Translation of audio recordings - A Summary
Artisans of Channapatna (both manual and machine handicraft) speak about their toy making experiences and its relevance today
Uma, resident of Neelasandra village in Channapatna
My name is Uma and I am a resident of Neelasandra village. I have studied till SSLC (till 10th standard), I am in this vocation for 15 years now, and learnt this handicraft from my father. I started to learn making toys when I was in the eighth standard. Though my parents did not want me to learn this handicraft, I insisted on learning it and it is very useful now.
My husband, who is a school teacher, did not want me to pursue this, but I continue to make beads from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., to make some additional income. It is convenient for me to work from home as in this way I can take care of my home needs also, I have two children and both of them go to school.
Rukamma, resident of Neelasandra village, but now staying in Kalanagar, a housing colony for toy making artisans in Channapatna
My name is Rukamma, I am from Neelasandra, the names of my parents are Jayamma and Siddappa, my husband's name is C. Papanna and he is also from Neelasandra. I have been doing this handicrafts work for 35 years now, I learnt this trade from my parents. My brothers, my sister, and my entire family was involved in the making of these toys.
Jogaiah, a senior artisan of Neelasandra village
My name is Jogaiah and I am a resident of Neelasandra village. I am in this vocation for 60 years and learnt this profession from my father, who learnt this art from others. This vocation has come down as a family tradition and I used to make a lot of toys previously, now because of age factor I have reduced the quantity.
I start working from 7 a.m. in the morning till and continue working till about 4 p.m. in the afternoon, I earn about Rs. 300 profit per day. There is still demand for such toys even now. All my siblings, brothers and sisters, learnt this profession and my brothers are also still doing this handicraft here in Neelasandra.
Venkatesh, an artisan and entrepreneur who runs a small-scale unit
I have started an arts and crafts unit called Sri Beereshwara Arts & Crafts 25 years ago. My father never allowed me to learn this art saying that I will not earn enough from this profession. But somehow from a very young age I was fascinated by what my father did, like the way he applied colours or prepared the wood for making toys. All my neighbours were making such toys and some of my friends were also involved in making such toys in the home industry.
My father asked me to pursue my education, I studied up to PUC (12th standard) and then decided to start my own business and thought of taking up this toy making this business despite my father's opposition. I run this small-scale unit and about 25 workers are employed here.
Dilip, production manager at Shilpa Trust
My name is Dilip, I am working as Production Manager in Shilpa (Self Help Initiative Linking Progressive Artisans) Trust; I have been working for 10 years now and I am the third generation in my family involved in the handicrafts industry.
Shilpa Trust was started in 1988 by Madhvacharya, now his son Bhupathy runs this organisation as the Managing Trustee, the trust was registered in 1993. We provide all our registered members with life insurance policy, conduct an eye check-up camp every year and conduct health check-up camps with the idea of sustaining this handicraft form. Our intention is to sustain this handicraft form. There are 230 artisans registered as members with Shilpa Trust; our aim to provide a vocation for all in a profitable manner.
Ravikumar, an entrepreneur who runs a unit and a shop for selling toys
I am Ravikumar, as a native of Channapatna I am aware the art of Channapatna toys is more than 200 to 250 years old. These are made in India (Swadeshi toys), today in the market you may find toys from Russia, Japan and China, but the Channapatna toys are very unique, they have good quality and much stronger. Channapatna toys are popular worldwide today. At present I am selling these toy not only in India, but also in Australia and Switzerland. I want to expand my global market reach to sell these toys to all countries. Whatever people may say about Russian or Chinese toys, when it comes to wooden toys Channapatna is still the best worldwide.