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Question 6

The traditional handicrafts industries were ruined under the British rule. Do you agree with this view? Give reasons in support of your answer.

Answer

Yes, we do agree with the above statement that the traditional handicrafts industries were ruined under the British times. The following are the reasons in favour of the statement:
1. Discriminatory Tariff Policy: The British rule in India corresponded with its industrialisation. The British rule used India both as a source of cheap raw materials as well as an easily accessible market for their finished products. Thereby, they imposed heavy tariffs (export duties) on India's export of handicraft products, while allowing free export of India's raw material to Britain and free import of British products into India. This made Indian exports costlier and its international demand fell drastically leading to the collapse of handicrafts industries.
2. Competition from Machine made Britain Goods: The demand for the handicrafts products experienced a downward trend in the domestic markets as well. This was due to stiff competition from the machine made textiles from Britain. This was because of the reason that the goods produced mechanically in Britain were comparatively cheaper and of superior quality than the Indian handicraft goods. This narrowed the market for Indian industries.
3. Emergence of New Class: The British rule in India popularised western lifestyle in India. There was an emergence of a new section of population (consisting mainly of zamindars) in India who liked the British goods. This section used to spend lavishly on the British products that provided impetus for the development of British industries at the cost of the domestic industries. Hence, gradually Indian industries perished away.
4. Disappearance of the Princely State: Prior to the advent of British, India was ruled by princely states. They used to patronise handicrafts industries and consequently, Indian handicrafts gained reputation in the international markets. But during the British rule, these princely states were ruined thereby ruining the protection of these handicrafts industries. Thus, gradually Indian handicrafts lost its reputation and its importance deteriorated.

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