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The Age of the Industrialisation Notes
i. The images on publisher E.T Paull’s music book as well as a trade magazine glorifies machine and technology.
ii. A picture which appeared on the page of a trade magazine shows two magicians. This picture offers us a glimpse of the modern world which is associated with innovations, machines, factories, rapid technological change, railways and steamships.
iii. The history of industrialisation is a story of development and the modern age is considered to be a good time for technological progress.
Before the Industrial Revolution
Q. Hint: What was the proto-Industrial system in Europe?
i. Many equate industrialisation with the growth of factory industry. However, there was wide scale industrial production even before the arrival of factories in England and Europe. This phase is referred to as proto-industrialisation.
ii. Merchants from European towns moved to the countryside to persuade the peasants to produce for the international market.
iii. The demand for goods increased but merchants failed to expand production within towns due to powerful urban crafts and trade guilds. Hence, they turned their attention to the countryside.
iv. Poor peasants in the countryside worked for merchants and were paid in advance. By working for the peasants, they could remain in the countryside, cultivate their small plots and also utilise family labour resources.
v. The proto industrial system was controlled by merchants while the goods were produced by peasants.
The earliest factories come up
i. The earliest factories came up by the 1730s but it was only in the late eighteenth century that the number of factories increased.
ii. Cotton was the first symbol that heralded the arrival of the new era.
iii. The production process which comprised of carding, twisting, spinning and rolling enhanced the output per worker, enabled each producer to work more and produce stronger threads and yarn.
iv. A big change in cotton cloth production came with the setting up of the cotton mill by Richard Arkwright. This pioneering step brought cotton cloth production, which was earlier carried out within village households, under one roof and management.
v. Factories became an integral part of the English landscape in the early nineteenth century.
Pace of Industrialisation in the 18th century?
Growth of iron and steel industry
i. The most active industries in Britain were metal and cotton industries. The first phase of industrialisation saw the rise of cotton as a leading sector, followed by steel and iron industry.
ii. The demand for steel and iron increased with the expansion of railways in England from 1840s and in the colonies from 1860s.
Growth of non-mechanised sectors
i. New industries failed to displace traditional industries.
ii. Textiles was a dynamic sector but a large portion of the total output was produced by domestic units and not in factories.
iii. Ordinary and small innovations were the basis for the growth of non-mechanised sectors like pottery, glass work, food processing, building, tanning, production of implements and furniture making.
Arrival of new technologies and reaction to them
i. Technological changes occurred at a slow pace. Merchants were cautious about using new technology as it was expensive and the machines were ineffective.
ii. Newcomen’s steam engine was improved upon by James Watt, who patented the new engine in 1781. It was manufactured by Mathew Boulton.
iii. Industrialists were slow in their acceptance of new technology. This is proved by the fact that in the beginning of the 19th century, there were more than 321 steam engines of which 80 were used in cotton industries, nine in wool and the rest in canal works, iron works and mining.
(iv) Historians have recognised the mid-19th century worker as a labourer and traditional craftsperson.
The Effects of Industrialisation on Ordinary People
Q. Hint: What effects did early periods of industrialisation have on ordinary people?
i. Industrialists in Victorian Britain did not want to introduce machines that required huge capital investment and relied on low-wage human labour, which was available in plenty.
ii. Demand for labour in many industries was seasonal. So, more workers were required during peak demand. Gas works, breweries, book binders, printers and ship repair industry became busy during the winter.
iii. In all the industries where production fluctuated with the season, industrialists employed hand labour for the busy season.
Preference for hand-made products
i. The aristocrats as well as the bourgeoisie in Britain preferred hand-made goods over machine-made goods, which were later exported to the colonies.
ii. Hand-made products had specific shapes as well as intricate designs. For instance, 500 varieties of hammers and 45 kinds of axes were produced in Britain in the mid-19th century. These required human skill and not mechanical technology.
iii. Hand-made products symbolised class and refinement.
Life of workers
i. Availability of excess labour in Britain’s market adversely affected the lives of the workers. Social connections and contacts played a vital role in getting a job in a factory.
ii. Many job seekers from rural area had to spend weeks living under bridges in cities waiting to be appointed. While some stayed in night refuges set up by private individuals, others went to the casual wards maintained by Poor Law authorities.
iii. Seasonality of work meant prolonged unemployment. The end of a busy season meant workers had to return to the countryside while some undertook odd jobs for survival.
iv. The anxiety caused by the possibility of unemployment made workers hostile to the advent of new technology. For instance, women who worked on hand spinning attacked the spinning jenny when it was introduced in the market.
v. After 1840s, employment opportunities increased due to building activity in the cities. There was an increase in the number of workers in the transport industry.
