Wooden toys. These have a charm of their own and were part of the growing up process of some of us but surely our parents and generations before them. Toys meant wooden toys; there was no plastic and surely, no China. And yes, everything was handmade – that was the only way to make them and children friendly, with no toxic chemicals.
Today, cheap toys from China have dealt a body blow to this industry. Chitrakoot, a beautiful place is well known for its wooden toys. The jungles of Chitrakoot supply Dudhi Sundari and Koraiya woods, with which the handicrafts are made. But here too, the sounds of toy making which have been passed on by generations has quitened. More than 200 families depended on this for their livelihood but that has come under stress due to urbanization and modern toys.
Some 30 families continue to make these toys only because they do not know anything else. But they are sure that they do not want their children to live a life like them and all are into different vocations, none into wooden toy making.
For all the talk about Make in India, wish we could preserve such traditional art, give sops abd benefits, encourage such artisans to stay rooted in this dying art. These are things which made India, not machines.