Topic outline

    • Weavers, Iron Smelters and Factory Owners

      Q17. What was special about Tipu Sultan sword?
      Why was Tipu’s sword so special?

      Ans. Tipu’s sword was made from special type of high carbon steel called Wootz. Wootz steel when made into swords produced a very sharp edge with a flowing water pattern.


      Q18. Write a short note on Patola weave.

      Ans. Patola weave came into existence in mid-nineteenth century. Patola was woven in Surat, Ahmedabad and Patan. Highly valued in Indonesia, it became part of the local weaving tradition there.

      Q19. What kinds of cloth had a large market in Europe?

      Ans. Indian textiles had long been renowned both for their fine quality and exquisite craftsmanship. Printed cotton cloths called chintz, cossaes (or khassa) and bandanna had a large market in Europe.


      Q20. What is smelting?

      Ans. Smelting is the process of obtaining a metal from rock (or soil) by heating it to a very high temperature, or of melting objects made from metal in order to use the metal to make something new.


      Q21. What came to be called ‘calico’?

      Ans. When the Portuguese first came to India in search of spices they 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” (derived from Calicut).


      Q22. Why Britain came to be known as the workshop of the world?

      Ans. Mechanised production of cotton textiles made Britain the foremost industrial nation in the nineteenth century. And when its iron and steel industry started growing from the 1850s, Britain came to be known as the “workshop of the world”.

      Q23. What is bandanna?

      Ans. The word bandanna now refers to any brightly coloured and printed scarf for the neck or head. Originally, the term derived from the word “bandhna” (Hindi for tying), and referred to a variety of brightly coloured cloth produced through a method of tying and dying.


      Q24. How were Indian textiles viewed in the world market?
      Mention the importance of Indian textiles in the world market.

      Ans. Indian 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.


      Q25. Who were weavers? Name some communities famous for weaving?

      Ans. Weavers often belonged to communities that specialized in weaving. Their skills were passed on from one generation to the next. The tanti weavers of Bengal, the julahas or momin weavers of north India, sale and kaikollar and devangs of south India are some of the communities famous for weaving.


      Q26. Who are the Agaria? Why did they leave their village?

      Ans. The Agaria were an Indian community of iron smelters. In the late nineteenth century a series of famines devastated the dry tracts of India. In Central India, many of the Agaria iron smelters stopped work, deserted their villages and migrated, looking for some other work to survive the hard times. A large number of them never worked their furnaces again.

      Q27. What was Calico Act?

      Ans. 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. In 1720, the British government enacted a legislation banning the use of printed cotton textiles – chintz – in England. Interestingly, this Act was known as the Calico Act.


      Q28. What happened to the weavers and spinners who lost their livelihood?

      Ans. Many weavers became agricultural labourers. Some migrated to cities in search of work, and yet others went out of the country to work in plantations in Africa and South America. Some of these handloom weavers also found work in the new cotton mills that were established in Bombay (now Mumbai), Ahmedabad, Sholapur, Nagpur and Kanpur.


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