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Full text of "Industrial evolution;"

INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION 
IN INDIA 






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INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION 
IN INDIA 



BY 
.' AltFBED OHATTEBTON 



PUBLISHED BY 

THE "HINDU" OFFICE, MOUNT ROAD 
MADRAS 



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PRINTED BY G. C. LOGANADHAM BROS. 
THE GUARDIAN PRESS, MOUNT ROAD, MADRAS 




PREFACE 

The first chapter on " the Indian Industrial Problem" 
was originally written for " Science Progress " and is 
now reprinted by kind permission of Mr. John Murray. 
The other chapters are mainly selections from papers 
contributed to the Indian Industrial Conferences and to 
the South Indian Association and from articles written for 
the " Hindu, " whilst the two concluding chapters were 
originally addressed to the students of the Central Technical 
College, South Kinsington. A considerable amount of re- 
vision has been necessary to embody the results of more ex- 
tended experience in dealing with the questions discussed. 

To a large extent these papers are a record of the 
work done in Madras during the past ten years, but as 
there is a general similarity in the conditions all over 
India it is possible that they may be of assistance to those 
interested in the industrial progress of other parts of India. 

Much controversy has raged round the question of 
the extent to which the State may directly intervene to 
promote the welfare of indigenous industries and as it is 
still sub judice with the Secretary of State, except in general 
terms any reference to it has been omitted as I hold strong- 
ly to the opinion that our industrial policy must be framed 
to suit the exigencies of the political situation. The benefits 
which India derive from British protection far more than 
counterbalance any disadvantages which may arise from the 
necessity of submitting to the decision of the Home autho- 
rities in such debatable matters as come within the 



PREFACE 

sphere of Indian economics. Industrial progress is 
essential to the maintenance of peace and contentment 
in India and that fact is clearly recognised by the 
statesmen who have the final voice in determining the 
course of Indian affairs. What seems to be needed is a 
stronger and better informed public opinion, both in India 
and Great Britain, on the commercial advantages which 
will accrue to both countries from a more extended 
development of the latent resources of India both agricul- 
tural and industrial. The trade between the two countries 
is already large and with increased production of wealth 
in India it will enormously extend. 



MADRAS, 
January 1912. 




CHAPTER \l/ The Indian industrial problem 

The need of a system of industrial train- 
ingThe lack of native industrial 
leaders The extent of native resour- 
cesThe need of education The revi- 
val of native industries The need of 
studying local conditions The deve- 
lopment of small-scale industrial 
enterprises The possible industrial 
future of India. 

CHAPTER II. Protection in India ... 
CHAPTER III. The effect of protective tariffs ... 

CHAPTER IV. Agriculture and industrial deve- 
lopment 

I ndustry on a small scale The lack of 
industrial enterprise. 

CHAPTER V. Industrial Enterprise... 

Madras trade returns ; Industrial notes 
The Godaveri and Kristna Deltas- 
Madura Well irrigation, Coimbatore. 

CHAPTER VI. Industrial Leaders ... 

Indian technical students abroad- 
Expert assistance, 



PAGE 



41 



62 



113 



146 



CHAPTER VII. Chrome tanning 



163 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER VIII. Hand-loom weaving 

Weaving in India The Salem weaving 
Factory The future of the industry. 

CHAPTER IX. Miscellaneous Industries 

Wood distillation Milk Products The 
art industries of South India. 

CHAPTER X. Well Irrigation 

Boring for water A new water lift 
Under-ground water in Mysore 
Water-lifts. 

CHAPTER XI. Engineering in India 
CHAPTER XII. A Retrospect 



PAGE 
203 



258 



290 



330 
357 



INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION 
IN INDIA 

CHAPTER I 

THE INDIAN INDUSTRIAL PROBLEM 
THE NEED OF A SYSTEM OF INDUSTRIAL TRAINING 

THE publication in 1884 of the Report of the Royal 
Commission on Technical Education drew the attention 
of administrators in India to the fact that no adequate 
provision had been made by the Indian Educational 
Departments of systematic instruction in the scientific 
principles underlying industrial processes. The interest 
of the educated public was languidly excited and vague 
notions became current that the acknowledged decay 
of Indian manufactures could be arrested if arrange- 
ments were made to remedy the Jefects in the 
existing educational machinery. Accordingly, in the course 
of the next few years, each Province took action 
in this direction and sanction was accorded to such 
measures as the local governments considered to be imme- 
diately necessary. One result of the application of Euro- 
pean ideas on the subject of technical education was the 
establishment of the Victoria Jubilee Technical Institute in 
Bombay, where the cotton-spinning industry was already 
firmly established ; as another result the engineering 
school at Seebpore, near Calcutta, was reorganised and 
expanded to provide for the needs of Bengal, where the 



INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

manufacture of jute, coal-mining and mechanical engi- 
neering were local industries of considerable and growing 
importance. Both these institutions are now valuable 
centres of recruitmeut for the organised industries of their 
respective Presidencies ; that they have not reached the 
standard of excellence we are accustomed to expect in 
similar institutions in Europe and America is due to the 
fact that Indians do not regard an industrial career 
with any favour ; they only take to it when they are con- 
vinced that they have no prospect of success in more 
congenial occupations. 

In other parts of India it was obvious that modern 
industrial enterprise was too feebly developed to support 
either specialised technical schools like that devoted to 
the cotton industry in Bombay or a general engineering 
school like that at Seebpore. In Madras, however, an 
original attempt was made to create a demand for 
technical education by providing facilities for the exami- 
nation of students in a great variety of technical and 
industrial subjects. The scheme was modelled on the 
lines of the examinations of the Science and Art Depart- 
ment and of the City and Guilds of London ; it has 
proved of little value, though it has supplied convenient 
tests of the training given to pupils in trade and elementary 
engineering schools. 

The only practical outcome of these early attempts 
was to strengthen the staff and improve the equipment 
of the existing engineering colleges at Roorkhee, Poona 
and Madras, where Indians are trained for 'the various 
branches of service in the Public Works Department. 
Unlike Seebpore, where most of the students find 
employment in the industrial undertakings of Bengal, 
these institutions are intended to supply the very consi- 
derable demands of the provincial Governments, native 



THE INDIAN INDUSTRIAL PROBLEM 3 

states and district boards for men to carry on the current 
engineering work of the country in connection with rail- 
ways, roads and bridges, irrigation, buildings and general 
municipal work. Mechanical engineering is not entirely ne- 
glected but it is regarded as subordinate to civil engineering, 
hence probably the limited degree of success hitherto attain- 
ed by Indian engineers in the practice of a profession which 
calls for an intimate acquaintance with the materials and 
methods employed in construction. For a long time these 
colleges were not very popular, notwithstanding the fact 
that a number of well-paid Government appointments 
were guaranteed to the students who completed full 
courses of instruction ; of late years there has been a great 
change, the competition at the entrance examinations 
being now very keen. Apart from the too early speciali- 
sation in favour of civil engineering, the work done in 
these colleges suffers from the defective previous training 
of the students ; but little improvement can be expected so 
long as the general education of the country is dominated 
by the Universities. The reforms which have been 
introduced, since the report of the Universities Commis- 
sion, have done something to raise the general tone 
of Indian education but they have done little or nothing 
to render it of a practical character. It seems al- 
most certain that another educational system is required 
that will provide for the industrial needs of the country, 
entirely independent of the control of the Universities. 

For the indigenous industries of the country, which 
are entirely in the hands of illiterate artisans, it was not 
deemed possible to make any provision. The first attempts 
to deal with industrial education were made by mis- 
sionaries, who started schools for the instruction of orphan 
boys in their charge in such trades as carpentry, weav- 
ing and blacksmiths' work. Subsequently the idea was 



4 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

developed, chiefly by local bodies, and encouraged by Go- 
vernment grants-in-aid. At first the main object of these 
schools was to break down the exclusiveness of the caste 
system ; later, to improve the hereditary methods of the 
artisans ; the admittedly small measure of success they 
have achieved is roughly proportionate to the extent to 
which they have influenced the conservative mind of the 
Indian hand worker. As schools for the industrial train- 
ing of boys they have not so far justified their existence 
but in some instances as demonstration-workshops they 
have had a beneficial influence on the industrial centres 
in which they are situated. 

At first the cry for technical education in India was 
but a feeble echo of that raised inEngland and awakened no 
response from the educated classes. There was a demand 
for the services of university graduates and they could 
readily obtain employment; the rest of the country did not 
count. All the technically trained men required for Gov- 
ernment and for the industrial concerns working on 
modern lines were obtained from Europe; India was 
satisfied to see its sons finding congenial careers in the 
administrative services of the country, in the learned pro- 
fessions and in the educational institutions, which were 
rapidly expanding. From the early nineties onwards the 
supply of university graduates began to exceed the de- 
mand and year by year the competition has 'been 
steadily increasing, with the inevitable result that 
attention has been turned to other spheres of ac- 
tivity. When it was found that a university training 
and a university degree were no passports to an indus- 
trial career, a genuine demand began to assert itself 
for technical education and it was soon found that no 
provision had been made in the country to meet it. 
A few enterprising youths sought in Europe what they 



THE INDIAN INDUSTRIAL PROBLEM 5 

could not obtain at home, to meet only with bitter 
disappointment on their return. Their education in India 
was found to be an unsatisfactory preparation for 
foreign technical schools ; they benefited little by their 
studies and returned to India completely lacking that practi- 
cal knowledge and experience which are absolutely essen- 
tial to success in an industrial career. Gradually it has 
become evident both to the Government and to the edu- 
cated classes in India that industries must precede tech- 
nical instruction and that any future industrial develop- 
ment must follow on the lines which have been so succes- 
fully pursued in the case of the cotton industry in Western 
India, the jute and mining industries in Bengal, the leather 
and cotton trades of Cawnpore and the many miscellan- 
eous industrial undertakings which have been successfully 
established in every province of India. 

THE LACK OF NATIVE INDUSTRIAL LEADERS 

It is now fairly generally accepted that technical 
colleges in India can only do useful work when they train 
students for whose services there is a demand in existing 
industries and that the pioneer work of starting new indus- 
tries must be undertaken by men who have acquired their 
skill and experience in other lands where those industries 
are carried on under favourable conditions. The establish- 
ment of technical schools, Ifke the Victoria Technical Ins- 
titute in Bombay, in other parts of India is now recogni- 
sed as useless, unless there is a corresponding industrial 
development to be catered for. Only in Bengal can it be 
said that this state of things exists ; the Seebpore College 
already makes fairly adequate provision for the needs of 
that part of India. 

The increasing pressure of the educated classes in the 
more favoured fields of employment can only be relieved 



6 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION Itt INDIA 

by providing new openings for them in other directions and 
of these by far the most important will be found in the 
organisation of the immense resources of India for indus- 
trial undertakings of many kinds. A great deal has already 
been done in this direction by European initiative ; the 
reason why the actual benefit to India has not been greater 
is the fact that Indians have, as a rule, stood aloof. 
The original impulse, capital and directive energy came 
from abroad, India having only furnished the raw mate- 
rial and the labour. The profits have been taken out of 
Country year by year, but of greater moment is the fact that 
there has been no gradual growth of industrial experience, 
so that to-day, except perhaps in the cotton trade, India 
lacks native industrial leaders. The men with capital, busi- 
ness acumen, technical knowledge and administrative capa- 
city, who form the backbone of industrial life in Europe and 
America, are lacking and no preparation has been made 
to create them. Development in the immediate future, 
as in the past, must mainly depend on men not born and 
bred in the country and who will only remain in it for a 
time, taking with them, when they leave, the experience 
they have gathered. A change is possible it may be 
even said to be inevitable but it can only be brought 
about slowly. Indians have begun to appreciate the 
importance of industrial activity ; they have started the 
Swadeshi movement to encourage it and by degrees they 
are learning the nature of the problem they have to face. 
A detailed history of the modern developement of the 
cotton industry in Western India would furnish much use- 
ful information to those who are seeking for guidance as 
to the methods to be pursued to raise India in the scale of 
nations, to utilise her resources and to provide her peo- 
ple with something more than the bare necessaries of life. 
There can only be a vigorus and healthy industrial 



THE INDIAN INDUSTRIAL PROBLEM 7 

life when it is carried on hy the people themselves 
that is, they must supply the capital, take the risks, enjoy 
the profits, bear the losses and, above all, undertake the 
management and control of the many branches into 
which it is subdivided. 

THE EXTENT OF NATIVE RESOURCES 

The labour problems in India are not serious ; there 
is plenty of labour, although the standard of efficiency is 
very low and there is a sad lack of energy and staying 
power, partly attributable to climatic causes and partly to 
the low standard of living. The small wages paid for such 
labour compensates for its disadvantages in a commercial 
sense and it is certain that as progress is made there will 
be a corresponding improvement in the condition of the 
working classes their output will increase and their 
wages rise ; if education be spread among them, their 
wants will become more numerous and gradually they 
will emerge from the thraldom of conservatism and pre- 
judice which dominates them and strangles all aspirations 
for any higher state of existence than that which they now 
enjoy. 

Of capital there is plenty in the country and year by 
year it is accumulating ; but the people do not know how 
to use their wealth and it is uselessly hoarded in the form of 
gold, silver and jewellery. There is a general impression 
that in India too large a proportion of the population is 
dependent upon agriculture and that the establishment of 
new forms of industrial enterprise on modern lines has 
not compensated for the decay or extinction of indigenous 
industries. It is suggested that there has been a one-sided 
development of the natural resources of the country and 
that in consequence the people are unduly exposed to the 
perils of famine and scarcity. During the last half-century 



8 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

the indigeneous industries have been subjected to ruinous 
competition with imports from abroad, as a result of 
which the condition of the artisans has steadily deteriorat- 
ed. Probably, however, their numbers are actually larger 
and the amount of their output greater than at any previous 
time. It is the margin of profit which has almost vanished, 
with the natural consequence that widespread poverty and 
destitution have taken the place of a state of comparative 
affluence. Caste restrictions, combined with ignorance and 
intense dislike to change of any kind, have kept the artisans 
to their hereditary methods and in the absence of any exter- 
nal assistance they have only been able to face their difficul- 
ties by selling their labour at lower and lower rates, till all 
they can now obtain is scarcely sufficient to provide for a 
bare subsistence. On the other hand, during the last seventy 
years, agriculture has greatly expanded and by the extension 
of irrigation it has to a large extent become independent 
of the vicissitudes of the seasons over very considerable 
areas. The soil of India is rich and when supplied with 
sufficient moisture and manure yields an abundant har- 
vest. In good years it supports the vast population with 
ease and yields for export agricultural produce to the 
value of more than one hundred millions sterling. Some 
of this is in a manufactured state but the bulk goes out as 
raw material and it is this enormous quantity of raw 
material which offers a field of development to those who 
are interested in the creation of an industrial India. 

The charge is often made that British rule in India 
has brought about an impoverishment of the people and 
that they are worse off now than they were under the 
Moguls and their own princes. The charge is easily made 
and difficult to disprove, as but little is known of of the 
condition of the people before the rise of British 
power. The standard of living is very low among 



THE INDIAN INDUSTRIAL PROBLEM 9 

the great bulk of the population ; it is hardly possible 
that it could have been much lower but the num- 
bers to-day are certainly double, possibly treble, what they 
'were three centuries.:ago. Famine and plague still devastate 
the land but their terrors are much diminished and the 
ravages of war and intestine feuds have entirely ceased. 
Roads and railways have opened up the country, irrigation 
works have converted waste desolate tracts i nto fertile fields 
and the pax Britannica ensures to every man the enjoyment 
of his possessions ; but the people themselves have not 
changed their ruling passion is still to hoard their wealth 
in a portable form and they still live much as their fore- 
fathers did. The main result of British rule has been a 
startling increase in numbers rather than a marked rise in 
the standard of living. 

A striking commentary on this unproved charge 
against British administration is that in the five years, end- 
ing with April 1908, the net imports of bullion into India 
amounted to 92,287,000, nearly the whole of which has 
gone to increase native hoards of precious metal, that still 
represent to the people the most desirable form in which to 
accumulate wealth. This, it must be remembered, is in 
addition to the gold raised in India itself, which amounted 
during the same period to more than ten millions sterling. 
For all practical purposes these hoards are useless, save as 
an indication that the material development of India un- 
der foreign stimulus is really at a faster rate than that at 
which the people are deriving benefit from it. 

What a capital expenditure of twenty millons a year 
would effect in India may be inferred from the the fact 
that in a single year it would furnish sufficient capital to 
establish the whole of the cotton mills of Bombay and of 
the jute mills of Bengal. In a year and a half it would 
provide the forty-four crores of rupees which the Irrigation 
2 



10 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

Commission reported could be judiciously expended by 
Government in bringing a further six and a half million 
acres under irrigation. It is five times the whole amount an- 
nually spent on education on the education of an empire 
containing three hundred million people and it is approxi- 
mately equal to the land revenue of the whole country 
and to the total annual expenditure in the military 
department. Surely, then, it cannot be contended that 
when so large an amount is put on one side every year 
and merely hoarded, that the people are becoming poorer? 
Is it not rather fair to assume that they are accumulating 
wealth faster than they know how to use it ? 

Various estimates of the hoarded wealth of India have 
been made but they are all mere guesses and it would per- 
haps be unwise to give further currency to them ; it suffi- 
ces for our purpose to assume that the sum-total is very 
large and that it is enormously greater than any possible 
demand, that can be made for generations to come, for capi- 
tal for the development of the country. From an interna- 
tional point of view this hoarding of gold in India is of 
great importance in preventing an inconvenient deprecia- 
tion of the monetary standards of the world ; in time to 
come, when the folly of the practice has been recognised, 
the dispersal of these hoards may be equally serviceable ; 
in maintaining equilibrium, if the productiveness of the 
mines should fall short of the demands of an ever-increasing 
traffic and commerce. This service India renders to the 
world at large and its people pay the cost not grudgingly 
but with a cheerful alacrity which is the outcome of extre- 
me simplicity. 

It must be remembered that this hoarded wealth is very 
generally diffused and that it can only be rendered useful by 
concentration in the hands of a compartively small number 
of men who are comptent to assume the responsibility of 



THE INDIAN INDUSTRIAL PROBLEM 11 

directing the enterprises which can be started by returning 
it into circulation. This implies the existence of an in- 
stinct for co-operative working that at present is but 
slightly developed ; also a knowledge of and desire to 
participate in the amenities of life which our modern 
civilisation offers; finally, what is in no way less important 
than these, an intelligent comprehension of the elementary 
principles of credit and finance, without which it is im- 
possible to create the feelings of security and confidence 
which formthe basis of commerce and industrial enterprise. 

NEED OF EDUCATION 

It is only by educating the people that any progress 
can be made in this direction, and the efforts now being 
made to extend primary education may be viewed with 
intense satisfaction by all who are interested in the welfare 
of India; but much more might be done than has 
so far been attempted. In the year 1907-8 the total 
expenditure of British India on education was 1,018,764 
or slightly over four pence per head of the population. 
This is not extravagant, but in the native states it is even 
less and if a rational system of education can be de- 
vised to meet the requirements of the people, it is certain 
that it would be wise policy to increase very largely the 
expenditure under this head, as such expenditure would 
greatly promote the moral welfare and material well-being 
of the people. The finances of India are in a flourishing 
state, the incidence of taxation is light and the natural 
growth of revenue is equal at any rate to the demands upon 
it. This is due to the excellence of the administration, 
which exercises a most careful scrutiny over the spending 
departments of Government, although it is possible that, in 
the laudable desire to prevent waste and to keep down 
taxation, economy has been effected at the expense of 



J2 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

national well-being. Any material increase of the grants 
for education could only be secured by fresh taxation but 
the neccessity for such is now so great that it may well 
be urged that delay is prejudicial to the best interests of 
the country. Any form of direct taxation would be ex- 
tremely unpopular but an increase of fifty per cent in the 
very moderate import duties would probably be welcom- 
ed and would yield about two millions a year. This 
would be sufficient to provide for that re-organisation of the 
educational system which is so urgently needed to prepare 
the way for a general improvement in the condition of the 
vast population by teaching them how to make better use 
of their enormous capacity for labour and how to exploit 
the natural resources of the soil so that it may yield a 
return commensurate with its extent and richness. 

