In the scorching heat of the summer in Rajasthan, we were on a bus on our way to the very first industrial visit of the batch of 2013-15. The bus journey was a wonderful time for all of us to bond with each other. But as we entered the realm of the famed Kagzi industry, the carefree chitchat and random thoughts were replaced by an awed silence. Established in 1996, Kagzi is an ISO approved industry with a turnover from around INR 5 Crore to INR 25 Crore. It is a decades-old industry with export connections in Australia and Europe, setting an outstanding example of how even a small idea, when approached with confidence, can make a huge difference.
The buzz of conversations between 300 craftsmen, the sound of water mixing with the cotton balls, the hum of machines, the vibrant spreads and shreds of papers… all these activities united to make a wondrous spectacle. Clips hanging above drying sheets of handcrafted papers – beyond the reach of our hands – enthralled our eyes with the sheer beauty of colours. We experienced the delight of being in the presence of workers who answered our doubts and queries with humility of true artisans. There were ladies who were expertly sorting out the scraps and clothes, and then boiling and churning the scraps in huge machines with added colour. The scraps were then put on a sieving tray, wrapped on both sides with a cloth and pressed. After pressing, the paper was hung for drying. The excellent craftsmanship and creativity was worthy of praise. The diligence and dedication of the craftsmen towards their craft was truly inspiring for us and we watched them completely engrossed.
The owner, Mr. Mohammad Sharif – an entrepreneur who specialises in manufacturing and exporting handmade paper made from old scraps, clothes and used paper – is truly a great man, making the ‘best out of waste’.
While most visitors restrict themselves to visiting just the manufactured product outlet, the Kagzi factory opened its inner sanctum to the students of Jaipuria Jaipur. For me personally, the printing on the dried paper was the most eye-catching part of the process. We were told that the paper lasts for more than 10 years. Despite going through the entire manufacturing procedure, it was still dazzling to see the final product at the Kagzi outlet.
We returned with many memories that we would hold on to over time… till the next time.