Andaman & Nicobar’s first application for the Geographical Indication tag is for the Nicobari hodi craft

The hodi is the Nicobari tribe’s traditional craft. It is an outrigger canoe, very commonly operated in the Nicobar group of islands.

November 20, 2022 02:39 am | Updated 10:56 am IST - CHENNAI

The traditional craft of the Nicobari tribe is the Hodi, an outrigger canoe, very commonly operated in Nicobar group of islands. Photo: Special Arrangement

The traditional craft of the Nicobari tribe is the Hodi, an outrigger canoe, very commonly operated in Nicobar group of islands. Photo: Special Arrangement

The Geographical Indications Registry at Guindy, Chennai, has received an application from the Tribal Development Council, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, seeking the Geographical Indication (GI) tag for the Nicobari hodi craft. This is the first application from the Union Territory seeking a tag for one its products.

The hodi is the Nicobari tribe’s traditional craft. It is an outrigger canoe, very commonly operated in the Nicobar group of islands. The technical skills for building a hodi are based on indigenous knowledge inherited by the Nicobarese from their forefathers. The hodi is built using either locally available trees or from nearby islands, and its design varies slightly from island to island.

The GI tag application states: “The master carpenter journeys to the islands where the search is to be made for the tree to make Hodi craft. Once the choice is made. the terms and conditions under which the owner will allow the tree to be felled have to be determined. The trunk selected has to be free of branches along the required length, while it has to be sufficiently wide in girth to provide for the desired width. A 60 to 80 year old tree with a straight trunk or one having a slight incline to one side is preferred.”

Considerations to be taken into account include the length of the finished canoe, which has to be l2 times that of its width, while the length of the undressed tree trunk has to be l5 times this width.

Padma Shri Awardee and GI expert, Rajani Kant, who facilitated the application, said, “ Hodis are used for transporting people and goods from one island to another, [for] sending coconuts, [for] fishing and racing purposes.”

The tuhet, a group of families under a headman, consider the hodi an asset. Hodi races are held between islands and villages.

1,000th GI application in Chennai office

The Geographical Indications Registry, established in Chennai in September 2003, has received over 1,000 applications. An application seeking GI tag for the Banaras’ thandai (a beverage made with milk, dry fruits and spices) was the 1,000th application, which was filed two weeks ago.

Data shows that, as on date, around 1,015 applications have been filed at the Chennai office and of them, GI tags have been given to 422 products. Over a hundred applications have been refused and abandoned for various reasons, including non-compliance, and withdrawal of papers by the applicants.

This report erroneously mentioned Nicobari hodi craft as Nicobari hodi boat. The error is regretted.

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