The suggestion that the increased expenditure which it is 
advocated should be incurred to remedy the defects of the 
present educational system may be met by increasing the 
tariffs on imports naturally raises the question : Why not 
give India an avowed protection tariff and under the 
shelter of that tariff build up an industrial system adequate 
to the needs of the country ? That it could be done in 
this way there is no doubt but the people of the country 
could not do it and it would have to be done with import- 
ed capital and imported brains. The urgency for indus- 
trial development in India is mainly due to the limited 
field that at present exists for the employment of the 
rapidly increasing educated classes. It is essential that 
suitable work should be found for them and it is quite 
certain that if inducements were created to invest capital 
in India, the investing capitalists would send out their 
own men to look after and manage their interests. The 
people of India will be welcomed as u hewers of wood 
and drawers of water" but in no other capacity. Further 



INDIAN INDUSTRIAL PROBLEM 13 

it must not be forgotten that the ultimate authority on 
the Government of India is the British democracy, whose 
opinions on fiscal matters are very unstable. If the erec- 
tion of a tariff wall were sanctioned by one Parliament, it 
is by no means unlikely that it would be pulled down or 
materially altered by some later Parliament. With a tariff 
wall there would always be some uncertainty as to the 
continuance of the protection which it would afford, and 
in proportion to the intensity of the feeling of uncertain- 
ty this would militate against its efficiency as a factor in 
creating industries in India. The conditions in India are 
such that State intervention is necessary to bring about 
the economic changes under discussion but it should be 
directed to assisting the growth of private enterprise in 
the country rather than to the maintenance of an artificial 
barrier to the free exchange of commodities .with the rest 
of the world. 

By far the most important matter for the State to deal 
with at the outset is the establishment of an educational sys- 
tem which, from the primary stages upwards, will be prac- 
tical rather than literary. Every Indian boy grows up in a 
certain environment and the education given to him should 
have reference to that environment and should aim at 
making him master of it. Hand and eye training, the 
cultivation of the powers of observation, the co-ordina- 
tion of the various faculties in the service of their posses- 
sor these should be the objects of educational processes, 
not merely the development of the mental powers along 
comparatively narrow lines. The present system of 
education has failed lamentably to produce men of action, 
with balanced judgment arid sound constructive faculties. 
The memory rather than the imagination controls thought 
and in the absence of experience responsibility is declined. 
It has turned out good if not great lawyers, excellent 



14 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

judges, a few engineers but no original investigators or 
deep thinkers. 

THE LACK OF INDIVIDUALISM 

It must, however, be admitted that it is not the educa- 
tion system alone that is at fault. In India the vitalising 
force of nationality is almost entirely absent and centuries 
of subjection to a foreign yoke or to the endurance 
of an almost continuous state of internal discord 
and anarchy have deprived the people of that indi- 
vidualism which finds its highest expression in col- 
lective effort. Social customs and caste restrictions 
militate against progress and the general prevalence 
of early marriages handicaps the race, not only by 
imposing the cares of domestic life upon students and 
even upon children who ought to be at school but also 
because such immature' unions result in offspring deficient 
in physical vigour and lacking force of character. These 
are deeply rooted obstacles which cannot easily be re- 
moved. Emancipation from the tyranny of a grotesque 
and unique social code has begun and the movement for 
greater individual freedom of action will be accelerated by 
the increasing tendency of Indians to travel in other parts 
of the world. Climate again is a factor which must be 
taken into account it induces indolence on the one hand 
and renders existence easy with but a moderate degree of 
exertion on the other. The position is one of extra- 
ordinary difficulty and complexity; the future well-being 
of India demands, in fact, a careful consideration of 
the various elements before any policy is finally framed 
to guide the administrator through the years of rapid 
change which lie before us. Educated Indians want 
work there is work for them to do but it is work they dis- 
like and their education has not removed their prejudices 
or rendered the task any easier by training them for it. 



THE INDIAN INDUSTRIAL PROBLEM 15 

THE REVIVAL OF NATIVE INDUSTRIES 

The educational methods can be changed but it will 
take a generation to show any result ; in the meantime 
the evils arising from the lack of suitable employment 
must be checked and a system of industrial development 
devised to deal with the existing state of things. Enterprise 
on a grand scale can be left to grow in the manner it has 
done during the last half century and at present need not 
concern us. Our attention should be concentrated on the / 
decaying indigenous industries : hand-weaving, working 
in metals, tanning and leather manufactures, on all the 
petty industries which supply the simple needs of the 
people. Labour must be trained to work more efficiently 
there must be less of brute force and more of skill, the 
primitive tools of the artisan must be superseded by better 
implements ; sub-division of labour must be introduced and 
from the crude simplicity of each family as a unit of pro- 
ductive effort strong combinations must be evolved, either 
by co-operative working, or by the concentration of manu- 
facture in small factories. That this can be done there is 
not the least reason for doubt. Every well-directed effort 
that has been made on these lines has met with success 
and if so far the sum total of the results is insignificant 
compared with what has to be done, it is because the 
experimental stage has only just been passed through. 
Individuals scattered over India have attacked the problem 
according to their lights and, whilst many have failed, 
some have succeeded. A critical review of the circum- 
stances of each case leads to the general conclusion that 
success has invariably been due to the application of 
scientific methods and practical experience ; that the 
failures might in nost cases have been predicted from the 
outset, as essential elements to success were neglected and 



16 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

more zeal than discretion displayed in dealing with the 
difficulties that had to be overcome. 

It would serve no useful purpose to cite instances of 
misdirected enterprise the failure of which has engendered 
in Indian minds a deep-seated distrust of the tools and ap- 
pliances which in modern times have so enormously redu- 
ced the amount of human labour to be expended in convert- 
ing raw materials into a form suited to the needs of man. 
The poverty of India measured by European standards is 
undeniable but the requirements of the people are extraordi- 
narily small and, except in times of famine, there is but little 
of the destitution and misery which are to be found in the 
great centres of civilisation. There are signs, however, 
that a struggle for existence is beginning to be felt, due to 
the increasing pressure of the population on the soil, to 
the expanding needs of the educated classes and to the 
growing inequality in the distribution of wealth. Within 
the last few years there has been a marked rise in the price 
of food grains, which presses severely on the landless 
labourers in the villages and upon the artisans and workers 
in the towns. The old order of things is changing, and 
India is being steadily drawn into the stream along which 
the nations of Europe and America are being hurried to a 
by no means clearly discerned destination. 

There is in the country much unrest which is far from 
being of political origin. The problem for the statesmen, 
who will have to control the administration of India, is to 
provide outlets for this newly awakened energy and to 
direct it in such a manner as to satisfy the growing 
aspirations of the vast population. Hitherto, the intellec- 
tual classes of the country have held almost entirely aloof 
from the rest of the people, whom they have looked down 
upon and despised. They have left the working classes 
to face the growing difficulties of their position, careless of 



THE INDIAN INDUSTRIAL PROBLEM 17 

everything outside the range of their own immediate 
interests ; now that they are forced by internal competition 
to take a broader outlook, they find themselves incompe- 
tent to deal with the practical problems which await 
solution ; to bring about a healthier state of things, it is 
necessary that means should be devised whereby they may 
be associated with the artisans and workers of the country 
to their mutual advantage. The future progress of India 
largely depends on the proper appreciation of her greatest 
asset abundant cheap labour labour at present not with- 
out some measure of skill but almost entirely untrained 
and unorganised. 

THE NEED OF STUDYING LOCAL CONDITIONS 
Our work is to show the educated classes how they 
can find useful careers, honourable and remunerative 
employment, work that will benefit both themselves and 
the whole community in supplementing the deficiencies of 
the workers, in dispelling their ignorance and softening 
their conservatism. 

First we must train them in our schools and colleges, 
then in our workshops and laboratories and finally we 
must start them in life, giving them practical work to do 
under competent supervision until they get accustomed to 
the new atmosphere and surroundings and are able to 
launch forth by themselves. But we ourselves have to 
discover how this may best be done ; we must call to our 
aid all the resources of science and obtain the services of 
experienced men to study the local conditions. It will be 
for them to train our students, make surveys of the exist- 
ing industries, take stock of the natural advantages, search 
for hidden resources and suggest new lines of work and 
innovations which may be introduced. 

In regard to matters purely agricultural, 
3 



18 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

procedure has already been adopted by the Government 
of India and by all the Provincial Governments. 
At Piisa an Imperial College of Agriculture has 
been started, a staff of highly competent scientific and 
practical experts appointed, an experimental farm 
has been laid out and for some years past the many pro- 
blems of Indian agriculture have been the subject of close 
study and unremitting investigation. Valuable results 
have already been obtained. Each Province has been 
provided with an Agricultural Department on similar 
lines, the officers of which deal with the special problems 
of the Province and by demonstration farms, by direct 
teaching and by personal intercourse with the people on 
the land make them acquainted with new discoveries, new 
crops, new implements and the advantages of adopting 
improved methods of cultivation. Thegreat primary industry 
of India is well provided for and in the years to come the 
country at large cannot but greatly benefit by the thorough 
and patient way in which the capabilities of the soil are 
being examined. 

The lengthy discussions on the methods by which 
the industrial problems are to be solved have not yet 
crystallised into the form of a comprehensive declara- 
tion of policy on the part of the Government of 
India and the Secretary of State. The various Provinces 
have examined the question, have submitted proposals 
and in some cases have tentatively embarked upon 
active measures ; but no clear line of action has been 
marked out as in the case of agriculture. In the edu- 
cation departments, the need of improved science 
teaching has been admitted and, through the munificence 
of the late Mr. Tata and his sons, an Imperial Institute of 
Science has been established at Bangalore for post-gra- 
duate work and research, which should in time do a great 






THE INDIAN INDUSTRIAL PROBLEM 19 

deal to attract the highest intellect of the country to prac- 
tical pursuits. 

The subtle mind of the Hindu delights in philosophic 
speculations and in unravelling the intricacies of legal 
enactments ; it is possible that the same qualities applied to 
scientific investigation would afford their possesors equal 
gratification in probing the hidden mysteries of natural 
phenomena. That the practical aspects of such inquiries 
would appeal to them is less certain but, whether or not, 
their work will be insensibly influenced by the growing 
need of the country for scientific help in solving the pro- 
blems which the increased activity of the people will force 
upon public attention. 

The important principle is gradually meeting with ac- 
ceptance that scientific education must precede attempts 
at technical instruction and that the latter can only 
be usefully provided to meet the requirements of 
existing industries. So long as the great organised in* 
dustries in the country are mainly controlled by 
Europeans, so long will the technical assistants be 
obtained from Europe, and Indians must go there for 
training and to acquire experience if they want to 
take a part in such work. This is tacitly admitted by 
the increasing numbers who year by year leave India to 
seek such instruction in countries more favourably situated 
for supplying it. The unfortunate feature in this movement 
is that the majority of the students who go abroad are 
inadequately prepared in the way of preliminary education 
to avail themselves of the facilities which they find placed 
at their disposal and they are in almost every case quite 
unable to supplement the purely college courses of tech- 
nology by practical experience in workshops and manu- 
factories, without which their whole training is imperfect 
and useless. Not till Indian capital finances Indian 



20 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN 

industries will the people gradually be able to acquire 
that experience which it is necessary they should possess 
if they are ever to manage their own enterprises success- 
fully. The fact that this has to a large extent been 
accomplished in the cotton trade in some degree accounts 
for the remarkable progress of that industry. 

The cotton and jute industries, and mining for coal in 
Bengal and for gold in Mysore have developed because of 
certain natural facilities or because of the existence of easy 
markets in which the products were in demand, but the 
bulk of the industrial work of India is languishing in face 
of the competition with imports. The external trade of 
the country has grown at the expense of the internal, 
resulting in an unhealthy and one-sided development of 
the country's resources. Roads, railways, telegraphs, the 
construction of the Suez Canal, every improvement in the 
means of transport both by sea and land has contributed 
to the difficulties and, in many cases, to the ultimate dis- 
comfiture of the Indian artisan. The attention of Govern- 
ment has been almost entirely directed to the opening up 
of the land, to the provision of irrigation ; assistance has 
in more than one case been given directly to the efforts of 
English manufacturers to exploit Indian markets, whilst 
the industrious artisan has been left, severely alone to 
combat as best he can the growing difficulties of his posi- 
tion. That he has survived so long may be taken as 
evidence of the possession of certain elements of vitality 
and as affording justification for the hope that a permanent 
place may be found for him in the industrial future of 
India. What we have to do is to supply the artisan with 
all those factors that contribute so largely to industrial 
success, in which he is so conspicuously deficient. He 
lacks capital and organisation, his tools and implements 
are primitive and imperfect, he has no commercial 



THE INDIAN INDUSTRIAL PROBLEM 21 

knowledge and in his dealings with the outside world he 
is almost always in the hands of money-lenders and petty 
traders, who make their profit out of his helplessness and 
strenuously resist any attempts to improve his position 
that would render him independent of their aid. He is 
industrious and would be intelligent were it not that his 
faculties are undeveloped owing to the narrow field in 
which there is scope for exercising them. His technical 
knowledge is a negligible quantity and of improved trade 
processes and methods he has but a slight acquaintance. 
It would however be far from the truth to say that he has 
remained entirely uninfluenced by the progress made during 
the last century. A few typical illustrations will serve to 
indicate one of the directions in which we must look for 
advance. (1) The ryot, who grows sugarcane, has entirely 
discarded the old wooden mills in favour of those made 
of cast iron, with the result that the work is done with less 
labour and a higher percentage of juice is extracted. (2) 
In many parts of the South of India the weavers prepare 
their warps on rotary mills and in some places the advan- 
tage of subdivision of labour is so far recognised that the 
preparation of warps on these mills has become a distinct 
business. (3) The extraction of oil from seeds is largely 
done in screw presses worked by hand in place of the 
old-fashioned rotary wooden mill. (4) The fly-shuttle 
loom has been substituted for the native hand loom 
among the weavers of certain districts of Bengal, with the 
result that their speed in weaving has been doubled. (5) 
Wood and metal workers almost invariably use some 
tools of European manufacture. (6) Singer's sewing 
machines are to be found in almost every tailor's shop in 
the country and, although these machines are somewhat 
delicate and complic-ited pieces of mechanism, the facili- 
ties for the repair or renewal of parts have been so wide- 



22 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

ly diffused that the tailors find no difficulty in keeping 
them in working order. 

It would be easy to multiply illustrations of this kind, 
especially in regard to agriculture and its dependent trades 
and those industries which have been influenced by the 
workshops and factories to be found in the centres of 
modern industrial activity. We may rest assured that 
there will be no opposition to the introduction of improv- 
ed tools or improved methods of working if it can be 
clearly shown that they are real improvements. The 
reputation that Indians are averse to all change and are 
obstinately wedded to the antiquated ways of their fore- 
fathers is not justly deserved. They are conservative but 
they know their own business fairly well and many of the 
so-called improvements which they have rejected were 
really unsuitable innovations. 

THE DEVELOPMENT OF SMALL-SCALE INDUSTRIAL 
ENTERPRISES. 

India offers a great problem to the civilised world. 
It has abundance of cheap labour which, if properly train- 
ed, would be skilled ; it needs to be shown how to 
apply this labour to the best advantage. The whole trend 
of modern progress has been to replace the man by the 
machine, to replace the individual by the factory 
and the isolated factory by the organised trust. Where 
labour is dear this system has developed most largely 
and human ingenuity is ever exercised in extending 
the scale uf operations. We have introduced the system 
into India but it has not yet taken root. We may either re- 
gard it as inevitable that it should ultimately be establish- 
ed or we may adopt an alternative and apply the resources 
of science, engineering and commerical experience 
to a great attempt to raise the worker and pit his 



THE INDIAN INDUSTRIAL PROBLEM 23 

skill, ingenuity and adaptability against the monstrous 
growths produced by the abnormal development of 
the mechanical arts. The problem ever before the 
modern industrial world is to devise means of dispens- 
ing with labour, to cheapen production by making it 
more automatic. The success has been remarkable but it 
has been purchased somewhat expensively ; it is possible 
that we might now with advantage turn our attention to 
developing the function of the man rather than the power 
of the machine, to evolving a system the object of which 
should be to employ human labour to the greatest extent 
possible and in the way most advantageous to the indivi- 
dual man. 

The conditions in India are suitable for such an ex- 
periment. It has not yet accepted the factory system nor will 
it do so willingly, the undivided family has to be reckoned 
with and the extreme sub-division of property renders 
productive effort on a large scale difficult. Comfort rather 
than luxury, a moderate rather than a vast fortune these 
are the ideals of enlightened Indians. It would be foolish 
to imagine that, as India now stands in relation to the 
British Empire and to the rest of the world, it could dis- 
regard the external influences to which it must always be 
subjected but there is no reason why it should not strive 
to move forward to a goal more in harmony with its own 
traditions than is that presented by Western civilisation. 

In England, America and Australia there is a wide- 
spread movement in favour of smallholdings instead of 
large farms and much evidence is now available to show 
that where the conditions are suitable this method of cul- 
tivation tends to the more general diffusion of prosperity 
and contentment. In India small holdings are universal. 
Industrial operations, except in so far as they have been 
changed by the advent of Europeans, have also been 



24 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

carried on by men of small means and they have surviv- 
ed to the present day mainly because of the inherent vita- 
lity of such a system. There is no necessity to abandon 
this way of working but we must improve it and bring 
the status of Indian artisans to the same level as in other 
countries, which have in recent years made so much pro- 
gress. 

There are greater prospects of the small manufacturer, 
being able to compete with the big than there were a few 
years ago, as recent progress in science and the mechanical 
arts has done much to raise the efficiency of working on a 
small scale. Not by any means in all directions but in some, 
and those more particularly which are likely to flourish in 
India. The cost of power has been enormously reduced 
especially in the case of very small plants, so that the 
small user of power is in a much better position to com- 
pete with the large user than was possible only a 
few years ago. There is in consequence a perceptible re- 
action against production on a large scale and a tendency 
to make greater use of the elasticity which allows small 
works more readily to adapt themselves to changes and 
fluctuations in trade, cyclical or otherwise. 

Again it is evident, even in the most highly developed 
industrial countries, that the human factor is becoming more 
important and in the distribution of profits between, capital 
and labour the latter is demanding a larger share. It must 
not be imagined that the great primary industries are 
materially affected in this way they are not and it might 
even be contended that the ever-increasing perfection of 
mechanical appliances is rendering the labour question 
one of constantly diminishing importance. With this 
phase of industrialism we are not at present concerned. 
It may be fully trusted to look after itself, but there is no 
likelihood that it will ever be greatly developed in India 



THE INDIAN INDUSTRIAL PROBLEM 2.5 

excepting in certain localities. The main reason for this 
is that over the greater part of the country there are no 
special natural resources. 

There is no doubt that the various castes and groups 
of artisans in India maintain themselves against the 
present competition of European industrialism and 
that although they may have suffered severely, they 
have not succumbed. Equally it is certain that much 
could be done to render their work more effective 
both by improving their methods and by supplying 
their trades with a commercial organisation that would 
bring their products into the markets where the demand 
is greatest. Obviously Government is the only agency by 
which such a change can be brought about ; the greatest 
difficulties will probably arise from the opposition of the 
artisans themselves, who care little about education and 
are averse to abandoning the free and improvident life 
they have always led. In framing a policy the provision 
for a suitable education must come first. It must be of a 
simple character and have a direct bearing upon their fu- 
ture prospects. It must appeal to the people and attract 
them by its direct reference to their everyday life and, 
above all, it must not be regarded as the first rung of a 
ladder which will elevate a few above their fellows ; its 
object should be to raise the mass from their lethargy and 
ignorance to a higher level, whence in due time a fresh 
start may be made. For the present, possibly for a long 
time to come, we must look to the educated classes, as we 
now understand that term, to furnish the men who will 
lead the industrial groups and bands which it should be 
a primary duty to organise. 

