During our recent visit to Nuagaon, Sadei Bareni a village in Dhenkanal district of Odisha, we came across this spirited lady, Golap Gadatia, who along with her husband Sansari Gadatia has dedicated her life to the craft of Dhokra. While nursing her bedridden husband, who suffered a brain stroke in May 2022, she speaks about their journey of more than 45 years in not only keeping the ancient craft alive, but also popularising it internationally. The couple, both state level award winners, despite having lost their young son, have been able to mobilise and facilitate their clan into producing a variety of Dhokra crafts as well as earn a decent amount over the years. They have carried out innovations in the traditional design and procedures to meet the demands of the modern market.
All was going well till the pandemic struck pushing these families out of their traditional craftsmanship, and now a brain stroke immobilising her husband, adding more load to the already heavy financial burden. Despite all the problems, vibrant Golap looks indefatigable. She exudes so much positive energy and hope to keep the people around her moving with a never say die zeal. Her deep concern however reflects in her occasional query to us, “Can he (my husband) fully recover and get back to making Dhokra?” Her concern is well appreciated as Dhokra is not their livelihood, but their life.
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