Rationalist Dr Narendra Nayak is at perpetual war with obscurantist trends in the society. Astrologers, crystal ball gazers and godmen have all have taken the brunt of his fury He has now challenged the community of astrologers in the country to predict the results of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections and take away an award of Rs10 lakh. Narendra Nayak spoke to M Raghuram on what made him pose the challenge to the astrologers.
If the astrologers were not able to predict the oncoming recession and its effects how will they be able to predict the outcome of elections?
It is a big con game. They cannot predict anything. Why they failed to predict the recession was because they just can’t read the future. The entire industry of astrology is a process of ‘cold reading’. They prey on the fear of the unknown in the minds of people. Only insecure people visit the astrologers including film stars, politicians, cricketers and other famous or infamous men and women. But there is nothing in astrology that helps the astrologers to take up prediction of highly complicated issues like economic recession or global events that affect a large number of people.
Has there been any reaction from the astrologers’ community to your challenge?
Yes. But astrologers do not themselves stick their necks out. There are a few of their cronies like businessmen, racketeers, and other undesirable elements who speak out for their ‘gurus’. They did call me and issued veiled threats after I put out that challenge. Any way, this is not the first time. When I put out the same challenge during earlier elections one astrologer had predicted my death or grievous injury. Later I found out that my two-wheeler’s brake cable had been sawed up not once but twice. I am sure it is the handiwork of the henchmen of that astrologer to prove his guru right.
What do you want to prove?
I want to prove that there is not a thing such as scientific astrology. There is no methodology, no evidence or no hypotheses. There are just claims, which is what makes my challenge stronger. There is nobody in the astrology community who can rise and prove that I am wrong.
Do you think this reward model will be a big draw?
I am sure of it, I am putting out the entire fortune I had earned as a teacher on stake. I have invested my PF and gratuity earnings from my previous employment. If there is even one accurate (10% error margin) prediction on elections from any astrologer I will gladly lose the stake money and for the rest of my life I will be singing paeans in praise of that astrologer on the roads. With my money gone, I will not have anything else to do but that. But there has been no participation or counter-challenge from the astrologer community. With the results less than a week away I hope there will be at least one astrologer who will stand up.