History of Indian Textile Industry

History of textile industry in India

India is one of the leading producer and exporter of Textiles in the world. Indian Textile industry has evolved over a period of time. Let us have a look at the history of textile Industry in India.

The Indian Textile industry has a rich history which is more than 5000-years-old. The industry has undergone significant developments starting from its modest beginnings as handlooms in villages to large scale modern-day textile mills.

From the era of ‘Cholas’, ‘Seljuks’, and ‘Safavids’ till now, Indian Textile Industry has come a long way.

What is the history of textile industry in India?

The Indian textile industry was born out of the British rule over India. The industrial revolution gave rise to various industries in different parts of the world. This led to a transformation in which an assortment of products were made available for the consumer at lower prices than it used to be available earlier. Indian Textiles Companies played a vital role in developing the Indian economy and contributed greatly towards the growth of the nation. One thing that needs to be pointed out though, is that exports were not as popular back then as they are now.

The History of the Indian Textile Industry can be dated back to around the 3rd century BC during the Mauryan Empire. However, a significant expansion of the textile trade took place in India during the medieval period (12th-15th century). The industries developed in this era saw a constant rise in production and a more widespread trade of textiles. The Portuguese colonisation of parts of India was instrumental in influencing the nascent Indian textile industry. By the early 17th century, Indian cotton fabrics accounted for nearly 25% of East India Company's imports.

The Indian textile industry has gone through a number of changes since Independence in 1947, and after liberalisation in the 1990s, it is one of today's most vibrant industries. The History of Textile Industry in India goes back to 1st century A.D.

With a rich tradition of textile weaving in India, the textile industry has come a long way since its inception with the first spinning wheel being invented in the country. The Indian government used to play an important role in endorsing the development of Indian textile industry at both national and international levels by providing various subsidies and loans. Exports of textiles, on the other hand, have predominated thanks to their demand abroad.

The earliest known history of textile industry in India dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization. Textiles were manufactured from animal hair, wool, cotton, and silk. Numerous small kingdoms and dynasties contributed in the development of textile industry in India over time. The Gangetic Plains became one of the most important centers of textile production. Silks manufactured during the reign of Mauryan dynasty were highly prized by Romans, Chinese and other Asian merchants. Several religions such as Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism encouraged people to give up luxurious items as a path to enlightenment. This led to decline of textile trade in India.

The Indian textile industry has played a pivotal role in the economic development in the country over the years. The citizens of India were known to have worn cotton clothes even as far back as 2000 BC. The clothing industry has also been found to be thriving in the country even during the Mughal rule, that was about 400 years ago.

Textiles are the most important products of hand process and are mentioned in the earliest literature. India is one of the oldest manufacturing countries of world. The textile industry has played an important role in the economic development of the country right from its primitive days. 

The textile industry in India is an important segment of Indian industries and reflects the country's diverse socio-economic and cultural heritage. The development of textile industry in India can be classified broadly into 3 stages – pre-colonial period, colonial period and post-independence period.

India is one of the leading textile manufacturing countries and it plays an important role in providing raw materials for the world textile industry. This has been possible because it has got a rich variety of natural fibres available in large quantities. The oldest evidence of the existence of textile industry in this country can be traced to the pre-historic megalithic civilisation of Mahenjo-Daro (3300­2500 B.C.)

History of Textile Industry in India: How Indian Textile sector has evolved over the years?

Textile industry of India has a glorious past and the history can be traced all the way back to 3500 BC, in the Indus Valley civilization. The Indian textile industry is one of the largest in the World and is credited for creating some of the finest textiles in black and white silk, cotton, wool and angora.

The history of textile industry in India dates back to over 5000 years ago. While historically it has been a prominent part of the economic activities in ancient and medieval India, the modern Indian textile industry was established only in the early 19th century by the British companies.

While India being a piece of land considered as sacred by many, has its origin story associated to the land, which is pride among all its people. The Indian textile industry is indeed an interesting one. The industry had a humble beginning, with a single spinning wheel used in homes during the mid 1800s. With the use of this wheel combined with manual labor power came the boom of textiles in India.

The textile industry has been around for thousands of years and grown to become one of the most important industries in the country. The early days of the Indian textile industry were all about cotton and dhurries, with the last 150 years or so seeing a rapid diversification and development through the use of machinery, better production skills, and other processing technologies.

The textile industry has been one of the driving factors in shaping the economy, society, and culture of India. This has allowed growth in the field to be immense. The Textile Industry in India started from the time period from 1750 – 1850 and there was a great revolution in it.


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  1. Glorious History about any 1 textile industry