Let’s Recall and Let’s Discuss Weavers, Smelters and Factory Owners Ncert Class 8th


1. What kinds of cloth had a large market in Europe?

The pieces ordered in bulk were printed cotton cloths called chintz, Cossaes (or Khassa) and bandanna. There was a large demand for all Indian clothes.

2. 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 was used.

3. What is bandanna?

Originally, the term derived from the word “bandana” (Hindi for tying) and referred to a variety of brightly coloured cloth produced through a method of tying and dying.

4. Who are the Agaria?

Agaria was the community of Indian Iron smelters.

5. Fill in the blanks:

(a) The word chintz comes from the word Chhint.
(b) Tipu’s sword was made of_Wortz steel.
(c) India’s textile exports declined in the  19th century.

Solution Let’s Discuss

6. How do the names of different textiles tell us about their histories?

European traders first encountered fine cotton cloth 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 Calicut on 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.

In this way, the history of discovery of each clothe gave it a name.

7. Why did the wool and silk producers in England protest against the import of Indian textiles in
the early eighteenth century?

The popularity of Indian clothes made the wool and silk makers in England worried and they started protesting against the import of Indian cotton textiles.  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.

8. How did the development of cotton industries in Britain affect textile producers in India?

The development of cotton industries in Britain affected textile producers in India in several ways. The two major challenges during the time were:

  • First, Indian textiles now had to compete with British textiles in the European and American markets.
  • Second, exporting textiles to England also became increasingly difficult due to very high duties that were imposed on Indian textiles which were imported into Britain.

By the beginning of the 19th century, English- made cotton textiles successfully ousted Indian goods from their traditional markets in Africa, America and Europe. Till the 1880s two-thirds of all the cotton clothes worn by Indians were made of cloth produced in Britain. This affected not only specialist weavers but also spinners and left many weavers unemployed in India. The Indian textile industry was into very poor conditions due to the cotton industries.

9. Why did the Indian iron smelting industry declined in the nineteenth century?

The conquest of India by the British brought more imports of iron and steel from England which displaced the iron and steel produced by craftspeople in India. The swords and armour making industry died and with that, the furnaces and smelters were left abandoned in the villages. The forest laws made it harder for the iron smelters to collect wood, in some areas where the collection was allowed the taxes were too high for each furnace reducing their income.

By the late 19th century, the iron and steel started imported from Britain, and ironsmiths started using the imported iron which lowered the demand for iron produced by local Indian smelters. In this way, the iron smelting industry declined in the 19th century.

10. What problems did the Indian textile industry face in the early years of its development?

The first cotton mill in India was set up as a spinning mill in Bombay in 1854, and many more spurted by 1900 and major of them were set up by Parsi and Gujratis. The first mill in Ahmedabad was started in 1861 and later spread to many other cities like Kanpur, United Provinces. They provided employment to many weavers and workers.

In the first few decades of its existence, the textile factory industry in India faced many problems. It found it difficult to compete with the cheap textiles imported from Britain. The colonial government in India usually refused to heavy duties on imports which protect the small industries by eliminating the competition.

The first major outbreak in the development of the cotton factory production in India came during the First World War when textile imports from Britain declined, so  Indian factories were asked to produce cloth for military supplies.

11. What helped TISCO expand steel production during the First World War?

In 1912, on the bank of the river Subarnrekha, an iron and steel factory with an industrial township called Jamshedpur was set up by Jamsetji Tata and his son. The factory was called Tata Iron and Steel Company (TISCO), it came at an opportune time, the railways were at development during the period, but the iron and steel used were from Britain.

In 1914 the First World War broke out and steel produced in Britain now had to meet the demands of the war in Europe. This resulted into decline in imports of British steel into India and the Indian Railways turned to TISCO for the supply of rails. The war dragged on for several years, TISCO had to produce shells and carriage wheels for the war. By 1919 the colonial government was buying 90 per cent of the steel manufactured by TISCO. TISCO became the biggest steel industry within the British empire.

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