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Superstition and Politics

| by Heena Nanda

( May 4, 2014, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) If you see a long queue of politicians delighting gods and goddesses at the temples, don’t get surprised as its the elction time.

In India, elections and superstitions always go hand in hand. Many ministers do not eat, travel or hold meetings unless their celestial minders tell the moment is favourable for them. They perform havan or even dust down cosmic calendars honing the position of the stars, trying desperately to win elections. For instance, some newly elected leaders take the oath of office on auspicious days and at the time chosen by their astrologers. Ministers select their rooms in the Secretariat after conducting due diligence of the rooms’ as per the instructions by their astrologers.

Jayaram Jayalalitha, reportedly locked herself up in her New Delhi hotel room refusing to meet anyone as the moon was in its inauspicious eighth house. She even gave the letter of withdrawal of her party's support to the government after 9 a.m. but before 10 a.m. once the inauspicious period had ended. Indira Gandhi and her son Rajiv, have been among the most willing persons to fall into the trap of supersition. Rajiv who was dismissive of astrologers before joining politics, travelled across the country visiting influential holy men when he was up for re-election in 1989. Misbelieve is such to an extent that several of Indira Gandhi's supporters claim that she was assassinated by her bodyguards because she did not take the necessary precautions recommended by her astrologer.

A universal practice

The contenders for Lok Sabha seats in Goa waited for the most auspicious day, March 25, to file their nominations. In Bareilly, the most suitable day to submit nomination papers was on March 24 decided by astrologers. In Tamil Nadu, the most auspicious planetary confluence is on April 1. All candidates of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) for the 39 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state filed their nominations that day.

Film star-turned-politician Raj Babbar who was advised by a priest to submit his papers before 1pm on March 22, could not do so and had to miss the auspicious moment. He reached the Ghaziabad before the time after attending havan ceremony but had to wait till 2 pm because of the long queue. I think he still must be regreting of not doing what his astrologer asked him to do so.

The story of blind faith does not end here. Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav filled his swimming pool with mud. There are reports that it was done as per ‘Vastu Shastra’. In another case, number 13 is like an obsession of Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundaraje. She took oath on December 13 at 13:13 hours, her residential address is 13 Civil Lines. Though 8 Civil Lines of the provincial capital Jaipur is the designated official residence of the state chief minister, she has chosen to stay at Number 13.

J.Jayalalithaa ordered all 40 candidates from her party in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry to file nominations between 1.40 p.m. and 3 p.m. on April 1. Her astrologer has given her clear instruction that dark colours are lucky for her making her wardrobe full of maroon and navy blue. Even her helicopter is maroon.

This is the height of spirituality followed by our future-shaping politicians. But there are few Indian politicians, who irrespective of their political affiliations have no strings with astrologers, palmists or numerologists.