Mohan – The Paper Craftsman at Cardamom County. Mohan works with paper craft at Xandari Cardamom County in Thekkady. In addition to making paper bags for the Xandari group of hotels and resorts, Mohan teaches paper craft to children and adult guests who visit Cardamom County.
His eyes gleam and there is a visible joy on his face as Mohan’ss deft fingers fold and glue sheets of paper, tweak contours and shapes that magically turn into vividly coloured leaping frogs, stationery holders and pens, a swan poised to take flight, a boat afloat in the imagination. He belongs to one of the numerous tribes that live in and around the Periyar Tiger Reserve and feels the primal pulse of the forest and its denizens.
“I was born here, my home is a couple of kilometres away. My ancestors were born here as well. When I was a kid, elephants and leopards roamed at will in the area. Nevertheless when the Tiger Reserve was planned and its area mapped out, I was the chairman of an EDC and my duties involved sending reports of traditional farmers in the area who were going to surrender their lands to the wildlife reserve and were entitled to compensation. I started with that and then realised that the changes that were to happen would have far reaching consequences. I was trained by a forest officer in paper craft.
Mohan speaks earnestly to anybody that will listen, about the need to avoid the use of plastics and shift to paper and organic biodegradable material. I appeal to everyone that I meet, please avoid using plastics as much as possible, otherwise we will not have an eco – system to live in. I have been working with Xandari Cardamom County for four years now. Our chairman and everyone here supports me. Children come here and sometimes their parents as well.
They appreciate what I do and listen to me when I spread the message of environmental protection. If you’re looking for a way to change and be responsible to the environment, I challenge you to go through an entire day striving to produce zero plastic waste.”