IN India provision must be made for training the men 
diverted from literary pursuits to take an active part in the 
re-establishment of the hereditary artisans of their native 
4 



26 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

land. It would be premature to discuss the details of the 
training, as that must depend on inquiries and researches 
not yet made. Certain general principles are of appli- 
cation from the outset. There must be trade schools in 
which foremen can be trained for specific industries 
and these should be furnished with a model equipment 
the value of which should be clearly demonstrated 
under strictly practical conditions. In order that hand 
labour may be developed to its highest possible efficiency, 
it is essential that the appliances, tools and machinery 
should be maintained in the best possible order ; mechani- 
cal workshops will be required to train fitters, mechanics 
and carpenters, and to afford instruction in the elements of 
mechanical engineering which underlie and are necessary 
to all manufacturing processes. Lastly, technical colleges 
and schools of science will be required, in which the best 
intellects the country can place at the disposal of its in- 
dustries will be prepared to take up the leadership and 
carry on the work initiated by those having qualifications 
acquired abroad who will act as pioneers to the movement. 
India sustains great loss and will continue to suffer so 
long as the best of her sons devote their energies and 
abilities almost solely to the legal profession and Govern- 
ment service ; such service, however valuable it may be, 
does not directly contribute to the material welfare of 
the community. In any country litigation is a neces- 
sary evil but it is ten times worse when it is allc\ved 
to absorb such an enormous proportion of the avail- 
able trained intelligence as is the case in India. There, 
the legal profession is unduly prominent and its ranks 
are consequently overcrowded. Litigation is foster- 
ed and the growth of technicalities stimulated, so that the 
machinery of justice is clogged. Indians are naturally 
prone to resort to the law courts on every possible occa- 



THE INDIAN INDUSTRIAL PROBLEM 2? 

sion, the luxury of a civil suit having a strange fascination 
which few who can afford it succeed in withstanding per- 
manently. The introduction of new interests into the life 
of the people would tend to check this tendency ; any- 
thing that will create a wider outlook and broader views 
should be encouraged. The backwardness of India is not 
a little due to this parasitic growth and it is time that it 
was checked. The diversion to industrial pursuits of part 
of the stream of graduates flowing from the universities is 
a promising antidote and will perhaps gradually educate 
the public to consider the man who devotes his life to the 
promotion of the well-being and prosperity of his fellows 
deserving of greater honour than he who keeps them at 
variance and battens upon their failings and misfortunes. 

THE POSSIBLE INDUSTRIAL FUTURE OF INDIA 

We are come now to the last stage in our discussion 
of India's future industrial position and that is to illus- 
trate by concrete examples the possibility of working upon 
the lines briefly indicated. It has been assumed that her 
industries can be developed without leading to the hideous 
concentration of human life and human activity in smoke- 
begrimed cities, with unparalleled luxury for the few and 
squalour for the many. This is based upon the idea that 
our ever-increasing command of natural forces will enable 
us to operate with equal advantage on a small as on a 
large scale ; that there is a reaction against the deadening 
influence of production by machinery, in favour of the 
greater variety offered by products into the fabrication of 
which individual skill and fancy have been allowed to 
enter ; that, as there is therefore a field for Indian labour 
which can be developed by a judicious combination of 
the man with the machine, the former should be trained 
to afford the fullest possible play to his God -given faculties 



28 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INblA 

and that mechanical ingenuity should be directed to pro- 
viding him with the means to exercise those faculties to 
the greatest possible advantage. 

The problem to be solved is the difficult one of find- 
ing the happy mean between the individual working for 
himself and the great capitalistic organisation employing 
thousands of operatives in lives of monotony and drud- 
gery. The single man or family is too small an economic 
unit to succeed, the modern mill or factory entails too 
much social degradation to be encouraged. The free 
play of private enterprise in the West has produced an 
unstable civilisation, in which the various elements are in 
antagonism with one another. Is it necessary that India 
should follow on the same lines ? Is it not rather worth 
our while to attempt to direct her course so that advan- 
tage may be taken of the experience that has been gained 
to avoid, as far as may be, the unhealthy and undesirable 
features which are becoming so prominent in Europe and 
America ? 

The Government are clearly justified in intervening 
to prevent the artisan, if they can, from being driven out 
of his hereditary calling and to start him upon a new 
line of progress that will not land him in the evil 
plight that has befallen his fellows under the modern 
industrial system. The object to be obtained ,is the 
amelioration of the condition of vast numbers of 
people and not the creation of opportunities for con- 
centrating great wealth in a few centres and in the 
hands of a small minority of the population. If this pre- 
miss be accepted, the problem should be studied with a 
view to working along the lines indicated and such assist- 
ance obtained from outside as is likely to prove useful. 
Much work has already been done by such scientific 
services as the Geological Survey of India in determining 



THE INDIAN INDUSTRIAL PROBLEM 29 

the available mineral resources, by the Forest Departments 
of the various provinces in ascertaining and conserving 
the value of the vegetation, by the Public Works Depart- 
ment in its various branches in all that pertains to im- 
proving means of communication and utilising sources of 
irrigation. The scientist, the mechanical engineer and the 
manufacturer have all done something to demonstrate the 
value of these resources, which should now be examined 
in greater detail with the specific object of increasing the 
opportunities of the indigenous industrial population. In- 
dustrial experiment and investigation are required and for 
such, specially qualified men must be employed. Some 
thing in this direction has already been done and may 
be brought to notice, not because of its intrinsic import- 
ance but because it is pioneer work that will serve to 
show clearly the method adopted of solving this question. 
Lifting Water. The chief requisites of the Indian 
agriculturist are water and manure, both of which, in the 
absence of public sources of water supply, he has obtained 
hitherto through the agency of cattle. Water is lifted 
from between three and four million wells; as the quan- 
tity required is large, the expense is a very heavy charge 
upon the ryots. Careful investigation of the indigenous 
methods of lifting water demonstrated the high degree of 
efficiency attained in applying the power and no improve- 
ment seemed to be practicable until the oil engine became 
a source of motive power, so economical in fuel, so simple 
in action and involving so small a capital outlay that it 
was easily brought within the range of the wealthier ryot, 
who had a sufficient water supply, to justify using it to 
drive a centrifugal pump. In the South of India through 
Government agency large numbers have been installed 
and there is no doubt that their use will extend rapidly 
as their advantages become better appreciated. The 



30 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

requirements of India in this direction have now 
attracted the attention of engineers in England and, espe- 
cially since the invention by Mr. Humphrey of the gas 
pump, it cannot be doubted that there will be a rapid 
development of mechanical methods of lifting water on a 
simll scale that will greatly CDnduce to the prosperity of 
the ryot and at the same time familiarise him with the 
advantages of employing better tools or appliances in 
his daily work. Where the individual ryots are farming 
on too small a scale, the advantages of a number co- 
operating are apparent and have already been utilised. 

Searching for Water. The application of the oil 
engine and pump to lifting water for irrigation has extend- 
ed the range through which water can be lifted profitably 
an.l rendered it possible to go to greater depths in search 
of water. To facilitate this work boring tools have been 
introduced and through their agency valuable supplies 
have been discovered ; these have greatly increased the 
value of the land in the neighbourhood. The cost of a 
set of boring tools being beyond the means of individual 
ryots and special experience being necessary to make use 
of them, the work of boring for water has been taken up 
in some cases by public bodies and in others by private 
individuals who are making it a special business. An 
immense amount of work in this direction may profitably 
be undertaken in India but there are difficulties, especially 
in connection with deep boring, that render it desirable 
that Government should continue the work and assume 
the risks. So far the pioneer work has been done in an 
entirely haphazard way, though with great success. It 
now requires to be put on a more scientific basis under 
the direction of geological experts. 

Leather. The manufacture of leather is an old village 
industry which has been much affected by the growth of 



THE INDIAN INDUSTRIAL PROBLEM 31 

the export trade in raw hides and skins and in partially 
tanned leather. This is by no means to be regretted, as 
the "chuckler" made very inferior leather and spoilt a vast 
quantity of valuable raw material. The modern chrome 
process supplies a material much better suited to Indian 
requirements; through the efforts which the Government 
experimental tannery in Madras has made, this is now be- 
coming widely known and appreciated for such purposes 
as water bags, sandals, harness and boots and shoes. Small 
Indian tanneries are being started and afford excellent 
examples of what can be accomplished by private enter- 
prise, either by co-operation or by individuals. The ad- 
vantage to the country at large of the general employment 
of chrome leather will be very considerable, as it will 
reduce the Indian consumption of hides by approximately 
one-half and thus throw on the market for export a large 
quantity of raw material for which there is always a good 
demand. 

Weaving. This is the most important of the indigen- 
ous industries, and, despite the competition of imported 
piece goods and the products of the Indian power-loom 
factories, still gives employment to about two million 
looms. Much attention has of late been directed to 
the question as to how best to assist the hand-loom 
weavers and several new forms of hand-loom have been 
invented but none has as yet proved superior to the Eng- 
lish hand-loom. The fly-shuttle is slowly making head- 
way and will eventually be used by all plain weavers. By 
its use the rate of picking can be doubled but this does not 
mean that the out-turn of the weaver will be increased by 
the same amount, as extended observations show that the 
hand-loom weaver does not spend more than half his 
time throwing the shuttle, the balance being spent in 
mending broken ends, adjusting the warp and performing 



32 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

other minor operations. Experimental weaving-sheds have 
thrown a good deal of light on the problems connected 
with this industry and there is now a fair prospect that 
eventually it will be put on a much more satisfactory 
basis. Indian methods of preparing the warp and of 
sizing and dressing it are in even greater need of improve- 
ment, and experiments are now in progress to determine 
how this can be achieved. The arrangement of the warp 
presents no difficulty, but the dressing, to obtain the same 
results as by hand-brushing, is still in the experimental 
stage. 

It is much to be desired that the Lancashire weaving 
mechanicians should have their attention directed to the 
Indian hand-loom problem and efforts are being made to 
supply them with adequate data as a preliminary. What 
is wanted is an improved hand-loom and not a light 
power-loom driven by hand or by pedals. The material 
of which it is constructed should be of wood preferably 
and a high rate of picking is less essential than a gentle 
handling of the warp when opening the shed and when 
beating up. Some modification of what are known as 
"linen-dressing machines" will probably be found suit- 
able but they have not yet been tried under the conditions 
which prevail in India. 

Already a revolution is in progress in the hand-weav- 
ing industry, brought about by attempts to make practical 
application of the clearer knowledge we now possess of 
the conditions under which it has hitherto been carried 
on. Both brains and capital are flowing into it, to the 
advantage of the hand weaver and the general improve- 
ment of the relations between the artisan and the other 
castes. It is true that no great success has attended the 
efforts of those who have organised the hand weavers into 
small factories but they have managed to hold their own 



THE INDIAN INDUSTRIAL PROBLEM 33 

in spite of the mistakes and ignorance of the pioneers in 
this movement ; the former will be remedied and the 
latter dissipated as experience is acquired. The weavers 
themselves are so backward that the attempts to get them 
to co-operate have not been successful ; nevertheless the 
small factories will probably do well when the technical 
questions connected with their equipment have been 
solved. What we may look forward to in the future 
are groups of from fifty to two hundred weavers centred 
round a warping and dressing plant. This will supply 
warps to the weavers, who may either be collected in a shed 
or will work in their own homes. The trade will be in 
the hands of those who run the warping plant and on 
them will mainly fall the work of introducing improved 
looms and methods among the hand weavers. Though 
trades unionism is undeveloped in India, the passive re- 
sistance of the weavers to any change is a serious factor 
which those experienced in the ways of the artisan will 
not lightly ignore. The part which Government should 
play in this movement is to supply the skilled technical 
knowledge required to devise the equipment and when 
that step has been taken to start demonstration factories 
and trade schools for the instruction of those who want 
to become foremen and master weavers. 

Metal-Working. The metal-workers of India are skilled 
craftsmen working with very crude and imperfect tools 
and possessing little or no technical knowledge. Some 
years ago aluminium was introduced into the metal- 
working class at the Schools of Arts at Madras and 
a large business created in hollow-ware made of that 
metal. This was eventually disposed of by sale to a 
private company, which still continues to deal exclusively 
in such goods. The processes of drawing and spin- 
ning were employed for the first time in Southern India 






34 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

and a large number of workmen trained ; unfortunately 
the factory is now a purely private concern and has little 
influence on the practices of the artisans outside. Similar 
factories have however been started in Bombay, and at 
Rajahmundry in the Godavery District of the Madras 
Presidency there has sprung up in recent years a large and 
thriving community of metal workers who deal solely in 
Aluminium. The total trade in India in this metal is now 
worth many lakhs of rupees and every year it is growing 
larger. Ultimately it is possible that the metal itself will 
be manufactured in the country as there are abundant 
deposits of laterite, consisting of almost pure hydrate of 
alumina from which alumina can be extracted pure 
enough for treatment in the electrolytic furnaces. This 
industry is a striking example of what may be accom- 
plished by Government initiative. 

The teaching of metal-working processes can only be 
done in a factory and anything similar to the aluminium 
venture is not likely to be attempted again, in view of the 
opposition which is aroused when any State or State-aided 
institution adopts commercial methods for the disposal of 
the finished products which must be made to furnish 
sufficient opportunity for the acquisition of skill and ex- 
perience. Glass, earthenware and enamelled iron-ware 
have made serious inroads in the trade of the brass and 
copper workers and there is but little hope that the loss 
can be made good. The increasing wealth of the coun- 
try to some extent counteracts the tendency to introduce 
cheap substitutes for the ancient metal wares ; this ten- 
dency might be greatly assisted if the metal-workers were 
taught to turn out lighter and better finished work. That 
this could be done there is no doubt, and a trade school 
in one of the big metal -work centres, with a staff of com- 
petent teachers in each branch of the trade, is the only 



tHE INDIAN INDUSTRIAL PROBLEM 35 

way in which the desired end can be attained. The 
workshops should be furnished with good tools and the 
metal-workers encouraged to come and use them for their 
own work. Gradually they would discover the value of 
such appliances and it would not be long before they 
found a way of getting them for themselves. Very small 
factories are already common in the trade and the lines 
along which development will naturally take place are 
clearly indicated. 

Artistic Handicrafts. The art industries of India have 
declined chiefly because the wealthy Indian patrons have 
disappeared and all that is wanted to revive them is an 
appreciative market. There are signs that the frequent 
exhibitions now held in various parts of India have done 
something to create a new interest in these old arts and it 
is probable that the Swadeshi movement has strengthened 
it. In Madras, the Victoria Memorial has taken the form 
of a hall in which a permanent exhibition of the art handi- 
crafts of the Presidency is maintained. A large fund is 
available for the purchase of good specimens of the various 
crafts ; when these are sold new commissions are given 
and a much-needed stimulus to the production of only 
the best work provided. It is too early to say what 
the ultimate result of this novel method of dealing with 
the decadence will be, as it has not yet developed to its 
full extent ; there is justification for the hope that it will 
be a success. The collections are steadily increasing in 
size and in artistic merit and attract purchasers, who will 
buy a thing they can see and which they admire but who 
formerly would not give orders because there was no 
certainty either as to the date on which they would be 
completed or as to the quality of the work put into them. 

Tools and Machinery. The manufacturing engineers 
and mechanicians have devoted themselves mainly to the 



36 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

design and production of machinery as automatic as pos- 
sible in its action and with as large an out-turn as possi- 
ble. This tendency has encouraged industrial concentra- 
tion. In India all work is done by manual labour or with 
the assistance of cattle ; water power is only available and 
to but a limited extent in the hills; wind power has 
never been used, as over the greater part of the country 
the energy of the winds is too slight and of too variable a 
character to be of any value. The oil engine, when of small 
size, is much more economical than a steam engine of the 
same size; it costs less and is much simpler to look after. For 
these reasons it has to some extent come into use in India 
and will probably be very largely used in the future. The 
ideal engine would be a small gas engine working with gas 
made from wood. Already engines of not more than nine 
horse-power with suction gas producers using charcoal 
are employed ; something much smaller than this is 
wanted and if wood can be substituted for charcoal it will 
greatly reduce the working expenses. There are many 
hundreds of oil engines in use and there will, in course 
of time, be many thousands. There is therefore a fair 
inducement to engineers to study Indian requirements, as 
every improvement will extend the range of their employ- 
ment. It is the very rapid progress that has been made 
with internal combustion engines that has raised hopes 
that India may gradually acquire an industrial system 
based on small units of production and that is all the 
more likely to come about if the attention of the 
engineering world is drawn to this fact. Each industry and 
every branch of it should be the subject of investigation 
to ascertain the lines along which motive power may with 
advantage be introduced. The water-lifting question 
has already been discussed and need not be further allud- 
ed to. This is the largest field for the immediate applica- 



TtfE INDIAN INDUSTRIAL PROBLEM 37 

tion of power but there are several others of great import- 
ance which have been opened out, in which a great deal 
more could be done if the machinery on the market were 
better adapted to the work to be carried out. 

(1) Sugar Mills. For the crushing of sugarcane, 
roller mills are now in use in many places and are 
driven by oil engines. The results are very satisfactory 
where there is a sufficient area of cane in the immediate 
neighbourhood of the mill to keep it at work throughout 
the season. From 50 to 100 acres of cane could be dealt 
with by a single mill ; but as such areas are seldom 
cultivated by a single ryot, co-operative working is the 
only way by which this use can be largely extended. 
Growing sugar is a very profitable business but it 
requires capital and is subject to risks. Heavy manur- 
ing is a necessity and with cattle-driven mills the 
crushing of the canes is a long and tedious operation. 
Consequently, ryots usually only grow a small patch of 
cane. The extended use of artificial manures and of 
power-driven mills would probably result in a very consi- 
derable increase in the production of sugar and would 
tend to check the very rapid growth of imports. 

(2) Oil Mills. Oil is usually extracted in wooden 
rotary mills, of a very primitive type worked by cattle, 
or in large screw presses worked by men. Both systems 
are naturally expensive ; attempts have been and are still 
being made to apply oil engines to do the work. The 
mill or press has yet to be designed which will displace 
those now in use. The home consumption of oil in 
India is very considerable and it only requires the applica- 
tion of some of the ingenuity which has been devoted to 
large extraction plants to the production of a small plant 
which can be driven by a small engine to effect a 
considerable saving in the cost of producing a prime 



38 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

necessity of life. Oil seeds are very widely grown and 
as the primitive methods of extraction easily hold their 
own against the big mills, the improvement of the small 
mills and the substitution of oil engines for animal power 
in driving them is obviously the direction in which to 
work. If the problem be solved, the demand for such 
mills will be very large, as the labour costs are now very 
heavy and for years past have been steadily rising. 

(3) Rice Hulling Machines. Till recently almost all the 
rice consumed in India was cleaned by hand, only that por- 
tion of the crop which was exported being treated HI mills 
driven by power. There are now a number of rice-hullers 
on the market, suited to the restricted scale on which 
village rice merchants deal, and in the rice growing tracts 
of the Madias PresidcMicy they are largely used. An oil 
engine of from ten to twelve horse power is employed to 
drive a combined huller and polisher which turns out 
from 2500 to 3000 Ibs. of clean rice a day. There is a 
demand for machines of even smaller capacity than this as 
many ryots, who have an engine and pump, would like to 
employ the engine to drive eiiher an oil mill or a 
rice-huller when there is no necessity to lift water for 
irrigation. 

(4) Saw Mills. There are but few steam saw mills in 
the country, nearly all the timber being reduced to , scant- 
lings by hand-cutting. Not only is the cost of labour for 
such work high but there is also a considerable waste of 
wood, owing to the irregularity of hand- sawing. Circular 
saws or large band saws require too much power but a 
simple type of frame saw, with a single blade, can be 
constructed to do a great variety of work and take not 
more than three or four horse-power. There is sufficient 
work for a plant on this scale in almost every town in the 
country and it only requires that the advantages, to be 



THE INDIAN INDUSTRIAL PROBLEM 39 

obtained from their employment, should be demonstrated 
for a demand for them to spring up. 

(5) Fibre-Cleaning Machinery. The cost of extracting 
fibres, even with the cheap labour available for such 
work, is very high and improvements in the machines 
already in existence are urgently called for, especially for 
aloe and plantain fibres. These machines should be of 
small capacity, as the quantity of raw material from which 
the fibre is extracted is not usually very large in any one 
place and the cost of carting it from a distance is prohi- 
bitive, 

(6) Dyeing. The old native methods of dyeing have 
been almost entirely replaced by those dependant upon 
the use of chemically prepared dye stuffs. In some parts 
of the country, as at Madura, the industry is in a flouri- 
shing state and the processes employed are fairly satis- 
factory but generally throughout India there is an entire 
lack of technical knowledge of what dyes are best suited 
for the work to be done and of the methods which should 
be used to obtain good results. This can only be reme- 
died by the establishment of a Government Tinctorial 
laboratory and school, where those engaged in the trade 
can obtain expert advice and instruction. This question 
is now engaging our attention in Madras and proposals 
are under consideration for the establishment of such an 
institution. 

It is not necessary to give further examples of the 
opportunities for the display of mechanical ingenuity in 
meeting the requirements of the people of India. The 
object of this paper will be to a large extent gained if at- 
tention be directed by it to the field which is open to 
original workers ; further inquiry will probably reveal a 
irge number of instances in which a comparatively small 
imount of capital expended on tools and plant would 



40 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

greatly increase the efficiency of Indian labour. At the 
outset, progress will be slow, chiefly because of the difficulty 
of bringing the men with sufficient inventive skill into touch 
with the rural communities whose wants have to be studied. 
India now requires the services of many industrial experts 
and it should be recognised that adequate rewards must 
be offered to those who will take up Indian industrial 
problems. In technical colleges, in trade schools and in 
demonstration workshops, the science and engineering 
skill of the West must be applied to the peculiar industrial 
problems which call for solution. Scientific research 
having no other object than that of enlarging the bounds 
of human knowledge is a luxury which India cannot at 
present afford to indulge in, nor does it greatly attract the 
Indian mind. Scientific methods have first to be taught in 
the country and applied to the practical problem of raising 
the industrial status of the people. This work affords as 
much opportunity for the exercise of intellectual attainments 
as will be found in any laboratory and it is that to which 
men in the service of India must devote themselves if 
they are to render her real assistance. 



