Who is Namita Azad, Art Teacher awarded with Bihar Handcraft State Award for reviving Kanyaputri Doll Art?
- Brand of Bharat
- 06 Nov, 2023
In an era characterized by progress and technological advancements, it is heartening to witness the resurgence of time-honored traditions and artisanal crafts. Such a revival has unfolded in the heart of Bihar, India, thanks to the remarkable endeavors of Namita Azad. In recognition of her outstanding dedication to preserving and promoting the art of Kanyaputri Dolls, she was honored with the Bihar Handcraft State Award in 2023.
Who is Namita Azad?
Namita Azad is an art -teacher and entrepreneur who has brought back kanyaputri art in society again with her passion, and the support of Ranjan Mistry, an Indian Social Entrepreneur. 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. However, Namita Azad and her team reinstated the craft as an organic and sustainable art form, giving it new life and relevance in the contemporary world. Namita got support from Upendra Maharathi Shilp Anusandhan Sansthan, NIFT Patna, Bihar Mahila Udyog Sangh, Women & Child Development Corporation, Bihar and Women School of Entrepreneurship.
Upendra Maharathi Shilp Anusandhan Sansthan and NIFT Patna helped in crafting the art & technique; and Bihar Mahila Udyog Sangh, and Women & Child Development Corporation, Bihar helped in showcasing the arts among the public by giving platforms such as Udyog Mela; while Women School of Entrepreneurship help in Branding, Marketing, Scalability, Costing, Market Expansion and Product Innovation with the help of MBA, BBA, & Designing Students to Namita Azad for reviving the Kanyaputri Doll.
What is Kanyaputri Doll?
Kanyaputri Dolls, also known as Gudia, represent a unique form of handcrafted dolls from Bihar, India, particularly renowned in the Champaran district. These dolls are meticulously crafted from discarded fabric materials and hold deep cultural significance in the Champaran district, symbolizing the affectionate bond between brothers and sisters.
The tradition of fashioning Kanyaputri dolls once thrived in every household across the Champaran Districts of Bihar. This beautiful custom took place during the monsoon month of Saavan. Sisters lovingly fashioned these dolls for their brothers, submerging them in a pond once completed. Upon retrieval by the brothers, they would celebrate their sibling's love by sharing sweets. These dolls were not mere lifeless playthings but tangible expressions of the love and warmth shared between siblings.
Regrettably, as time passed and modern plastic toys inundated the market, the art of Kanyaputri dolls and its practitioners began to fade into obscurity. Traditional crafts were gradually eclipsed by mass-produced plastic alternatives, placing this exquisite and meaningful tradition on the brink of extinction.
What is the importance and objective of Kanyaputri Doll?
Namita Azad’s mission to revive the Kanyaputri doll tradition was not merely about bringing back a lost art form; it served several important objectives:
Protecting Nature: The use of waste cloth materials to create these dolls promotes sustainability and reduces the environmental impact of plastic toys. The revival of Kanyaputri dolls aligns with the global push towards eco-friendliness and reducing waste.
Saving Folk Culture: By preserving the art of Kanyaputri dolls, Namita Azad and her team are safeguarding an important piece of Bihar’s cultural heritage. These dolls represent a unique blend of creativity, tradition, and the deep bond between siblings.
Empowering Women: One of the most significant aspects of this revival is the employment opportunities it provides for women in the region. By training and engaging local women in the art of making Kanyaputri dolls, it not only provides a source of income but also empowers them to preserve their cultural heritage.
Eco-Friendly and Non-Toxic Toy: The Kanyaputri Dolls are environmentally friendly and non-toxic, making them a safe and sustainable toy for children.
Namita Azad’s relentless dedication and passion for Kanyaputri dolls have not gone unnoticed. She is the only Kanyaputri artist in Bihar, and in 2023, her exceptional contributions were acknowledged and celebrated by the Industry Department of the Government of Bihar, which awarded her the prestigious Bihar Handcraft State Award for Kanyaputri Dolls Art. This recognition serves as a testament to the significance of preserving traditional art forms and the impact that one individual’s commitment can have on revitalizing a fading cultural heritage.
The Kanyaputri dolls of Bihar, once on the brink of extinction, are now experiencing a renaissance, thanks to the dedication and passion of individuals like Namita Azad.