The Telegraph
Thursday , December 16 , 2010
Since 1st March, 1999
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Games mascot lucky for dokra artisans
- About 60 Jharcraft craftsmen are making 12000 Chhaua mementos
Sporting art: Khelgaon, Ranchi

Jamshedpur, Dec. 15: At least the mascot will make its mark.

Khelgaon land scams and countless postponements notwithstanding, Chhaua aspires to make Jharkhand proud at the 34th National Games likely to be held in February in the state capital. And bring nationwide exposure to rural craftsmen.

Like the five sheep of the Guangzhou Asian Games or Shera of XIX Commonwealth Games, 2010, Chhaua is the face of the National Games. And making Chhaua come to life — the word literally means ‘child’ in tribal dialects — will be rural dokra artisans.

The state government has asked Jharcraft, the handloom and handicraft department of the state industries department, to manufacture 12,000 dokra mascots for gifting players and dignitaries during the Games. “Mascots are generally made of brass. But, here, we are trying something new. The dokra mascot for National Games will be handmade by Jharkhand artisans. Dokra craftsmen have already started their job as we have to deliver mascots by January-end,” said Jharcraft managing director Dhirendra Kumar.

About 60 artisans from across the state have already assembled at Hazaribagh, where its spacious folk art centre, Urban Haat, has become the designated hub for memento production.

Chhaua will depict the body of a human and head of a stag, symbolising both stillness and energy that characterise Jharkhand’s tribal communities. Jharcraft has been asked to create Chhaua mementoes of three varying heights — 10inch, one foot and one-and-a-half-feet — with a total project cost pegged around Rs 60 lakh. The Chhaua will have a wooden base with tribal Sohrai paintings, while its left side will have an inscription of ‘34th National Games, Jharkhand’, and its rear, some basic information on Jharcraft. The dokra mascot will promote this tribal craft across the country, feel authorities, and also give Chhaua its indigenous flavour.

“We have also appointed a designer at the Hazaribagh production centre for quality control measures. Artisans are working with 10 professionals who have completed their training from Calcutta. We will give this project our best shot. I’m sure that people will remember the memento and appreciate the skilled tribal craft. After all, we are representing Jharkhand,” said Kumar.

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