GI-tagged Dokra fails to fill empty stomachs

GI-tagged Dokra fails to fill empty stomachs
Highlights

They never had an idea that their struggle for existence one day would win national acclaims to them, their work and region. Dokra metal casting (also known as Cire Perdue or Lost-Wax process) is one of the oldest traditional techniques founded by Woj (also called as Wojaris and Otaris) community. 

Adilabad: They never had an idea that their struggle for existence one day would win national acclaims to them, their work and region. Dokra metal casting (also known as Cire Perdue or Lost-Wax process) is one of the oldest traditional techniques founded by Woj (also called as Wojaris and Otaris) community.

Initially, these tribals were nomadic before they settled sporadically spread across the country. The traces of Dokra (also spelt Dhokra) metal craft, which has roots as early as Mohenjo-Daro civilization, is said to be a means of livelihood to these tribes for about 4,500 years.

The Wojs, who started off metal art form with the making of sacred bells, initially acquired exquisite skills to make figurines that depict life in all its glorious variety. Against this backdrop, the Handicrafts Development Corporation Limited’s application for Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act 1999 in respect of traditional and decorative designs, animal and bird figures has been accepted by the GI Registry in Chennai on April 18.

With this, the Adilabad Dokra joins the elite list of 13 GI-tagged products — Hyderabad haleem, Silver filigree from Karimnagar, Siddipet Gollabhama sarees, Gadwal sarees, Pochampally Ikat, Nirmal toys, paintings and furniture, Cheriyal paintings, Pembarthi metal craft, Narayanpet handlooms and Warangal dhurries in Telangana.
Notwithstanding the fame it has earned worldwide for brass objects, around 100 families of these tribal artisans, based in Keslaguda under Kerameri mandal, and Ushegaon and Jamgaon under Jainoor mandal in Komaram Bheem Asifabad district, continue to languish in penury, hardly making ends meet.

When The Hans India contacted 68-year-old Kova Naneshwar and told him about the GI tag conferment on Adilabad Dokra, the winner of the prestigious National Shilp Guru Award-2014 was a surprised lot. “We largely depend on local traditional markets. Even though we travelled length and breadth across the country demonstrating the uniqueness of the Dokra craftsmanship, the returns are not optimistic,” Naneshwar said.

With the entire production process involves utmost skill for making fine metal casting, the younger generation is gradually losing interest on the art form, but they prefer to work whenever they get time, he said.

The artisans will only use hand tools for the casting and finishing. The production method is by combining metallurgical skills using the lost wax technique. The lost wax technique is a unique form in which the mould is only used once and broken, making the figure the only one of its kind in the world.

Meanwhile, the Geographical Indications tag which Adilabad Dokra got helps in preventing misuse of a registered product name. It confers legal protection to the GI in the country. Although the GI tag is billed as exploring huge market potential, the Dokra products are mostly confined to the local markets.

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