Industrialisation in the Colonies
Q. Hint: How did colonisation impact Indian textiles and people associated with it
The age Indian textiles
i. Silk and fine cotton from India dominated the international textile market before European imperialism.
ii. Bales of fine cotton were carried through tough terrains on camels.
iii. A vibrant sea trade operated in major pre-colonial ports like Surat, Musalipatam and Hoogly.
iv. Indian merchants were involved in the export trade network in different capacities. By the 1870s, this network of merchants was breaking down.
v. European companies operating in India obtained concessions from local courts and then monopoly rights to trade. As a result, the old ports of Surat and Hoogly declined, export rates fell, and local bankers went bankrupt. New port cities of Bombay and Calcutta sprang up, which symbolised colonial power.
Condition of weavers
i. The English East India Company wanted to expand textile exports from India due to the high demand for Indian fabrics in the west.
ii. The English faced stiff competition from the French, Portuguese and Dutch traders and from local traders.
iii. The English East India Company asserted the monopoly right to trade after asserting their political power.
iv. It developed a system of management and control that removed competition. It appointed gomasthas who supervised weavers and prevented them from trading with anyone but the English.
v. To escape punishment and misery, weavers of Carnatic and Bengal migrated to other villages, set up looms in places where they had relatives. Many weavers opposed Company officials, refused loans, closed their workshops and took up agriculture.
Competition from Manchester goods
i. By the beginning of the 19th century, textile exports from India declined despite their fine quality.
ii. Industrial groups in England forced their government to impose import duties on cotton textiles. They wanted to remove competition so that only Manchester goods could sell in Britain.
iii. Indian weavers faced a new problem by the 1860s due to the American Civil War.
iv. When the civil war broke out, cotton supplies from the US stopped, and Britain turned to India for supplies. The rise in raw cotton exports led to an increase in the local price of raw cotton, forcing Indian weavers to buy raw cotton at high prices.
v. By the end of 19th century, Indian weavers had to compete with machine-made goods from England that flooded the market.
Development of Industries in India
Q. Hint: How did industries develop in India under colonial rule?
Factories come up
i. The first cotton mill in Bombay province came up in 1854 and went into production two years later. By 1862, four mills were in operation with 94,000 spindles and 2,150 looms. In 1862, another jute mill came up.
ii. The first jute mill was set up in 1855 and another one after seven years in 1862.
iii. In the 1860s, the Elgin Mill was started in Kanpur, and a year later the first cotton mill of Ahmedabad was set up.
iv. By 1874, the first spinning and weaving mill of Madras province began production.
The Early Entrepreneurs
i. From the late 18th century, the British in India began exporting opium to China and took tea from China to England.
ii. Most of the early Indian entrepreneurs were traders who once were junior players in the British trade with China.
iii. In Bengal, Dwarkanath Tagore made his fortune in the China trade. Then he turned to industrial investment and set up six joint stock companies in the 1830s and 1840s.
iv. In Bombay province, Parsis like Dinshaw Petit and Jamsetjee Nusserwanjee Tata built huge industrial empires in India. They had accumulated their wealth partly from exports to China and partly from raw cotton shipments to England.
v. Seth Hukumchand, a Marwari businessman, set up the first Indian jute mill in Calcutta in 1917. The opportunities of investments in industries opened up and many of them set up factories.
Role of Indian merchants
i. As colonial control over Indian trade tightened, the role of Indian merchants in this trade became increasingly limited.
ii. Indian merchants were not allowed to trade with Europe in manufactured goods. Their trade was limited to exporting raw materials to Britain, such as raw cotton, opium, wheat and indigo.
iii. On the industrial front too, the role of Indian traders and financiers was limited to providing capital to European managing agencies for setting up and managing joint stock companies. These were some of the reasons why many Indian merchants became entrepreneurs.
iv. In colonial India, industrial machinery, railways, locomotives and other capital goods were mostly imported. So, the capital goods industry could not see significant development until independence.
Where Did the Workers Come From?
i. With the expansion of factories, the demand of workers also increased.
ii. In most industrial regions, workers came from neighbouring districts in search of work. Peasants and artisans who found no work in the village went to the industrial centres in search of work.
iii. Over 50 per cent of the workers in the Bombay cotton industries in 1911 came from the neighbouring district of Ratnagiri, while the mills of Kanpur got most of their textile hands from the villages within the district of Kanpur.
iv. As news of employment spread, workers travelled great distances in the hope of work in the mills.
Role of jobbers
i. It was difficult to get jobs even when mills multiplied and the demand for workers increased. The numbers seeking work were always greater than the jobs available.
ii. In the early decades of the 20th century, Indian mills started drawing jobseekers in huge numbers.
iii. To regulate the employment process, industrialists employed a jobber whose job was to hire mill workers. Generally, the jobber would be an old and trusted worker.
iv. He got people from his village, ensured them jobs, helped them settle in the city and provided them money in times of crisis.
The jobber became powerful and a figure of authority. He began demanding money and gifts from job-seekers.