CHAPTER II 
PROTECTION IN INDIA 

The science of economics has been defined as " the 
study of men as they live and move and think in the ordi- 
nary business of life." It is of western origin and its laws 
and generalisations have been deduced from the study of 
human life in temperate climates, under social and poli- 
tical conditions widely different from those that prevail 
in India. So far as it is an exact science, its laws are of 
universal application, but everywhere there is difficulty in 
collecting accurate data and in determining with precision 
the relative importance of the many factors which operate 
to produce a final result. Here, in India, we are beginning 
to recognise the extreme importance of economic questions 
and the necessity for independent investigations and 
research. The well-being of one-fifth of the human race 
depends largely upon a proper appreciation of economic 
forces and tendencies and it is a matter for congratulation 
that, of late years, there is distinct evidence that the leaders 
of Indian political life are honestly endeavouring to as- 
certain what light a study of economics can throw upon 
some of the questions they have introduced into their 
programme. 

The spread of education has given rise to vague 

political aspirations and the unrest which is a symptom 

of the newly awakened mental activity sometimes exhibits 

itself in wild desires which beget excesses. The scum rises 

6 



42 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

and is an indication of the actions and reactions going 
on beneath the surface. The pressing problem of the 
immediate future is the provision of suitable employ- 
ment for the ever-growing stream issuing from the 
portals of our schools and colleges. What have hitherto 
been recognised as the most desirable professions for 
educated men are full to overflowing and attention 
has therefore been directed to other possible spheres 
of employment. It is observed that in other lands 
industries and commerce absorb the energies of the bulk 
of the educated classes and it is noted that in India the in- 
digenous industries are decaying, that they are without 
organisation and that they afford no prospect of employ- 
ment for the educated classes. The great mass of the 
people are engaged in agriculture on so small a scale as 
to offer no opportunity for the utilisation of their services, 
and hence there has arisen a cry for industrial development 
which has found expression in what is called the Swadeshi 
Movement. 

Naturally, attention has deen directed to the protective- 
tariffs imposed on imports by almost every progressive 
nation in the world, except Great Britain, and there is 
gradually growing up a deep-seated feeling that the free 
trade policy of the paramount power is injurious to the 
development of India and that, to a large extent, it is 
imposed on India from purely selfish considerations. The 
reaction in England against free trade has strengthened the 
convictions of those who advocate protection for infant 
industries in India and the resolution of the Allahabad 
Industrial Conference in favour of protection for the sugar 
industry and the still more recent resolution in the 
Imperial Council asking for the repeal of the excise duties 
on cotton may be taken as signs of the growing force of 
public opinion in favour of fiscal autonomy with the 



PROTECTION IN INDIA 43 

object of introducing a revenue system of an avowedly 
protective character. 

Although the day is undoubtedly very far distant 
when any such change in the relations between Great 
Britain and India is likely to become a question of 
practical politics, it is by no means of purely academic 
interest to discuss the fiscal policy imposed on India by 
the British Government. There is a strong feeling that 
Indian interests are sacrificed to those of England and that 
the policy prescribed for India is not so disinterested 
as its framers have hitherto proclaimed it to be. The 
sincerity of the motives which have actuated English 
statesmen is questioned, and in the controversy over 
tariff problems which has strirred the length and 
breadth of the British Empire, capital has been made 
by the Free Trade Party out of the difficulty arising from 
the Indian demand for freedom to impose protective tariffs 
in the interests of Indian industries. It is argued that so 
long as Great Britain adheres to her free trade policy, she 
is justified in imposing the same upon India, but where a 
protective tariff is deemed necessary in the interests of 
English manufacturers, no honourable course is open 
in regard to India, other than to allow the people of that 
country such assistance as they may also gain from a 
scientific tariff to protect their infant industries and en- 
courage the establishment of new ones. The Tariff Reform 
Party is thus placed on the horns of a dilemma, since the 
gain which might be expected from the adoption of its 
policy would be more than counterbalanced by the restric- 
tion of business in India consequent upon the establish- 
ment of a protective tariff which would operate more 
severely against English manufacturers than those of 
other nations. 

It is quite outside the scope of my remarks this 



44 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDtA 

afternoon to express any opinion upon the fiscal 
question except in so far as India is concerned, but I may 
venture to say that I entirely dissent from the proposition 
that India can claim to be regarded as a separate entity 
in fiscal matters. Even if the advantages accruing from a 
protective tariff in India were enormously greater than I 
hope to show that they are likely to prove, I cannot 
concede that India is justly entitled to act entirely in her 
own interests and without regard to those of Great Britain. 
In the last 50 years, during the whole of which the 
country has enjoyed, for the first time in history, profound 
peace and internal security, British statesmanship has 
been devoted to developing the resources of the country 
and increasing the material wealth of its people. Vast 
changes have taken place, and in the development of trade 
and commerce enormous vested interests have been 
created which must now be respected. A sudden change 
in fiscal policy would, ruin thousands in England and 
cause widespread misery and destitution and it is more 
than problematical if it would prove of ultimate benefit 
to any one in India. 

It is inconceivable that British statesmen will ever 
voluntarily agree to the erection of artificial barriers to 
the freedom of trade between Great Britain and India and 
the justification 1 for this attitude is to be found in the his- 
tory of the connection between the two countries. Not of 
set purpose nor as the result of deliberate policy, consistent- 
ly pursued by generation after generation, has the whole 
of India been absorbed into the British Empire to share 
its prestige and enjoy its protection. By a series of acci- 
dents, rather than by design, the destinies of the two 
countries have become united and the unrestricted inter- 
course between the two has been of mutual benefit. 
Without thought of the consequences, the vital interests 



t>kOTEdTION ifo INDIA 45 

of India have ever been uppermost in the minds of her 
administrators and, if the results have not always been 
completely satisfactory, credit at least may be taken for 
the purity and sincerity of the intentions. The opening 
up of the country by railways and roads, the construc- 
tion of irrigation works and the maintenance of law 
and order have brought about an enormous agricultural 
development, which is reflected in the fact that the country 
supports 300 million people more readily than it 
supported 200 millions half a century ago ; and, at the 
same time, in normal years there is a surplus available 
for export, much larger than is necessary to pay for the 
imports and foreign charges. On the other hand, the im- 
proved means of communication, which have opened to 
the agriculturist the markets of the world, have brought 
the manufactures of the world to compete with the 
products of the indigenous artisans and in a large measure, 
owing to the complete absence of co-operation between 
the intellectual and the labouring classes, the result has 
been disastrous to the primitive industrial organisation 
prevalent everywhere. So long as the educated classes 
had full scope for the exercise of their energies in conge- 
nial forms of employment, they were indifferent to the 
fate of the artisans and were only too glad to avail them- 
selves of the reduction in the price of commodities conse- 
quent upon the unrestricted admission of articles of for- 
eign manufacture. But times have changed and they 
are now forced to look to the industrial work they once 
despised, for means to earn a respectable livelihood and 
for scope for the exercise of their trained faculties. 

So far, except to a limited extent in the Bombay Presi- 
dency, it cannot be said that much success has attended the 
efforts which have been made to promote industries on 
modern lines and hence there has arisen a demand for 



46 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

intervention, on the part of the State, to promote indus- 
trial development. Technical and Industrial Education, 
Provincal Departments of industries, the pioneering 
of new industries by State Agencies .and a Protective 
Tariff are all asked for, whilst a vigorous effort under the 
aegis of the National Congress has been made to create a 
strong public opinion in favour of locally manufactured 
goods. This movement has unfortunately failed, being 
to a large extent based upon sentiment, which has proved 
but a broken reed when it comes to laying out a limited 
amount of hard cash upon the necessities of life. The 
Bombay mill-owners have undoubtedly profited by it, but 
no one else has been able to take advantage of it, and the 
many ill-considered enterprises, enthusiastically started 
when the movement was acclaimed by the political leaders 
of India, have come to hopeless grief. It would be wise to 
let their memory sink into oblivion, were it not that 
they may still serve a useful purpose as object lessons for 
the future. 

The failure has been attributed to a variety of causes 
and for each, remedial measures have been proposed, but 
at the root of the matter lies the fact that the people of 
this country do not possess, or at any rate possess only in 
a very limited degree, the essential qualities which make 
tor success along modern industrial lines. Thrown into 
intimate contact with the progressive nations of the west 
and exposed to competition on all sides, there may be some 
inconvenience caused thereby, but assuredly there is no 
discredit in it. That the social system of India does not 
favour individualism, that the East and the West are as far 
asunder as the poles in their ideals of life, that the influence 
of an enervating climate operates powerfully against the 
strenuousness which is essential to commercial success, all 
these, are factors which must be taken into account and 



PROTECTION IN INDIA 47 

it is obvious that the influence of heredity extended over 
twenty centuries and one hundred generations, cannot be 
eliminated by a sudden change in environment or by ex- 
ternal pressure, however great it may be. 

That India has a great future before it, I have not 
the least doubt, but it will have to work out its destiny 
from within, and create a new social order and a new 
civilization that will be great and durable in proportion to 
the degree of success achieved in adapting itself to the 
enlarged horizon which now surrounds it. Slavish imita- 
-tion of the West is obviously to be avoided and in the 
matter which immediately concerns us, I hold that the 
revivification of its ancient industrial organization is of 
greater moment than the establishment of a modern fac- 
tory system, concentrating enormous wealth in few hands 
and engendering socialistic tendencies among the vast 
mass of operatives that can only end in chaos and de- 
struction. At the present time the situation is a difficult 
one, but let us not add to the difficulties by clamouring 
for action on wrong lines and asking for a policy which, 
if granted by the ruling powers, would make the people 
of this country slaves and helots to foreign millionaires. 

During the last half-century, the material progress 
of India has been of a most satisfactory character and the 
recent cry for industrial development, comes from a small 
minority of unemployed educated people who have not yet 
found a suitable niche for themselves. On their behalf a 
great change in the economic situation is called for, and to 
promote the industries in which they hope to secure em- 
ployment, a barrier to the free ingress of the products of 
the western world is to be erected ; free trade is to be 
abandoned and protective tariffs imposed. Fortunately, as 
1 hold, in this matter the true interests of India and the 
obvious interests of England both lie in preserving the 



48 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

existing state of affairs. There is no likelihood that the 
cry for protection will fall on willing ears, and no prospect 
whatever that it will be granted. Nevertheless it is neces- 
sary that the effects of such a change in fiscal policy should 
be most carefully studied and a well informed opinion on 
the question, evolved. 

Let us look at the request from an English standpoint 
and ascertain what would happen if the Indian market, as 
it now exists, was partially closed to English manufacturers. 
English exports to India are valued at more than 50 mil- 
lions a year and are roughly two-thirds of the total im- 
ports into India and are about one-sixth of the total ex- 
ports of the United Kingdom. We may certainly assume 
that the tariffs would be framed so as to afford marked 
preferential treatment to the products of the British Empire 
and trade now done with foreign countries would be di- 
verted to the United Kingdom. The object of protection 
would be to make India more self-supporting in the matter 
of manufactures and this would necessarily involve the 
development of the internal, at the expense of the external 
trade. The English manufacturers would certainly lose a 
gaod deal of business and protection would be a serious 
blow to the cotton, iron and shipping trades. That they 
would ultimately recover, there is not much doubt, but it is 
useless to discuss this phase of the question in detail, as it 
is not what England would lose, so much as what India 
would gain, that has to be established by those who ad- 
vocate a protective policy for India. 

If there were any reasonable prospect that the adop- 
tion of a protective policy would be followed by a rapid 
development of Indian industries on a purely indigenous 
basis ; that is to say, with Indian capital and through the 
agency of Indian brains, there would be some grounds 
for asking for the concession, as it would not then be 



PROTECTION IN INDIA 49 

difficult to show that the development of the wealth of 
India would be followed by an ultimate expansion of the 
external trade of the country. The character of the trade 
would undoubtedly be changed and it would cause dislo- 
cation of business and loss of capital in England, but in 
the long run it would be recouped by new developments. 
There is, however, no hope that this would ensue and alike 
in the interests of India and England, the demand for pro- 
tection can be shown to be ill-timed and injudicious. 

The Indian case for protection was first clearly stated 
by the late Mr. Justice Ranade in 1892 and his words have 
been so often quoted and are so familiar to all students of 
Indian economics that it is unnecessary for me to trouble 
you with them again. I may, however, be permitted to 
refer to the presidential address of the Hon'ble Mr. R. N. 
Muckerjee delivered to the Allahabad Industrial Conference 
at the end of last year. Discussing the effect of foreign 
competition on the infantile attempts at industrial develop- 
ment which have been made in recent years, he said "This 
14 is a most serious question and not only this Conference 
"but every man of this country should continue to con- 
" stitutionally agitate until Government affords protection 
" in some shape or other to local manufactures. We all 
" know that if the Government of India were left alone to 
" do its duty towards India, there would be no hesitation 
"in introducing some such measure suitable to the special 
" needs of India. But there are stronger influences at 
11 work whose interests clash with our own, and without 
" the combined efforts of the Government and the people, 
" I am afraid, we shall never get a satisfactory solution. 
"The question of protection is, I admit, a complicated 
" and serious one and it is with a great deal of hesitation and 
" diffidence that I refer to it at all, but it is a question that 
"should be'.most carefully considered, as otherwise to do 



50 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

" good to some of our industries, we may court disaster 
" in other branches of commerce. I would suggest that the 
t* Government should be approached and asked to appoint 
" a joint commission of officials and commercial men, to 
" discuss and decide in what particular form protection 
" would be most beneficial to India. This point should 
"be definitely decided before we actually apply for any 
"protective legislation. I think it is imperative on our 
" leaders to give this question their first consideration and, 
" if we are successful in securing a wise form of protection, 
"I am sure the country's industrial development will re- 
" ceive a great impetus." 

This, we must all admit, is a very moderate expression 
of opinion upon a subject which neither in this country 
nor in any other, is usually discussed with judicial calm- 
ness and in temperate language. I am prepared to con- 
cede that, if India were allowed to adopt a strong protective 
policy and persisted in maintaining it for a long period of 
time, the result would be a very considerable amount of 
industrial progress along western lines, but I doubt 
very much if the .result would be pleasing to the people 
of India or would enable them to satisfactorily solve the 
problem of unemployment among the educated classes 
which is every year becoming a more serious one. 

There is much loose talk about the vast natural 
wealth of India, but it will not bear close examination. 
The area is large, but only in certain favoured tracts, does 
the soil yield a good return without the stimulus of artifi- 
cial irrigation. The population is enormous, but their 
standard of living is extremely low and there is little sur- 
plus for what may be termed the luxuries of life. It 
would, 1 think, be extremely difficult to point to undeve- 
loped resources which any system of protection would 
assist the people to make practical use of. In normal 






PROTECTION IN INDIA 51 

years, when the terrible spectre of famine is absent from 
the land, there is no lack of employment and, in fact, 
all over the country, there is a general complaint that the 
quantity of labour available is insufficient to carry on the 
current work. The great mass of the population are not 
crying for industrial development, they have already as 
much work as they want and there is but little common 
sense in trying te divert the labourers from the field, to 
work in mills and factories and live in crowded and 
insanitary cities. 

As to the people themselves for whom protection is 
demanded whilst they set about building up an industrial 
system, let me quote the opinions of accepted Indian autho- 
rities as to their fitness to undertake the work. In regard 
to the condition of labour in the country, Professor V. G. 
Kale of the F'erguson College, Poona, writes: " We have 
*" scarcely yet emerged from our primitive conditions of 
"industry. Custom yet rules supreme among the masses 
" of our people. Old industries are still in the domestic 
" stage. We are strangers to capitalism. Indian manu- 
41 factures are in the embryo or sickly infants. Millions are 
" wedded to their fields and have to emerge out of their 
" agricultural state; large cities and towns are exceptions, 
41 and hamlets and villages the rule, the masses are illiterate 
" and immobile; labour is unskilled and inefficient, unam- 
4< bitious and unenterprising ; capital is lacking and shy 
" where it exists; organisation is unknown to both. Under 
" these circumstances, for us the industrial struggle on 
"western lines is a thing of the future, if it cannot be 
" avoided. The conditions which make for industrialism 
" are yet absent in this country. Not that there is qjp 
" poverty and squalor, destitution and misery among us. 
" We have enough of these. " 

Of the educated middle classes, in his presidentiaJ 



52 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

address already referred to Mr. Muckerjee said : " There 
" is no lack of so-called enthusiasm, but I may be par- 
" doned, if I say it* is only lip enthusiasm on the part of 
" many of our countrymen. There are many who are 
" loud in their praises of Swadeshism and the revival of 
"Indian industries, but their patriotism is not equal to 
" the practical test of assisting in the finance of such enter- 
prises. " 

There is already much industrial enterprise in India 
which is absolutely beyond the effects of foreign competi- 
tion. Nevertheless it is almost entirely in the hands of 
people not born in the country. Let me give full credit 
to the enterprise which has developed the mill industry 
of Bombay, which is pioneering the manufacture of steel 
and iron in India and which is capable of bringing 
to a practical issue the great hydro-electric scheme 
which will supply Bombay with light and power. These 
examples illustrate in a remarkable way the developments 
possible when Indian capital and European experience 
and technical skill are associated in harmonious co-oper- 
ation. With these exceptions, modern organised enter- 
prise throughout the country is almost entirely of European 
origin. There is no time to discuss them in detail, but I 
would like to ask you to consider the comparatively small 
share which India has taken in the development of her 
magnificent railway system, in the establishment of muni- 
cipal tramways or in the provision or artificial illumi- 
nation, either by means of gas or electricity. To what 
extent is the great jute industry in Indian hands or how 
far is the not inconsiderable development of India's 
mineral resources due to the -application of native capital ? 
Are there any engineering workshops other than petty 
foundries, run with Indian capital and controlled by 
Indian engineers ? There is much work going on in such 



PROTECTION IN INDIA 53 

shops which is absolutely unaffected by foreign competition. 
Even in modern agricultural developments, as represented 
by the planting industries connected with tea, coffee and 
rubber, the Indian share is almost negligible and it is 
quite certain that they would not have come into existence 
if it had been left to indigenous enterprise to develop them. 
The cry is for the protection of infant industries, but 
the history of the past leads me to think that if protection 
were granted, the enterprising foreigner would be the 
person to take advantage of it and the state of things in 
every industry would be very much like that so graphically 
described by the Hon'ble Rao Bahadur R. N. Mud- 
holkar in his presidential address at the Industrial Con- 
ference which was held in Madras a iittlemore than two 
years ago. Speaking of the working of gold mines, he 
said ; " The industry, however, is looked at with consider- 
" able shaking of the head and regarded as a typical illus- 
"tration of foreign exploitation. Not one of the mining 
" companies is Indian, The total value of gold raised 
" during the quarter of a century that the Kolar Gold 
" Fields have been at work is roughly 40 crores. 
" Out of this only 1 19th or a little over two crores re,- 
u presents royalty, and nearly 50% has been distribut- 
" ed among the shareholders as dividend. The bene- 
"fit to the people consisted only in the wages to labour- 
" ersand clerks. There is neither the pecuniary gain from 
"proprietorship nor the valuable mural asset of training 
"and experience in the scientific operations and in the 
"directing and controlling work." And further on in his 
address, he comes to the conclusion that it is high time 
that action is taken by the people which would, if not 
put a stop to, at least minimise exploitation by outsiders. 

What I would submit for your consideration is that 
even if protection were desirable, you are not ready for it. 



54 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

There is no fund of capital seeking remunerative invest- 
ments. Industrial leaders with technical skill and business 
experience are non-existent and the operative labour could 
only be obtained with difficulty and would require train- 
ing from the very beginning. You might exclude British 
manufactures, but you cannot exclude the British manu- 
facturer. A protective tariff would compel him to 
start in India and stimulated by the inflated prices which 
he would be able to obtain within the protected zone, 
there can be but little doubt that with his energy and busi- 
ness experience he would overcome the initial difficulties 
due to lack of local knowledge. Managers, foremen and 
workmen would be sent out to India, native labour would 
be trained and mills, workshops and factories set going. 
All posts of responsibility would be in European hands. 
India would have an industrial system, but it would be 
no source of profit to her and it would certainly not 
furnish the educated classes with occupations of a superior 
character, the need of which has led them to cry out for 
industrial development It has been argued that this 
would be so at first, but that gradually the Indian would 
wend his way in and oust the European. If this were likely 
to happen it might be worth while paying the price to 
get the initial work done, but there is very little evidence 
that such would be the result. 

