Analyses the causes for the elective of Indian handicrafts industry.
Despite enjoying such fame in the world, the Indian handicraft industry had begun to decline by the beginning of the 18th century. There were many reasons for it. First the policies followed by the English East India Company proved to be highly detrimental to the Indian handicraft industry.
The Indian market was flooded with the cheap limited goods from Britain. It resulted in a steep decline in the sale of Indian products both within and outside of the country. In 1769, the company encouraged the cultivation of raw silk in Bengal while imposing service restrictions on the sale of its finished products. In 1813 strategies were devised by the company to enhance the consumption of finished goods from Britain.
In this respect the tariff and octopi policies were suitably modified to suit the British commercial interests. To cite an example, in1835 only a minimal import of British duty of 2.5 percent was imposed on the import of British manufactured Cotton cloth whereas a very high 15 percent export duty was charged on Indian cotton textiles as per the new maritime regulations.
Moreover, goods from England could only be brought by the English cargo ships. As a result of all these policies, the Indian textiles could not enter the British market, whereas the Indian market was flooded with British goods.
Thus, with the rise of British paramountcy in India, the process of decline in the power and status of Indian rulers had set in. Thus, the demands for the domestic luxury goods like royal attires, armory and objects of art by the Indian royalty also reduced drastically.
So, with the disappearance of the traditional dynasties, their nobility also passed into oblivion. This lead to a sharp decline in the demand for traditional luxury goods.
Besides, the Industrial revolution led to the invention of new machinery in Europe. Power looms replaced handlooms. In India also the advent of machines led to the decline of handicraft as now the machine made products were available at cheaper rate and more goods could be produced in much lessor time.
Finally, the new communication and transport facilities brought about a revolution,in public life. Earlier, goods need to be transported either by bullock carts or by ships. Thus, during the rainy season, it was not always convenient to carry on with the normal transportation. But now conditions were changed with the introduction of railway and streamer service. Concrete roads were laid to connect the country’s agricultural hinterland. The import of goods from England also increased with the simultaneous increase in exports of raw materials from India, leading to massive loss of jobs among Indian artisans and craftsman who lost their only, means to livelihood.