Bengal Industries and the British Industrial Revolution (1757-1857)
By Indrajit Ray
Routledge – 2011 – 290 pages
This book seeks to enlighten two grey areas of industrial historiography. Although Bengal industries were globally dominant on the eve of the industrial revolution, no detailed literature is available about their later course of development. A series of questions are involved in it. Did those industries decline during the spells of British industrial revolution? If yes, what were their reasons? If not, the general curiosity is: On which merits could those industries survive against the odds of the technological revolution? A thorough discussion on these issues also clears up another area of dispute relating to the occurrence of deindustrialization in Bengal, and the validity of two competing hypotheses on it, viz. i) the mainstream hypothesis of market failures, and ii) the neo-marxian hypothesis of imperialistic state interventions.
"This book is of obvious importance to historians interested in the Indian economy. It will also be of interest to anyone trying to understand the response of the periphery to advances in the industrial center…I look forward to further extensions of his studies of Bengali industries." - Susan Wolcott, Binghamton University, Victorian Studies
1. Introduction 2. Bullion Movement in Bengal during 1660-1860 3. Woes of Cotton Textile Industry: Competitive failures or Policy Discriminations? 4. Prosperous Silk Textile Industry: Traditional Edge of Comparative Advantages 5. Decline of Salt Manufacturing Industry: An Episode of Policy Discriminations 6. Ruin of the Shipbuilding Industry: Further Evidences of Discrimination 7. The Development and Decay of Indigo-Dye Manufacturing Industry: Role of Imperial Governance 8. Summary of Observations and Conclusions
Indrajit Ray is Professor in the Department of Commerce at the University of North Bengal, India.