Published: 16th May 2019
My prophecy will come true on May 23: MP Astrology lecturer suspended for predicting BJP win
Rajeshwar Shastri Musalgaonkar was the head of Sanskrit, Vedas and Astrology at Vikram University, Ujjain. He was suspended on May 2
On May 2, Madhya Pradesh's Vikram University suspended a lecturer who had predicted the outcome of the general elections 2019. Rajeshwar Shastri Musalgaonkar, who was the head of the Sanskrit, Vedas and Astrology departments of the university had predicted that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA will come to power by winning over 300 seats.
Following his prediction, the Youth Congress had written a complaint to the Election Commissioner saying that Musalgaonkar had violated the Model Code of Conduct. This led to a series of events that ended in him being suspended from the university. 54-year-old Musalgaonkar, who's been a lecturer in the university for the past 12 years, views this as an unjust attempt to curb the freedom of speech of expression. "In this country, you have students in universities like JNU, going around and saying that they'd divide the country into pieces. Others want to beat up their peers and proclaim it openly. But a trained astrologer like me cannot do his job here. Is this just?" he asks.
A few days after his suspension, Edex reached out to Musalgaonkar to discuss the issue and to understand his stance on the freedom of speech and expression in the current political scenario. Excerpts from the conversation:
What were the events that led to your suspension?
On April 28, my Astrology students and I had a discussion on if astrology can predict the election outcomes. So, looking at the alignment of the planets and stars, I had calculated that there are chances that NDA will get a majority and that the BJP will come to power this time. I had posted the same on Facebook. Following this, somebody had written a letter to the Election Commissioner and the Ujjain District Collector saying that I had violated the election norms. On April 29, I was questioned by the Higher Education Department on these grounds. So, I deleted the post and had instead posted a status seeking an apology. Even after that, I got a call from the Superintendent of Police to make a statement. Later, the University Vice Chancellor also asked me for an explanation, after which I was suspended.
Do you believe that you have done anything wrong here?
Not at all. I just wrote that the BJP will get around 300 seats. This is a mere prediction. I'm apolitical. This is not against any person or party. It was just a statement. I also issued an apology. Nevertheless, the University's VC was asked to take disciplinary action against me, on instruction from the collector and the District Commissioner. Hence, I was suspended.
Do you think that the university's decision was just?
Anyone can see the injustice here. I'm sure that you feel the same about it too. Whatever happened was not fair, neither to me, nor to the other astrologers in this country. A weather forecaster will predict the weather because that is his job. Similarly, I did my job. An astrologer's job is to make predictions. We do it on the basis of assumptions. However, I'm no Brahma to make accurate predictions all the time. But, I just calculated the outcome because my students asked me to do so. I had no idea that it was doing the rounds on Facebook.
Are you moving legally against the university?
I'm not moving legally. The University being an autonomous body should have thought before this. Ours is an autonomous body. If the VC thinks that I must be suspended, what else can I do here?
Was the university's decision politically motivated? How would have things gone, if the previous Shivraj Singh Chouhan government was in power and if you had predicted a victory for the Congress?
Any government can do this. I don't know if this move is politically motivated, but it is possible since the state is ruled by Congress and I made a prediction in BJP's favour. The horse (the government) remains the same, but the equestrian (ruling party) differs. Their consciousness decides the horse's path. All that being said, whatever happened to me was very unfortunate.
Have you thought anything about your future plans? Do you plan to continue your career in academics in a different institution?
Who will hire me? No university would want to hire a faculty who got suspended. But one day, they'll realise that I was right and they'll call me back. My prophecy will come true on May 23. Let us see what happens then.