Vishwakarma Puja Vs May Day
- Kamal Poddar & Sandeep Singh

  • Difference between Vishwakarma Puja Vs May Day.
  • How The Economic Times is using Vishwakarma Puja to create rift.
  • Exposing the hollow understanding of Debdutt Pattanaik about Hinduism.

The above news clipping "Diwali can Wait, Fireworks Start for B2B Sites on Vishwakarma" is from the pages of The Economic Times dated 15th September 2016. The highlight of the news is:

"The festival, which falls on Friday this year, is big among cos like Industrybuying and Tolexo

Diwali might be more than a month away but the festive season has already kicked off for Indian B2B ecommerce companies. While online retailers like Flipkart and Amazon gear up for online shoppers to loosen their purse strings during the festival of lights, their B2B counterparts like Industrybuying and Tolexo look forward to Vishwakarma Puja -which happens to falls this Friday .

..Vishwakarma Puja is also a time when industrial firms place bulk procurement orders...

Most online B2B companies rollout special deals during this period. "Last year, we saw a 15% surge in traffic and sales during this period without any targeted marketing," ... "This time, we are betting big on it and actively running promotions in specific categories and expect a 25% increase in sales over the previous month," ...

Industrybuying has been working with Google to identify spikes in search trends for industrial goods, and most of them happen around the period of Vishwakarma Puja. ...

Last year, Tolexo noticed a 100% spike in sales during the entire festive period from September to November, and decided to offer special deals for power and hand tools, along with some dedicated brand stores, specifically for Vishwakarma Puja. .. Tolexo uses a mix of Google AdWords, email marketing, affiliate advertising as well as SMS and push notifications to reach out to customers during this time"

I was wondering how come a positive news on Hindu festival by The Economic Times?

Lo and behold, my apprehension came true.

On 17th September 2016, the day of Vishwakarma Puja, The Economic Times publishes the following story:

"WORK AND WORSHIP HOW VISHWAKARMA PUJA IS GOING PLACES". The story is all about creating differences not only with Hindus on the basis of region but also on the basis of worker and officer.

Following is an excerpt from the article:

"But as the political scientist Leela Fernandes observed in a 1998 paper entitled 'Culture, Structure and Working Class Politics', based on field work with jute mill workers in Calcutta, the festival had more than a traditional ritual purpose. The workers used it as a way to assert their rights with the managers, who found it hard to resist demands dressed up in a ritual guise. For example, Fernandes noted how the mill management tried to get workers to agree to one common shrine and to limit the puja to the mechanical department of the factory. But the factory had multiple unions and each union leader insisted on their own shrine. "Eventually six separate shrines were constructed in the factory by separate groups of workers affiliated with each union."

One of the authors father worked with Public Sector Steel Plant. And has got several friends currently working in manufacturing units where Vishwakarma Puja is celebrated. At all the places, it is a festival to bring workers and officers to celebrate the work together. They have lunch together. And it is one of the days when all officers visit the workshop. In big manufacturing unit, work happens in shifts. Vishwakarma Puja gives an opportunity to meet everyone, atleast once in a year. Vishwakarma Puja is all about connecting employees rather than dividing them.

The labour unrest was unheard of in India, till Communists took over politics, media and films. Indian industrialist was far better at taking care of its employees compared to Western or Communist counterparts. Just for example, D D Thacker who used to own coal mines in Bihar and Bengal, had opened schools for the children's of labour working in the mines in 1928-29 and an institute to train laborers in 1939-40.

Let's look at another excerpt:
Devdutt Pattanaik, the writer and mythologist, sees this use of Vishwakarma Puja as part of a more general Indian attitude to celebrations: "We aren't able to party and enjoy ourselves naturally. We always need to find a reason to justify it."

C. R. Ashbee had said "In India they always appear to have thought this, and to have held by the truth - I never heard of the god Vishvakarma, the god of the Arts and Crafts, before I learned of him from Dr. Coomaraswamy. But he (Vishvakarma) seems Strangely like a personification of that Platonic idea of abstract beauty which for so many centuries has haunted the Western mind. Whether it be Plato or Plotinus, Pico della Mirandola or Rossetti, ever and again in the great periods of our Western development the idea recurs. Who knows, perhaps Vishvakarma is the god for whom we in the West, in our spiritual reawakening, are in search; possibly he can help us! "

(Charles Robert Ashbee, 17 May 1863 23 May 1942 was an English designer and entrepreneur who was a prime mover of the Arts and Crafts movement that took its craft ethic from the works of John Ruskin and its co-operative structure from the socialism of William Morris.)

It is difficult for Devdutt Pattanaik to understand (naturally difficult for Wendy's followers) was understood by C R Ashbee. Devdutt Pattanaik confuses Vishwakarma Puja with May Day. Which is a public holiday celebrated on May 1. It is an ancient northern hemisphere spring festival. It is also a traditional spring holiday in many cultures. Dances, singing, and cake are usually part of the celebrations that the day includes. In the late 19th century, May Day was chosen as the date for International Workers' Day by the Socialists, Communists and Anarchists.

Vishwakarma Puja has been given a shape of secular festivals by giving it a fixed date on Christian calendar and following it according to it rather than following it based on Hindu calendars like other Hindu festivals.

There is a big difference between May Day and Vishwakarma Puja. May day is a holiday for partying while Vishwakarma Puja is the day, when everyone goes together to the workshop for praying/puja . It is the rise of May Day celebration that has caused death of many managers in India by the hands of labourers in the last few years. May Day creates division, while Vishwakarma Puja unites. Vishwakarma Puja reduced the difference between so called blue and white colour workers. Vishwakarma Puja or any other Puja is not about party but is about spirituality.

Sthapatya Veda is the science of mechanics and architecture. Sthapatya means establishing, and Veda means knowledge. It not only establishes a relationship but also maintains a cosmic order between the dweller, dwelling and cosmos. Lord Vishvakarma is the reveler of Sthapatya Veda.

The Mahabharata describes Lord Vishvakarma as "The lord of the arts, executor of a thousand handicrafts, the carpenter of the gods, the most eminent of artisans, the fashioner of all ornaments ... and a great and immortal god.

The Hindu craftsman conceives of his art not as the accumulated skill of ages, but as originating in the divine skill of Visvakarma, and revealed by him. And this thought has defined not only science and arts but also business in India.

This inspiration, upon which the Hindu artist rely, is the voice of god, of god Vishvakarma. This missing voice of God Vishvakarma is the reason for current chaos in the socio-economic life of western world.

How powerful Lord Vishwakarma is, is visible from the fact that the God whom The Economic Times is calling the God of labour from a particular region is giving business to online companies of 21st century. Only a Hindu God can do it.

Kamal Poddar
MD & CEO, Choice International

Sandeep Singh

Views expressed are personal and not of the organisation