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HomeBusinessKVIC brings 1,000-yrs Old Monpa Handmade Paper Industry alive in Arunachal Pradesh

KVIC brings 1,000-yrs Old Monpa Handmade Paper Industry alive in Arunachal Pradesh

29 December 2020: Recently Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) commissioned a Monpa handmade paper making unit in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh. The unit was inaugurated by KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena in presence of local people and officials. The project aims at reviving the art and engaging the local youths with this art professionally and earn.

The Monpa handmade paper, will be made from the bark of a local tree called Shugu Sheng, which has medicinal values too. Initially, the paper unit has engaged 9 artisans who can produce 500 to 600 sheets of Monpa handmade paper per day. The artisans will be earning wages of per day Rs 400 per day. To begin with, 12 women and 2 men from local villages have been trained to make Monpa handmade paper. KNHPI is a unit of KVIC.

Inauguration of the paper unit is a historic event for the locals. Because, the Monpa Handmade Paper, the 1,000-year old heritage art which was driven to the extinction, has now come to life once again, with the committed efforts of KVIC. 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.

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. Monpas used to sell these papers to countries like Tibet, Bhutan, Thailand 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.

KVIC Chairman Vinai Saxena said that reviving the Monpa handmade paper industry and increasing its commercial production was the key objective of KVIC. “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.”

The Monpa handmade paper unit will also serve as a training center for the local youths. KVIC will provide marketing support and explore markets for the locally manufactured handmade paper. KVIC plans to set up more such units in different parts of the country. Saxena said KVIC will also begin production of innovative plastic-mixed handmade paper in Tawang that will be crucial for reducing plastic waste in the region.

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