"I work very hard and my wife and our eldest son assist me. I like to carve figures of people, gods and goddesses, animals and flowers."
"I'm Chagan Lal and I come from a small village in Madhya Pradesh.
"Since my childhood days, I've watched my father and mother working together in our home to create beautiful hair accessories and combs. My father used to collect coconut shells and get wood from the nearby forest for his work. My mother helped him.
"I come from a financially weaker section of the society. To earn his livelihood, my father used to sell his carvings to various vendors and also displayed them at local fairs.
"As I grew up amid their beautiful designs, I was amazed at how such rigid materials can be transformed into unique pieces. I was so inquisitive that, at a very young age, I started learning the craft.
"I never went to any school. I am an illiterate person. I learned this art from my parents.
"I remember how I used to try my hands on this work in the absence of my parents and how they scolded me for trying to play with the materials.
"Over the years, I gained expertise. Today, I work at my own place. I work very hard, and my wife and our eldest son assist me.
"I like to carve figures of people, gods and goddesses, animals and flowers to add uniqueness to my designs. Seeing my creativity, people started to appreciate my work. I travel to most of the states in India to sell to local vendors there to earn a living for myself and my family. I also participate in local and state fairs to exhibit and sell my work.
"I approached many government organizations for aid but, unfortunately, could not get any support from such organizations. I am grateful to Novica for giving me an opportunity to show my work to the world."