By Lokendra Singh
Sanganer (Rajasthan), Jan 21 : Traditional handmade paper industry, patronized by erstwhile ruler Sawai Man Singh 400 years ago in Rajasthan, continues to flourish in modern times.
Sanganer is renowned for its handmade paper industry, which is situated around 45 kilometres from Jaipur.
It was started as a cottage industry, which later grew manifolds to become a major business venture of the region, employing around 10, 000 people.
Over the years, the traditional vocation has revolutionized to adapt to the needs of the modern times.
The Kagzi family, who have carried forward the legacy of their forefathers and have now become a pioneer in handmade paper industry in Sanganer, has kept traditional paper industry alive.
In comparison to the plain white paper of the earlier times, the paper rolled out today comes in shades of assorted colours with even flower petals thrown in, to make it more attractive.
"We have incorporated a lot of changes in it now. Earlier it used to come only in white colour, but now we use different colours, designs and even flower petals. It is in great demand now," said Salim Kagzi, Chairman, Handmade Paper and Board Industries Association, Sanganer.
Made from waste materials such as paper, cardboard, straws, and many other things, handmade paper has many advantages over a normal mill paper.
Apart from being eco-friendly, handmade paper does not have a fixed shelf life and can be preserved over the ages without the fear of being ruined.
"This paper does not have a fixed shelf life as is the case with mill paper, which does not last more than two-three years. In comparison, this paper is very durable. If you want to preserve a document for longer then one should use handmade paper. We still have papers left to us by our ancestors. It still retains its original texture, it has not wasted away during the span of time," said Kagzi.
At present around 75 small and medium sized units are involved in making handmade paper.
"There are about 70 to 75 industries and their total production must be running in crores. It is estimated at not less than 50 crores," Kagzi added.
The paper is in great demand, which is being exported to countries like U.S.A and France, generates a business of more than 5 million rupees.