Skip to main content

Paying back Paper in Paper: Barely a soul in Small scale Traditional Paper-Making Enterprise

Tenzin Yeshey facing uncertain future 

Tenzin Yeshey nom de plume Karma Tenzin from Trashi Yangtse married a native girl and settled in Minjay only. He left his kin and kith back in his village and ventured into the destiny known but to nurture his own set of family. Did he realize raising a family is no man’s piece of pie? That is only when he realized that first to start with, he need a decent roof over his head. With no investment money, he borrowed a tender notes of Nu.35,000/- from one grocery-man Ngawangla in Trashi Yangtse and he is now paying it back in Desho paper. 

Here, the skill he possessed proved very valuable. He is now the proud father of 3 children (2 sons and 1 girl child). He never went to formal school himself. So, he enrolled his kids to the school the first day they each reached the school-going age. He rather chose to be the sacrificial lambs of his children’s education. He is not bothered about his own square meals or working with his stomach half-filled but for the education of his kids.
The money he borrowed is used very judiciously, but unfortunately exhausted when only the half of his double-storey house was completed construction. But that atleast provided his family the four cornered walls to protect from chilling winter breeze and an opaque roof to shield them from sweltering summer sun and incessant rain. Before, he can include up the story to the house, he needed to clear the debt he owe to the grocery man. But how? With his meager farm income, it would take ages to repay back. 
His one-storey house
In a desperate exploration of way and means to settle up the loan, he incepted small enterprise of his own dedicating in making Bhutanese hand-made paper. The enterprise shares his small dry land holding with his one storey house. He collects the raw materials (Edgeworthia) from the locality and processes it to make a paper of size 1mx1/2m. The papers are sent to his debtor in lieu of the money he borrowed to construct his house. A piece of paper deducts Nu.5/- from his total borrowing. Many years down the lane, he has not even reached the break-even of his business. 
He works alone with all those traditional tools and equipments transforming that raw edgeworthia barks into fine pieces of hand-made papers. The processes such as soaking of barks in zinc container, cutting, splitting or shredding it into pieces with bare hands, grinding with either stones or stick, churning in home-made churner and finally spreading on dyer (Parshing) is all done by himself and all in the tradional and ineffective home-made equipments. But worst of all, drying of the papers are in mercy of sunshine. 
Whatsoever, the business is his sole source of income. He proudly mentions that only few thousand is left of his debt. Not everything is sold to the debtor. He retains few thousand of his annual paper productions to be sold to the local Gomchens who buy it for writing religious scripts. Now with such off-farm income, he supports his family and education of his children. 
He has plan galore with his enterprise. He wants to expand the enterprise and engage in mass production which will in no doubt help keep the tradition of our Country alive. He intends to procure advanced equipments such as electric dyer and fitting machine. These machines are operated by electricity without having to depend on the mercy of the weather phenomenon. But with no access to supports, it remains barely as his day dream.
Until such time that a fairy fulfills his dream, he still wants to maintain the soul in his enterprise. 


Popular posts from this blog

Thinley Dorji out for hunting ‘Buddha Mushroom’ in Blue pine Forests

Bumthanps in droves collects magic mushroom helping mint lots of money  All thanks to income he generates from selling Matsutake mushroom which Blue pine forests in Ura, Bumthang is endowed with, Thinley Dorji, 36 was able to put up decent roof over his head. This is in addition to the steady follow of money for educational expenses of his three school-going kids. But it is easier to be envious of such benefits than having to hear the whole lot of story behind the facade. It simply takes someone a whole lot of determinations and sacrifices in collecting the marvelous Matsutake mushroom. Thinley wakes up early, from the shed he spent his other night guarding his potato crops from wild animals. Believing that “early bird catches most worms,” he needs to be in the forests ahead of all other folks. Otherwise, what is grown will have to be shared among the parade of collectors. "Lucky for him, there was a light drizzle, the other night and Thinley heads out optimistic of the good

An unending war in Wangling battlefield

It is mid-summer and Goshing Wangling, a remote village in Zhemgang has transformed into an extraordinarily beautiful hamlet. The quaint little hamlet has turned extravagantly lush with tropical vegetation fencing the village while the inside is chock-full with different varieties of agriculture crops growing green and fresh. It is possible to literally hear the butterfly wing beat and feel the soft seasonal breeze transport to some magical land of peace and plenty far away from the crowd of modern settlements. The vista stretches far beyond the little settlements. One wonders that if Wangling can contain and give so much, what amazing wealth of floral and faunal beauty could exist between the tall, splendid mountains faraway and the vast spotless azure sky behind them.  Peace that appears to reign so abundantly in this small village, however is not absolute. Hidden behind the façade lies a chronic problem. "The Wangling farmers have to constantly face rampaging wild animals tha

An honour of delivering His Majesty’s 'Soelra'

Have you ever tried, even once, to stand outside in winter for few hours? Ok, let me be more lenient. Let’s keep it for few minutes? I’m pretty sure that a minute or two out in cold would send anyone rushing back to heater or Bukhari. "Concerned that Desuups have to brace the unforgiving winter cold, His Majesty's Soelra was bestowed with supply of firewood" It so happened that when lockdown 2.0 in Bhutan was imposed due to community outbreak in December last year, the temperature was plummeting especially in Thimphu. During such time, Desuups came forward in large number in spirit of volunteerism to ensure lockdown protocols are adhered by general public. "When many people got bored locked inside their home, we were daily engaged in such tiring work" The nature of duty during such time entailed carrying out patrolling, guarding certain area, unloading of essentials, to name few. But the guarding of ‘red buildings’ I personally noticed was really challenging.