The art of Channapatna toy making is slowly and gradually fading away. According to a toy manufacturer, due to lack of skilled artisans in the Channapatna toy making industry, the production of the toys has been hampered.
Toy manufacturer of Channapatna informed that around 7,000 artisans left the toy making industry in the past 10 years and currently only 3000 artisans are present. This has led to delay in the supply of toys and sometimes cancellation of orders.
B. Venkatesh, owner of a toy factory, while sharing his concerns said “This art is slowly and gradually fading away. No one is able to learn this art. I request the government to start the training centers which already existed in the past. This will help in teaching the art to other people and also help in promoting it.”
Channapatna toys are a particular form of wooden toys that are manufactured in the town of Channapatna in the state of Karnataka. Its origin can be traced back during the time of the Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan. It received its geographical indication (GI) tag in the year 2005.
The current pandemic has affected the toy making industry as well. The craftsmen were unemployed for six to seven months which forced them to change their jobs. According to Subbarao M, sales manager of FairKraft Creations, a distributor of these toys both in India and abroad, says, “The pandemic had a very severe effect on the toy making industry. Many artisans have moved to different livelihood and currently there is a severe shortage of skilled artisans in Channapatna craft.”
Mr. Subbarao also suggested that design innovations, working with modern art and providing social security like medical insurance to the craftsmen will help in sustaining this art. Government policies like ‘Vocal for Local’ and e-commerce sites like Amazon have also helped in increasing the demand for the toys; but due to lack of artisans it becomes very difficult to fulfil these orders.
Mr. N.M Nagendrappa, General Manager of Marketing under Karnataka State Handicrafts Development Cooperation Limited said “We are giving training to the artisans along with skill upgradation training, design development training and also living cum work shed (LCW).”
With commercialization of toy making and availability of other job opportunities, the traditional art indeed seems to need a new reboot.