Vishwakarma: God of technology

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Returning in 2015 to a Kangra village that she has been visiting on and off since 1975, Kirin Narayan was once again disoriented by extensive changes to the landscape and ways of life. Like many other places across India, this western Himalayan foothill region has since the 1990s become a giant construction site. All along Kangra valley, at the base of the towering Dhauladhar range, networks of new roads are now flanked by brightly painted new shops and houses; stacks of red brick, sacks of cement, and hillocks of stone and sand disclose plans for yet more buildings. Sounds of construction reverberate across the landscape: a pervasive chip-chip-chip of chisels breaking river stones; the whirr and whine, the buzz and the bleats of large machines. Side by side with these physical transformations of the landscape, images of the Hindu deity Vishwakarma – the divine craftsman, architect and engineer – have been proliferating. Driving past the open shop fronts of timber mills, furniture workshops, welding units, garages, and computer repair shops, one glimpses Vishwakarma calendar art on the walls. Entering workspaces, one discerns Vishwakarma nestled in alcoves beside tailors bent over their sewing machines, near the kiln in potteries, or presiding over electricity circuits for tea-processing machinery. In the town of Palampur, a new pink Vishwakarma temple rises beside the road leading toward the developing Nagri Industrial Area.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationTechnology and India: Spaces, Practices and Authorities
    Editors Knut A. Jacobsen and Kristina Myrvold
    Place of PublicationNew York
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


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