Aurang : A Persian term for ‘warehouse’; a place, where goods are stored before being sold.
Bandanna : This word is derived from the word ‘bandhna’, which referred to a variety of brightly-coloured cloth produced through the method of tying and dying. Nowadays, this denotes a coloured and printed scarf for the neck or head.
Bellows : A device or equipment capable of pumping air.
Charkha and Takli : These were domestic spinning instruments. The thread was spun on the charkha and rolled on the takli.
Chintz : This word is derived from the Hindi word ‘chhint’, which is a type of cloth with small and colourful flowery designs.
Muslin : Lightweight cotton cloth with a plain weave.
Rangrez : This referred to the dyer who dyed the cloth.
Slag heaps : The leftover waste while smelting metals.
Smelting : The process of deriving metal from rock or soil by heating it to very high temperature, or the process of melting metallic objects to make something new from them.
Spinning Jenny : A machine through which a single spinner could weave multiple spinners on to which the thread was spun. When the wheel was turned, all the spinners also rotated.
1720 : The British government implemented a legislation banning the use of printed cotton textiles called chintz.
1764 : Spinning Jenny was invented.
1786 : Invention of the steam engine.
1854 : First cotton mill was set up in India in Bombay.
1912 : TISCO (Tata Iron and Steel Company) started producing steel.
1914 : Start of the First World War.
1919 : The colonial government bought 90% of the steel produced by TISCO in India.
Indian Textile Industry
The Indian textile industry faced the following problems in the early years of its development :
(a) Indian textiles had to compete with British textiles in the European and American markets. Exporting textiles to England also became increasingly difficult since very high duties were imposed on Indian textiles imported into Britain.
(b) By the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Englishmen became successful in making cotton textiles and they ousted Indian goods from their traditional markets in Africa, America and Europe.
(c) Thousands of weavers in India were now thrown out of employment.
(d) Bengal weavers were the worst hit. English and European companies stopped buying Indian goods and their agents no longer gave advances to weavers to secure supplies. Distressed weavers wrote petitions to the government to help them.
(e) The textile industry in India faced many problems. It found it difficult to compete with the cheap textiles imported from Britain.
(f) In most countries, governments supported industrialization by imposing heavy duties on imports, but colonial government in India did not provide support to the locals.
The problems faced by the Indian textile industry in the first few decades were :
(i) The Indian textile industry could not compete with the cheap textiles which were imported from Britain into Indian markets.(ii) In many other countries, governments supported the industrialization process by imposing heavy taxes on the imported goods to eliminate competition with local markets, but colonial government in India did not put any check on imported goods.(iii) The cotton industry in India got a slight relief during the First World War that affected the imports from Britain and the Indian factories were asked to produce cloth for military suppliers.
In 1764, the spinning jenny was invented by James Hargreaves which increased the productivity of the traditional spindles. The invention of the steam engine by Richard Arkwright in 1786 revolutionized cotton textile weaving.
The Growth of Cotton mills in India
(i) The first cotton mill that was established in India as a spinning mill was in Bombay in 1854. Gradually, Bombay became an important centre of cotton textiles due to its close location to the seaport and the cotton cultivating areas.
(ii) By 1900, there were 84 mills operating in Bombay and many of them were established by the Indian businessmen. Firstly, cotton mills were established in cities such as Ahmedabad and Kanpur, in 1861 and 1862, respectively.
(iii) The growth of cotton mills created a demand for labour in all these cities. Thousands of poor peasants, artisans and agricultural labourers moved to the cities to work in the mills.
(i) When the Portuguese first came to India in search of spices, they landed in Calicut on the Kerala coast in South – West India.
(ii) The cotton textiles which they took back to Europe, along with the spices, came to be called as “calico” (derived from Calicut), and subsequently, calico became the general name for all cotton textiles.
(iii) By the early 18th century, worried by the popularity of Indian textiles, wool and silk makers in England began protesting against the import of Indian cotton textiles.
(iv) In 1720, the British government enacted a legislation banning the use of printed cotton textiles – chintz in England. This Act was known as the Calico Act.
The Calico Act enacted in England
(i) By the early 18th century, the wool and silk makers in England were worried by the popularity of Indian textiles in England markets. They began protesting the import of Indian cotton textiles.
(ii) During this period, the textiles industries in England had just begun to develop the Calico, which was an imitation of Indian style.
(iii) Now, cloth producers in England were in a situation to compete with Indian textiles and thus wanted to seize a secure market in England by preventing the entry of Indian textile.
(iv) So in 1720, the British government enacted the Calico Act that banned the use of printed cotton textiles – chintz – in England.
The sword of Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan ruled upon Mysore till 1799, fought four wars with the British and died fighting with his sword in his hand.
The sword had an incredibly hard and sharp edge that could easily rip through the opponents’ armour.
This quality of sword came from a special type of high carbon steel called Wootz which was produced all over South India. Wootz steel, when molded into swords, produces a very sharp edge with a flowing water pattern.
(a) The swords and armours making industry died with the conquest of India by the British and imports of iron and steel from England displaced the iron and steel produced by craft persons in India.
(b) Secondly, production of Wootz steel required a highly specialized technique of refining iron. But iron smelting in India was extremely common till the end of the 19th century.
(c) In most villages, furnaces fell into disuse and the amount of iron produced came down.
(d) One more reason was the new forest laws imposed when the colonial government prevented people from entering the reserved forests, the iron smelters could not find wood for charcoal, and they also could not get iron ore.
(e) Defying forest laws, they often entered the forests secretly and collected wood, but they could not sustain their occupation on this basis for long.
(f) Many gave up their crafts and looked for other means of livelihood.
(g) In some areas, the government granted access to the forest. But the iron smelters had to pay a very high tax to the forest department for every furnace they used. This reduced their income. By the late 19th century, iron and steel was being imported from Britain. Ironsmiths in India began using imported iron to manufacture utensils and equipments. This inevitably lowered the demand for iron produced by local smelters.
The European companies trade with India
European trading companies such as-the Dutch, the French and the English made enormous profits out of the flourishing trade with India. These companies purchased cotton and silk textiles from India by importing silver. When the English East India Company gained political power in Bengal, they no longer imported the precious metal to buy Indian goods. They collected revenues from peasants in India, and used this revenue to buy Indian textiles.
The popularity of the printed Indian cotton cloths in England and Europe : Chintz, Cossaes (Khassa) and Bandanna were the most popular printed cotton cloths with many floral designs and fine texture at that time. From 1680s, the printed cotton cloths became very popular among the people of England and Europe. Rich people of England including the Queen wore clothes made of Indian fabric. Other clothes that were popular in Europe were the varieties of Kasimbazar , Patna, Calcutta, Orissa and Charpoore clothes.
The efforts taken by the Meiji regime to industrialize Japan were: It imported the most advanced technology from the Western countries. Many foreign experts were brought to train professionals in Japan. It introduced postal services, telegraph, railways and steam-powered shipping. Industrialists were provided loans to start new investments and business by the government banks. The government started many large factories and then sold them off at cheap rates to businessmen.
Handloom weaving did not completely die in India, despite the decline of Indian textiles
The handloom weaving did not completely die in India, despite the decline of Indian textiles, because the machine made clothes did not have the features of handloom weaving. For example, machines could not produce saris with intricate borders or clothes with traditional woven patterns. Cloths with traditional patterns had great demand in the rich and the middle classes. They could not produce very coarse cloths used by the poor people in India.All these factors sustained the handloom weaving in India.