Padma award is an honour for the Etikoppaka toy craft, says C.V. Raju

The toymaker, who also uses natural dyes for the toys, plans to establish an interpretation centre to promote the craft

January 26, 2023 09:23 pm | Updated 09:36 pm IST - Vijayawada:

A file photograph of toymaker C.V. Raju making natural dyes for the toys, at his residence at Etikoppaka village.

A file photograph of toymaker C.V. Raju making natural dyes for the toys, at his residence at Etikoppaka village. | Photo Credit: K.R. DEEPAK

The Union government choosing to confer Padma Shri on him in the art category is an honour to the Etikoppaka wooden toy craft, and it will go a long way in promoting the art, says C.V. Raju.

Mr. Raju is among the seven persons from Andhra Pradesh who have been selected for the Padma awards announced by the Union Home Ministry.

An agriculturist-turned-craftsman, Mr. Raju has his origins in Etikoppaka, a traditional craftsman village in Visakhapatnam district in coastal Andhra Pradesh. He is involved in promoting the toy craft and usage of natural dyes for the past few decades.

Speaking to The Hindu over phone, Mr. Raju said, “It is a great honour earned by the craft. Quality and precision are valued, whether it is C.V. Raju or someone contributing to it. I’m planning to establish an interpretation centre, rather than counter sale, to promote the craft.”

It was given to understand that the centre would act as a hub for knowledge transfer and training to posterity.

PM’s pat

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme, had hailed the good work of Mr. Raju in promoting the traditional toy industry that makes toys with soft wood and natural colours.

These toys are also most suitable for children as they do not have harmful edges.

In the backdrop of the ill-effects of the computer and mobile games, the Prime Minister had further noted that Etikoppaka toys were most relevant for the ₹7 lakh-crore worth toy industry across the world.

Ideal location

Referring to the developments after the Prime Minister’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme, Mr. Raju said that the Department of Science and Technology and the National Innovation Foundation had come together to establish the interpretation centre.

“The idea was conceptualised during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, it’s time to take it forward. And I wish that the centre should be located in the rural area. Etikoppaka is ideal as it is very close to the Eastern Ghats, where the local resources and material, natural colour substances, and the ‘Ankudu’ trees, from which the wood to make the toys is obtained, are available,” Mr. Raju said.

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