“Very heavy rain, cyclone, all dams to overflow this year in Gujarat”

By Japan K Pathak

Ahmedabad, 23 July 2012

Way back in year 2002, I was reading an article published in national English business daily sharing details on how a new south Indian newspaper attracted huge chunk of rural readership by publishing agriculture related content. I left the library with that newspaper and reached editor’s chamber upstairs. I put a particular page on my editor’s table and convinced him to publish at-least couple of agriculture pages per week for rural editions. The editor agreed but handed over a charge of those pages to me. Being completely an urban guy, I was totally unaware about how the things work in agriculture!! But I accepted the job, thanks to urge to know new things.

And then was the creation of agriculture related pages in Gujarat Samachar. Eventually, the page was so successful that from once in a week, it was converted to twice in a week page. Gradually the page became rural development page and many other issues like water, sanitation, animal husbandry etc were also covered. In the course of this edition, I learned many new things on agriculture and rural economics.

When Divya Bhaskar was launched in year 2003, I was called back to main reporting team. I left the agriculture desk, but the page continued and other mainstream Gujarati newspapers also started similar pages. I’m happy that it is continuing even now. And even today in a corner of my room, I have proudly kept all agricultural pages that I produced during 2002-2003.

While doing agricultural edition, I came into contact of many farmers, agriculture related NGOs and some genuine rural social workers from across the state. One of the series of articles I carried out was about monsoon prediction and local techniques. I also visited Lok Bharti Sanosara to meet a very well know rural person who used to predict rain fall through an old manuscript in his possession. But the most interesting was an old-man in Ahmedabad – Navindanji Ratnu.

Navindanji had sent me a letter predicting next monsoon. His predictions were specific, and based on Nakshatras according to him.

More so, he had also sent an article revealing his method of predicting monsoon which was based on Panchang and Nakshatras. With great amount of curiosity, I personally went to Ratnu’s house and listened to him on his rain prediction method – based on the details of Nakshatras, their vehicles(each Nakshatra has its unique vehicle), Nakshatra’s onset day and time of Nakshatra, the strenth of Nakshatra etc.

Navindanji Ratnu told me, “while modern meteorological science predicts monsoon just before its onset, our Panchang books are published well in advance, around Diwali period, and Panchang provides all the details on Nakshatras. They I apply my research and analytical skills and predict the monsoon.”

He said he predicts the monsoon for last 25 years successfully, and rarely he fails to predict it properly, only when the details in Panchang itself is wrong.

Navindanji Ratnu was interesting person for me because he was not astrologer, he was not typical just another fame seeker, he was not poor person wanting to earn his bread and butter based on his prediction. He genuinely wanted people to believe in traditional science of predicting monsoon based on Nakshatras.

It was a risk to publish Navindanji’s predictions, but agriculture edition was an open playground for me. I took a risk, so as my editor and we published Navindanji’s predictions on agriculture page, and look what happened! His predictions were date-to-date proven correct! Next year I personally ensure that we get his predictions, and we published them, and this time too they were proven totally correct, date-to-date match! This went on for three years and it was hugely successful.

Encouraged by his perfect predictions for continuous three years, we published Navindanji’s predictions once again consequently for fourth year, but this time, even the editor was so excited that Navindanji’s predictions were published on the front page of the newspaper. He had predicted that monsoon would be poor this year and government should ban export of groundnut outside the state. He also said in his prediction that dam water should not be released, and it should be conserved for next summer.

Sadly, this time Navindanji’s prediction went wrong. Government didn’t release water from dam and conserved it(remember that great flood in Surat?It was that year) Rain was normal. There was no scarcity situation contrary to Navindanji’s prediction. Disappointed Navindanji later wrote me a note that he had studied only one Panchang this time and failed to study other Panchangs. He said earlier he was studying Panchangs published by three to four different publications for accurate prediction, but this time he failed to do so and relied on one single Panchang, which could have been incorrect.

