Naveed Aman Khan
VANGELIYA Pandiva Dimitrova ,known after her marriage as Vangelia Gushterova , was a blind Bulgarian mystic, clairvoyant , and herbalist .Millions of people around the world believed she possessed paranormal abilities. Vanga was born on January 31, 1911 in Strumica, then in the Ottoman Empire , but in 1912 the city was ceded to Bulgaria. She died in August 1996. She was a premature baby who suffered from health complications. In accordance with local tradition, the baby was not given a name until it was deemed likely to survive. When the baby first cried out, a mid wife went into the street and asked a stranger for a name. The stranger proposed Andromaha , but this was rejected for being “too Greek” during a period of anti Hellenic sentiment within Bulgarian society. Another stranger’s proposal was a Greek name , but popular with Bulgarians in region.
In her childhood, Vangelia was an ordinary child with brown eyes and blonde hair. Her father was an activist, conscripted into the Bulgarian Army during World War 1, and her mother died soon after. This left Vanga dependent on the care and charity of neighbours and close family friends for much of her youth. After the war, Strumica emigrated from Bulgaria to Serbia. The Serbian authorities arrested the father, because of his pro Bulgarian activity. They confiscated all his property and the family fell into poverty for many years.Vanga was considered intelligent for her age. Her inclinations started to show up when she herself thought out games and loved playing “healing” – she prescribed some herbs to her friends, who pretended to be ill. Her father, being a widower, eventually remarried, thus providing a step mother to his daughter.
According to her own testimony, a turning point in her life occurred when a ‘tornado’ allegedly lifted her into the air and threw her in a nearby field. She was found after a long search. Witnesses described her as very frightened, and her eyes were covered with sand and dust, she was unable to open them because of the pain. There was money only for a partial operation to heal the injuries she had sustained. This resulted in a gradual loss of sight. In 1925 Vanga was brought to a school for the blind in the city of Zemun, in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, where she spent three years, and was taught to read Braille , play the piano, as well as do knitting, cooking, and cleaning. After the death of her stepmother she had to go back home to take care of her younger siblings. Her family was very poor, and she had to work all day. During World War-II, Strumica was ceded to Bulgaria. At that time Vanga attracted believers in her ability to heal and sooth say a number of people visited her, hoping to get relief. On May 10, 1942, Vanga married Dimitar Gushterov, a Bulgarian soldier from the village of Krandzhilista near Petrich , who had come asking for the killers of his brother, but had to promise her not to seek revenge. Shortly before marriage, Dimitar and Vanga moved to Petrich, where she soon became well-known. Dimitar was then conscripted in the Bulgharian Army and had to spend some time in Northern Greece which was annexed by Bulgaria at the time. He got another illness in 1947, fell into alcoholism, and eventually died on April 01, 1962.
She continued to be visited by dignitaries and commoners. After the Second World War, Bulgarian politicians and leaders from different Soviet Republics, even Leonid Brezhnev , sought her counsel .In the 1990s, a church was built in Rupite with money left by her visitors.Vanga died on 11 August 1996 from breast cancer .Her funeral attracted large crowds, including many dignitaries. Fulfilling Vanga’s last will and testament, her Petrich house was turned into a museum , which opened its doors for visitors on 5 May 2008. Baba Vanga is called the Nostradamus of the Balkans. Baba Vanga, the blind Bulgarian clair voyant who died 20 years ago is believed to have predicted the rise of ISIS, fall of the twin towers, 2004 Tsunami, and global warming, among a host of other events. Americans will fall after being attacked by the steel birds. The wolves will be howling in a bush and innocent blood will gush, is according to her followers what she said about the fall of the twin towers. Blind Baba made 13 predictions for 2016 and ahead. Baba Vanga had predicted that 44th US president would be an African American, but she had also added that he would be the last one. According to her, he would leave office at a time when the country would be in economic ruins, and there would be a huge divide between northern and southern states as was the case during the American Civil War.
— The writer is political analyst based in Islamabad.