came to light after an irate group of local people rescued a woman and her teenage daughter from his house on Thursday afternoon.

The township was reportedly tense on Friday, with the public demanding the arrest of the fraud guru. Processions were taken out against the guru and the markets closed. The guru was reportedly not in Gurgaon, however.

The so-called guru, one Rajendra Pal Chanana reportedly works for the Land Survey Department in the Ministry of Agriculture. The rescued woman, Mrs. Kanta Choudhary is reportedly the wife of one of the disciples of the guru and had been sent by her husband to pay respects to him with her daughter in July.

When they did not return for a long time, Mrs. Choudhary's parents sent their two sons to go and check them upon on November 26. They found their sister and niece who reportedly complained or corcible confinement and torture. But the disciples of the guru allegedly chased them away before they could rescue the woman and her daughter.

On Thursday, the parents of Mrs. Choudhary landed up at the guru's house with about 25 relatives. A crowd also collected at the place. After much resistance and objections, the disciples of the guru finally relented under the beligerent mood of the public.

The police which arrived on receiving information, dispersed the crowd intent on violence.

Mrs. Choudhary and her daughter were then taken to the SSP Ms. Deepa Mehta. Both reportedly bore marks of beatings and ropes on their persons. They were sent to the Civil Hospital, Gurgaon for medical examination and treatment after their statement had been recorded by a judicial magistrate.

Mrs. Choudhary not being in a condition to give any statement, the daughter, Mamta, narrated the story. She said she had come to the guru with her mother way back on July 29. The guru had not let them leave after that. They were fed something that kept them in a state of semi-consciousness from August 15 till September 18, and they simply did not know what all happened with them in that period.

After this they were kept in separate rooms and further tortured. She said, they were beaten with canes, and burnt with cigarette butts. Mamta and her mother reportedly bore tell-tale marks of the torture.

Cases under Section 323 and 342, for causing serious injury and illegal confinement, were registed.

Meanwhile, the public had started demanding the arrest of the guru. Rallies were taken out against him by various political parties and the markets closed on friday.

Indian Express 12-12-1990.

ON PROMILA DANDAVATE'S COMPLAINT - PROBE TEAM VISITS GURGAON ASHRAM:

Gurgaon, Dec.9: A group of social activists, led by Kanwar Ompal Singh, Sarpanch of Bhondsi village, on tuesday visited the Himgiri Ashram of Mr. R.K. Chanana, an employee of the Soil Survey of India, popularly known as guruji.

The group told the waiting newsmen that "to them there was nothing objectionable in the "ashram" which, in fact, was the private residence of the "guruji" (a shivabhakta) in the densely populated sector 7 of the urban estate, here. The news men also were shown the "ashram" premises to confirm that "even the noise of bird raised inside the ashram can be heard outside on the main road, that divide the 'ashram' and sectors 4 and 7 of the urban estate.

The police made an application to the chief judicial magistrate Virender Singh for the warrants of arrest and interrogation of "guruji" in connection with the FIR of November 28. The police has already recorded statements of the father of the girl, Mr. Naresh Chowdhary of Nainital, the principal of the All Saints College Nainital (where Namita studied) and the doctors of neighbours. The investigation officer, sub inspector Sheesh Ram, interrogated some senior disciples of "guruji" on tuesday.

(to be continued)


The University of Regensburg neither approves nor disapproves of the opinions expressed here. They are solely the responsibility of the person named below.

Gerald_Huber@r.maus.de

Last update: 22 July 1998