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Saturday 4 July 2020

Bejan Daruwalla, pop astrologer, dies ‘not of COVID’

The soothsayer was suffering from pneumonia, his son Nastur told the press, and had never contracted the coronavirus disease

Popular astrologer running arguably the most famous newspaper column on the subject, Bejan Daruwalla died at a private hospital in Ahmedabad on Friday evening at the age of 89. His son Nastur Daruwalla denied the speculation on social media that his father had contracted coronavirus.

Daruwalla was suffering from only pneumonia, the son said. The Apollo Hospital in the city confirmed that Daruwalla died during treatment.

“Saddened by the demise of renowned Astrologer Shri Bejan Daruwalla. I pray for the departed soul. My condolences. Om Shanti….,” tweeted Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani.

An astrologer born to a Parsi family, Bejan Daruwalla wore his devotion for Lord Ganesha on his sleeve. He had once said his whole family was into astrology.

The website he ran said Daruwalla was once asked by the Dalai Lama to put his hand on the Tibetan spiritual leader’s head at the India International Centre in Delhi.

Bejan Daruwalla obituary

Among his most famous predictions is the one about Narendra Modi beating the competition hands down to “win the game”. He made the prophecy just before the 2014 Lok Sabha election.

“Narendra Modi’s Moon and Mars are together. Moon is for popularity and Mars is for energy. The combination of two makes him a winning material. For all these reasons, Narendra Modi will win the game,” was his prediction ahead of the polls.

At the same time, the popularity of Bejan Daruwalla’s column (initially on the last page of The Times of India and later in its coloured supplements while the rest of the broadsheet was still in black-and-white) made regular, professional astrologers scoff at his version of astrology that, like Western astrology, made daily predictions based on sun signs — not the most reliable index of one’s character or future according to Vedic astrology.

“First of all, if the person is there I look at him and get vibrations. Secondly, the time the person comes is important. Thirdly, what type of day is it? Good, bad or indifferent? Fourth, lines on the palm. Fifth, the Indian horoscope and lastly, the western horoscope. So all this goes into a computer called the brain. And after that I look at Ganesha and make a prediction,” Bejan would say about his technique.

While it is considered difficult, if not impossible, to predict the fate of nations and nature rather than that of an individual, Bejan predicted with accuracy not only the prime ministership of Modi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Morarji Desai, Indira Gandhi’s assassination and Sanjay Gandhi’s death before that, but also the Gujarat earthquake of 2001.

Bejan was once a professor of the English language in Ahmedabad.

He thought his name was a misnomer. He would quip, referring to the fact that he was a teetotaller, “I should have been named Jaandaar Be-Daruwalla.”

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