The poverty of India is largely due to the fact that the 
people themselves are content with an extremely low stan- 
dard of living and are averse to more exertion than is re- 
quired to provide themselves .with what is generally little 
more than the bare necessaries o f life. The material de- 
.velopment of.the country unfertile stimulus of a progres- 
sive administration has proceeded at a much more rapid 
rate than the elevation of the people from their primitive 
conditions of life, and we now witness the strange spec* 



PROTECTION IN INDIA 55 

tacleof one of the poorest countries in the world exchang- 
ing its surplus produce for, to them, useless precious 
metals. On an average the hoards of gold and silver in 
India are increased each year by 20 millions sterling. A 
country which chooses to bury so much wealth every 
year must be still unenlightened and lacking in enterprise. 
India wants education rather than protection, and the 
most useful service that Indian politicians and statesmen 
can render to their country is to devise means whereby 
some considerable portion of the funds now uselessly 
hoarded can be expended on the education of the 
people. The unemployed educated classes might then 
find full employment in the education of the vast masses 
of their countrymen who are still plunged in intellectual 
darkness. 

India does not want a protective tariff to enable an 
artificial industrial system to be created, the masters of 
which will be able to take toll of the earnings of the 
country and establish a drain on its resources which will in 
the long run retard progress and produce much misery 
and discontent. It would be safe to say that for the de- 
velopment of the internal agricultural resources of India 
fully 200 millions of capital could be usefully employed 
and while there is such a vast outlet for directive energy 
and surplus wealth it seems futile to endeavour to esta- 
blish an industrial system foreign to the habit of the peo- 
ple and inimical to their best interests. The cry for pro- 
tection is, I hold, a mistaken attempt to force the coun- 
try into a course of action for which it has but few 
natural facilities and for which its people possess little in- 
clination or aptitude. iThe land is fully occupied, but only 
half developed, and there is ample scope for constructive 
statesmanship of the highest order in dealing with the innu- 
merable problems in connection therewith which present 



56 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

themselves for solution. Work along these lines is in 
progress and hearty co-operation on the part of the leaders 
of the people with the Government is necessary and will 
better serve the interests of India than a hopeless agitation 
fora change in fiscal policy which in the long run is likely 
to prove an intolerable burden. 

The work I am now engaged upon brings me 
frequently into contact with some of the most enter- 
prising and capable land owners and ryots in this 
Presidency and I have formed the opinion that what they 
have been able to do on a limited scale might be extended 
indefinitely, if suitable measures are taken to spread 
education, encourage thrift and assist enterprise. The 
great weakness of the situation is due to the small scale 
upon which such work is carried on and the great hope 
of the future lies in the development of co-operation. 
At present it is a plant of tender growth and requires 
careful nurture. The reports of the Registrars of 
Co-operative Credit Societies in India display a healthy 
optimism. The advantages of the system are beginning to 
be appreciated by the cultivators and there seems to be no 
doubt that in course of time this method of strengthening 
their resources will become as firmly established in India 
as in the European countries where it originated. Co- 
operative credit is the first step towards co-operative en- 
terprise and it is in this direction that we must look for 
the solution of many difficult agricultural problems due to 
the smallness of individual holdings. As an example of 
what may be achieved in this direction, I should like to 
bring to your notice what has been done in the village 
of Atmakur in the Kistna District. This village is situat- 
ed near the Kistna Western Delta main canal. Through- 
out the irrigation season, the fertilising waters of the canal 
have for more than half a century flowed by, with- 



PROTECTION IN INDIA 57 

out any possibility of utilising them owing to the 
high level of the land. Three years ago, the villagers 
formed themselves into a limited liability company and 
with the assistance of some capitalists in Guntur, 
raised sufficient money to establish a pumping station 
on the banks of the canal. At a cost of Rs. 14,000 
two centrifugal pumps were installed and last year 
465 acres of what was formerly practically waste land 
were cultivated and crops obtained, worth Rs. 22,500. 
These villagers have now; determined to extend the area 
under cultivation to 800 acres and have raised funds to 
enable them to double the capacity of their present pumping 
plant. They pay the full water rate levied on the lands 
irrigated by the Kistna Delta Canals and, in addition, 
the cost of pumping which amounts to something like 
Rs. 10 per acre, and then they have a satisfactory profit. 
Each year the fertilizing silt of the canal water is improv- 
ing the quality of their lands and the annual value of the 
crops raised will soon exceed half a lakh of rupees. The 
success in this case is noteworthy and cannot be too 
widely made known as an incentive to others to go and do 
likewise. 

In the improvement of the natural capabilities of 
the soil and in the preparation for the market of its 
varied produce, there is a sufficient field for the absorp- 
tion of all the enterprise that is likely to be available 
within such period of time as it will be wise for us to take 
stock of. Let us consider for a moment the great sugar 
industry which has fallen on evil days and is said to be 
threatened with extinction by foreign competition. I am 
not an expert in any branch of the business, but it has 
fallen to my lot to help landowners to instal machinery 
for dealing with the cane after it is cut, and of necessity, 
I could not help acquiring some information regarding 
8 



58 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

the conditions of the industry in the Madras Presidency. 
With us it is not a very important crop as the area under 
cultivation amounts to only 50 or 60 thousand acres, but it 
is a very valuable crop and the average gross yield may be 
put at somewhere about Rs. 400 an acre. Moreover, not- 
withstanding foreign competition, it is yielding a net return 
under favourable circumstances of not less than Rs. 200 
per acre. With annual imports now amounting to eleven 
crores of rupees a year, there is room for expansion and it 
is certainly desirable that we should know with great ac- 
curacy the reasons which militate against the extension of 
the area under cultivation. Tentatively I would put for- 
ward the following : 

(1) Lack of capital to cultivate a crop which requires 
heavy manuring and much attention, and from which a 
return can only be expected a year after the cultivation 
commences. The development of co-operative credit will 
undoubtedly place the would-be cultivator of sugar-cane 
in a better position to obtain loans, but it should be 
possible to devise more direct means to finance this crop 
and the establishment of sugar banks is indicated. 

(2) The primitive and wasteful processes of extract- 
ing the juice and converting it into jaggery or raw sugar, 
Co-operative enterprise will remedy this to a large extent 
and I have frequently advocated the establishment of 
small power driven mills as the first step towards the 
provision of subsidiary factories for the manufacture of 
raw sugar, to be subsequently refined if it should be ne- 
cessary in large central establishments equipped with 
modern plant. 

(3) The risks from pest, blight and disease to which 
the canes are subject and which the ordinary cultivator is 
powerless to deal with. The success with which the 
Agricultural Department has combated such troubles in 



PROTECTION IN INDIA 59 

the Godaveri district is evidence that, if these cannot be 
altogether overcome, they may be greatly minimised. 

(4) The lack of water for irrigation in certain seasons 
of the year. The extension of the use of mechanical 
methods of lifting water will remedy this, and I may men- 
tion that at the present time we are putting down a number 
of oil-engines and pumps to lift water about 50 feet for 
the cultivation of sugar-cane and the cost of doing so will 
be less than one-fourth what it would be if an attempt 
were made to use cattle power to effect the same object. 
Much also, I think, might be done by the Irrigation 
Department to provide perennial sources of water-supply 
and I will only instance the possibility of growing some- 
thing like 30,000 acres of sugar-cane under the Periyar 
Project in the Madura district, if water were reserved for 
that purpose. I might mention incidentally that it would 
also permit of the generation of 20,000 H. P. which could 
be usefully employed in developing the industries of the 
district. 

(5) The ignorance and apathy of the ryots and their 
aversion to cultivating new crops, of which they have had 
no previous experience. The spread of education, the force 
of example and the appointment of experienced local 
officers to render assistance will, each in their way, con- 
tribute to removing this difficulty. 

Protection has already been specially asked for in the 
case of this industry, but where enterprising ryots are 
making large profits by growing sugar-cane it is obvious 
that it is not protection that is the remedy, but, the vigor- 
ous exploitation of the industry on a well considered 
scientific plan. 

It is unnecessary for me to allude in any detail to 
the work we are now carrying on in connection with 
the improvement of the methods of lifting water and in 



60 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

the development of under ground sources of Water-supply. 
India spends fully 40 crores a year in raising water for 
the cultivation of some 16 million acres of land and whilst 
the area of such cultivation is probably capable of being 
doubled, there is no doubt that the cost of raising the 
water can be greatly decreased. In this direction we have 
made a very good start in Madras and we are already 
beginning to manufacture locally the pumps which it has 
hitherto been necessary to import and I look forward at no 
very distant date to the establishment of works which 
will be able to manufacture the whole of the plant we 
require. In this field there is room for the employment of 
much capital which will yield far better returns than can 
possibly be expected from sickly industries owing their 
precarious existence to an artificial system of protection. 

We have heard not a little, of late, of the dangers of 
state interference with private enterprise, but I should 
like to point out that protection is the most aggravated 
form of state interference that can possibly be devised. 
I am of opinion that a little paternal assistance of a direct 
character, the cost of which can be accurately deter- 
mined and the operations, which are carried on, definitely 
limited, is a more logical and businesslike method of deal- 
ing with the industrial question than subjecting the whole 
country to a system of tariffs which will increase the cost 
of living and divert energy from its natural channels into 
artificial courses, most probably not leading to the best 
utilization of the resources at our disposal. 

Protection is claimed to have done much for the Unit- 
ed States and Germany, but it is difficult to assign to each 
of the contributing factors to the marvellous progress of 
these countries its exact share in the final result. I am 
inclined to think that undue prominence has been given to 
the fiscal effect and that it would have altogether failed, had 



PROTECTION IN INDIA 61 

there not been behind the tariff walls, an energetic and 
instructed people, eager and anxious to improve their 
material condition. It is certain that in India we altogether 
lack this essential to success and though a protective policy 
may enable us to establish an industrial system under 
foreign control, it will with equal certainty hamper our 
national development and will, in homely phrase, prove 
to be a leap from the frying pan into the fire. 



CHAPTER III 
THE EFFECT OF PROTECTIVE TARIFFS 

I 

In 1892, at the Deccan College, Poona, the late Mr. 
Justice Ranade delivered an address on Indian Political 
Economy, which has since been generally accepted as a 
clear exposition of the Indian case for State intervention 
to promote a healthy state of industrial development. He 
claimed that, in a backward country like India, a well- 
considered system of import duties would afford that 
measure of protection which is essential to industries, but, 
recognising the improbability in those days of any change 
of the fiscal policy of the British Empire, he went on to 
say : "Even if political considerations forbid independent 
action in the matter of differential duties, the pioneering 
of new enterprises is a duty which the Government might 
more systematically undertake with advantage." Ranade's 
ideas have gradually permeated both European and Indian 
economic thought in India, and to-day a protective policy 
is recognised throughout the country as being urgently 
called for, if the industrial condition is to be adjusted to 
the growing needs of the population. 

Famine Commissions have emphasised the neces- 
sity for varied occupations for the working classes, and 
of late years, it has become abundantly evident that new 
outlets must be found for the energies of the ever increas- 
ing output of our modern system of education. Recog- 



THE EFFECTOF PROTECTIVE TARIFFS 63 

nised avenues to wealth or competency are already over- 
crowded and many fail to find adequate material return for 
the trouble and expense which a good education entails 
upon their relatives. Work for these people can only be 
found in an extensive development of industrial life, and 
it is but natural that the movement in favour of a protective 
tariff should, year by year, grow stronger. None seem to 
doubt that, if India were granted fiscal autonomy and able 
to create a tariff to suit its own requirements, the desired 
industrial development would be brought about. 

Such has undoubtedly been the effect of protective 
tariffs in America, Germany, Austria, Northern Italy and 
to some extent in Russia, but it can hardly be said that in 
the Latin Kingdoms of Europe, in South America or in the 
British Colonies in the Southern hemisphere, protective 
tariffs have had any great measure of success. It there- 
fore seems worth while to examine the circumstances of 
India, and to endeavour to apply to Indian conditions the 
results of experience with tariffs in other parts of 
the world. Judging by the countries where protective 
tariffs have undoubtedly proved an enormous stimulus to 
industrial development/success has been achieved, because 
intelligence, skill, capital and natural resources were all 
available. Failure may be due, as in the case of the 
British Colonies, to the smallness of the home market and 
the high cost of labour; or as elsewhere, to the lack of 
initiative and enterprise on the part of the people. 

An industrial survey of India reveals a flourishing 
cotton industry, mainly in native hands, a flourishing jute 
industry, almost entirely controlled by Europeans, and a 
few scattered factories devoted to miscellaneous trades, the 
more important of which are of European origin. In this 
connection, we may neglect Government workshops which 
are not commercial concerns and railway workshops 



64 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

which are mainly devoted to the maintenance and repair 
of the material and rolling stock of the lines to which they 
belong. Besides these, there is a great indigenous industry 
of a very varied character, not entirely uninfluenced by 
modern progress, but suffering from lack of organisation 
and adherence to primitive methods of work. The artisans, 
who carry on these trades, are ignorant and uneducated 
and the bulk of their profits are absorbed by the local 
merchants and sowcars who finance them. India imports 
manufactured goods and pays for them by the export of 
raw agricultural products, and year by year, it is parting 
with increasing quantities of all of the elements which go to 
make up a fertile soil. Whether the supply is inexhausti- 
ble, or not, cannot now be considered; but, obviously, it is 
desirable that in these matters it should be in a less depen- 
dent condition. The progress of India has been estimated, 
in a not altogether satisfactory manner, by the rapid growth 
of its external trade, and it is commonly held by Indian 
writers on economic subjects that the local industries have 
been very adversely affected by the growth of foreign trade. 
The evidence on which this contention is based is, how- 
ever, of a very slender character, and, at some convenient 
time, it would be interesting to examine it carefully. Pro- 
bably equally fallacious is the idea, largely held in Eng- 
land, that the industrial development of this country would 
lead to a diminution in the volume of its business with 
Europe. Almost certainly, it would be otherwise. The 
character of the trade might, to some extent, change, but 
the greater diversity of occupations in India would lead to 
a greater production of wealth, to a general rise in the 
standard of living and to the creation of many wants which 
could only be supplied by foreign trade. 

Now most of the continental countries and America have 
made use of protective tariffs to exclude British manufac- 



THE EFFECT OF PROTECTIVE TARIFFS 65 

tures and they have to a large extent succeeded, but they 
have not been equally successful in getting rid of the British 
manufacturer. Many English firms, rather than relinquish 
their trade, have sent part of their capital abroad and have 
established branch factories in foreign countries. Nota- 
bly has this been the case in America and to a less extent 
in Russia, Austria and Italy. In England, we have a 
similar example of the effect of the legislative enactments 
on foreign trade. The recent reform of the patent laws 
has compelled foreign firms to establish factories in Eng- 
land in which to work their English patents and no in- 
considerable amount of foreign capital has recently been 
expended for this purpose, with the result that a large 
amount of employment has been found for British working 
men and a larger market created for local supplies of raw 
material. 

Bearing in mind these facts, let us try to imagine what 
would probably happen in India if a tariff be placed on 
imports, not for the purpose of raising a revenue but to 
stimulate industrial enterprise. The prices of all the pro- 
tected articles would rise by the amount of the duty, and 
either they would be manufactured in the country or they 
would continue to be imported. In the latter case, the 
revenue would be swelled and the people using the import- 
ed goods would be taxed by the amount of the duty plus the 
cost of financing the duty on the goods from the time they 
were taken out of bond till they passed into the hands of 
the consumer. The rise in prices would act adversely to 
trade and in almost every case, it is certain that the de- 
mand would fall off. Manufacturers abroad would then 
consider whether or not it would be worth their while to 
make an effort to keep the trade for themselves by estab- 
lishing works in the country. Unquestionably, their 
keen commercial instincts would compel them to send their 



66 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

capital to India and there would be a great outburst of 
industrial activity. Managers, heads of departments, fore- 
men, and even in some cases workmen would be sent out 
here. Factories would be started, business connections 
established and India would embark on an industrial 
course, but not exactly on the lines that Indian advocates 
of protection desire. Employment would be found for 
thousands and tens of thousands of artisans, coolies, 
clerks and lower grade subordinates, but there would be 
little room in these factories for Indian brains and intel- 
ligence, and few opportunities would be afforded to the 
young men of this country to obtain that intimate know- 
ledge of manufacturing processes and business organisa- 
tion which is essential to the successful conduct of modern 
industrial enterprise. 

Assuming that the protective duties are made suffi- 
ciently high, these industrial undertakings would be pro- 
fitable, but the profits would not add much to the wealth of 
Indians. It would be largely in foreign hands and a 
considerable proportion would leave the country. This 
would be a small matter if, in course of time, the skill and 
experience necessary to manage these undertakings were 
gradually acquired by Indians, but that unfortunately 
is hardly likely to happen and the introduction of a protec- 
tive system in India would probably result in a serious 
drain upon its resources, such as a country experiences 
when it suffers from absentee landlordism. 

Against all this, it may be urged that with a protec- 
tive tariff Indian capital would seek industrial outlets, that 
Indian brains would manage and control industrial under- 
takings and that Indians, with their superior knowledge of 
the country and the people, would be able to successfully 
compete against the foreigner with his more extended ex- 
perience and inherited aptitude for business organisation. 



THE EFFECT OF PROTECTIVE TARIFFS 67 

In proof of this, the cotton industry would certainly be 
cited and Indians would point with pride to the industrial 
enterprises of the citizens of Bombay, to men like the 
Tatas, the Petits, to Sir Vithaldas D.Thackersey, Sir Currim- 
bhoy Ebrahim, Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy and many others. 
Yet it is a singular fact that it is only in this one part of 
India and only in the cotton trade that Indians have so far 
held their own. 

I must confess I cannot satisfactorily explain why 
Parsis and Indians have obtained a commanding posi- 
tion in the cotton trade, and I do not overlook the 
fact that great efforts are now being put forth to establish 
an iron industry with Indian capital in India, or that a 
great scheme for the electric generation and distribution 
of power in Bombay is being started. These are great 
enterprises and would be considered as such, not merely 
in India, but in any part of the world. They are, however, 
not yet at work and at present they can only be reckoned 
as probable achievements of the future. Further, it must 
not be forgotten that whatever measure of success is reach- 
ed, the result will be due to the foreign technical experts 
as much as to the Indian financiers who have boldly ventur- 
ed their capital. The condition of things in Bombay is 
exceptional and only serves to show that even under the 
present free trade regime, where enterprise and initiative are 
forthcoming, progress is possible and a healthy industrial 
life has been evolved without the assistance of tariffs. Else- 
where in India we look in vain for similar signs of industrial 
enterprise, though in a more humble way a good deal of 
activity has been displayed in recent years and efforts are 
now being made which in time will undoubtedly fructify. 

The truth is, and to the Indian imbued with the swa- 
deshi spirit it must be somewhat unpalatable, that the 
people of this country are not yet prepared to embark on 



68 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

great industrial undertakings, to manage large concerns, 
and generally to take advantage of a protective system of 
tariffs such as has been imposed in other countries with 
such definite results. The sooner this is recognised, the 
sooner will the cry for protection cease and attention will 
be concentrated upon the only lines along which develop- 
ment is possible. 

Protection in India will only come with fiscal autono- 
my and that must be regarded by practical people as a 
dream of the distant future. The free trade policy which 
England has adopted for the last 60 years may be rever- 
sed, but if so it will be in favour of free trade within the 
empire and protection against the foreigner. This is the 
utmost measure of protection that India can look forward 
to so long as it remains an integral part of the British 
Empire. So long as India needs British help, guidance 
and protection, so long must it accept the present system 
of financial control and be satisfied with the fiscal policy 
of the Central Government. It cannot enjoy these advan- 
tages and at the same time shut its gates to the free admis- 
sion of the products of the other Federated States of the 
Empire. This being so, it would be well to pursue in- 
quiries in the direction I have indicated and endeavour to 
ascertain what would be the probable consequences of 
India being allowed to adopt a protective tariff. 

Briefly, in my opinion protection would impose a heavy 
burden upon India and the benefits of the system would be 
largely reaped by others than the people of this country. 
Indian labour would of course.find a new field for employ- 
ment, but that is a doubtful advantage as till such 
labour is trained to be more efficient, India has in normal 
times no surplus. At best it would promote but a mush- 
room growth founded on tariffs and sustained by artificial- 
ly high prices. This is not the goal so highly desired by 



THE EFFECT OF PROTECTIVE TARIFFS 69 

progressive Indians and if these views on critical examina- 
tion are found worthy of acceptance, they may help to 
remove an element of discontent with the present regime 
as being without a sound basis of facts. 

