37. "Paper" Made In India - First

It is believed that a person called Tshai-Iun of China, invented paper and gifted that to Chinese emperor in 105 AD. The art of making paper was kept a secret till the eighth century and Arabs had learnt that art from Chinese and from Arabs is spread to the world and was introduced into India in 10th century and 11th century.

But there are many evidences to show that paper was an Indian invention. It was made from cotton rags. Later it got migrated to China along with Buddhists.

· Yajnavalkya Smriti was composed around fourth century BC. In chapter 1:319 the word "pata" is used for writing material made from cotton rags. Making of paper from cotton rags is known to the Indians ages before Chinese claim of inventing paper.

· Itsing, a Chinese traveler visited India during 671 AD. He saw that paper was known even to laymen in India and Indians also used paper for impressing the images of deities for worship, also with silk.

· In Jain books "Manavijya's Commentary" part-1 page 167 the word "kagad" or kadgal occurs as equivalent word used for writing material.

· Even Max Mullar in the book "History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature", 1860 page 517 had said that Nearchus, the ambassador of Alexander who was in the Punjab for some years had stated that Indians used to make paper by beating cotton fabrics.

· Magasthenes, the Greek historian who accompanied Selucus in Chandra Gupta's court reported that Indians used durable paper for writing horoscopes and almanacs which necessitated long preservation. (Source GS OZA, the palaeography of India p-144)

· Sir M. A. Stein, British archaeologist traces the wide usage of paper evidencing many manuscripts of second century A. D, written in "kharoshiti" & "paishachi" scripts which were colloquial languages of Sind, Turkisthan and Central Asia, once the hinterland of ancient India. (Source : L. P. Barnett, antiquities of India 1913, p-227). These papers were made of cotton rags and are naturally sized.

· David Hunter in his book "The paper making-history and technique of antient craft" had published a photograph of ancient paper, which is available in British museum, London. It clearly shows the script "Taxshila", the once famous Indian centre of learning.

· French book "L"INDE CLASSIQUE, written by Manuel Dos, (etudes Indiannes), on page no 685 mentioned that origin of paper around 45 B.C. pointing to script "Takit-I-BA" indicating Taxshila of Ancient India.

· Encyclopaedia Britanica indicates the origin of paper to second century B.C. (Volume xv11, p-229). "There is no definite evidence to show where and when the paper was invented". This statement appears in many books like British Paper maker Association book called "Paper making", London page-3: Colliner encyclopedia Vol xvi, 1957 p-460, Book called "paper" by H. A. Meddox, 1939, p-3

· Kashmir paper was made from pulp of rags and hemp with lime and soda added to whiten paper. The Kashmir paper even acquired the status of being presented as an important article to the kings. By fourteenth century A.D. there were many paper producing centres in India (Sialkot) Punjab, Oudh (Zafarabad), Bihar (Bihar town and Atwal), Bengal (Murshidabad and Hoogly), Gujarat (Ahmedabad), Aurangabad and Mysore (during Tippu's period). Indian paper was exported to many countries of central Asia and elsewhere by fourteenth century. When Chinese paper was made from Bamboo-pulp, Indian paper was made from cotton rags and other material like jute etc. the style of making of paper was unique to India and it was common throughout India. If Indians learnt paper making from other countries, how could Indians excel in making paper within such a short time?

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