Cotton: Cotton is the most important fibre crop not only of India but also of the entire world. It not only provides a raw material for cotton textile industry but also its seed is used in Vanaspati oil industry. The cotton seed is also used as part of fodder for milch cattle for better milk production. Cotton is basically a kharif crop and grown in tropical and sub-tropical areas.
Some of the geographical conditions are as follows:
(a) Temperature: Cotton is the crop of tropical and sub-tropical areas and requires uniformly high temperature varying between 21°C and 30°C.
(b) Rainfall: It grows mostly in the areas having at least 210 frost free days in a year. It requires modest amount of rainfall of 50 to 100cm. However, cotton is successfully grown with the help of irrigation in the areas where rainfall is less than 50 cm. High amount of rainfall in the beginning and sunny and dry weather at the time of ripening are very useful for a good crop.
(c) Soil: Cotton cultivation is very closely related to Black soils of Deccan and Malwa plateau. However, it also grows well in alluvial soils of the Satluj-Ganga plain and red and laterite soils of the peninsular region.
(d) Labour: As picking of cotton has not been made mechanized till now, therefore a lot of cheap and efficient labour is required at the time of picking.
(e) Distribution: India has the largest area under cultivation and third largest producer of cotton next only to China and the USA. Within the countrytwo third of total area and production is shared by four states. The main states for cotton production are Panjab, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Haryana.
Earlier, Indian handloom had a big market in Europe. Indian textiles such as cotton, linen, silk and woolen goods already had markets in Asia and Africa. With the coming of industrialisation in England, the textile industry there made important headway. There was now a reverse of the direction of textile trade between Britain and India. There was a massive import of machine made clothes from English factories to Indian markets. This import of large amount of products manufactured by mechanical looms in England led to increasethreat for the handicraft industries as the British goods were sold at a much cheaper price.
The British succeeded in selling their goods at a cheap price as foreign goods were given free entry in India without paying any duty. On the other hand, Indian handicrafts were taxed heavily when they were sent out of the country. Besides, under the pressure of its industrialists, British government often imposed a protective tariff on Indian textiles. Therefore, within a few years, India from being an exporter of clothes became an exporter of raw cotton and an importer of British clothes. This reversal made a huge impact on the Indian handloom weaving industry leading to its virtual collapse. It also created unemployment for a large community of weavers. Many of them migrated to rural areas to work on their lands as agricultural laborers. This in turn put increased pressure on the rural economy and livelihood. This rocess of uneven competition faced by the Indian handloom industry was later dubbed by the Indian nationalist leaders as the-industrialization.
The main aim of the British was to transform India into a consumer of British goods. As a result, textile, metalwork, glass and paper industries were soon out of work. By 1813, the Indian handicrafts lost both their domestic as well as foreign market. Indian goods could not compete with the British factory-made products where machines were used. These markets were now captured and monopolized by Britain by means of war and colonization. From an exporter, India became an importer of these goods. They extracted money from the Indian rulers, merchants, zamindars and even the common people. Added to this drain was the profit made through trade and also the salaries of the officials. It was evident that their economic policies were meant to serve the interests of the East India Company and later the British Empire.
Mains Syllabus : GS 1 – History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawing of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.