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Japanese carmaker seeks astrologer's help in India

Suzuki India has sought help from an astrologer who, the company believes, can help 'bring peace' to one of its plants, where last month some workers killed a manager and injured dozens of executives.

Bangalore-based astrologer and Vaastu Shastra specialist Daivajna KN Somayaji told the media this week that he had been hired by India's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki, the Indian subsidiary of Japanese automaker Suzuki, to "tackle" the frequent disturbances in its plant in Manesar, located outside of the capital New Delhi.

He said that the plant had some flaws in its basic construction, according to the ideas of Vaastu Shastra and that "the corrections must be done to ensure that the problems do not spread to other units (of Maruti Suzuki)."

"Vaastu Shastra" means "science of architecture" in Sanskrit. Similar to traditional Chinese feng shui, it is an ancient Hindu concept based on the flow of energy in a construction. It was used in the design of ancient temples and other Hindu structures and it is believed by many Hindus that a structure built according to the principles of Vaastu Shastra brings happiness and prosperity to the people who use it.

Maruti Suzuki Chief Executive Officer Shinzo Nakanishi, second left, poses with officials at the unveiling of the Maruti Suzuki rIII concept car in New Delhi

Maruti Suzuki is India's largest car manufacturer

Maruti Suzuki has been one of the leading carmakers in India since it began its production in the 1980s. But unrest among the workforce has been plaguing India's biggest carmaker for some years. Last year three separate workers' strikes affected the company's production at the Manesar plant.

Another strike took place on July 18, with the workers demanding higher wages. They set fire to part of the plant and attacked senior managers. The plant's general manager was reportedly burnt to death.

The company immediately declared an indefinite lockout at the plant, whose annual production capacity is 5, 50,000 cars. The closure of the plant is costing the company 15 million dollars (12.21 million euros) daily.

'Superstitious' beliefs

The corporate office of Maruti Suzuki refused to comment on whether or not the company was seeking help from an astrologer when contacted by DW. But Somayaji said that he had met some officials from the company, and early this week, he had already begun his work. He said he would need to make many trips to the plant to study the details of its construction before handing out his advice to the company.

Private security guards stand behind a damaged reception block of Maruti Suzuki's plant in Manesar

Vaastu Shastra 'science' is hoped to help bring calm to the plant

Awdhesh Aggarwal, a Vaastu expert in Calcutta, told DW the plant's site most likely had "negative energy."

"This negative energy at the plant has to be neutralized by performing special 'pujas' (prayers) and fire sacrifice ceremonies. I think wind and morning light are not driving in enough positive energy into the plant. So, more inlets have to be opened on specific sides of the key buildings inside the plant, following Vaastu principles," said Aggarwal.

"If the company corrects the basic Vaastu flaws at the location of its troubled plant, happiness, prosperity and peace will definitely return."

Prabir Ghosh, head of the Science and Rationalists Association of India, criticized the company for seeking the help of divination and that the managers of the company should not call themselves educated people.

"The engineers and management professionals of the company have bowed before such superstition with a blind faith. It's shocking. These stupid people should not be allowed to be at the helm of the company and should be fired," Ghosh told DW.

Author: Shaikh Azizur Rahman
Editor: Shamil Shams

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