It is not always that a blog authored by a little known European scribe about a 15th century French soothsayer creates ripples in the Indian subcontinent. But that is exactly what happened with a blog written by a certain Mr Francois Gautier and it was about the very famous Nostradamus. In this blog of his, Gautier makes a startling revelation that while sifting through an old trunk of his, he stumbled upon some ‘hidden’ manuscripts of the 15th century soothsayer. Then liberally quoting passages from those manuscripts, Gautier points out that Nostradamus had actually predicted about the emergence of a ‘supreme’ leader from the state of Gujarat. And when he adds that the first name happens to be Narendrus, it leaves no doubt in one’s mind about who Gautier is referring to, in the blog. Media channels, print & television, picked up the story and started running it and before you knew it there was just one name on everyone’s lips. No not Gautier, not even Modi. But Nostradamus.
It was at the beginning of this decade (read 2010) that this #15thCenturySoothsayer first gained
worldwide popularity when word spread that he had predicted in his writings about the world coming to an end in the year 2012. Before you knew it every big, small and large media group, TV channel and filmmaker jumped into the fray all wanting to cash in by playing up the fears of the public at large. Not one person bothered to check the fact that there is no mention of the year 2012 in any of his writings let alone a word about the end of our world. Ask anybody who knows a bit about Nostradamus and they will tell you that most of his prophecies are all completely undated and it is this one facet of this French soothsayer that makes him so popular more than 500 years after his death.
There was another thing too. Fearing a backlash by powerful leaders of that time (both political & religious)for his many predictions, Nostradamus deliberately used a mixture of various languages like Latin, Greek and Italian with the objective of making the meaning of his writings as vague & obscure as possible. Professional astrologers from his time like Laurens Videl did not think highly of Nostradamus and his work calling him out for his incompetence on the subject of astrology. With the meaning of his writings being open to all kinds of interpretation, it is no wonder that in every era there have been those who have interpreted a momentous event as one that was already predicted by Nostradamus. Simply because it suited them. Truth of the matter is that #Nostradamus probably had no great powers that allowed him to peek into the future. Nostradamus was a con artist, nothing more.
Which brings us back to that blog by this gentleman called Gautier and what were the motivations behind this ‘old trunk’ tale that he had cooked up. Turns out that the very same ‘old trunk’ had quite mysteriously appeared in a 2003 book written by Gautier and ironically the title was ‘Rewriting Indian history’ #FrancoisGautier who came to India in the late 60s as a 19 year old and has been here since is more an Indian than a Frenchman, really. A self confessed supporter of the controversial Hindutva ideology that aims to establish the hegemony of the majority in the country, he has been misinterpreting Nostradamus to suit his political ideology for over two decades now. What is baffling is that people still keep falling for his trick after all these years! More baffling is how this fake blog made it’s way to the columns of the largest English-language daily in the world?! Times of India? You betcha.