II 

If one may judge by the result of the General Elec- 
tion just concluded, there is very little prospect of any 
change in the Fiscal policy of the British Isles in the im- 
mediate future, but even if in this I am wrong, the most 
that India can hope for from the Tariff Reform Party will 
be authority to differentiate between imports from the 
British Empire and imports from the rest of the world. As 
an aid to establishing industries in India this would be of 
slight value as three-fourths of the imports of India now come 
from the United Kingdom and the Colonies and the pro- 
tective tariff we may assume would be sufficiently high to 
exclude foreign manufactures almost entirely. From the In- 
dian point of view, it therefore matters little whether Tariff 
Reform be accepted by the United Kingdom or not. In- 
dians are discontented with the existing Policy and would 
be equally discontented with that which may,or may not be, 
introduced in the future. The question at issue is whether 
that discontent is based upon a real grievance or whether 
it is founded upon an inability to appreciate the present 
position. I regard it as a matter of great importance that 
there should be no imaginary causes of discontent against 
British rule in India as the future welfare, both of India 
and the rest of the British Empire, depends in no small 
degree upon the fact that the people of India are being 
treated, and recognise that they are being treated, with 
justice and consideration by the paramount power and 
that everything is being done by a paternal Government 
to foster loyalty and contentment. 



70 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

My main contention is that protective duties whilst 
effective to exclude British manufactures and thus afford 
infant industries an opportunity to take root in this country 
will not exclude either British capital or the British manu- 
facturer. Let us assume that the cotton trade is effectively 
protected and that imports from Lancashire are partially 
excluded. It will very materially affect the mills of 
Lancashire and manufacturers, engineers and capitalists 
will immediately transfer their energies, their experience 
and their money to Western India and the Bombay mill 
owner will be faced with energetic and determined rivals 
setting up in business alongside him. There will be 
competition for Indian labour but the enhanced prices 
will pay for that, and the people of the country in their 
millions will pay the enhanced prices for cotton goods. 
Who will benefit the mill operatives undoubtedly the 
successful manufacturers certainly, but who will constitute 
that class ? It is difficult to say. The Bombay mill owner 
may hold his own but it is possible that in a few years he 
will succumb and like the dog in ^sop's fable he may drop 
the substance in trying to grasp the shadow. I believe 
in the industrial future of India, but I hope for the sake of 
the country that it will be of natural growth and not a hot 
house plant forced into existence by the application of an 
unhealthy stimulus. 

The cotton spinner prefers to work in England and 
export his manufactures but if you exclude his goods, he 
will come over here and start making them in the coun- 
try. I have no wish to depreciate in any way the energy, 
skill and enterprise displayed by the Indian Mill owners 
but I gravely doubt if they are as yet the equals of the 
Lancashire men and I feel certain that they will be wise to 
leave well alone. 

The effect of protective duties is to give the protected 



THE EFFECT OF PROTECTIVE TARIFFS 71 

country a monopoly of its own market. Now every 
country enjoys a certain amount of natural protection and 
India is no exception to the rule. What has happened to 
the naturally protected industries of India will serve at 
least as an indication as to what is likely to happen 
if an artificial system of protection is introduced by the 
imposition of import duties. As examples of different 
types of naturally protected industries I submit the follow- 
ing list: (1) Railway repair workshops, (2) Local iron 
works, (3) The jute industry, (4) Tea, (5) Rubber, (6) Coal 
mining, (7) Petroleum industry, (8) Gold mining. Let us 
examine these in detail, but before doing so, it will be 
convenient to state that in every one of them the European 
is supreme and the Indian nowhere. It is true that in 
some he may have invested capital and in a few Companies 
Indians will be found on the Boards of directors, but 
broadly stated the management and control of those indus- 
tries are in foreign hands and, if it be so with these indus- 
tries, it is at least likely that it will be so with industries 
artificially protected. 

Railway repair workshops. Every Indian Railway has 
large workshops for the repair of its rolling stock and for 
the partial construction of waggons, carriages and, in some 
cases, locomotives. It is from the very nature of the work 
completely protected but the capital of the Railways is 
mainly held in Europe and the management and control 
are entirely in European hands. This is no doubt a very 
special case, but with every inducement to economy it has 
not been found practicable to employ Indians in any 
but comparatively subordinate appointments. Even in 
Native States the Railways and their workshops are not 
under the control of Indian experts. 

Local iron works. To carry on the current business of 
the country local iron works are necessary, where castings 



72 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

can be made, repairs executed and a great variety of mis- 
cellaneous work undertaken that cannot be obtained from 
abroad without an expenditure of time and trouble which 
effectually protects the works from foreign competition. 
All the leading firms in Calcutta, Bombay and Madras are 
in European hands and though there are some native 
works of this description, they do but a very small share 
of the business and that the least profitable. 

The Jute industry. Bengal has a practical mono- 
poly of the supply of jute to the world and India 
itself consumes an enormous quantity of the manufactured 
article. Protective duties would in no way help the Indian 
jute manufacturer but that fact offers no consolation to 
the Indian protectionist for the industry is almost entirely 
in European hands. It is needless to go into details the 
industry has, of late years, been very profitable and the 
ryots who grow the raw material are in a prosperous con- 
dition, so also are the operatives in the jute mills but the 
industry affords no scope for the employment of educated 
Indians, and the running of the mills and the management 
of the business is in the hands of men who have been 
trained in Dundee. 

Tea. India and Ceylon may now be said to enjoy a 
monopoly of the tea trade. It is true that there is a good 
deal of tea made in China, but it does not compete with 
the Indian tea. This industry is partly agricultural and 
partly manufacturing. It is carried on to some extent 
in the hills at a considerable elevation, but the greater part 
of the area under tea is in the low country in Assam. This 
industry requires capital, organisation and some technical 
knowledge and has yielded a good return on the money 
invested in it. One would imagine that it would afford an 
admirable outlet for the surplus energies of educated India 
but it has not done so, and for all practical purposes, it may 



THE EFFECT OF PROTECTIVE TARIFFS 73 

be regarded as a British Industry located in the tropics and 
employing Indian cooly labour. 

Rubber. This is another planting industry which I 
have selected because it has been only recently established 
in the country ; as yet it is an industry of minor impor- 
tance, but the outlook is extremely promising. There is 
absolutely no reason why Indian capital and Indian brains 
should not control the industry, but, as a matter of fact, it 
has so far been treated with complete indifference, and 
there seems to be little likelihood of the industry pursuing 
a course in anyway different from that which tea has 
followed. 

Coal Mining. In Bengal, Assam, and over limited 
areas in several other parts of India there are very valu- 
able deposits of coal. Except at the great seaports, the in- 
dustry is completely protected not only by the sea freights 
on foreign coal, but also by the still heavier Railway 
freights. Small quantities of foreign coal are still landed 
in India, but it is probable that most of it is brought out as 
ballast, and it, at any rate, has no effect upon the Indian 
coal trade. Indian coal mines are shallow, free from gas 
and very easily worked. They are now beginning to 
attract attention in Bengal and mining classes have been 
established but the Bengali has yet to prove that he can be 
trusted as a miner. Possibly there are some native coal 
mines in Bengal but coal mining is and, is likely to remain, 
an industry almost entirely in European hands. 

The Petroleum Industry. Like coal, this has developed 
rapidly in recent years, but is confined to certain rather 
remote parts of the country such as Assam and Burma, to 
which educated India, is almost as much a stranger as 
the enterprising Briton, who has gone there to develope 
these valuable oil deposits. The industry is carried on by 
companies with very large capital and it is certain that, to, 

10 



74 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

whatever extent it may be developed, it will remain under 
European control. 

Gold Mining. This a very speculative industry which, 
one would imagine, would attract a race so extraordinarily 
fond of the excitement of litigation and its sporting chances. 
The remains of ancient workings show that in olden 
times gold mining was extensively pursued in many parts 
of the country and all the superficial deposits were worked 
out centuries ago. The modern industry is confined to 
the South of India, and as yet has only been successful on 
the Mysore plateau, but there the profits have been very 
large. To initiate the industry and carry it on success- 
fully requires considerable technical knowledge and a 
great deal of skill. It has not hitherto attracted native 
capital and it is quite certain that till it does so the Euro- 
peans who invest their money will entrust its expenditure 
to those who have gained practical experience in mining 
development in other countries. 

In his presidential Address to the fourth Indian In- 
dustrial Conference in 1908, the Hon'ble Rao Bahadur 
R. N. Mudholkar pleaded for some restriction on the grant 
of mining concessions to enterprising outsiders. He said: 
" If we do not show enterprise and energy, if we do not 
equip ourselves with the requisite knowledge and working 
capabilities, if we do not find the needed funds, there is im- 
minent danger of outsiders reaping the entire benefit which 
the country's mineral resources are capable of affording." 

The facts just presented regarding these industries 
are common knowledge to every person who pretends 
to, the least knowledge of Indian economics, but 1 am 
afraid that their bearing upon the question of protec- 
tion has never been properly considered. It would seem 
that the genius of the people of India does not tend 
towards modern industrialism and a rapid develop- 



THE EFFECT OF PROTECTIVE TARIFFS 75 

ment in that direction is hardly possible. In addition 
to lack of technical knowledge and experience in 
managing complicated organisations, there is but little 
inclination for co-operative enterprise by joint stock 
companies. Everything must have a beginning and for the 
present industrialism on a small scale is best suited to the 
needs of India. Although there is a large amount of pre- 
cious metal in the country, it is widely diffused and there 
are no signs that the owners thereof are likely to entrust it 
to those among their countrymen who are aspiring to be- 
come industrial leaders without the preliminary training 
that is essential. 

The leaders of political and economic thought in 
modern India are agitating for a protective policy mainly 
on the ground that it is necessary during the infant indus- 
tries stage, and that later on, when adolescence or maturity 
is reached, they think it will be no longer necessary. Is 
it possible however to cite any instance of a country which 
has adopted a protective system and afterwards has suc- 
ceeded in getting rid of it. The American and German 
industries have long ago ceased to be infants, and there is 
a very large body of opinion in both countries in favour 
of free trade, or at any rate of a material reduction in these 
import duties. But so far, the vested interests which have 
grown up under protection have proved too strong and it 
is hardly likely that any change will be made unless it is 
done with revolutionary violence. Apparently it is ex- 
pected that under a protective system, the internal com- 
petition among the manufacturers will tend to reduce 
prices, but there is no evidence any where in the world to 
show that this is likely to happen. Protection engenders 
a' wonderful system of trade organisation and the trusts of 
America and the cartels of Germany should at least serve 
as warnings of what is likely to happen in this country. 



H INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

It seems to me hardly necessary to make out a strong- 
er case than I have done, but I would suggest to any 
one, who is not convinced by the facts I have brought 
forward, that he should examine carefully the results of 
the Swadeshi movement which has spread throughout the 
length and breadth of India. 

Ill 

The administration of British India presents to the 
advanced student of political economy an admirable series 
of examples of the application of the principles of the 
science to the practical problem of maintaining law and 
order among more than 300 millions of people. He can 
study the land question and contrast the defects of private 
ownership in land as exemplified by the permanent settle- 
ment in Bengal with the advantages of land nationalisa- 
tion which is at the basis of the system of ryotwari tenure. 
In the excise duties on cotton goods manufactured in the 
country, the doctrinaire free trader will rejoice to see that 
in practice, the levying of import duties on foreign mer- 
chandise is not incompatible with the most strict adher- 
ence to his principles of economic faith. At the same 
time those who hold that the laissez faire doctrines of the 
Manchester school of economists are inimical to the inter- 
ests of the bulk of the community, will rejoice to see that 
the State has recognised the part which it can play in the 
corporate life of the people in its railway systems, in its 
irrigation works and in its frank recognition of its duty to 
prevent death by starvation in famine times. 

Truly Administrators of British India have studied 
political economy to some purpose and have shown no 
small amount of sagacity in the practical application of 
its theories to the problems of administrative work, 
but their critics, on the other hand whatever their the- 



THE EFFECT OF PROTECTIVE TARIFFS 77 

oretical attainments may be, have failed entirely to 
apply the principles of the science in dealing with the 
situation in which they find themselves placed. Facts 
are stubborn things, but they are ignored altogether or 
count for very little when the Indian Economist is 
endeavouring to work up a political grievance out of the 
industrial inferiority in which the country is placed. He 
is prone to attach much importance to the alleged 
exhaustion of the soil "earth butchery" he is pleased 
to call it and revels in the pessimistic conclusions which 
he can draw from an application of the law of " diminish- 
ing returns. 

The resources of science have hardly yet been applied, 
and until they have been, the loss of fertility of the soil, 
if such is occurring, is due to ignorance, apathy and 
want of enterprise or capital on the part of the cultivators. 
I doubt very much if the Irrigation Officers of the Public 
Works Department or the experts now attached to the 
various Provincial Agricultural Departments would admit 
that India is in sight of the time when that economic 
bogey, " the law of diminishing returns '' will come into 
operation. 

The value of crops is everywhere rising, irrigation is 
extending, improved methods of cultivation are becoming 
better known ; capital, is however sadly lacking and even 
where available its application to the soil is rendered 
extremely difficult by the minute area of the individual 
holdings of each cultivator. Why therefore talk of " the 
law of diminishing returns " ? The judicious investment of 
capital in the soil almost everywhere yields a handsome 
return and better than can be expected from most forms 
of industrial enterprise. 

Quite recently 1 have learnt that in the Gwalior State 
the steam ploughing experiments which have been con- 



78 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

ducted at the instance of the Maharajah have resulted in an 
increase of the yield from black cotton soil of between 200 
and 300 per cent, and I understand it is proposed to 
develope work in this direction as rapidly as possible. 

AH over the country one finds herds of worthless 
cattle grazing on waste land and if the people could only 
be brought to appreciate the enormous importance of 
scientific cattle breeding combined with the growth of 
suitable fodder crops, the resulting increase in their pros- 
perity would be astonishing. 

India grows more sugarcane than any other country 
in the world, but it is now unable to supply its own in- 
ternal consumption and year by year the imports are 
steadily increasing. It is generally admitted by those com- 
petent to express an opinion on the matter, that Indian 
Sugar growers are suffering, not from the effects of the 
law of diminishing returns, but from their neglect to keep 
abreast with the improved methods of cultivation which 
have been adopted in other countries. 

In the south of India we have less than 400 oil 
engines and pumps at work, yet many of them have, repaid 
their cost within two years and most of them will do 
so with in four years of the time when they started to lift 
water for irrigation. There is room for one hundred times 
as many pumping stations as have been installed and crores 
of rupees can be profitably invested in them. In other 
parts of India there is a similar field for the employment 
of capital, and I have good reason to believe that capital to 
the extent of fully one hundred crores of rupees could be 
invested, not at once but in course of time, in irrigation by 
pumping if the people of the country were alive to the 
advantages which it offers. When the profits derived 
from irrigation are better appreciated, it will be practicable 
to levy higher water rates than at present and great irriga- 



THE EFFECT OF PROTECTIVE TARIFFS 79 

tion projects which are now pigeonholed will be carried 
out. Over millions of acres the productivity of the soil 
will be doubled or even trebled and by a more extensive 
use of mechanical appliances the labours of the cultivator 
will be reduced and his increased efficiency will undoubtedly 
be accompanied by a substantial rise in his standard of 
living. 

Till all these things have happened and till the pres- 
sure of the population on the soil is at least double what 
it now is, we need not consider the law of diminishing re- 
turns. To enclose India in a ring fence, such as the 
protectionists desire, is either to deliver the people over to 
the enterprising foreigner who would exploit the material 
resources of the country and its enormous supply of cheap 
labour, or to perpetuate the present state of inefficiency 
and apathy from which we are being rudely awakened 
by the pressure of competition from the outside. 

It is necessary that industries should develope, but let 
their growth be natural and suited to the environment of 
the people. The great manufacturing cities of the West 
are in many ways a blot on our modern civilization and 
those, who have the interests of India at heart, may well be 
asked to reflect on the condition of such towns as 
Calcutta and Bombay, before they advocate the introduc- 
tion of a fiscal policy which would tend to foster the 
growth of such centres of population and would enable 
the enterprising foreigner to indirectly levy a tax on the 
whole country for his personal benefit. The Indians, who 
cry for protection, do not realise the conditions under 
which they are now living or the futility of their measures 
for the development of Swadeshi enterprise and it is 
fortunate for them and for the country at large that there 
is little hope that the fiscal policy which they advocate 
will be adopted. 



80 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

Hitherto, as the late Mr. Justice Ranade admitted 
India has vastly benefitted by its close connection 
with the richest and most enterprising country in 
the world and the exchange of products between the 
two has been a great mutual advantage. Protection in 
India would alter all this and an artificial system would 
be built up which protection would be needed to main- 
tain. In Japan such a policy has been pursued with 
great success, but Japan is an independent country and 
its people have never been subjected to foreign dominion. 
The Japs apparently possess the essential qualities of a 
dominant race and they have exhibited in a high degree 
the energy, perseverance, power of self-control and 
ability to combine which are required in those who would 
be industrial leaders and carry on manufacturing opera- 
tions on a large scale. Protection for India really means 
protection for the foreign manufacturer and this the 
Indian protectionist is driven to admit, but he weakly 
contends that it would only be for a time and that ultimate- 
ly Indians will succeed in ousting the pioneers ; and 
so sure is he of this ultimate result that he thinks it 
would be worth while to temporarily pay the price. 

The Hon'ble Mr. R. N. Mudholkar in his address to 
the Industrial Conference very forcibly drew attention to 
the obvious failure of the Swadeshi movement, but, in the 
remedial measures which he proposed, he failed to recog- 
nise that the creation of an industrial India involves a 
great change in the ideals of the people and their outlook 
on life. There are many who say that such a change is 
undesirable and those who have studied the question are 
forced to admit that so vast a change in the habits of the 
people can only be effected gradually and must be spread 
over many generations. 

Not less fallacious is the prevalent idea that industrial 



THE EFFECT OF PROTECTIVE TARIFFS 81 

development is needed in India to provide employ- 
ment for the landless labourer and to relieve the pres- 
sure of the population on the soil. This too in the 
face of an almost universal outcry of the scarcity of labour 
and that this outcry is well founded we have ample evi. 
dence in the steady rise of wages. It is only in famine 
times when agricultural operations cannot be carried on that 
extensive unemployment and the accompanying destitu- 
tion exists. Industrial development will provide no timely 
showers of rain and consequently will not help the agri- 
cultural population. All the mills, workshops and factories 
in India worked on modern lines only employed in 1908-09, 
948,000 people and if the number were trebled, which 
would mean an enormous industrial development, it would 
hardly affect the agricultural labour market at all . Indus- 
trial development will increase the general resources of 
the country and, so far as the profits from such develop- 
ment remain in the country, its resources to meet the strain 
of faminetimeswill be increased, but industrial development 
is not the direction in which we should look for ways to 
diminish the effects of famine. A failure of the rains means 
a loss of crop and as long as that loss of crop occurs over 
large areas nothing can be done to prevent unemployment 
on a great scale. The only remedy is irrigation, which 
means a more extensive conservation of the available 
water supplies, and it is fortunate that our Engineers are 
steadily obtaining more complete command over natural 
forces so that no one can now predict the time when their 
resources will be exhausted. 

During the last 20 years India has passed though a 
prolonged series of unfavourable seasons and there is some 
reason to believe that this cycle will be succeeded by one in 
which the meteorological conditions will be more favoura- 
ble. If that be so, we may anticipate in the future a still more 
11 



82 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

rapid development both in agriculture and industries than 
has hitherto taken place. Moreover, the educated classes in 
the country are thoroughly alive to the necessity for en- 
gaging in productive work and though their efforts so far 
have not met with much success, experience is being 
gained and the lines along which progress is possible are 
becoming clearer. 

