Etikoppaka Toys: The 500-year-old CV king of Visakhapatnam is not only making a lot of money through the art of Etikoppaka dolls but is also enriching their lives by employing over 200 people. This work is also receiving praise across the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also mentioned this in his Mann Ki Baat. Not only this, the King was also honored by former President Dr. Abdul Kalam.
Raju set up a co-operative society for artisans called ‘Padmavati Associates’. It manufactures chemical-free, eco-friendly toys and markets them nationwide. The 58-year-old CV king hails from ‘Atikoppaka village’ near Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. The village is located on the banks of the river Varaha and is named after a king of the Chalukya dynasty. The CV king belonged to a peasant family.
He said this about his village .. about the art of toys. “My village, at least, has been known for making ‘exclusive traditional wooden toys’ for over 500 years, but for various reasons, the work of making toys has been steadily declining. I grew up playing with these toys and I could not see them ending like this. I started Padmavati Associates to help artisans. ”
Raju also enlisted the help of the Crafts Council of India. And these Atikoppaka toys are completely eco-friendly. CV Raju has done many experiments to make dolls chemical free and environmentally friendly. Go to the forest and catch different plants and collect its roots, bark, leaves, fruits, seeds and flowers. The natural color is taken from the colors of the flowers. “Natural colors were used to make traditional wooden toys. For this reason, these toys are not harmful to children, but the use of natural dyes has gradually disappeared and the use of synthetic dyes has increased in the market. ” Says the king.
Telling how his natural color scheme came about .. I did various experiments for three months and collected many natural colors from trees and plants. After this, I tested all the colors with the help of ‘Crafts Council of India’. All the colors in it came organically. From it we make toys.
CV King worked on a different technology for making eco-friendly toys. The dolls continue to shine with the addition of ‘lacquer’ color along with the natural color of the Atikoppaka dolls. The king explained .. “We first dry the flowers, leaves and seeds. Subsequently, the natural color will be prepared in different ways. For example, some are made by grinding, some by boiling in water, some by ‘cold processing’ technology. After that, these colors are mixed with ‘lacquer’. After the figures are painted with lacquer, the figures are finished with ‘Kevra’ (P. tectorius) leaves to add sparkle. ‘Atikoppaka’ dolls made with herbal dye using the king technique are being sold in various parts of the country.
King Padmavati Associates makes a wide variety of Atikoppaka dolls. In addition to toys, there are also utensils, boxed utensils from temples to everyday household items. Women use the box to store turmeric, kumkum, betel nut, and other spices.
200 families are employed
Artists from the School of Fine Arts, Andhra University, National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad and M.S. Teaching new designs from the University of Baroda. King explains, “We learn new ways to improve our work. It also increases our scope of work. Today these toys support about 200 families in my small village. In fact, these toys are not only employment, they are something we are proud of and have been a part of our culture for many years. ” Said.
According to King, each of Atikoppaka’s artisans worked 5 to 6 hours a day to make 28 to 30,000 dolls a month. Selling in every part of the country with the help of e-commerce. Thus, each artisan earns about 25 to 30 thousand rupees per month.
Praise from the Prime Minister and Award from the President.
The king received praise from many quarters for his work. In 2002, then President APJ Abdul Kalam honored him with a National Award for his work. In 2003, she received the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya Award. In addition, INTACH honored King with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014. The Telangana Crafts Council was also honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019. Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauded CV Raju for his efforts to promote ‘Vocal for Local’ in his ‘Man Ki Baat’ program.
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