NCERT Class 10 History Industrialisation in the Colonies

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Industrialisation In The Colonies Class 10 History NCERT

Class 10 History students should refer to the following NCERT Book chapter Industrialisation In The Colonies in standard 10. This NCERT Book for Grade 10 History will be very useful for exams and help you to score good marks

Industrialisation In The Colonies NCERT Class 10

 

Industrialisation in the Colonies

Let us now move to India to see how a colony industrialises. Once again we will look not only at factory industries but also at the non-mechanised sector. We will limit our discussion primarily to textile industries.

3.1 The Age of Indian Textiles

Before the age of machine industries, silk and cotton goods from India dominated the international market in textiles. Coarser cottons were produced in many countries, but the finer varieties often came from India. Armenian and Persian merchants took the goods from Punjab to Afghanistan, eastern Persia and Central Asia. Bales of fine textiles were carried on camel back via the north-west frontier, through mountain passes and across deserts. A vibrant sea trade 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.

A variety of Indian merchants and bankers were involved in this network of export trade – financing production, carrying goods and supplying exporters. Supply merchants linked the port towns to the inland regions. They gave advances to weavers, procured the woven cloth from weaving villages, and carried the supply to the ports. At the port, the big shippers and export merchants had brokers who negotiated the price and bought goods from the supply merchants operating inland.

By the 1750s this network, controlled by Indian merchants, was breaking down. The European companies gradually gained power – first securing a variety of concessions from local courts, then the monopoly rights to trade. This resulted in a decline of the old ports of Surat and Hoogly through which local merchants had operated. Exports from these ports fell dramatically, the credit that had financed the earlier trade began drying up, and the local bankers slowly went bankrupt. In the last years of the seventeenth century, the gross value of trade that passed through Surat had been Rs 16 million. By the 1740s it had slumped to Rs 3 million.

While Surat and Hoogly decayed, Bombay and Calcutta grew. This shift from the old ports to the new ones was an indicator of the growth of colonial power. Trade through the new ports came to be controlled by European companies, and was carried in European ships. While many of the old trading houses collapsed, those that wanted to survive had to now operate within a network shaped by European trading companies. How did these changes affect the life of weavers and other artisans?

3.2 What Happened to Weavers?

The consolidation of East India Company power after the 1760s did not initially lead to a decline in textile exports from India. British cotton industries had not yet expanded and Indian fine textiles were in great demand in Europe. So the company was keen on expanding textile exports from India.

Before establishing political power in Bengal and Carnatic in the 1760s and 1770s, the East India Company had found it difficult to ensure a regular supply of goods for export. The French, Dutch, Portuguese as well as the local traders competed in the market to secure woven cloth. So the weaver and supply merchants could bargain and try selling the produce to the best buyer. In their letters back to London, Company officials continuously complained of difficulties of supply and the high prices.

However, once the East India Company established political power, it could assert a monopoly right to trade. It proceeded to develop a system of management and control that would eliminate competition, control costs, and ensure regular supplies of cotton and silk goods. This it did through a series of steps. First: the Company tried to eliminate the existing traders and brokers connected with the cloth trade, and establish a more direct control over the weaver. It appointed a paid servant called the gomastha to supervise weavers, collect supplies, and examine the quality of cloth.

Second: it prevented Company weavers from dealing with other buyers. One way of doing this was through the system of advances. Once an order was placed, the weavers were given loans to purchase the raw material for their production. Those who took loans had to hand over the cloth they produced to the gomastha. They could not take it to any other trader.


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