“Team Up For Toy’s” says PM Modi ( Mann Ki Baat)
GombegalaNagara – Channapatana – The town of toys
The invent of any range of hi tech toys and Digi games cannot diminish the age old Indian toys that have been as alluring even in present age. Affordable, biodegradable and harmless are the most important characteristics of these toys. Moving on the farfetched lanes of the city of Channapatana, we would find the display of beautiful and colourful wooden toys for which the city is famous for. The place produces generous amount of wooden toys which are very unique and showcases the immaculate talent of the craftsmen.
The history: As the old people notions, The toy making tradition is upoosed to have its roots back to the times of Tipu Sultan. It is said, that Tipu had received a wooden craft piece as a gift from Persia and he fell in love with it. He is believed to have invited Persian artisans to train his people in the art of wooden toy making which has been the livelihood for almost 70 percent of Channapatna’s population for centuries.
The city : Channapatna has a population of around 72,000 people, with mostly being Muslims. Most of the villagers are engaged directly or indirectly in making toys. Hundreds of small toy-making units function like cottage industry in this village. The best part is that almost all the family members play a role in the toymaking process. “They assemble the toys, paint and dry them, and then package them.” Women make small spinning tops, carts and figurines at home.
The making : Ivory wood is mostly used in carving these toys which are then polished and beautified by adding colors and other accessories. On the streets of the Channapatana, one can witness the numerous wooden toys displayed all along the road side shops. Big banners are hoisted showcasing the talent of the town.
Creative and safe : The classy and the creativity are on the high end in these small-scale industries. The skilled artisans work in their small spaces and build these elegant toys. Channapatna toys are made of wood and vegetable dyes and are safe to be used unlike the toys available in the market.
Present day Threat : However the cheap Chinese items have come up as a threat to this beautiful traditional industry of India. Nothing can beat the beauty of the traditional toys. But modernisation and globalisation have caused some negative impact on the livelihoods of toymakers. By the wide acceptance of cheap Chinese toys, Channapatna toys had a setback as demand decreased. As per a worker the daily wages are very low. Sometimes we get back pain since we are sitting continuously for a long time. But this is the only job we know and we are happy making toys. But many artisans opted for other jobs as they were poorly paid. They have been hesitant to bring their children into the toymaking business. They saw the middlemen, traders and exporters snatch the profits of the industry while the actual toy makers always struggled to survive. This has also led to moving of artisans in big numbers from Channapatna to other cities, looking for jobs.
Restoring its glory : However there are still many who are working hard to strive. Many sawmills and toy factories have come up and help in employment and the way the craft adds to the local economy. To overcome the challenges the artisans in this Karnataka village are also making ornaments and other stuff alongwith use of new toy making and marketing methods and once again restore the glory of Channapatna’s non-toxic wooden toys. Adding colour to a fading industry many NGOs and design studios work among the artisans these days. They assure fair wages and markets for the artisans’ products. Design studios inform the toymakers about modern trends and demands. They teach artisans to move beyond toys and to make trays, key chains, bead curtains, pen stands, curios, etc., to face market competition. Designers train the workers to produce new designs according to the demand. Maya Organic is a livelihood development initiative involved in developing a network of artisans, workers and micro-entrepreneurs capable of producing world-class lacquer ware. This NGO has around 15 units. Women form 70 percent of their workforce. They developed the women’s skills and got them to work under one roof with better work environment and wages.
Some parts of India developing also as toy clusters, that is, as centres of toys. Like, Channapatna in Ramnagaram (Karnataka), Kondaplli in Krishna (Andhra Pradesh), Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, Dhubri in Assam, Varanasi in UP – there are many such places, we can count many names: PM pic.twitter.com/5T3csFENnC
— ANI (@ANI) August 30, 2020