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The late Daruwalla

By Nehru Odeh

His companions were the stars and planets that he reads with the precision of a marksman. Little wonder Bollywood stars and filmmakers never released their films until they had consulted him to know the appropriate time. Yet he became more famous for predicting not only the assassination of India’s former Prime Minster. Indira Gandhi, but also the election of Narendra Modi as India’s number one citizen.

However Bejan Daruwalla, aka Bollywood’s famous astrologer has died on Friday 29 April 2020, having succumbed to a lung infection. Last week Daruwalla was put on a ventilator at a private hospital in Ahmedabad after he complained of breathing difficulties’. When the news of his death broke media reports suggested that he had died from complications resulting from coronavirus. But his astrologer son, Nastur, however, denied the rumours, saying that he had been suffering from pneumonia and lung infection.

However the intriguing thing about this India’s most popular astrologer, who would have turned 90 in July, is that he was literally a cat with nine lives, having survived many near death experiences in the past.

Still, his long-time friend, Mark Manuel, had raised fears about his imminent demise when he posted on his Facebook page on Thursday, 28 May that he was on a ventilator in an intensive care unit at a private hospital in Ahmedabad. “His ageing body, hooked onto life support systems, now shutting down,” he said, calling for prayers.

“My friend Bejan Daruwalla, India’s most popular if not greatest astrologer, is struggling for life in Covid-19 Ahmedabad. His son Nastur called me in tears. Giving me this terrible news yesterday and leaving me emotionally shattered. Pneumonia has done Bejan in, not Coronavirus. Putting him in hospital. In the ICU. On a ventilator. His ageing body, hooked onto life support systems, now shutting down. Reluctant to go into battle for Bejan one last time. But the mind refuses to give up. The doctors have given a grim prognosis. This for a man who with Lord Ganesh’s grace, has been scanning the Universe, reading the Planets, and making a fortune with astonishing predictions based on Vedic and Western astrology, the Tarot cards, I-Ching, the Hebrew Kabbalah, Palmistry, and some good old hocus pocus.

“Prayers are being said for Bejan today. He’s a practicing Zoroastrian, he goes to the agiary, and he ties the Parsi sadra and kusti. So there will be the prayers of his faith. But all his life, and God bless he will be 90 in July, Bejan got his assurance and strength from Lord Ganesh. So Ahmedabad will invoke the mercy of Ganpati, the ultimate God of Blessings and Remover of Obstacles, to be at Bejan’s side.

“A Catholic priest came and blessed him yesterday. Muslims are calling out to Allah with duas for Bejan in their namaz at home. Reinforcing the oneness and omnipresence of God. It is believed when two or more people pray for something, the Almighty always hears. I hope this is true. I want Him to listen to our prayers. Bejan is in my thoughts. I love him to death. I would make friends with the Devil if it got another innings of life for him.

“I have known Bejan since 1984. The year he famously predicted the assassination of Indira Gandhi and the Bhopal gas tragedy. And over 36 years, I have met him on his birthday always, and each time he came to Mumbai to promote his book of annual forecasts.

“After 80, his health began failing. He always had asthmatic lungs. But then he developed diabetes, got a pacemaker, became wheelchair bound and dependent on an attendant, the body unable to keep up with the mind that was in overdrive.

“Last April he suffered a stroke. For one month he was in Ahmedabad’s Apollo Hospital where he is today. He survived, came to Mumbai in September and told me, “By Ganesha’s grace, I am alive and kicking, the mind is zabardast, but now I got this…” And he vigorously shook the plastic urine pouch attached to his bladder by a tube. “What happened?” I asked him. And Bejan Daruwalla said, “I almost died. But fairies looked after me.” I hope they are with him today…”

Born 11 July 1931, Daruwalla once served as a professor of English in Ahmedabad. Despite being of Parsi heritage, he was known to be an ardent follower of Lord Shri Ganesh. He was actively involved in learning and practising astrology and has not only  changed the lives of many but had also earned the trust and won the hearts of millions of people across the globe through his detailed analysis of planetary positions and predicting its effects on the world.

Daruwalla had a very unique way 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,” he was once quoted as saying.