Orcha Women Produce Geo-friendly Paper
Orcha Women Produce Geo-friendly Paper [
I enjoy working here; I earn at least Rs.75 a day to support my children
studies," Ram Kumari Kewar said while rubbing a piece of wood on a
wet bundle of yellow substance at Tara Centre, in Orcha, Madhya Pradesh,
Like Kebar 44 other tribal women are employed in the Tara Centre that
produces geo-friendly hand-made paper. These women, many of who are
illiterate and from poor families, work in Tara Centre from 8:00 in the
morning to 17:00 in the afternoon.
Before this centre was established, all of us were jobless, but
now we are working here happily," said Mira Bai, another woman.
Bai and her husband have been working in Tara Centre since its
establishment in 1996. They have three sons and all of them attend
schools and the couple earn money to meet their daily expenses plus the
school fees of their children by working in the centre.
Interestingly, women workers outnumber men in the Tara Centre.
Located near the famous ancient capital of Bundhelkhand, some 16
kilometres away from Jhansi, the Tara Gram is one of the important
project sites of the region worth to visit.
Many tourists visit Orcha to view the huge palaces and temples built
there between 16th and 18th century.
Orcha was established in the 16th century by the Bundela Rajput
chieftain Rudra Pratap. Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo, one of the succeeding
rulers, built the elegant Jehangir Mahal as a present to welcome Mughal
emperor Jehangir when he paid a state visit in the 17th century. The Ram
Raja Temple, Laxmi Narayan Temple, Sheesh Mahal, Phool Bagh that stand
elegantly on the bank of Betwa river are other major tourist attractions
of Orcha. Presence of standard resorts with all needed facilities have
helped turn Orcha into a famous resort site of Madhya Pradesh.
Many tourists, who reach there, happen to observe Tara Gram, located
about four kilometers from the historical site on the way back to
Jhansi. This scribe had reached there along with other 23 Asian and
African journalists in October last year.
Come to the Tara Centre again. �Your dream, our goals,"
reads the green signboard at the main entrance of the project site. When
you enter from the gate, first you see some sheds there. As you go
ahead, people especially, women can be seen separating small pieces of
cotton from sacks on the basis of their colours. They put black pieces
in one sack, red in another, yellow yet in another and so on. And the
pieces are the left-over after the tailors sew clothes. Knowing that the
Orcha women make paper out of the cotton pieces, I realized that how we
throw such pieces as waste. In Kathmandu and other urban areas, such
cotton pieces are important sources of pollution. If we also made papers
by collecting the cotton pieces from across the country, we would be
contributing not only to reduce the import of paper but also to preserve
the Lokta, the plant from which the local papers are being produced.
After the separation, the selected pieces are poured into big-drum like
pots inside the factory. The black pieces are put in one drum and red in
another and so on. Now the machine crush them and turn them into liquid
in the manner we churn out butter from yoghurt. The black pieces produce
black substance, the red red and so on. From the first drum the liquid
is automatically transformed into the second, from which it is
transformed into small drums in the next room. The women then give shape
of paper to the liquid by robbing it on the bundle of paper-like things.
Once the wet shape is created, it is sent to the drying room. All
workers in the drying room are women. From the drying room, it goes to
the cutting room where you can find paper of different sizes, shapes and
colours. Black pieces of cotton produce black paper, red pieces produce
red, yellow pieces yellow and so on. Mostly, paper produced in this
manner is useful for drawing.
However, the Orcha women also produce albums, diaries and items of
decoration from the paper. Most of the paper produced in Tara Gram are
supplied to other parts of India and abroad.
All the cotton pieces used in the paper making are brought from Southern
Most of the workers have started working in the project since its
establishment in 1996.
This has made our life easier. We are getting not only jobs but
also contributing in preserving environment," said Khaleda Khan,
one of the women workers.
Courtesy : Gorkhapatra.org.np