chapter  2
19 Pages

Scale and Composition, 1795–1940

WithTirthankar Roy

Chapter 2 processes statistical data to discover the long-term pattern of change in the artisanal weaving industry. India was a major exporter of cotton cloth in the world in the mid-eighteenth century. From around 1820, cheaper British cloth started coming to India, and soon imports grew to become an enormous trade. Reconstruction of the scale of the industry shows that there was a decline in hand-weaving between 1820 and 1880 and a revival between 1880 and 1935. The chapter suggests a narrative on the industry that can explain the decline and the revival as one process. The rest of the book illustrates that narrative.