It is urgently necessary that the economic situation 
should be understood and that there should be no time or 
energy wasted in working on wrong lines. It is for this 
reason I consider it desirable that the fallacy of protection 
as a remedy for the growing difficulties of the educated 
classes should be exposed. Exaggerated impressions are 
fostered regarding the natural resources of the country and 
it is eminently desirable that as soon as possible it should 
be realised that they are mainly of an agricultural charac- 
ter. Minerals are widely diffused, but so far as our present 
knowledge goes it is only in the coal fields of Bengal and 
the oil fields of Burma that they are of great potential 
value. It is possible that further discoveries may be made 
which will alter the situation, but for the present, at any 
rate, it is outside the range of practical considerations to 
attach any economic value to the enormous deposits of 
iron ore which occur in various parts of India and 
notably in certain districts of this Presidency. The poverty 
of India is in the main due to the cleavage between the 
intellectual and the labouring classes and the policy of the 
future should unquestionably be directed to rendering 
it possible for the former to assist the latter. The demand 
for education is spreading and our efforts should be con- 
centrated on making it of a more practical character. 
The administration is probably too much in the hands of 
men whose training has been along literary lines and it 
would certainly be advantageous in the future if more 



THE EFFECT OF PROTECTIVE TARIFFS 83 

room could be found in the public services for men whose 
practical and constructive faculties have been developed. 
To conclude, Indian economics have hitherto been 
studied in an extremely superficial way, and, generally, 
in the interests of some particular section of the com- 
munity. There are signs that this unsatisfactory state of 
things is coming to an end and that broader and more 
statesmanlike views will ultimately prevail. Tariffs, pro- 
tective or otherwise, are potent weapons for good or ill 
and according as they are used wisely or otherwise they 
may promote the welfare of, or cause misery and distress to 
millions. Briefly, my view at the present time is that India 
is not in a position to benefit from a protective system of 
tariffs. Whether it will be so or not, in a future more or 
less remote, entirely depends upon the direction in which 
future progress both economic and social will be made. 



CHAPTER IV 

AGRICULTURE AND INDUSTRIAL 
DEVELOPMENT 

I 

The marked rise in price of agricultural products 
throughout the world has naturally attracted the attention 
of economists and various reasons are assigned for it. 
The cost of manufacturing operations has decreased and 
the price of manufactured goods shows a steady decline 
excepting in so far as it has been affected by the enhanced 
cost of raw materials. Gold has depreciated relatively to 
wheat, but not to iron or copper; whilst it has enormously 
appreciated in comparison with such metals as aluminium 
and nickel, and with many hundreds of chemical products, 
the cost of the production of which has greatly decreased 
owing to the application of scientific methods in dealing 
with them. It is true that in recent years there has been 
a great increase in the production of gold, but no incon- 
siderable proportion of this increased supply has been 
withdrawn from the market on account of India and in 
view of the still greater increase in the volume of trade 
throughout the world it is almost certain that there has 
been no marked change in the real value of the standard 
by which the value of other commodities is measured. 

The increase in the prices of agricultural produce 
is undoubtedly in the main due to an increased 
demand for them, owing to the rise in the standard 



AGRICULTURE AND INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT 85 

of living and to the increase of population in the 
civilized parts of the world. America has almost ceas- 
ed to be a grain exporting country and in a few years 
it will have difficulty in supporting its own rapidly 
growing population. Germany has already reached this 
stage and is dependent on foreign sources of supply to an 
ever increasing extent. These facts have an extremely 
important bearing on the economic situation of India and 
suggest, at least, that it is worth while enquiring whether 
the dependence of the country upon agriculture is likely 
to be such a source of weakness in the future as it has 
hitherto been considered in the past. Year by year the 
value of agricultural produce increases and the cost of 
freight diminishes ; that is to say, the cultivator in this 
country is able to obtain a gradually increasing amount of 
gold or manufactured goods in return for the surplus 
crops he has to dispose of. 

The world is moving very fast and in another 
generation India may have no surplus foodstuffs to dispose 
of, but that seems hardly likely as the undeveloped or 
latent resources are extraordinarily great. The area under 
cultivation is capable of extension by at least 50 per 
cent, and there is but little doubt that the area under 
irrigation can be doubled. To what extent improv- 
ed methods of culture, a general use of artificial manures 
and a rational policy in regard to live stock will increase 
the yield of the soil, I am not prepared to estimate ; 
but taking all the factors enumerated into consideration 
we may safely reckon on an annual harvest more than 
double that now obtained. India sustains its rapidly 
increasing population with comparative ease and will 
continue to do so for a long time to come, provid- 
ed the people remain contented with their present low 
standard of living. Not withstanding ;its teeming millions 



86 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

in an average year there is employment for all and in 
many parts of the country there is a distinct shortage of 
labour. 

Whilst I do not deprecate in the slightest degree the 
efforts now being made to establish industries in this 
country, I think it is well that we should bear in mind 
that possibly the disadvantages of relying almost entirely 
on agriculture have been somewhat overrated and that in 
consequence an exaggerated idea has been created as to 
the necessity for concentrating efforts on industrial develop- 
ments. It has been asserted, over and over again, that to 
give full play to the activities of a nation there must be 
variety for the occupations of its people, and some ap- 
proach to equality in the opportunities offered by com- 
mercial, manufacturing and agricultural pursuits. There 
is no doubt that in the past, and even at the present 
time, the great industrial nations of the world are far 
wealthier and more progressive than those which, in the 
main, have been compelled to confine themselves to till- 
ing the soil ; but the question arises whether this is likely 
to be equally true in the future. 

So long as agriculture was based on traditional 
methods and rules of practice it offered little scope for the 
exercise of trained intelligence, but in recent years a more 
scientific procedure has been adopted, and in advanced 
agricultural practice chemistry and engineering play an 
ever increasingly important part. In the United States, 
the Western farmer is as keen a man of business as the 
Eastern manufacturer. He is always making experiments 
and trying to circumvent the difficulties which he has to 
encounter, whether due to natural circumstances or 
to the inadequate supply of labour which he can com- 
mand. A farmer working on a large scale and with 
insufficient capital will always be at the mercy of the 



AGRICULTURE AND INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT 87 

weather. In a good season he will flourish, in a bad one 
he is brought to the verge of ruin. The conditions are 
rapidly changing in America and Australia, and year by 
year the progress of irrigation and improved methods of 
cultivation are rendering farming a less precarious busi- 
ness. Machinery plays an increasingly important part in 
agricultural operations and steadily modern farming is 
becoming akin to complex manufacturing operations. 

In India there are no large farms and the cultivators 
have but little capital. They are burdened with an 
enormous number of inferior or useless cattle for whose 
maintenance an undue proportion of the soil is occupied 
with low grade crops. It is estimated that there are at 
least 120,000,000 bulls and bullocks, cows, buffaloes and 
young stock in the country. Besides ploughing and 
carting, the lifting of water from wells for irrigation 
employs millions of the best cattle and costs the country 
not less than 40 crores of rupees a year. Here is a vast 
field for industrial work in devising mechanical appliances 
to suit the local conditions. The movement in favour of 
Co-operative Credit Societies for the ryot will ultimately 
place a large amount of capital at the disposal of the cul- 
tivators and the difficulties connected with the introduc- 
tion of machinery among small holders can be met by 
co-operation on an extended scale. 

The natural wealth of India is mainly agriculture and 
it seems to me obvious, that in view of the rising value of 
agricultural produce, enough is not being done to im- 
prove the archaic methods in vogue in this country. The 
industrial development, for which there is so great 
an outcry, must be based on the improvement of 
agriculture. The area under cultivation is steadily 
increasing and, during the last ten years, in this Presi- 
dency even at a more rapid ratio than the population. 



88 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDI \ 

Labour is in consequence scarce and yet only in a very 
limited degree recourse is had to labour-saving appliances. 
The educated Indian, looking mainly to the future of the 
class to which he belongs, recognises the necessity for a 
more rapid rate of progress in industrial matters and he 
cries aloud for fiscal protection as the sovereign remedy for 
the economic ills to which the country is subjected by the 
free trade policy imposed upon it. Industrial protection 
can only be obtained at the expense of those dependent 
upon the land for their means of subsistence and to build 
up manufacturing industries the development of agricul- 
ture is to be checked by the imposition of additional bur- 
dens, 

It is not sufficiently recognised that for industries to 
flourish in this country they must have an assured home 
market. The spending power of the people of this coun- 
try almost entirely depends upon agricultural progress and 
the more this is furthered by improvement in the means 
of communication, by the diffusion of scientific know- 
ledge, by the introduction of labour saving appliances 
and by the general education of the cultivators, 
the sooner will it be practicable to establish local 
industries for the supply of local needs. It is an axiom, 
the importance of which cannot be too clearly re- 
cognised, that before manufactures can be started 
there must be a market of sufficient size to absorb 
all their products. Protection, I fully admit, by cutting 
off outside sources of supply, would create such markets 
in the case of certain commodities which are now large- 
ly imported, but it would be at the expense of the general 
community and most probably for the benefit of the 
foreign entrepreneur. 

In the industrial race the only asset which India 
possesses, that is of supreme value, is an abundant supply 



AGRICULTURE AND INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT 89 

of cheap labour and the material progress of the country 
depends largely upon the education of these labourers so 
as to render them more efficient workmen. The labour 
difficulties are entirely due to the crude methods of work- 
ing, to the neglect of labour-saving appliances and to the 
absence of any efforts to train labour. The present pseudo 
scarcity of labour is indirectly a great advantage as it is 
raising the status of the labouring classes and at the same 
time providing a much needed stimulus in favour of the 
use of labour- saving appliances. Evidence of this is to be 
found in this Presidency in the growing demand for small 
motors to drive pumps, oil mills, rice hullers, cotton gins, 
fibre extractors and sugar mills. In the Punjab there is a 
demand, in the irrigation colonies, for harvesting and 
thrashing machinery and in other Provinces, in a lesser 
degree, for a great variety of machines to take the place 
of manual methods of working. 

As Europe draws its supply of raw vegetable produce 
from India and other tropical countries, so India in the 
future will have to depend for the raw material of her 
manufactures mainly upon countries more favourably 
situated than she is for their production. Assuming the 
success of the attempt now in progress to establish the 
manufacture of iron and steel on a large scale under the 
direction of the Tata Brothers, it is at least doubtful, owing 
to the high cost of transport by railway compared with 
that by sea, if they will ever be able to compete with the 
foreign producers of such material in the markets of 
Southern India. On the other hand, if in course of time 
the demand for oil-engines and pumps in the South of 
India continues to increase, it is absolutely certain that 
they can be manufactured out here on a large scale as 
cheaply as in England or in America. All that is wanted 
to ensure the success of Iron Works devoted to this 

12 



90 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

particular branch of manufacture is a sufficiently large 
local market to absorb the whole of the production. 
If, therefore, we wish to establish the manufacture of 
such machines in this country, our efforts should be 
directed to the creation of a market for them. The 
greatest users of machinery should be the ryots. The 
more advanced their agricultural practice, the greater will 
be their profits and in an equal ratio, the greater will 
be the spending power of the community. 

The first great need of Indian agriculture is an assured 
supply of water and it is almost as important that the 
ryots should learn how best to utilize an assured supply. 
Here and there on a small scale their practice has reached 
a high degree of perfection, but generally over the country 
they have a vast amount of leeway to make up and it is 
only by the diffusion of education and knowledge that 
their innate conservatism will be overcome. 

The irrigation policy of Government is based upon far 
too low ah. estimate of the value of an assured water supply 
and only when both the Government and the educated 
classes in this country have an accurate conception of the 
real value of ' water will funds be made available for 
the pursuit of a vigorous policy in respect to irri- 
gation and agricultural development. It is rightly 
considered that public funds should only be devoted to 
the construction of irrigation works when the return to be; 
expected from them will be sufficient to prevent the works 
becoming a permanent burden on the finances of the 
country. What are classified as productive works are ex- 
pected to yield a direct return on the money invested in 
them :over.and above the interest charges. What are 
known as protective works are expected to yield some 
return but not enough to enable them, to pay their way. 
The diVect loss is counterbalanced by the reduction in cost 



AGRICULTURE AMD INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT 91 

of famine relief operations consequent upon the protect 

tion afforded by the works. 

* * t 

In the neighbourhood of Poona, sugar-cane is grown 
under unusually favourable conditions with an assured 
water-supply from the Nira Canal. This irrigation wodc 
involved a very large capital outlay, but the demand for 
water is greater than the supply and the rate for sugar-cane 
is now Rs. 50 per acre per annum. So far as Government 
irrigation works are concerned this may.be considered an 
exceptionally high rate and, in fact, there are but few places 
where rates as high as Rs. 15 per acre are charged* 
On the other hand, in Zamindari lands and private 
irrigation works, the cost of irrigation varies from ;Rsj 
25 or 30 per acre to at least Rs. 100 per acre. spec 
annum. The ryots in the Kistna Delta pay a water rate 
of Rs. 5 for single crop irrigation. The ryots who r qwjrx 
dry lands commanded by the canals are perfectly willing 
to pay this water rate in addition to the cost of pumpitig 
water from the canals. This costs them at least Rs. 10 an-, 
acre. It will be seen, therefore, that it is more profitable 
to grow irrigated crops and pay a water rate of Rs. 15 per 
acre than it is to grow dry crops and be dependent upon 
the season. The average cost of well irrigation is some- 
where about Rs. 5 per acre per month, and yet when big? 
irrigation schemes are under Construction the financial, 
returns are based on water rates which were obtained 
twenty years ago when the economic conditions were 
greatly inferior to what they are now. In the past it has 
been possible to construct , irrigation works to command 
large areas of land at a very low cost, but all or nearly all 
the favourable sites for such works have been occupied and 
the bjg irrigation works of the future will cost possibly about 
ten times as much perunit of water available .in the. field 
channels^ To make the works pay the water rates .will have 



92 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

to be high, but even then the profits on wet cultivation will 
prove much larger and more reliable than from the existing 
dry cultivation. There is but little doubt that Govern- 
ment would gladly accept this view of irrigation if the value 
of water as expressed in currency units was more accurate- 
ly recognised. The ryot often pays in kind from Rs. 50 to 
Rs, 60 per acre per annum for his water, but he would 
be aghast at the idea of paying one-third of this amount 
in actual currency. In this direction, however, progress 
is being made which may be claimed as one of the results 
of irrigation by pumping, though there is also another 
view which would suggest that the extension of irrigation 
by pumping is the outward and visible expression of a pro- 
found change in the economics of rural India. 

If once it is recognised that these are the true princi- 
ples which must govern the policy pursued in this coun- 
try in regard to material development there will, I think, be 
but little difficulty about creating a healthy and vigorous 
industrial system. 

II 

INDUSTRY ON A SMALL SCALE 

Educated India has realized for sometime past 
that the indigenous industries of the country are one by 
one disappearing before the competition of free imports 
and that the proportion of the population solely dependant 
upon the soil for subsistance is steadily increasing, whilst in 
more progressive countries an exactly opposite tendency is 
clearly visible. More than this, however, is at the bottom 
of the economic unrest which pervades the country. It 
is the perception that the unequal development of rural 
and urban life provides inadequately for* the employ- 
ment of the varied forms of intellectual activity which 
education has called into existence. Inaccurate arid 



AGRICULTURE AND INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT 93 

vague ideas still prevail regarding the natural resources 
of India and there is a widespread feeling that it is 
the policy of England to keep India in economic subjec- 
tion rather than encourage a vigorous development of 
industrial activity in the country. The laissez faire policy 
of the Victorian Era is neither understood nor appreciated 
in this country and the fact that it still, to a large extent, 
dominates English political life, for reasons totally uncon- 
nected with India, is scarcely recognised. 

This all points to the urgent necessity for the estab- 
lishment in India of an institution run on similar lines to 
the London School of Economics and Political Science, 
which provides for the study of facts relating to, and for 
the diffusion of knowledge regarding social and economic 
problems. Something has been done in this direction in 
Bombay, but the movement which started in the cold 
weather of 1908-09 by engaging Professor H. B. Lees- 
Smith, at present M. P. for Northampton, to deliver a 
course of lectures on Indian Economics has not yet borne 
definite fruit. In London, it is true that increasing in- 
terest is being taken in Indian problems and attention 
may be directed to the writings of both Professor 
Lees-Smith and Sir Theodore Morison. Their studies, 
however, are made from the outside and without that 
intimate knowledge of detail which can only be found 
among people on the spot, in daily contact with the 
various phases of the problems which require eluci- 
dation. Changes are taking place so rapidly in India and 
the area under observation is so large that it is difficult 
for any individual to keep in touch with the efforts that 
are being made and with the progress which is definitely 
accomplished. Organization is necessary to accomplish 
this and to a large extent it is lacking. The statistical pub- 
lications of the Imperial and Local Governments offer 



94 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

vast quantities of undigested material, which is availed of 
mainly to furnish evidence in favour of preconceived 
theories and opinions. Anything like a masterly analysis 
of the facts and a complete exposition of the situation has 
never been attempted. 

Not only in religion and philosophy is there a vast 
gulf between East and West, but it is equally apparent in 
the outlook on material and more mundane affairs. The 
nineteenth century witnessed the destruction of the indi- 
genous Indian industrial system, which gave way before 
the modern commercialism of the West, because of its own 
inherent weakness. In the twentieth century we recognise 
the urgent necessity for constructive work, for providing 
India with an industrial system suited to the idiosyncracies 
of the people and capable of absorbing the surplus crea^ 
tive energy which is slowly becoming apparent. In this 
work the State must play an important part. Its influence 
will be enormous, whether it adopts a laissezfaire policy, 
or actively intervenes and endeavours to influence the 
course of events to bring about a definite result. To frame 
a policy it should understand the situation and know 
what forces are at work, what material there is to deal 
with and what latent resources there are which can be 
made use of. Already there is much activity .in. various 
directions, many experiments are being tried and many 
failures are writ large in the lives of pioneers;in tru's work. 
Nevertheless the record of progress is by no means unsatis- 
factory, and it is worth while to pause for a moment and look 
around to ascertain if possible what is the general tendency 
in this movement towards industrial development. If we can 
discover the line of least resistance we may be ablerto 
concentrate effort in that direction and avoid in the future 
much waste of energy and capital in futile efforts f ore? 
doomed to failure. 



AGRICULTURE AND INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT 95 

During the past six months I have spent a considerable 
time on tour in this Presidency and have made two long 
journeys through other parts of India. I have had fair 
opportunities of seeing what industrial work is going on 
and of judging in what direction progress is being made. 
1 now propose to briefly set down the general conclusion 
I have come to in regard to purely indigenous efforts to 
improve the conditions under which industrial work is- 
carried on in India. I purposely exclude from this survey 
the larger enterprises under European or Parsee control 
and my remarks do not apply to the cotton industry as 
carried on in spinning mills and weaving sheds. 

At the last Industrial Congress the political leaders 
lamented the small results produced by the Swadeshi Move- 
ment and I am in agreement with them that it has proved 
a practical failure. 1 would only emphasize the point to 
drive home the lesson that under the conditions that prevail, 
through the length and breadth of India, there is no hope 
that a mere political sentiment will have sufficient driving 
force to overcome the difficulties inherent in changing 
from the ancient system of hand-labour, which has pre- 
vailed from time immemorial, to the modern European 
factory system, evolved under conditions which do not 
exist out here and which are not likely to exist out here 
within any period of time which need concern us. 

Nearly everywhere there is evidence of a growing 
scarcity of labour which, combined with a general rise in 
the price of food, has tended to enormously increase the 
cost of work and forced employers to look to labour sav- 
ing appliance as a means of reducing their wage bills. 
Whilst then we may regret that there is little evidence of 
industrial development in the direction of new industries 
we may rejoice that important changes are taking place 
in the methods of conducting existing industries. All 



96 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

these are intimately associated with agriculture and the 
sum total of my observations is that in these industries 
power and machinery of an automatic character are re- 
placing the old ways of doing things. 

The Allahabad Exhibition afforded some evidence of 
this, and as a show its success was largely due to the ex* 
hibits of machinery manufacturers, but the failure of the 
exhibition to do business on a large scale was due to the 
inadequate appreciation of the conditions peculiar to 
India, which demand special consideration from those who 
would cater for the market now opening out. If English 
or foreign manufacturers want to meet the demands of 
the Indian market they must make a special study of the 
conditions under which their machinery will have to work. 
It is a curious fact, but nevertheless one of great impor- 
tance, that the economic conditions in India are such that 
competition amongst importers does not facilitate but 
rather hinders progress. With an assured market better 
terms could be offered and monopoly rather than free com- 
petition is the need of the country. I can cite no better 
example of the truth of this statement than by drawing 
attention to the extraordinary popularity of the Singer's 
Sewing Machine which, as a labour saving appliance, is 
in general use throughout India. There are a number of 
rival sewing machines of possibly nearly equal merit, but 
the superior organization of the Singer Manufacturing 
Company has gained for itself a practical monopoly in 
the supply of these machines to India, and the absence of 
competition gives them an enormous business which ena- 
bles them to supply new machines on very favourable 
terms and to provide facilities for their repair and for the 
renewal of damaged parts, without which it is quite certain 
they would not be largely used. 

