1000-yrs Old Monpa Handmade Paper Industry in Tawang
The 1000-year old heritage art - the Monpa Handmade Paper of Arunachal Pradesh - which was driven to the extinction, has come to life once again, with the committed efforts of Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC).
- The art of making Monpa handmade paper originated over 1000 years ago. Gradually the art became an integral part of local custom and culture in Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh.
- Once produced in every household in Tawang, this handmade paper was a major source of livelihood for the locals.
- However, the handmade paper industry almost disappeared in the last 100 years; prompting KVIC to plan revival of this ancient art.
- KVIC commissioned a Monpa handmade paper making unit in Tawang which not only aims at reviving the art but also engaging the local youths with this art professionally and earn.
- The fine-textured handmade paper, which is called Mon Shugu in the local dialect, is integral to the vibrant culture of the local tribes in Tawang. The paper has great historic and religious significance as it is the paper used for writing Buddhist scriptures and hymns in monasteries.
- The Monpa handmade paper, will be made from the bark of a local tree called Shugu Sheng, which has medicinal values too. Hence availability of raw material will not be a problem.
- Back then, such was the scale of production that Monpas used to sell these papers to countries like Tibet, Bhutan, Thailanand and Japan as no paper making industry existed in these countries at that time.
- However, the local industry gradually began declining and the indigenous handmade paper was taken over by inferior Chinese paper.
- Owing to its peculiarity, this handmade paper has high commercial value that can be harnessed to create local employment in Arunachal Pradesh.
- By increasing production of Monpa handmade paper, it can again be exported to other countries and regain the space occupied by China in the last few decades.
- This is a local product with great global potential, which is aligned with the Mantra of “Local to Global” given by the Prime Minister.
- Apart from handmade paper, Tawang is known for two other local crafts – handmade pottery and handmade furniture – that are also getting extinct with passage of time.
- Revival of handmade pottery will be taken up on priority under Kumhar Sashaktikaran Yojana very soon.