Mon Shugu, a special type of environment-friendly paper, which has been made in hilly regions of Arunachal Pradesh for centuries got a special mention in Prime minister's monthly radio programme, Mann Ki Baath on Sunday. This spectacular local art was pushed to the brink of extinction with the advent of modern techniques and discovery of other alternatives, but a local social worker named Maling Gombu gives it a new life.
Recently, Gombu rejuvenated this practice and thereby helping several persons from tribal communities around Tawang town to take it as their employment. It is this effort of Gombu that grabbed the Prime Minister's attention.
Mon Shugu is found to be remarkable in comparison with other types of paper for its sustainability. No chemicals are used in its process of making and the raw material is extracted from the bark of a plant named Shugu Sheng, hence trees do not have to be cut to make this paper. This naturally processed paper is noted for its high tensile strength and longer durability.
This century old heritage came into force again with the efforts taken by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) after Gombu wrote them a letter in February about the potential of a 1,000-year-old paper-making craft of the Monpa tribe in Arunachal Pradesh that was languishing.
Taking note of his letter, the KVIC promoted local youth of Twang to take up this ancient art and started Monpa handmade paper unit in last December with the support of Arunachal Pradesh state government.