Class 10 History

Age of Industrialisation in India

These notes are based on the chapter Age of industrialisation from class 10 social sciences history NCERT book and CBSE syllabus.

How did industrialisation start in India? How did the British entrepreneurs captured the Indian market?

Cotton textile was the biggest export from India at the start of the British rule. Once the East India Company consolidated its business (mid-eighteenth century), new trade centers (Bombay and Calcutta) gained importance. The earlier centers of trade (Surat, Hooghly) lost importance.

Indian Textiles Industry


Once the East India Company established political power, it started to assert its monopoly right to trade. The Company started to eliminate the existing network of traders and brokers who were connected with the cloth trade. Then the Company started to get a direct control on weavers. The Company appointed a paid servant to supervise weavers, collect supplies and examine the quality of cloth. This person was called Gomastha.

System of Advances

A system of advances was introduced for weavers. Once a weaver obtained loan under this system he was prevented from dealing with other buyers. The weaver could not sell his produce to any other trader.

Problems for Weavers

The new system of advances created many problems for the weavers. Earlier, they used to grow some crops on their land which took care of their family needs. Now, they had no time for cultivation and they had to lease out their land.

The traditional merchants were local people who had social links with the villages. But the gomastha was an outsider with no social links with the villages. He generally visited with sepoys and peons in tow. Weavers who failed to meet the deadline were punished by the gomastha. There were many reports of clashes between weavers and gomasthas in villages.

Debt Trap for Weavers

The system of advances ruined the life of many weavers. They often fell in debt trap. In many places in Carnatic and Bengal, weavers deserted villages and migrated to other villages to set up looms. Many weavers began to refuse loans, closed down their workshops and took to farming.

Manchester comes to India

Exports of textiles from India started to decline by the beginning of the nineteenth century. In 1811 – 12 cotton piece-goods accounted for 33% of India’s exports but it declined to less than 3% by 1850-51.

Pressure from British Manufacturers

Because of pressure from the British manufacturers, the government imposed import duties so that the goods manufactured in Britain could sell in England. They also pressurized the East India Company to sell British manufactured goods in Indian markets. At the end of the eighteenth century, there had been negligible import of cotton piece-goods in India. But by 1850 cotton piece-goods constituted over 31% of the value of Indian imports. By 1870s, the value increased to over 70%.

The machine-made cotton was cheaper than hand-made cotton piece-goods in India. The weavers thus lost a huge market share to imports from Britain. By 1850s, most of the cotton producing centres in India faced a steep decline.

Effect of Civil War

The Civil War broke out in the US in 1860s. Due to that, cotton supply from the US to Britain was cut off. Britain began to source cotton from India. This led to a huge shortage of raw cotton for weavers in India.

By the end of the nineteenth century, cotton factories began to come up in India as well. This was the final blow for traditional cotton textiles industry in India.