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Ray of Hope

  • Indian weaver knew the art of weaving intricate designs. This was not possible in weaving machines that produced cloth in England. There was a great demand for the intricately woven cloth by the rich and middle-class in India.

Intricate Designs Woven in Cloth

  • Indians had another advantage also. They produced a very coarse variety of cloth that was cheap and was used by the poor people in India. There was a constant demand for this variety of cloth also.

Coarse Variety of Cloth

  • Sholapur in western India and Madurai in South India emerged as important new centres of weaving in the late nineteenth century.

  • During the national movement, Mahatma Gandhi urged people to boycott imported textiles and use hand-spun and hand-woven cloth.

  • Khadi gradually became a symbol of nationalism.

  • The charkha came to represent India, and it was put at the centre of the tricolour flag of the Indian National Congress adopted in 1931.

Flag of the Indian National Congress


Many weavers who lost their livelihood became agricultural labourers. Some migrated to cities in search of work, and 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, Ahmedabad, Sholapur, Nagpur and Kanpur.

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