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Etikoppaka toys, a 400-year old craft faces extinction, thanks to lack of government support in Andhra Pradesh

The 400-year-old Etikoppaka toy-making art is on the decline. With no support from government for decades, Etikoppaka villagers, who are  masters in carving out magnificent wooden

Published: 10th June 2018 05:24 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th June 2018 05:24 AM   |  A+A-

Artisans preparing Etikoppaka products at Etikoppaka village in Visakhapatnam district on Friday | G satyanarayana

Express News Service

VISAKHAPATNAM:  The 400-year-old Etikoppaka toy-making art is on the decline. With no support from government for decades, Etikoppaka villagers, who are  masters in carving out magnificent wooden toys and crafts, that once commanded a huge demand throughout the country, have abandoned the art. 
Narrating their struggle for survival to TNIE, artisans blame lack of adequate wood to make the products and stiff competition from mushrooming China-made toys in the market for their misery.

Even the Geographical Indication (GI) tag from the Geographical Indication Registry (GIR), which was given last year, did not save the art from decline. In the face of uncertain future,  none of the artisans is encouraging their children to carry forward their hereditary profession. Sadly, Etikoppaka toy-making is facing extinction. 

 I had to face financial struggle and took loans. We love to preserving our tradition. But it’s impossible to do so in the face of our struggle for basic necessities. So I have decided not to pass on the art to my son. He is studying now and may pursue some other career in future, 45, is an expert in carving out wooden toys and jewellery at Etikoppaka, which is on the banks of Varaha river in Visakhapatnam district. He has been in the profession for the last 30 years and works from 9 am to 5 pm every day. He received many awards at the state and national level. 

“My love for carving toys never waned and it was recognised by the State and the Centre. It gives immense pleasure when we come out with a beautiful product,” says Srinu with pride, showing his certificates of excellence. “But I had to face financial struggle and took loans. We love to preserving our tradition. But it’s impossible to do so in the face of our struggle for basic necessities.

So I have decided not to pass on the art to my son. He is studying now and may pursue some other career in future,” he added.Similar feelings were expressed by a number of artisans in the village. About a decade back, there were about 250 artisans, including skilled labour, but their number is less than 100 now.  There are not more than 20 to 30 masters craftsmen in the village. Many  have left the profession and shifted to other jobs.


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