How did industrialization impact Indian cotton handicrafts?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Cotton was an important crop in India.  This cotton was turned into spun thread and woven by hand.  The cloth created by woven Indian cotton was cool and lightweight.  This made it especially popular in England.  Often it was dyed beautiful colors.  

In India, all of the harvesting, spinning of the thread, weaving of the cloth, and dying of the finished product was done meticulously by hand.  The workers who did these processes were skilled.  With the arrival Industrial Revolution, it became cheaper to make cotton cloth using large factory machinery instead of by hand.  This had a negative impact on the people who wove cotton cloth by hand in India.  On top of this, the United States had already become the main center for cotton production in the world.  England had already begun purchasing cotton from the United States instead of India.

Before cotton could even be produced into cloth and other goods, the seeds needed to be removed.  With the invention of the cotton gin, speeds could be removed by machine.  This strengthened the cotton trade in North America.  The Indian cotton industry operated locally, rather than on a larger, more organized scale.  This caused further decline and had a negative impact on the Indian cotton handicraft industry.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial