The affable astrologer (1931 – 2020)

Bejan Jehangir Daruwalla was a world-renowned astrologer and prophesier was revered by many. Born into an Ahmedabadi Parsi family, he became a professor of English. His passion for reading, made him study astrology. He later moved to Mumbai.

Exuberant, gregarious, affable, imbibed with a fantastic sense of humour and not averse to using invectives, his jolly nature and easy accessibility won all hearts. His life mantra being, Live, love and be happy, his voice boomed Shree Ganeshaya Namah! on the phone. Five feet tall and weighing 200 pounds, there was nothing athletic about Bejan. But his girth matched his mirth. He would not lose any opportunity to talk about his days as Ahmedabad’s 100-metre sprint champion and of when he played cricket and hockey for the varsity and his interests in poetry and literature.

Though a practicing Zoroastrian, he was a self-professed Ganesha devotee. An astrology columnist for many newspapers, a generation was hooked to his Ganesha Says column. A host on various television channel shows, his psychic reading won him accolades and awards throughout the world. In fact, he is acknowledged as one of the 100 great astrologers in the last 1000 years in The Millennium Book of Prophecy, published by Harper Collins, U.S.A

As the common man’s astrologer, he made the subject so relatable and accessible that it became popular, without him being a people-pleaser. He made so-called futuristic predictions, and naturally gifted with a spectacular intuitive prowess, he listened to and relied on his inner voice, and sought Ganesha’s blessings to foresee and predict.

He used to predict on political developments, cricket, film industry and film stars, through various techniques/ divination practices which included a combination of the principles of Vedic Hindu and Western astrology, I-Ching, Tarot card reading, Numerology, the Kabalah, Hastha Rekha Shastra and even Palmistry to make accurate predictions, many swore by. He also often predicted stock market fluctuations.

Among forecasts, he is credited with the victories of several Indian Prime Ministers like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Morarji Desai and Narendra Modi. He even apparently predicted the assassination of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, Sanjay Gandhi’s plane accident and the Bhopal gas tragedy, the Gujarat earthquake, etc. A few days before his passing, he had predicted India, despite its poverty and joblessness, would rise like a phoenix and emerge as a superpower.

On astrology, Daruwalla emphasised that intuition is the key. He summed up his general approach and technique of making predictions. 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 had his detractors too. If being forthright was an important part of Daruwala’s legacy, some aspects of his legacy were uncomfortable. His critics argued that one needed to differentiate between astrology, which is a pseudo-science, and astrophysics. His legacy included a celebration of the irrational. Even under basic scientific scrutiny, astrology does not hold any scientific merit.

Bejan died nearing 90 years. His family denied the rumours that he was Corona positive, but said he had pneumonia and lung infections and was on ventilator support. Death, even after a materially rewarding life, is a tragedy. He had always wished to be given a grand farewell. Unfortunately, the lockdown denied him that. He is survived by two sons, Nastur(also an astrologer) and Fardun, and a daughter Nazeen.

A. Radhakrishnan

A. Radhakrishnan is a Pune based freelance writer, poet and short story writer.