A popular Kannada television channel is telecasting a self proclaimed astrologer Sachidananda Babu Guruji, who gives out predictions like these:
“For Kumbha Rashi [Aquarius] people, three to six months after marriage, there is a danger of being raped, or possibility of being raped by husband’s elder brother or younger brother…
“For Makara Rashi [Capricorn], between the age of 8 and 12, there is a possibility of rape, or a possibility of being raped by parents and colleagues.
For Meena Rashi [Pisces], there may be an attempt of rape by the neighbour woman’s husband.
For Dhanuss Rashi [Sagittarius], there is a possibility of getting raped between the ages of 60 to 64.
For Vrishabha Rashi [Taurus], possibility of being raped between the age of 12 and 16.”
Unbelievably, he then gives this rape “advice” to women and children on national television:
“Recite a mantra. Om kreem kreem kreem kaalike kleem kleem kleem sarva shatru naaam prahaar bhanjaya maaraya vispotaya, kleem kleem kleem, kreem kreem kreem phat. The rapist will run away. Write the mantra in red letters on a white paper and hold it tightly along with turmeric and Vibhuthi in your hands during attempted rape. Take turmeric and Vibhuthi and apply on the rapist. He will collapse or will run away scared.”
Well. That certainly answers some burning questions, as Nandakumar notes wryly:
What kinds of children are affected by rape? What kinds of women are prone to rape?
She then asks some very good questions:
A programme like this gets telecast and no responsible person in power opens his mouth to say a thing! Is this our culture? …Neither the channel nor the fraud astrologer has any idea of the extremely dangerous repercussions of such programmes… Why are they silent?”
…[S]uch astrology programmes are not designed by the channels but are paid commercial slots purchased at very high price by the astrologers… . The channels never bother to find out the credibility of the so-called astrologers or their predictions.
Nandakumar’s column is an excellent example of skepticism as a tool for social progress. She includes a scientific study of astrologers that found that:
…astrologers did not even agree with one another’s predictions, let alone make accurate predictions, even though they were using the same methods and systems to arrive at their conclusions.
And rightly labels a “rape horoscope” as:
…an absolutely inhuman act.
If his rape horoscopes don’t scare you, the astrologer informs us on his website that he’s a famous scientist:
Guruji B Sachidananda Babu – the most well known name in the field of astrology, spirituality and allied science. In his home state. Karnataka, he is a household name and a favourite…
His other areas of interest are psychic and holistic healing of mental and physical ailments… His obsession is Medical Astrology i.e. trying to analyze disease from a horoscope.
Sure, why pay thousands to doctors and endure stressful testing, when for a mere $250, you can be diagnosed with a simple email?
Last month, Anisha Sheth at The News Minute also asked a very good question, “What are astrology shows doing on news channels?”
Kannada news channels have a host of shows and according to journalists, these shows are the ones that get watched the most and get the highest ratings.
She describes astrology programs shown by “three of the most widely watched news channels in the state,” such as
Brahmanda Bhandara …produced by, news and current affairs Kannada channel Public TV…
TV 9’s Shri Sachidananda Babu Guriji [the “scientist” who gives rape horoscopes] is the avuncular type of astrologer, giving advice, as though it was a complex mathematical problem that he was explaining…[T]he episode list on TV 9 Kannada’s YouTube channel has the following topics: infertility, …accidents and eye surgery, …children who are “dull” in studies, how to own a house…
Suvarna News 24×7 Jathala Phala… an astrologer spells out the future of callers who tell the anchor their birth date…
Sheth reports that:
According to senior journalist and editor of media watch website The Hoot Sevanti Ninan, ‘astrology shows… [are] a violation of the norms… There is nothing to stop the ministry from tightening up on channels… It chooses not to enforce the rules…’
The major daily newspaper The Hindu, which has challenged the prevalence of astrology in India on numerous occasions, reported today about the problem of astrology infomercials:
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday pulled up the Information and Broadcasting Ministry for failing to regulate astrology-based shows on television… During the hearing, the ministry submitted that it had taken action against several advertisements…[which] made unsubstantiated claims…
The hearing was prompted by a plea filed by an NGO concerned that a
…huge amount of money is changing hands, and the physical and mental well-being of citizens is at stake.
Hope someone’s listening.