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Traditional Industry in the Economy of Colonial India

Tirthankar Roy|
Cambridge University Press (December 2006)

The majority of workers in South Asia are employed in industries that rely on manual labour and craft skills. Some of these industries have existed for centuries and survived great changes in consumption and technology over the last 150 years. In earlier studies, historians of the region focused on mechanized rather than craft industries, arguing that traditional manufacturing was destroyed or devitalized during the colonial period, and that 'modern' industry is substantially different. Exploring new material from research into five traditional industries, Tirthankar Roy's book contests these notions, demonstrating that while traditional industry did evolve during the Industrial Revolution, these transformations had a positive rather than destructive effect on manufacturing generally. In fact, the book suggests, the major industries in post-independence India were shaped by such transformations. Tirthankar Roy's book offers penetrating insights into India's economic and social history.

  • The author challenges traditional scholarship arguing that industry was transformed over the colonial period and has emerged as a more dynamic economic force
  • By a young scholar already well known in the field and closely associated with development research
  • A book which will reach across the disciplines from South Asian studies to colonial and economic history

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