Obituary: B. V. Raman

B. V. RAMAN was India's best-known astrologer. He popularised astrology and accurately foretold important events during the Second World War, the fate of Hitler and Mussolini, the Vietnam War and the assassination of the prime minister Indira Gandhi, and made hundreds of other successful predictions in his hugely popular English-language Astrological Magazine.

Raman demystified astrology through numerous books and countless lectures at home and abroad, declaring it to be a mathematical and highly accurate science based on planetary movements responsible for guiding human destiny. He also effectively used astrology in various related fields like astronomy, astro-psychology, weather forecasting and disease diagnosis.

In India Raman was a byword for accurate predictions. He foretold major events like India's disastrous war with China over disputed territory in 1962, its prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru's death two years later, the three wars with neighbouring Pakistan and a host of political events including the 19-month emergency declared by Indira Gandhi in 1977 when human rights were suspended and the press was censored.

His predictions were keenly followed by Indian politicians, most of whom have a string of astrologers, palmists, numerologists or occultists on their payroll, dictating their every public and private move. Whether the politicians believe everything their astrologers tell them is debatable, but there are few who will risk dismissing any "celestial" advice if it might just help to propel them into office or keep them there.

Astrology is something all Indians grow up with. Most have horoscopes - an elaborate grouping of Sanskrit symbols and diagrams - prepared on the basis of date, place and exact time of birth aided by ancient charts and almanacs that detail the movement of the sun, moon, major planets and certain stars. These janampatris or birth charts predict every individual's life and future events.

Raman was born into a middle-class Brahmin household in a small village near the southern city of Bangalore in 1912. He studied at the village school before graduating from Central College in Bangalore in science, a subject for which he showed a special aptitude.

After college, Raman concentrated on astrology and went on to carry out detailed research on the relationship between cosmic and terrestrial phenomena. In his book Planetary Influences on Human Affairs (published in English in 1992), Raman provided a rational explanation of astrology and went on to write numerous other treatises that simplified and even popularised astrology.

Raman also relaunched the Astrological Magazine in 1936, where his predictions appeared and which he edited for 62 years until he died. Elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1947, the year of Indian independence - which he also predicted to the day - Raman was conferred with a host of honorary degrees by Indian universities and educational institutions in recognition of his work.

Raman's erudite lecture "The Relevance of Astrology in Modern Times", delivered at the United Nations in New York in 1970, generated great interest amongst sceptics who considered the science amusing at best. And his keynote address at the first International Symposium on Vedic Astrology in 1994 at San Rafael in California earned him a lifetime achievement award for services to the cause of astrology.

Kuldip Singh

Bangalore Venkata Raman, astrologer: born near Bangalore, India 1912; Editor, Astrological Magazine 1936-98; Fellow, Royal Astronomical Society 1947; married (five sons, two daughters); died Bangalore 20 December 1998.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Christopher Eccleston (centre) plays an ex-policeman in this cliché-riddled thriller

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey looks very serious as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

TV This TV review contains spoilers
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Wiz Khalifa performs on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park in Birmingham

music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury

music

Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars creator George Lucas

film

Arts and Entertainment

music

Arts and Entertainment
A shot from the forthcoming Fast and Furious 7

film

Arts and Entertainment
The new-look Top of the Pops could see Fearne Cotton returns as a host alongside Dermot O'Leary

TV

Arts and Entertainment
The leader of the Church of Scientology David Miscavige

TV

Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray all get the Spitting Image treatment from Newzoids
tvReview: The sketches need to be very short and very sharp as puppets are not intrinsically funny
Arts and Entertainment
Despite the controversy it caused, Mile Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' video won multiple awards
musicPoll reveals over 70% of the British public believe sexually explicit music videos should get ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant in the fifth season of Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment

book review
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
    Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

    Confessions of a former PR man

    The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

    Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

    Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
    London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

    The mother of all goodbyes

    Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
    Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

    Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

    The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
    Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions