INDIAN TEXTILE AND THE WORLD MARKET- NCERT CLASS 8TH
British focused on two industries: textiles and iron and steel. These both industries were crucial for the industrial revolution.
Mechanised production of cotton textiles made Britain the foremost industrial nation in the nineteenth century.
In 1850 after growth of its iron and steel industry, Britain came to be known as “workshop of the world”.
In the late 18th century, the Company was buying goods in India and exporting them to England and Europe, making profit through this sale.
With the growth of industrial production, British industrialists began to see India as a vast market for their industrial products and flooded Indian markets with its goods.
Rise of Indian Textile
Indian textileshad long been renowned both for their fine quality and exquisite craftsmanship. They were traded in Southeast Asia (Java, Sumatra and Penang) and West and Central Asia.
During the 16th century, European trading companies began buying Indian textiles for sale in Europe.
European traders first encountered fine cottoncloth from India carried by Arab merchants in Mosul which is part of present-day Iraq.
They began referring to all finely woven textiles as “muslin” – a word that acquired wide currency.
Portuguese landed in Calicuton the Kerala coast in south-west India. The cotton textiles which
they took back to Europe, along with the spices, came to be called “calico”, which was the general name to all textiles.
The pieces ordered in bulk were printed cotton cloths called chintz which derived its name from the Hindi word Chhint(a cloth with small and colourful flowery designs), Cossaes and bandanna.
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.
There were other clothes that were noted by their place of origin: Kasimbazar, Patna, Calcutta, Orissa, Charpoore showing the popularity of Indian clothes around the world.
The popularity of Indian clothes made the wool and silk makers inEngland worried and started protesting against the importof Indian cotton textiles.
In 1720, the British government enactedlegislation banning the use of printed cotton textiles
– chintz – in England. The act came to know as the Calico Act.
New textile industries set up in the markets in England and they were incompetent with the Indian textiles, and thus wanted a secure market and asked the government to ban Indian textiles.
The first to grow under government protection was the calico printing industry. Indian designs were now imitated and printed in England on white muslin or plain unbleached Indian cloth.
The competition also leads to many technological innovations In 1764, the spinning jenny was invented by John Kaye which increased the productivity of the traditional spindles.
The invention of the steam engine by Richard Arkwrightin 1786 revolutionised cotton textile weaving. Cloth could now be woven in immense quantities and cheaply too.
The Indian textiles still remained at the top by the end of the 18th century. European trading companies like Dutch and French made huge profits out of the trade.
These companies purchased cotton and silk textiles in India by importing silver, but after getting power in Bengal the import of silver and gold stopped instead collected revenue was used to buy goods.
Weavers belonged to communities that specialisedin weaving. Their skills were passed on from one generation to the next.
Tanti weavers of Bengal, the Julahas or Momin weavers of north India, sale and Kaikollar and Devangsof south India are some of the communities famous for weaving.
The first stage of production was spinning which was done mostly by women. The charkha and the Takliwere household spinning instruments.
For printed cloth, the weavers needed the help of specialist block printers known as Chhipigars.
The thread was spun on the charkha and rolled on the Takli and when the spinning was over the thread was woven into cloth by the weaver.
For coloured textiles, the thread was dyed by the dyer, known as Rangrez. In most communities weaving was a task done by men.
A large number of the Indian population was dependent on the handloom market at that time.