The handmade paper industry in India made its inception in 14th century. The industry tasted a boom under Indian monarchs, but suffered heavily under British rule during 18th and 19th century. At some point during the freedom struggle, the industry was again given support by Mahatma Gandhi. Now after independence it has been supported and promoted by the Government.
Indian paper industry is a vast industry comprising more than 157 paper-producing divisions all over India. These 157 functional units together manufacture handmade paper worth around Rs. 21 crores and provides employment to approximately 10,000 people. Sanganer village is the biggest center in western India humming on the rhythm of the sound of paper making activities. This village is popular for developing its own special varieties of paper that are named as per their properties and different usages like Do Rohi, Ishwar Sahi, etc. India is a pool of skilled manufacturers who use an assortment of raw materials to make impeccable quality handmade papers. One such group of Indian artisans is ‘Kagzi Puras’ who are making paper products from generations. All paper products are eco-friendly and same is their manufacturing process. Another advantage it has is that there is no such difference between the cost of mill-made conventional papers. Paper is produced mainly by recycling agro waste like banana, jute, straw and cotton rags comes in the form of tailor cutting, hosiery cutting etc. Tamilnadu, Kanpur and Mumbai are the major spots from where these raw materials are collected and huge manufacturing units for paper are planted.
There is not much capital required for the production of handmade papers. Therefore, it becomes easier for local entrepreneurs to establish its industry especially in rural areas. Paper industry in India has created sustainable livelihood in rural areas. This industry has helped generating employment for the local population especially for women to earn their livelihood. The handmade paper industry has emerged as a diversified and specialized industry that produces in-numerous types of papers that comes in various use such as watermark, filter paper, drawing sheets, etc. Other products including Paper Bags, paper Diaries, paper Photo Frames, Greeting Cards, Handmade paper Boxes, paper Albums, etc, are manufactured and exports across the world. Today, the Indian exporters export nearly Rs.400 crores worth of products per annum to the developed nations.
Handmade papers are not only exclusive and attractive but have great tensile strength. These do not burst or tear easily unlike mill papers. Also, it doesn’t turn brittle as it ages. Today, majority of the gift and craft items are made from handmade paper. Its popularity is increasing day by day due to inbuilt qualities it has. Handmade paper has endless possibilities to accomplish.