Just as the festive season hits, Delhi sees several small carnivals, also called melas, in different corners of the city. Almost everyone has their childhood memories of these melas, with loud music, lots of food and stalls for shopping. Children, during this festive season, have the chance to become a hero themselves, transform into the god whose stories they have so fondly heard with toys such as mola, gada, bow and arrow, sword and more. However, questions like where these toys come from, in which factory are they made remain out of sight.
Bharat Bhushan (56), a resident of Moti Nagar, is a man who stays very busy during the festive season from July to October by making these children’s toys. With no apparent intention of making huge profits from these toys, Bharat makes them to keep this traditional business alive and more than that, for his passion. These handcrafted toys are made of cardboard, wood and clothing.
Bharat is a retired grandfather who, in addition to making toys, spends most of his time with his granddaughter. While her children are now well educated and working in reputable jobs, toy making has been Bhushan’s family business for generations. He is the last of his family to continue the activity. Bharat Bhusan says, “I know that after me no one will do this job. It’s my family business and it keeps me busy in my spare time.”
While explaining why he makes these toys, he shares that he wants to make traditional toys available to the new generation, so they can connect to the mythical stories of our gods. Moreover, he says that many of the sellers, to whom he supplies these toys, are financially dependent on him. If he stops making those toys, those vendors won’t have anything left to sell.
Apart from being very reasonably priced, these toys are also organic in nature. No plastics or any other harmful materials are used in the manufacture of the toys. Bharat says, “The sticky gum we use in toys is also made by Maida (refined flour) in our house.”