Papermaking the Khagzi way

Mohammed Hussein Khagzi is probably the last of India's traditional Islamic papermakers. His family origins go back to Arabia and the Quraishi clan. The family arrived in India via Bokhara in Central Asia. They arrived in India around 800 years ago, settling in the Rajasthani village of Sanganer, just outside Jaipur. The family name Khagzi literally means paper maker, from Arabic, and the word currently used for paper in modern Hindi is khagaz.


Having arranged to meet Hussein, we succeeded in finding our rendevous amid the hub-bub of the main street in Sanganer. Entering the small family-run factory, the Indian noise seemed to vanish behind us amidst the gentle calm of our Muslim hosts. The atmosphere felt traditionally Arabian, and it was easy to forget that we were in India at all.

Today the paper crosses the cultural divide and is used for writing geneologies by India's Jain community.