By Sri Kant J
Visakhapatnam, the steel city of India and the port city of Andhra Pradesh, is hosting the annual SARAS All India DWCRA Bazar at Andhra University Engineering Grounds from December 27 to January 7. The annual event is supported by different state governments in the Union of India and also by the Central government. Sale of Articles of Rural Artisan Societies (SARAS) is a platform to bring the articles of rural artisans to the urban centres.
At the annual exhibition held in Visakhapatnam has seen more than 200 artisans from different parts of India. At the exhibition there are about 212 stalls showcasing and selling jewellery, handicrafts, household items and decorative articles, garments, dry fruits among others.
One of the artisans who is participating at the annual SARAS All India DWCRA Bazar in Visakhapatnam is Ravi Achari from a village named Madhavamala near SriKalahasti, the temple town in in Chittoor district. He has learned the craft of sculpting wooden images from his father and grandfather who have learned from their forefathers. The village he hails from is renowned for ‘Koya bommalu’ and home to nearly 200 artisans. In a conversation with theTelugus.com Ravi Achari told that he sculpts wooden carvings, panels for doorways, images of gods and goddesses among others by using different kind of wood such as neem, seemachinta and natu teku. The handicrafts he is showing at the exhibition are priced starting from Rs 2,500 to Rs 35,000. He hopes to return to the exhibition next year.
Artisans like Ravi Achari is concerned that the skill he has may not survive in the coming years as there is no patronage from the people, and very few are left in this profession. The state government is helping artisans but it is a piecemeal programme but he hopes that the government and corporations will support them with long-term vision to sustain their professions. Their skill handicrafts is not learned from a school or college but inherited from their ancestors.