The Peculiarities of Industrial Growth
Q. Hint: What were the peculiarities of industrial growth in India?
i. European Managing Agencies were interested in certain kinds of products. These agencies acquired land at cheap rates from the colonial government and established tea and coffee plantations and invested in mining, indigo and jute. Most of these products were exported to Europe and were not sold in India.
ii. Indian businesses began setting up industries in the late 19th century. To do well in business, they avoided competing with Manchester goods in the Indian market.
iii. Consequently, the early spinning mills started producing coarse cotton thread or yarn rather than fabric because coarse yarn was not an important Manchester import for India.
iv. The yarn produced in Indian spinning mills was either exported to China or supplied to handloom weavers in India.
Changes in the Industrialisation pattern
i. The pattern of industrialisation was affected by a series of changes. The production policy of Indian spinning mills changed when the Swadeshi movement gathered momentum. As nationalists mobilised people to boycott foreign cloth, the demand for Indian cloth started rising.
ii. From 1906, Indian yarn exports to China declined since produce from Chinese and Japanese mills flooded the Chinese market. So, Indian industrialists began shifting from yarn production to cloth production.
World War I and increased industrial growth
i. Up to the First World War, industrial growth was slow. The war changed conditions, and Indian mills took advantage of the situation.
ii. During the First World War, India’s industrial production saw an unprecedented boom. The main reason for this boom was a huge decline in Manchester imports into India. This happened because British mills were busy producing goods to meet the army’s wartime needs.
iii. As the war went on, Indian mills also got the orders to supply war needs such as jute bags, cloth or army uniforms, tents, leather boots, horse and mule saddles.
iv. New factories were set up, and old ones ran multiple shifts. Industrial production boomed over the years and after the war.
v. After the war, Manchester could never recapture its old position in the Indian market. Britain was unable to modernise and compete with the US, Germany and Japan. As a result, its economy crumbled after the war.
Small-scale Industries Continue to Predominate
Predominance of Small-scale Industries
i. Despite the steady growth of factory industries after the First World War, Indian weavers and craftspeople did not become irrelevant. In fact, some instances showed growth in handicrafts production.
ii. Except in Bengal and Bombay provinces, where most of the large industries had been established, small-scale production continued to be the dominant feature of India’s industrial scene. The main players were small workshops and household units, which employed about 90 per cent of India’s industrial workforce.
Competition between handicraft production and mill production
i. Several technological innovations helped Indian weavers improve their productivity and compete with automated production. One such innovation was the fly shuttle. This increased productivity per worker, speeded up production and reduced labour demand.
ii. Some weavers were in a better position than others to survive the competition with mill industries. Some weavers produced coarser cloth while some produced finer varieties. Demand for coarser cloth fluctuated.
iii. The coarser cloth was bought by the poor and its demand fluctuated. During bad harvests and famines, poor people could not afford to buy cloth. Demand for the finer varieties of cloth was more stable. Famines did not affect the sale of banarasi or baluchari saris.
iv. Moreover, mills could not imitate specialised weaves produced by weavers. That was why the saris with woven borders, or the famous lungis and handkerchiefs of Madras, could not be easily displaced by mill production.
Life of weavers
i. Although production expanded throughout the 20th century, weavers and other craftspeople did not live an affluent life.
ii. They lived hard lives and worked long hours. Very often, the entire family had to work at various stages of the production process.
iii. Weavers and craftsmen played an important part in the course of industrialisation.
Market for Goods
Q. Hint: What role did advertisement play in developing the market of Swadeshi goods?
The role of advertisements
i. Advertisements play a vital role in creating new consumers by making products seem desirable, shaping people’s ideas and creating new needs.
ii. Advertisements appear in newspapers and magazines, and on street walls, television screens and hoardings.
iii. Historically, advertisements played an important role in expanding the markets for products and forming a new consumer culture.
Advertisement strategies of British manufacturers
i. Manchester industrialists sold their cloth with ‘MADE IN MANCHESTER’ written in bold on the label.
ii. This was done to make consumers feel confident that they were buying fine quality cloth.
iii. Labels carried text and images of Indian gods and goddesses like Krishna and Saraswati. These images made the cloth manufactured in a foreign land connect with Indian consumers.
iv. Manufacturers began printing calendars to popularise their products. The calendars were widely used in offices, tea shops, middle-class apartments and poor people’s homes.
v. Images of emperors and kings also adorned the calendars and advertisements to denote the high quality of the product by implying that they were used by kings.
Advertisement strategies of Indian manufacturers
i. Indian manufacturers advertised patriotic messages to promote swadeshi products.
ii. They stated that if one cared for the nation, one must buy Indian products, thus creating a nationalist sentiment in the minds of consumers.
Age of Industries
i. The age of industries saw the growth of factories as well as a new labour force.
ii. Hand technology and small-scale production remained an integral part of the industrial topography.