Chapter: 7 Weavers ,iron smelters and factory owners
What kinds of cloth had a large market in Europe?
Cotton and silk textiles had a huge market in Europe. Indian textiles were by far the most popular, both for their fine quality and exquisite craftsmanship. Different varieties of Indian textiles were sold in the Western markets; for example, chintz, cossaes or khassa, bandanna and jamdani. From the 1680s, there started a craze for printed Indian cotton textiles in England and Europe, mainly for their exquisite floral designs, fine texture and relative cheapness.
What is jamdani?
Jamdani is a fine muslin on which decorative motifs are woven on the loom, typically in grey and white. Often a mixture of cotton and gold thread is used.
What is bandanna?
The word “bandanna” refers to any brightly coloured and printed scarf for the neck or head. The term is derived from the word “bandhna” (Hindi for tying) which refers to a variety of brightly coloured cloth produced through a method of tying and dying.
Who are the Agarias?
The Agarias are an Indian community of iron smelters.
Fill in the blanks:
(a) The word chintz comes from the word __________.
(b) Tipu’s sword was made of _________ steel.
(c) India’s textile exports declined in the _________
(a) The word chintz comes from the word chhint.
(b) Tipu’s sword was made of Wootz steel.
(c) India’s textile exports declined in the nineteenth century.
How do the names of different textiles tell us about their histories?
By tracing the origins of the names of different textiles, one can find out a lot about their histories. Take the case of muslin—a word that refers to any finely woven textile. This word is a derivative of the city of Mosul (in present-day Iraq). It was here that the European traders first encountered fine cotton cloth from India, which was brought over from India by Arab merchants. Another example is calico—the general name for all cotton textiles. This word is derived from the word Calicut, a city on the coast of Kerala. When the Portuguese first came to India, they landed in Calicut, and the cotton textiles that they took along with them to Europe came to be called calico. Chintz, a printed cotton cloth, is a term that is derived from the Hindi word chhint—a cloth with small and colourful flowery designs. Bandanna, which refers to any brightly coloured and printed scarf for the neck or head, is a term that leads one to the Hindi word for tying, that is, bandhna—a variety of brightly coloured cloth produced through a method of tying and dying. The widespread use of such words shows how popular Indian textiles had become in different parts of the world.
Why did the wool and silk producers in England protest against the import of Indian textiles in the early eighteenth century?
ndian textiles had long been renowned, both for their fine quality and exquisite craftsmanship. They were extensively traded in Southeast Asia and West and Central Asia. From the sixteenth century, European trading companies began buying Indian textiles for sale in Europe. There was quite a craze for Indian cotton textiles in England and Europe, mainly for their exquisite floral designs, fine texture and relative cheapness.
By the early eighteenth century, worried by the popularity of Indian textiles, the wool and silk makers in England began protesting against the import of Indian cotton textiles. At this time, the textile industries had just begun to develop in England. Unable to compete with Indian textiles, English producers wanted a secure market within the country by preventing the entry of Indian textiles.
How did the development of cotton industries in Britain affect textile producers in India?
Effects of the development of cotton industries in Britain on the textile producers in India:
(i) Competition − Indian textiles had to compete with British textiles in European and American markets.
(ii) High duties − Exporting textiles to England became increasingly difficult due to the very high duties imposed on Indian textiles imported into Britain.
(iii) Capture of foreign markets − By the beginning of the nineteenth century, English-made cotton textiles ousted Indian textiles from their traditional markets, thereby throwing thousands of Indian weavers out of employment. The English and European companies stopped buying Indian textiles and their agents no longer gave out advances to weavers to secure supplies.
(iv) Capture of the Indian market − By the 1830s, British cotton cloth flooded Indian markets. By the 1880s, two-third of all cotton clothes worn by Indians were made of cloth produced in Britain. This greatly affected both the weavers and the spinners.
Thus, Indian textiles declined in the nineteenth century, and thousands of Indian weavers and spinners lost their livelihood.
Why did the Indian iron smelting industry decline in the nineteenth century?
The Indian iron smelting industry declined in the nineteenth century for the following reasons.
(a) The forest laws implemented by the colonial administration prevented the free movement of people in reserved forests. Charcoal—an essential ingredient in the iron smelting process—could therefore not be obtained easily.
(b) When in some areas the government did grant access to the forests, the iron smelters were in return required to pay a very high amount in tax to the forest department for every furnace they used. This reduced their income.
(c) By the late nineteenth century, iron and steel was being imported from Britain. Ironsmiths began using the imported iron to manufacture utensils and implements. This reduced the demand for iron produced by local smelters.
(d) In the late nineteenth century, a series of famines devastated the dry tracts of India. As a result, many of the local smelters stopped work, deserted their villages, and migrated, looking for some other work to survive the hard times.
What problems did the Indian textile industry face in the early years of its development?
In the first few decades of its existence, the Indian textile industry faced certain problems. One such problem was that of competition from imported goods. Being in its early years of development, the Indian textile industry found it difficult to compete with the cheap textiles imported from Britain. Unlike other countries where governments allowed local industries to grow by imposing heavy duties on imports, the colonial government in India did not protect and support the local textile industries in any such way.
What helped TISCO expand steel production during the First World War?
TISCO was able to expand steel production during the First World War because the British imports of iron and steel into India declined and the market for the steel manufactured by it increased. During the war, the steel produced in Britain had to meet the demands of the war. As a result, the imports of British steel into India declined dramatically. At this time, the Indian Railways turned to TISCO for the supply of rails. As the war dragged on for several years, TISCO had to produce shells and carriage wheels for the war. To meet the demands of the war, TISCO had to expand its capacity and extend the size of its factory. By 1919, the colonial government was buying 90 per cent of the steel manufactured by TISCO.