Sitting at a computer in his south Delhi office, 28-year-old Kapil Bhardwaj is taking notes from a caller asking him for career advice.
After jotting down basic information, he prepares a kundli and reads it out to the caller, detailing the rough patches ahead and the auspicious time to go for an interview.
Bhardwaj is not a local astrologer — he is a Sanskrit scholar completing a PhD from Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha, a deemed university.
But in his free time, Bhardwaj works at a call centre that provides consultancy in astrology-related matters, earning between Rs 25,000-40,000. Many such scholars also work as purohits solemnising marriages.
According to Rakesh Dubey, a student of astrology and grammar, Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, he gets many offers to solemnise marriages. “People want to opt for those who have complete knowledge of the Vedas. Hence, the demand for such people is increasing,’ he said.
“My father encouraged me to take up Sanskrit as he felt there would be greater opportunities in the future. I specialised in astrology and was offered a job by a call centre as they wanted someone with an excellent command over the subject. A number of my friends and seniors are also working in call centres,” Bhardwaj told HT.
The working hours vary from six to eight hours and scholars can even choose to work part-time or full-time.
The human resource and development ministry is pushing Sanskrit universities to encourage students to take up courses there, increasing funding to Rasthriya Sanskrit Sansthan from Rs 62.75 crore to Rs 109 crore. The university witnessed a six per cent increase in the enrollment of students while distance-learning courses saw a rise of 37%.