Coupon Accepted Successfully!


Industrialisation in the Colonies

Industrialisation also entered the Colonies and India was not an exception.

Industrialisation in India was also 2 pronged
  • Mechanised factories
  • Non-mechanised sector

Indian Textile Trade

  • India dominated the international market in textiles even before industrialisation set in.
  • Fine varieties of cotton were produced in India.
  • Armenian and Persian merchants took the goods from Punjab to Afghanistan, Eastern Persia and Central Asia.
  • Indian merchants and bankers developed the textile export trade .They financed the production and transportation of the goods
  • They gave advance – money to the impoverished weavers in the weaving villages.
  • The finished goods were transported to the ports and exported in big ships.
  • Bales of fine textiles were carried on camel back via the north-west frontier, through Mountain passes and across deserts.
  • A vibrant sea trade in textiles operated through the main pre-colonial ports.
  • Surat on the Gujarat coast connected India to the Gulf and Red Sea Ports.
  • Masulipatam on the Coromandel Coast and Hoogly in Bengal had trade links with Southeast Asian ports
  • Soon the European companies gained power and by 1750s the Indian merchants were not dominating the textile market any more.
  • The Indian traders and businessmen slowly went bankrupt.
  • Trade through the new ports were now controlled by European companies.
  • Indian Trading houses collapsed and the village weavers were put to a lot of hardship.

The Plight of the Indian Weavers

The textile trade in India continued for some time even after the advent of the East India Company in the 1760s and 1770s.

The scene changed when the East India Company established political power.

  • The East India Company asserted a monopoly right to trade.
  • It developed a system of management and control that eliminated competition and controlled costs.
  • The company through its authority was able to ensure regular supplies of cotton and silk goods.
  • The Company eliminated the existing traders and brokers in the cloth trade.
  • It established direct control over the weavers.
  • It appointed a paid servant called the gomastha to supervise weavers, collect supplies, and examine the quality of cloth.
  • The Company prevented its weavers from dealing with other buyers by paying them advances.
  • The village weavers who used to cultivate their small pieces of land and weave during their leisure time now took to weaving as their full time job.
  • All the members of the family were involved in weaving.
  • Soon problems between the supervisors and the weavers set in. Outsiders were appointed as supervisors
  • As the East India Company was the sole trader, the weavers had to be satisfied with whatever price the company gave, even if it was very low.
  • Weavers along with the village traders revolted, opposing the Company and its officials.
  • Many weavers refused the loans offered by the Company, closed their workshops and went back to farming.
  • The 19th century brought more problems for the Indian weavers.
  • The Honourable East India Company
    The East India Company was also called "Company Bahadur" in India. It was granted an English Royal Charter by Elizabeth I on December 31, 1600, with the intention of favouring trade privileges in India. The Royal Charter effectively gave the East India Company a 21 year monopoly on all trade in the East Indies. The Company transformed from a commercial trading venture to one that virtually ruled India as it acquired auxiliary governmental and military functions, until its dissolution in 1858 following the the Indian Rebellion of 1857.

    The Company’s ‘Coat of Arms’

    The Company’s Flag

    Writers' Building , the Company’s Head Quarters in Kolkatta
    Writers' Building was built in 1770 and served as the headquarters of the "writers" or junior servants of the East India Company. Today, the Writers' Building is the seat of the West Bengal government secretariat.

    Test Your Skills Now!
    Take a Quiz now
    Reviewer Name