CV Raju who has nurtured and revived the traditional toy-making in Etikoppaka village, in Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam, was mentioned in PM’s 68th Mann Ki Baat
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi giving a clarion call to toy manufacturers to use eco-friendly materials and avoid plastic and make India a global hub for such items in his address to the first ever toy fair in February, artisans engaged in the traditional toy-making are doing their bit. One of them is C.V. Raju hailing from Etikoppaka village, in Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam, who has been nurturing the making of Etikoppaka toys, even found a mention in PM’s 68th Mann Ki Baat.
Raju has been pioneering in making vegetative dyes and finding ways to increase the shelf life of these traditional toys. Besides, he has also developed a variety of contemporary toys for which the market has gradually emerged in India and abroad.
In 'Mann Ki Baat', Honorable PM Shri. @narendramodi ji, appreciates the craftsman Sri. C.V Raju ji for his unique style in the making of Etikoppaka toys in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh
— Desi Artisans (@DesiArtisans) September 3, 2020
Significantly, the traditional Etikoppaka toy making, a dying art, uses non-toxic paints and natural dyes and is identified with the craft community of the region.
Exploring plant sources and lead-free dyes in their roots, barks, stems, leaves, fruits and seeds Raju experiments resulted in natural dye concentrates over wide-ranging colours, including royal red and Indigo. He established a co-operative association of the artisans called “Padmavati Associates” to ensure that these novel and innovative hues reach the right markets.
These toys being well rounded and coloured using natural dyes make them safe for children.
In order to give the toys a contemporary touch, a large number of shapes have been included in them like telephone, car, motorbike, cooking set, bowling game, go-go, ducks, whistle bird, cubby stack, turtle, train coach, train coach, dolls, tic-tac-toe etc.
Going beyond toys, women accessories like bangles, ear drops, earrings, hair clips, hairpins; items connected with worship like candle and incense stick stand, bells; household products like small bowls, pots, toothpick holder; stationery items like pen with stand, pencil caps, sharpener, keychains etc. have also been included in the portfolio to give it a diversified touch.
The National Innovation Foundation (NIF) conferred Raju with NIF’s 2nd Biennial National Grassroots Innovation and Outstanding Traditional Knowledge Award which was given by former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.
NIF helped Raju in myriad ways like financial support for working capital, setting up of a community lab at the premises of innovator for product improvements, research and development; validating the herbal nature of the toys and facilitating commercialization through technology transfer to other enterprises and dissemination and diffusion activities across the country.