Iron Smelters and Factory Owners
Q37. Why handloom weaving did not completely die in India?
Ans. Handloom weaving did not completely die in India.
This was because some types of cloths could
not be supplied by machines. For example, machines could not produce saris with
intricate borders or cloths with traditional woven patterns. These had a wide
demand not only amongst the rich but also amongst the middle classes.
Nor did the textile manufacturers in
Britain produce the very coarse cloths used by the poor people in India.
Sholapur in western India and Madura in
South India emerged as important new centres of weaving in the late nineteenth
Later, during the national movement,
Mahatma Gandhi urged people to boycott imported textiles and use hand-spun and
handwoven cloth. Khadi gradually became a symbol of nationalism.
Q38. How did the development of cotton industries in Britain affect
textile producers in India?
Ans. The development of cotton industries in Britain
affected textile producers in India in several ways.
Indian textiles now 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.
By the beginning of the nineteenth century,
English made cotton textiles successfully ousted Indian goods from their
traditional markets in Africa, America and Europe.
Thousands of weavers in India were now
thrown out of employment. Bengal weavers were the worst hit.
By the 1830s British cotton cloth flooded
Indian markets. This affected not only specialist weavers but also spinners.
Q39. How do the names of different textiles tell us about their
Ans. It is interesting to trace the names of different
textiles as it tells us about their histories.
European traders first encountered fine cotton cloth from India carried by Arab
merchants in Mosul in present-day Iraq. So they began referring to all finely woven
textiles as “muslin”.
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), and subsequently calico became the general name for all cotton
It is derived from the Hindi word chhint, a cloth with small and colourful
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.
Q40. Why did the Indian iron smelting industry decline in the
Indian iron smelting industry began to decline in the nineteenth century due to
the following reasons:
The new forest law colonial government
prevented people from entering the reserved forests. Thus, the iron smelters
were not able to find wood for charcoal and iron ore for producing iron.
Defying forest laws, they often entered the
forests secretly and collected wood, but they could not sustain their
occupation on this basis for long. Many gave up their craft and looked for
other means of livelihood.
In some areas the government did grant
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.
Moreover, by the late nineteenth century
iron and steel was being imported from Britain. Ironsmiths in India began using
the imported iron to manufacture utensils and implements. This inevitably
lowered the demand for iron produced by local smelters.