First a quick recap of the events: We had reported on one Mr. Bhaskar Shetty who hit the headlines of DNA’s Bangalore edition on the 23rd of December, 2009. He had promised to teach me a lesson by demonstrating how scientific asstrology is! He had claimed that he could tell the gender and dead/alive status of 10 individuals within 80% accuracy, using just the date, place and time of birth of the individuals. However, he wanted the conditions to be fool-proof. He was also not interested in the money offered- one million rupees, but only wanted to prove how scientific his method was. I had agreed to an even more fool-proof method of giving him the date, time and place of birth of people who were very much alive and also in the age group 20-30. I just wanted him to tell us if the subjects were male/female, employed/unemployed, married/unmarried and what their educational qualifications were. All of these could have been easily verified from the subjects after the predictions were made, since their mobile numbers would have been placed in sealed and numbered envelopes. The reply from Bhaskar Shetty was that he was willing, but he was insistent that the challenge had to take place in Bangalore. Since, he did not want the prize money, I had waived off the security deposit and had fixed the date at Bangaluru on the 14th of January,2010. After this Shetty got out of the challenge under the pretext that his son’s marriage was to take place in the first week of February. So, I had extended the date by 2 months and had fixed the challenge date for the 14th of March, and had announced the venue and time.
Come, March and there was no response from hBhaskar Shetty. We were waiting for him on the 14th of March from morning to evening at Akhila Karnataka Makkala Okkuta, Chamrajpet, Bangaluru and he did not turn up! So, we came to the conclusion that he must have developed cold feet! In the meantime we kept contacting Mr.Surendran Nair, the journalist who had given him publicity, and he has finally now provided Bhaskar Shetty’s telephone numbers. Here they are: +918022244483 (land line) and +919448044483 (mobile). I have not called him as I do not want to get into unnecessary arguments and pointless debate. However, I have informed our colleagues at Bangalore to get in touch with this man and ask him about his willingness to accept my challenge. Anyone is welcome to try and contact this person and inform him about this.
I will be in Bangalore on the 24 th and 25 th of April and also from the 29th of April to 2nd May. Subject to my other appointments and commitments Mr. Shetty is welcome to choose one of these dates for the challenge. However, he has to indicate his willingness in writing 15 days before the date of the challenge.
The specifics of the challenge will be as follows:
I shall bring with me 20 numbered sealed envelopes with the date, time and place of birth of young people between 20-30 years of age, and the corresponding numbered envelopes containing the solutions.
The first set of envelopes containing the details of these individuals shall be shuffled and ten selected from amongst them by Mr.Shetty himself. He shall have 60 minutes to cast the horoscopes of each of them and provide the answers in writing by filling up the data in the columns of the answer sheets provided by us. The answers will have to be very specific and may involve striking out what is wrong and/or ticking what is right or both. It shall be also clearly indicated as to which of them pertains to which one of the individuals and method of prediction.
After all the ten answer sheets are filled up in triplicate, the envelopes containing the solutions shall be opened and the evaluation done. If thirty two of the forty expected answers are right, then I shall accept that Shetty’s method of prediction is very scientific and shall undertake all steps to study under his guidance. If the number of correct answers is less than 32/40, he will have to agree that his methods of prediction are nonsense and he must begin working for our movement.
Additional conditions are as follows:
1. Bhaskar Shetty has to sign a declaration that there are no religious sentiments involved in this challenge and that it is only a scientific study of a topic that Shetty believes has a logical foundation. He has to also state that he is taking up this challenge in his individual capacity and not as a representative of any religious body or denomination.
2. If Shetty wants to take my prize money he has to deposit a sum of rupees five thousand as earnest money in cash or in the form of DD payable to Narendra Nayak at Mangalore. If he is proved right this money shall be refunded to him along with the prize money of one million rupees in the form of a DD.
The above are only indicative guide lines. An agreement in detail on a stamp paper of the required value shall be signed a week in advance before the date of the conducting of the challenge.
If Mr. Shetty does not take up this I shall have to come to the conclusion that he is a fraud, seeking publicity for his non existent powers of prediction and using the media to advertise his pseudoscience.
Narendra Nayak is the president of the Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations. Email him at narenyen (at) gmail.com