IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Monpa Handmade Paper Industry

28th December, 2020 Art & Culture

Context: 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  efforts of  Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC).

Monpa paper

  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • An attempt for the revival of the this handmade paper industry was made in 1994 but failed as it was a mountainous task owing to various geographical challenges in Tawang.