So, in year 2007 and 2008 and 2009, neither Navindanji sent his predictions and neither I as a journalist went to him. But in year 2010! Last week, Navindanji came to my place with his predictions for monsoon 2010.

He predicted that Gujarat would experience flood in first 15 days of the month of August possibly at Surat, Jamnagar, Porbandar and coastal Gujarat. He predicted that Crop would be washed away(in flood affected areas) and services like power, communication, road, rail, air traffic could be disrupted. Navindanji forcefully reiterated that this would happen in August for sure. He said he had even sent a fax message to the Chief Minister alerting him about the danger that is approaching the state in a month time. Navindanji also submitted his prediction to his Guru the head priest of Ahmedabad’s Kalupur Swaminarayan and asked him to cancel programmes between 3 August to 16 August. Navindanji came to me the next day again to convince me that this time he had predicted the situation based on study of three-four different panchangs and there could be a flood-like situation in parts of Gujarat during the period he prescribed in his note given to me.

Navindanji’s prediction was published, but not in a corner this time, and in lesser size. We also published his predictions online in DeshGujarat, and here is that table of year 2012 prediction.

Following was the prediction of Navindanji Ratnu for year 2010 monsoon:

22 June to 5 July – Very less rain in some parts and not at all in other parts. Wherever there’s rain, it would come speedily and would go speedily.

6 July to 19 July – Wide spread rain fall suitable for sowing would be experienced.

20 July to 2 August – Wide spread – mediocre and at some places good rainfall will be experienced.

3 August to 16 August – A major disaster of very heavy rain fall in the state. Neighboring states will also be affected.

17 August to 29 August – Aggressive postures of rain God will lower down. Wide spread mediocre rain fall will continue. Insects nuisance will be experienced.

30 August to 12 September – Proportion of rain will lower down – rain at some places and not at all at other places(Khanda Vrushti)

13 September to 26 September – No rain

27 September to 9 October – Little rain and Khanda Vrushti(rain at some places and not at all at other places)

10 October to 23 October – Some showers somewhere. Monsoon will say bye bye.

We must say that the predictions proved more or less correct. During 3 August to 16 August, the period in which Navindanji had predicted heavy rain and flood brought such situation in Jamnagar and other parts of Gujarat including Kutch. However he had predicted a major disaster due to heavy rain fall, which didn’t happen, but yes there was a flood in parts of Gujarat post 3 August(the date was precise, and there was heavy rain on 3 August itself).

Last year I failed to get monsoon prediction from Navindanji. This year thanks to a friend – who was tracking the past record of Navindanji’s predictions published by me – it has been possible(I have confirmed that he has refereed only one Panchang book this time).

So this year (2012)’s predictions are here:

2 August to 15 August: : Light but widespread(horizontally covering a wider area) showers.

16 August to 29 August: Deficiency of rain, lack of shower.

30 August to 12 September: Widespread but light rains.

13 September to 26 September: Ordinary rains at some places, but heavy rain in some pockets, over all a good rain in widespread area with good speed of winds.

26 September to 9 October: Very good and widespread rain.

10 October to 22 October: Shortage of rain, occasional showers.

23 October to 5 November: Cyclone(in Navindanji’s word “vavazoda sathe bhare thi atibhare vyapak varsad” means thunderstorm or cyclone?) very heavy widespread rain. All dams will overflow. Such a rare situation(of heavy rain in Swati Nakshatra) will be witnessed only after 126 years.

6 November onwards: Departure of monsoon 2012

Navindaji said that Kharif agriculture produce this year will be only 25%, but the seasons of winter and summer will offer bumper crops in Gujarat. He said, after October 2012, there will be no shortage of drinking and irrigation water in Gujarat. He said it’s a rare phenomena this year that Swati Nakshatra – which otherwise brings very low rain – is this year on the top among all Nakshatras when it comes to the amount of rain. “Such thing would happen only after 126 years,” he added.

It would be interesting for me to keep watch once again on Mr. Navindan’s predictions. You too do the same. Rest time will tell.

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