Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Police & Astrology: Cowries tell the story

The police station in my native place in Kerala is in the news, but not for reasons connected with policing. It is astrology which has pushed the establishment into the headlines.

Let us briefly see what astrology is. It is different from astronomy. In astrology the positions of celestial bodies are studied with the conviction that they influence happenings on earth generally, and influence individuals as well. Many people believe in this.

I have written about the famous astrologer Mithran Namboothiri and his prophecies in this blog (see: Three predictions.).

One cannot blame the cops of my place for resorting to astrology when they felt that their station had fallen on bad times. Apparently there is nothing prescribed in the police manual to combat such situations.

The problems started after a new station building was opened two years back. It is said that bad omens were visible from day one. Then the problems became severe. Two policemen died. Most of the others suffer from some illness or other, a few almost chronic. The sub Inspectors in charge of the station were transferred frequently. And so on.

Finally the policemen decided to do something about it. It is not clear from the reports whether they obtained permission from the higher authorities in the Department for what they planned to do. Anyway they got an astrologer to the police station. After spreading the cowries and studying the planetary positions, the expert summed up the position.

The serpents were angry. Perhaps it was a place of the reptiles once upon a time. There was Brahmin curse as well. The land on which the station building stood belonged to a temple long ago and then to the Brahmins. When the owners were dispossessed, adequate compensation was not paid to them.

The new building of the station was not designed according to Vaastu, the science of construction. Furthermore, it was inaugurated in the inauspicious month of Kanni, the second one in the year according to the Malayalam calendar (see: Mallus, Happy New Year )

But not to worry. According to the astrologer, there were remedies available. Making offerings and conducting special poojas in certain important temples in atonement would appease the powers that were angry and would restore normalcy to the police station.

I wonder if the policemen noticed one positive point. The astrological calculations did not reveal any wrongdoing by them, such as torturing an innocent or taking bribes from a poor man.

Now the cops would be busy organizing the penance for sins in which they personally had no responsibility. Of course, the people of the locality would have to cooperate with them in this venture.


Gauri Gharpure said...

sir, i am working on an article on old bloggers in india and need to talk to you.. i request you to get in touch at at gauri.gharpure@gmail.com as I cannot find your email listed here on the blog..

perumalythoma said...

Your blog is, always, so very unpredictable in its choice of topics.
I take it that you believe. Am I right?
As for me, I don't know.

Many years ago, my father was having his whiskey with an old friend.
I was walking past them when this happened.
His friend suddenly, noticed something about my father's palm.
He took my dad's hand, which I remember, was still holding a cigarette.
I don't know whether it was inherent stupidity or the loosening effects of the happy amber which made him say what he did then.
"Varkichcha, you have just 5 years to live!"

My dad laughed that loud, boisterous laugh of his.
I was very, very upset with the entire episode.
Prudence prevented me from sharing it with my mother.
My father, I am sure, would promptly have discarded it from his mind.
But I could never thrust it out of mine.
And this dogged me for 4 years.

By when my father was diagnosed with cancer.
And a year later, he passed on.
Relatively young.

Now, I don't know whether to believe palmistry, or not to.
But I have this one request of those who can see the future.
If your pronouncing it can't change what is to come, keep your gob shut.

Murali RamaVarma said...

Interesting article!

Abraham Tharakan said...

Gauri Gharpure, have sent you an email.

Abraham Tharakan said...

perumalythoma, it is not a question of believing in astrology or not. One observes certain things, and sometimes detect a pattern.

People do have intuition, in varying degrees. Some develop it and their predictions may or may not prove true. For instance, this friend of your father might have said so many things which did not happen. We don't remember those.

In my opinion it is better not to give much importance to such things.

I agree with you. People should not come out with negative statements like your father's friend did.

Abraham Tharakan said...

Murali RamaVarma, thank you for the comment.

Ashvin said...



:). Very enjoyable piece.
I am reminded of the old joke about a man going to an astrologer who told him that the next five years would be bad ones for him. The man was not unnaturally upset, but he recovered enough to ask, "And after that?"
The astrologer replied, "After that, you will get used to it."

Abraham Tharakan said...

Thank you Ashvin.

Abraham Tharakan said...

That's a good one, Raji.

Kariyachan said...

I think Astrology is more scientific than to be considered intutive. Probably developed through centuries of human observation..!

Abraham Tharakan said...

Kariyachan, I think there is a big debate going on about the subject.