Kaniya Putri: an organic doll with a beautiful message…

"It is not only an art; it is an emotional, and beautiful story, which  makes a unique bond of love between mother and daughter and shows indigenous essence of emotions."

Kaniya Putri is a traditional organic handmade doll of West Champaran district, Bihar, the State of India. Basically, the art belongs to telling stories of women’s lives. The word “Kaniya Putri” means woman and her beautiful girl child, which carries the broad meaning of women’s lives. Kanyputri comes in the form of a brave and resilient young bride-woman-doll, who will leave her childhood and her family and enter a new house after marriage. So it is not only an art; it is an emotional story, which shows and makes a unique bond between mother and daughter and shows indigenous essence.

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Mother and Daughter Doll “KANIYA PUTRI”

As a tradition, when someone’s daughter going to marry, the family’s women make a beautiful bride doll and groom for her as a gift. So behind giving Kanyaputri, the lineage tradition’s belief was also hidden. Other than that, sisters make dolls for their brothers every year and dip them in ponds in Sawan (the rainy holy month of India). Their brothers then bring these dolls back from the ponds. Following that, sisters and brothers share sweets and express their love for one another. However, these kinds of activities have almost disappeared from the community.

But Namita Azzad (art -teacher and entrepreneur ) has brought back the art in society again by her passion. At the aspect of environment-friendly and kid’s health, it is unmatched. In addition to being a means of play for children, this art also develops their mental and emotional skills. The traditional toy is an integral part of childhood and an essential tool for learning, understanding, and becoming aware of society.

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This art was becoming extinct as it was replaced by plastics. But it has been reinstated as organic. So this art in itself has come back with many important objectives, including protecting nature, saving folk culture, and employing more and more women in folk-culture-related jobs.

This art has got a lot of encouragement and respect in the Indian market because people are happy that the old art is being revived and is in harmony with nature. People believe that mankind is a part of nature, and they must respect it. However, people think that the present generation is living in digital and plastic age where they are away from behavior towards the nature-value and protection. It is a matter of great regret that, In modern cities, kids can explain nature, but they never experience the beauty of nature. They don’t know the meaning of family and how valuable relationships are helping to grow emotional strengths. So, this kind of toy allows them to teach kids about culture, relationship values, and family-bounding.

The government of India is trying to connect the traditional toy to the world market. Therefore, the government organized a National Toy Fair to promote the domestic toy industry as part of the national initiative. The toy fair provided a venue for promoting traditional, eco-friendly, and indigenous toys and assisting the local toy industry.

So, according to this initiative, Kaniya Putri dolls got a chance to show their art beauty in the “India Toy Fair.” The Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) chose 12 toys, and Kaniya Putri was one of them. The government is trying to push up opportunities for traditional toys, but many challenges are there! Namita Azad, who has brought this art back again, says, “when plastic toys are already captured on the market, it is too hard to launch handcrafted products, especially toys. Making handmade products presents a variety of challenges compared to machine-made ones.

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  • Local-level artists of villages or small cities do not even know the process of connecting toys to the larger market and are also unaware of the requirements of the form of a company. Secondly, the village-level arts, which had lost their prestige over a long period, have been revived again with the government’s help. The third major problem is that there is no awareness of these folk-toys in media, and there is a severe lack of encouragement.
  • Today’s toy market works with deep research and strategy. Today, children first watch cartoons or songs on TV; after that, they start to like characters, search for them in the market, and find their favorite toys. It is all because of the toys-selling strategy, but local toys industries are not established greatly; local artists don’t know about media and creative-selling strategies.
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Namita Azzad

I worked in the government sector for 13 years, and I left it because of my art passion. I was watching my local art dying, and it was making me sad. I learned this art from my home, and it was a part of my childhood. I felt guilty somewhere that I was not doing anything for my local art. Despite a good family and job, my heart was attached to this art. So, after resigning from my job, I totally hooked up with the art “Kaniya Putri.” Because my college education is in Music, Painting, and Psychology, it helped me explore and teach this art to the new generation. I revived the Kaniya-Putri doll’s concept, started from home in 2002, and after that, I joined the Entrepreneurship Development Institute in Bihar. I put up my stall for the first time in the public domain at the Bihar Mahila Udyog Mela 2019. I gave a chance to women for the self-employed movement.
My doll is cute and sensible and wears all Modern- Indian dresses. Moreover, my doll loves nature and wears nature-friendly dresses. I hope that more women will take the initiative and start a career out of their hobbies or passions and teach others how to make money from their local products without waiting for an opportunity to come along.
Namita Azzad( namitaazzad818@gmail.com )

(Kaniya Putri Artist, Craft & Creations, Patna/Bihar)

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Countries with diverse cultural festivals, India has many possibilities and opportunities for development related to organic toy-making. Moreover, if considered from the point of view of mental development education, then Indian toys have great potential. In addition to being fun, Indian toys are also educational. Children learn skills such as math, hand-eye coordination, and sensory development through these toys. Apart from this, kids live a nuclear family and get a meager chance to stay in many kids or people. So, these toys give a great way to interact with many characters as a toy family. Moreover, traditional toys promote quality playtime, and any family member or friend can bring their childhood memories and create a fantastic story-telling through these conventional toys. So, there is a need to extend a helping hand to the government and the business world on this site and make these toys global and popular with creativity and standard.

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