Class 8 : Weavers ,Iron smelters and factory owners Class 8 Notes | EduRev
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Trade of cotton clothes
India was by far the world's largest producer of cotton textiles. Indian textiles had long been renowned both for their fine quality and exquisite craftsmanship. They were extensively traded in Southeast Asia. European traders first encountered fine cotton cloth from India carried by Arab merchants in Mosul in present-day Iraq.
Indian textiles in European markets
By the early eighteenth century, worried by the popularity of Indian textiles, wool and silk makers in England began protesting against the import of Indian cotton textiles. Unable to compete with Indian textiles, English producers wanted a secure market within the country by preventing the entry of Indian textiles. Indian textiles continued to dominate world trade until the end of the eighteenth century. European trading companies- the Dutch, the French and the English made enormous profits out of this flourishing trade.
Weavers often belonged to communities that specialised in weaving. Their skills were passed on from one generation to the next. The first stage of production was spinning a work done mostly by women. 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. Handloom weaving and the occupations associated with it provided livelihood for millions of Indians.
Decline of Indian textiles
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 since very high duties were imposed on Indian textiles imported into Britain. Thousands of weavers in India were now thrown out of employment. Bengal weavers were the worst hit. English and European companies stopped buying Indian goods and their agents no longer gave out advances to weavers to secure supplies.
Cotton mills in India
The first cotton mill in India was set up as a spinning mill in Bombay in 1854. Bombay had grown as an important port for the export of raw cotton from India to England and China. By 1900, over 84 mills started operating in Bombay. Many of these were established by Parsi and Gujarati businessmen. The first mill in Ahmedabad was started in 1861. A year later a mill was established in Kanpur, in the United Provinces.
Production of Wootz steel
Tipu Sultan's sword came from a special type of high carbon steel called Wootz which was produced all over south India. Wootz steel when made into swords produced a very sharp edge with a flowing water pattern. Wootz is an anglicised version of the Kannada word ukku, Telugu hukku and Tamil and Malayalam urukku meaning steel. Indian Wootz steel fascinated European scientists. However, the Wootz steel making process, which was so widely known in south India, was completely lost by the mid-nineteenth century.
Iron and steel industries in India
In the hot month of April, Charles Weld, an American geologist and Dorabji Tata, the eldest son of Jamsetji Tata, were travelling in Chhattisgarh in search of iron ore deposits. They had spent many months on a costly venture looking for sources of good iron ore to set up a modern iron and steel plant in India. A few years later a large area of forest was cleared on the banks of the river Subarnarekha to set up the factory and an industrial township Jamshedpur. The Tata Iron and Steel Company (TISCO) that came up began producing steel in 1912. By 1919 the colonial government was buying 90 per cent of the steel manufactured by TISCO.
Kerala becoming a part of the world market
After taking up administrative control, the British could gain Kerala merchandises at a cheap price and sell out their industrial products at high prices. Foreign trade spread across the region under the rule of the British and Kerala became a part of the world market. The trade laws that existed in Malabar, Kochi and Travancore were amended by the British in their favour.
Changes in land relations
The Britishers made drastic changes in the pattern of land ownership enjoyed by different sections of people in the society. The tax to be paid to the Britishers by the local chieftains and landlords was pre determined. Changes in land relations started in Travancore from the time of Marthanda Varma itself. Land of the madambis (feudal lords) was converted into pandaramvaka (government property). The government of Travancore made a landmark proclamation in 1865 granting the tenants ownership of the lands they cultivated. The Janmi Kundian Act passed in 1896 also granted land ownership to the tenants in Travancore but they were burdened with heavy taxes. In Kochi, the Tenancy Act was enacted in 1914.
Growth of plantation and traditional industries
The British started plantation industries in Kerala with their own capital for processing and exporting cash crops. Tea and coffee factories and rubber processing units were set up. Traditional industries related to coconut, coir, cashewnut, handloom and beedi were also developed. Oil mills using diesel engines were started up at many places in Kerala. All these industries depended on traditional workmanship.
Commercialisation of agriculture
The British encouraged market-driven cultivation in the agricultural sector. Coconut products were in high demand in foreign markets. Coffee, tea, cardamom tea and rubber plantations were started in hilly areas. The rulers of Travancore and Kochi facilitated transportation and leased out forest lands to the British to tart estates. Gradually, Kerala became a hub of cash crops.