chapter  7
14 Pages

Handlooms and Powerlooms, 1920–1990

WithTirthankar Roy

The border between hand- and power-weaving was never fixed. None knew this better than the weavers themselves. Their strategy to cope with this instability was to cross the border and invest in powerloom weaving if the decision was consistent with their skill set and market access. Chapter 7 shows the beginning of this process in the interwar period, when the availability of East Asian silks and rayon made crossing the border an attractive option, continuing the story into about 50 years after independence when the powerlooms emerged as the dominant cloth producer in the Indian market.