In a tragic incident, a prediction made by an astrologer in the southern Indian state of Karnataka led to the death of a woman.
On Friday, Nov. 13, 25-year-old Ashwini died by suicide after being allegedly harassed by her husband and his family member who were made to believe by an astrologer that she won’t be able to conceive.
According to police reports, Ashwini got married to Yuvraj in February this year. When the woman was unable to conceive after a few months into her marriage, the family consulted an astrologer.
The state local police have arrested the husband.
While many reject astrology as superstition, practitioners claim that it is a complex science based on the positioning of the moon and other planets and their impact on various zodiac signs.
Millions of Indians rely on astrology while fixing dates of important events such as weddings, buying property and inaugurating offices and deciding names of their children. People also have family astrologers akin to family physicians who help them understand why they are facing issues in relationships or career and what would be the best time to invest in the stock market.
The astrology market in India is estimated to be worth $3 billion with online astrology being one of the fastest growing businesses globally.
In many parts of the country, astrologers advise their clients to wear “precious stones” which will bring them good fortune and keep evil forces away.
Until animal rights activists launched a crackdown on them, India also had a tradition of parrot astrology—a form of tarot reading using trained parakeets to draw a card from the deck.
This isn’t the first time people’s blind faith in occult sciences has resulted in a tragedy. In 2016, an Indian family consulted an astrologer to know the gender of the unborn child. The family attacked the pregnant woman with acid after their astrologer claimed that “it would be a girl”, as opposed to a male child which they had desired.
Such incidents often thrive on the deep rooted conditioning that horoscopes and planetary movement hold clues to people’s destiny.
Increasingly more young people across the world find themselves drawn towards astrology even as they know they might be judged for this. “In some ways, astrology is perfectly suited for the internet age. There’s a low barrier to entry, and nearly endless depths to plumb if you feel like falling down a Google research hole,” noted an article in The Atlantic in January 2018.
Pandemic saw an increase in the demand of astrologers and tarot card readers as people claimed it helped them deal with “pandemic anxiety”.
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