With the exception of possibly the Punjab where the 



AGRICULTURE AND INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT 97 

area under cultivation is growing rapidly and where the 
population, owing mainly to plague, has actually decreased 
during the last ten years, I find that it is in the Madras 
Presidency that the largest amount of progress has been 
made in the direction of superseding hand-labour by 
machinery. It will be convenient therefore only to deal 
with the facts which have come to my notice in this 
Presidency. These all point to one definite conclusion 
that so far the people of the country are only capable 
of undertaking industrial work on a comparatively small 
scale. Many such enterprises have proved successful 
whilst attempts to operate on a large scale have usually 
proved abortive or, if actually started, have ended in 
ignominous failure. 

It may be well to briefly state the reasons why in- 
dustrialism has, even under European or exceptional 
native management, failed to establish itself in the country 
except along comparatively limited lines. In connec- 
tion with some of the staple products of India, the chief of 
which are cotton, wool, jute, sugar and wheat, flourishing 
manufacturing industries have sprung up, but outside 
these, so far, neither European nor Indian has succeeded 
in accomplishing much. In the discussions on this subject 
it appears to me that sufficient weight has not been given 
to the fact that European merchants and manufacturers 
have for nearly a century been doing all they could to 
create an industrial system. The faet that they have met 
with great success in certain directions and that their 
efforts in others have proved of so little avail may be 
taken as evidence of the inherent difficulty of starting 
enterprises in this country. Having tried and failed, 
they are not altogether to be blamed if they have 
in recent years devoted their time and attention and 
employed their capital in creating a big foreign trade at 

13 



98 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

the expense, more or less, of the indigenous industries. 
Unquestionably the merchants have found it easier to 
finance agricultural operations, to export produce and to 
import foreign manufactures in exchange. There is ample 
evidence to show that much capital has been wasted in 
efforts to establish new industries in this country. The 
difficulties were due to the lack of central markets, to the 
absence of skilled labour, to the intensity of foreign com- 
petition, to the poverty of local resources, to the cost of 
internal transport, to the inability to obtain a monopoly 
and finally to an imperfect study of local problems. 

It is only in recent years that Educated Indians have 
become really interested in industrial questions and the 
mere fact that they are now taking an interest in such ques- 
tions does not in any way facilitate their solution. The sim- 
plest suggestion, and that which is most clamoured for, is a 
protective tariff, but as I have already pointed out 
protection will be of little use unless you exclude the 
foreign capitalist and manufacturer. It looks at first 
sight as though we were at an impasse and as though 
matters will have to drift for themselves as they have done 
during the past 50 years. A survey, however, of the work 
going on encourages me to think that the problem will be 
gradually solved in a perfectly natural way without the 
necessity for any drastic fiscal legislation, which, if it 
benefits one class of the community, must necessarily throw 
a heavy burden on another. This is not intended to be 
a general statement of universal application but only as 
true of India in its present state. 

Modern industrial enterprise in the West tends towards 
production on a larger and larger scale, but the conditions 
are totally different in India and along certain lines, at any 
rate, it is becoming evident that enterprise on a small scale 
is likely to be more profitable and is certainly better suited 



AGRlCtlLf UR# AND INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT 99 

to the capabilities of the people. The reasons for this are 
numerous and may be stated briefly. 

1. The distrust and suspicion prevalent among busi- 
ness men which prevents them from associating in Joint 
Stock enterprises of indefinite duration. 

2. The absence of large capitalists and the unwilling- 
ness of small capitalists to entrust their money to experts 
to carry on business. 

3. The very feeble banking system developed in this 
country and the almost entire absence of credit. 

4. The numerous obstacles to individual private 
enterprise imposed by the undivided family system. 

5. The dependence of nearly all forms industry 
either on locally grown -agricultural produce, or upon 
mineral developments, which in richness compare un- 
favourably with similar deposits in other parts of the 
world. 

6. The fluctuating character of the season and the 
intermittent supply of most of the raw produce available 
for manufacture, which renders it impracticable to keep 
costly plant and machinery running through any large 
proportion of the year. 

These are all reasons which explain the failure of 
indigenous industrial enterprise on a large scale. Success 
on a small scale is possible because it avoids the rocks 
upon which larger enterprises have been wrecked. The 
investment of a large capital in machinery and plant 
means heavy standing charges which have to be met, year 
in and year out, whether the plant is running or not. 
Indian industries must at the outset deal mainly with 
local produce, mostly of an agricultural character, and they 
are at a great disadvantage in competition with similar 



100 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

industries in Western countries, since it is impracticable 
for them to draw their supplies from all parts of the world. 
A flour mill in Delhi can only obtain wheat from the 
Punjab or from the neighbouring districts of the United 
Provinces. The crop all comes in at one time and must 
be stored in granaries, either attached to the mill or belon- 
ging to the cultivators, till the time comes for converting it 
into flour. A flour mill in Hull or Manchester derives 
its supply of wheat from all parts of the world and every 
month in the year cargoes are coming in, at one time 
from the United States, at another from Russia, at 
a third from the Argentine, at a fourth from India. 
By a judicious blending of the different crops super- 
ior flour can be made, but in the Punjab there is 
only one kind of wheat and only one possible product. 
There is a big local market for it because people are 
willing to purchase the products of the mill to save 
themselves from the trouble of grinding the wheat by 
hand. A large mill can produce a finer quality of flour 
than a stnall one but the local demand is for what are 
termed low grade flours and these can be produced on 
a comparatively small scale with nearly the same economy 
as on a larger one. The industry is and must remain a 
local one and, as the cost of labour rises in the north of 
India, small wheat grinding machines will prove of great 
value and each locality will have its own mill, grinding its 
own wheat, and keeping transport charges down to the 
minimum possible. This was the condition of things in 
England and Europe till a comparatively recent date. Up 
to as late as 1880 there were as many 10,000 flour mills in 
Great Britain and Ireland. The ever growing dependence of 
the British Isles upon foreign sources of wheat supply has 
concentrated this trade in the sea ports round the coast and, 
within the last 30 years, thousands of small mills have 



AGRICULTURE AND INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT 101 

succumbed to the competition of the large mills etablish- 
ed at places convenient for handling foreign cargoes. 

A large part of the trade of India consists in the 
export of food grains and oil seeds and though it would 
be of immense advantage to the country if these could be 
manufactured into finished products the conditions are 
usually unfavourable for doing so. In the case of paddy 
it is convenient to convert it into rice before it leaves the 
country, because the paddy husk is of no greater value 
in Europe than it is here, but with wheat it is different. 
There is a far better market for bran in Europe than there 
is in India and it is much more convenient to transport 
the wheat berries in their natural state than it is to sepa- 
rate them into flour and bran and send them both abroad. 
Both wheat and oil seeds can be exported in bulk or in 
gunny bags.but if theoil is extracted from the seeds in India 
it has to be sent out of the country in expensive drums or 
casks and there is little or no hope that any profitable busi- 
ness can be done on lines other than those hitherto pursued. 
The large factories of India may possibly be able to manu- 
facture at a smaller cost than the small factories, but they 
have to derive their supplies of raw material from a greater 
distance and they have to distribute their finished pro- 
ducts over a larger area. This means increased expense 
in marketing the goods, and the savings effected by con- 
centration of manufacture are more than counterbalanced 
by increased transport charges. The small mill can there- 
fore hold its own against the large one and this it will pro- 
bably long continue to do. 

Apart from the use of oil engines and pumps for 
lifting water for irrigation there is no direction in which 
the labour saving machine is coming more largely into 
use in this Presidency than for cleaning rice. For the 
export trade it may be of advantage to have large plants 



102 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

near the ports of shipment but for the local trade small 
mills are springing up all over the country. Most of these 
consist of a single set of machines driven by an oil engine 
and the steadily growing demand for such plantsis evidence 
that they suit the conditions of the country and that the ow- 
ners are finding them profitable to work. The gradually 
growing demand for labour-saving machinery is the domi- 
nant feature of the present day and the demand gradually 
leads to marked improvements in the efficiency and suita- 
bility of the machinery which can be supplied. Whilst there 
is but little probability that India can ever become a great 
manufacturing country there is every reason to hope that it 
is on the road to utilising its resources in a better manner 
than hitherto. Our policy should be to foster this develop- 
ment in every way, to show the people how to spend their 
limited capital to the greatest possible advantage, to bring 
the needs of the people to the notice of manufacturers, both 
in India and other parts of the world, and to supply such 
industrial and technical training as is necessary. 

The invention and perfection of the oil engine has 
been of great advantage to the small industrialist. It en- 
ables him to obtain the power he needs on terms which 
will compare favourably with even the largest installations 
and 1 doubt not that much more can be done in this di- 
rection if we can only induce and encourage inventors, 
mechanicians and engineers to turn their attention to the 
perfection of machinery for working on a comparatively 
small scale. The tendency, hitherto, has been all the other 
way, but now that it is recognised that in tropical and 
semi-tropical countries, where labour is cheap and the cost 
of living low, there is a vast field for the employment of 
skilled manual labour, it is certainly worth while doing all 
we can to evolve an industrial system based on manual 
production. Our efforts to popularize the fly shuttle loom 



AGRICULTURE AND INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT 103 

and improve indigenous weaving appliances are an 
example of work in this direction which has met with 
considerable success and has enabled the weavers who 
have adopted them to recover much lost ground. The 
establishment of small weaving factories, directed by men 
of superior training and intelligence to the average artizan 
is a further step in industrial progress and a great advance 
on the primitive system hitherto in vogue. 

In England, Germany and America the concentration 
of the population in large towns and cities is not without 
serious disadvantages and those disadvantages are greatly 
magnified in tropical countries. It will not be possible 
to avoid this altogether in India nor is it desirable to do 
so, as, owing to the absence of convenient harbours and 
seaports round the coast, the trade of the country must 
inevitably be concentrated at the few sea ports which we 
possess. The Railway system tends to concentrate pro- 
duction in certain centres, but if it becomes generally 
recognised that a small scale of working is better suited 
to the conditions in India, it is quite possible to modify 
the methods of railway management so that they shall be 
made to serve the best interests of the country and no 
longer consider only what is best calculated to produce 
the largest possible profit. 

For the present India requires encouragement to 
develop on natural lines and should not be forced by those 
in control of the railways to work upon a system neither 
suited to the people nor to the productions of the country. 
It has just emerged from that stage of civilization 
in which every village was a self-contained unit and 
produced almost the whole of its normal require- 
ments. The change has been effected from the outside, 
through the intervention of a Government conducted 
on principles greatly in advance of the ideas preva- 



104 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

lent among the great bulk of the population, but 
the Government are not in a position, except by slow 
degrees, to raise the people to their own level and from 
their efforts the best results will accrue if their 
influence is used to promote a natural development. 
The improvements in transport and the accumulations 
of capital in private hands have already greatly extended 
the possible sphere of industrial operations and our ob- 
ject should be to encourage a gradual change and not a 
complete revolution. The village has long since ceased 
to be a sufficiently large unit, but the area has not yet 
expanded indefinitely. It is larger in some parts of the 
country than in others, and generally as a rough average 
for many of the principal staple articles we may regard 
each revenue district as about the area which can be dealt 
with from a single centre. This would seem to indicate 
that the policy of allowing District Boards to levy a 
special railway cess for the promotion of local light rail- 
way projects is a very sound one and it is to be regretted 
that so far comparatively few districts have availed them- 
selves of it. 

Ill 

THE LACK OF INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISE 

The apologist for British rule in India dwells with 
considerable satisfaction upon the rapid growth of the 
external trade of the Indian Empire, whilst the ardent 
advocate of swadeshism bitterly complains that the export 
trade is almost entirely in raw materials and the import 
trade in manufactured goods, and that consequently India 
is denied that measure of industrial life which is essential 
to the well-being of any nation. To a large extent it is 
the remarkable progress that has been made in providing 
facilities for transport, in constructing irrigation works and 



AGRICULTURE AND INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT 105 

in bringing waste lands under cultivation that has engen- 
dered the idea that in the interest of England a one-sided 
development has been a matter of deliberate policy. A 
careful review of the economic history of India during the 
19th century, however, would dispel this idea and supply 
ample evidence to show that, in the main, as much pro- 
gress has been made in every direction as could reasona- 
bly be expected. It would be foolish to deny that in 
minor matters a mistaken policy has been pursued occasio- 
nally and in respect to education especially a sufficiently 
long-sighted view has not been taken. 

Indian industries have suffered considerably by com- 
petition with the imported manufactures of Europe, but at 
the same time a modern industrial system has been built 
up which, in part at any rate, compensates for the degra- 
dation or disappearance of the ancient handicrafts of the 
country. That the movement in both directions has not 
been much more pronounced than is actually the case is 
a matter for surprise. That the Indian hand-loom weaver, 
though hard pressed, still survives the competition of the 
power loom, that the Indian metal-worker holds his own 
against the productions of English and continental hollow 
ware-makers, that even the primitive methods of making 
gold lace still compete with the extraordinarily delicate 
and beautiful methods of Lyons, each and all indicate a 
surprising degree of tenacity on the part of the people of 
this country to maintain their primitive methods and 
hereditary occupations in the face of militant Western 
commercialism. Except in the cotton trade of Bombay 
the present industrial situation is the outcome of Western 
energy and Eastern inertia. 

Education has at last become sufficiently diffused to 
set in motion new forces, to produce new desires and, in 
fact, ta develop a not inconsiderable amount of kinetic 
14 



106 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

energy which, from lack of experience and knowledge, is 
being expended in fruitless efforts which can only generate 
friction and heat. 

I propose to briefly review the situation and to 
enumerate some of the economic, as apart from the social, 
reasons why more has not been accomplished. Before 
the modern era of industrialism India was practically self- 
supporting and when trade sprang up between the East 
and the West, it was largely an export trade from India 
in manufactured goods in exchange for precious metals. 
The position was then the reverse of what it is now, save 
that then, as now, the carrying trade was in the hands of 
enterprising foreigners and the profits were proportionate 
to the risks, which in those days were very considerable. 
Transportation was expensive and the merchants grew 
rich. With the growth of the modern factory system a 
vast change has taken place, which has been accelerated 
and accentuated by the reduced cost of seaborne freight, 
the whole advantage of which has been reaped by India, 
since a much smaller percentage of the exports is now 
required to pay the cost of transportation. For a long time 
it was looked upon as natural, both in India and in England, 
that the raw products of the East should be exchanged for 
the manufactures of the West and it is on ly within the present 
generation that dissatisfaction with this condition of things 
has grown up and it is only recently that it has developed 
the intensity which is expressed by the Swadeshi move- 
ment. 

The establishment of the Pax Britannica, at the begin- 
ing of the sixties, inaugurated a new era in India, and during 
the last 50 years there has been an immense amount of 
material progress. The population has increased by more 
than about 50 per cent, or from an estimate of about 200 
millionsin 1861 to upwards of 315 millions in 1911. The 



AGRICULTURE AND INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT 107 

external trade has in this same period increased over 270 per 
cent., from Rs. 4-4-0 per head to Rs. 11-8-0 per head. The 
improvement of agriculture is the line along which action 
is at the present time proceeding with the greatest possible 
energy and there is not the least doubt that it will be pro- 
ductive of immense development. Population is however 
growing very rapidly and may be expected to absorb 
a very large proportion of the extra food supplies 
so that, unless there be a material increase in the number 
of people employed in other than agricultural pursuits or 
a very large increase in the efficiency of those now en- 
gaged in such pursuits, there is not likely to be any rapid 
growth in the wealth of individuals. To secure increased 
efficiency of labour is, therefore, an object of paramount 
importance and this can be accomplished by education, 
by industrial development and by the scientific application 
of capital to the exploration of natural resources. 

It is only in recent years that it has become urgent 
to take steps to create new fields for the employ- 
ment of Indian brains and Indian labour, and even now 
it is mainly employment for the former that is a matter 
of urgency. There is no visible surplus of labour nor 
is there any prospect of such a surplus till new and 
more economic methods of employing labour are 
introduced on a very extensive scale and its efficiency 
so increased that part of it becomes available for new 
fields of activity. It is recognised that the standard of liv- 
ing among the labouring classes is much too low and it is 
equally recognised that there is but little prospect of im- 
provement in this direction so long as the demand for Indian 
labour does not force the employers of labour to devote 
their attention to increasing the efficiency of such labour. 
Under the laissez faire policy which has dominated British 
administration, both in England and India, for the last 



108 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

sixty years, great commerical interests have grown up in 
England dependent upon the Indian market and the 
country has been systematically exploited by British 
manufacturer with the acquiescence, if not the approval; 
of the intellectual classes in India. The Government has 
looked with a friendly eye upon the ryot toiling in his 
field, but has treated with indifference the artisan labor- 
iously fabricating the products of his skill by the primitive 
processes of his forefathers. 

The administration of India under the Crown inherit- 
ed to some extent the traditions of the old East India Com- 
pany and treated with no great regard the European capi- 
talist who endeavoured to establish manufactures in India. 
He was hampered by regulations, throttled by Railway 
freights and subjected to unsympathetic treatment through- 
out, with the result that there has not been the same energy 
employed in finding fields for industrial capital in India 
which has been exhibited in other parts of the world, by no 
means so favourably situated in respect to the primary re- 
quisites for industrial progress. A more liberal policy is now 
pursued but the old reputation remains and there is still a 
strong feeling that the British merchant rather than the 
British manufacturer is wanted in India. In certain direc- 
tions the conditions have been so favourable that, even 
without official help, progress has been made, notably in 
Bombay which received a great impetus from the cotton 
famine of 1861-65 and was further assisted by the opening 
of the Suez Canal and the construction of the great rail- 
way nexus which has made it the chief commercial port 
of India. On the other side of the Peninsula the jute 
monopoly, the opening up of the Bengal coal fields arid 
the extraordinary expansion of tea planting have ma^ 
terially contributed to make Calcutta, naturally the outlet 
of a vast hinterland, into one oi the chief commercial 



AGRICULTURE AND INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT 109 

cities of the Empire. On the whole, though little has 
been accomplished Indian industries have not been 
neglected by the private merchant and now that attention is 
forcibly drawn to them, the difficulties surrounding the 
inception of new enterprises are perceived to be very for- 
midable and sufficient to deter European capitalists from 
taking them up. If this be so, how can it be expected 
that inexperienced Indians, will succeed where Europeans 
have failed, or, at any rate, have been deterred. Never- 
theless something must be done and there are certain 
favourable influences at work which, in course of time, 
will operate very powerfully, though hitherto they have 
not been of much account. 

The reorganization of credit consequent upon the 
development of Co-operative Credit Associations will re- 
duce the rates of usury and the money lenders and native 
bankers will be unable to offer such attractive terms to 
depositors as they have hitherto done, and, by degrees, 
small capitalists, finding land to yield too small a return 
upon the money invested in it, will begin to look at in- 
dustrial ventures as outlets for the investment of their 
capital. The pressure of unemployment will drive edu- 
cated Indians to embark on industrial work for less 
remuneration than would content Europeans of similar 
qualifications and Indian capital will perforce flow in dir- 
ections which hitherto it has shunned. With help and 
guidance, for which he must probably look to Govern- 
ment, the small Indian capitalist should find a natural 
outlet for his energies and his funds in placing the indi- 
genous industries of the country on an organised basis. 
From these small beginnings experience and knowledge 
will be gained which will be applied to more ambitious 
undertakings later on. The French have a oroverb, c'est le 
premier pas qui coutt, and the greatest difficulty which 



110 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

has been experienced in the past, and which is likely to 
continue to prove a serious obstacle to progress 
in the future, is the pioneer work which has to be done. 
To start a new manufacture in India or to introduce im- 
provements into one already existing calls for an outlay 
of capital, the bulk of which will be expended in pioneer 
work, and inmost cases it will be impossible to recover 
this outlay without some kind of monopoly which will 
ensure time for the enjoyment of something more than 
the normal rate of profit which may be expected in settled 
industries. Where a patent can be obtained this difficulty 
vanishes, but usually patents are not obtainable as the 
processes are well-known and the special elements of risk 
in India are the adaptation of known processes to local con- 
ditions in respect to labour, raw materials, markets and, in 
some instances, climate. Examples of the latter may be 
found in tanning and glass-making where, in the former, 
the heat affects the raw material and in the latter the health 
of the operatives. 

Modern manufacture is now so highly specialised that 
the whole Indian market is, in many instances, insufficient 
to keep a single properly equipped factory going and, in 
many cases, owing to the cost of transport, markets are re- 
stricted at most to a single Province. The cost of internal 
transport from a single centre in India is often much 
higher than the freights from Europe to the various Indian 
ports, as these are abnormally low owing to the inequality 
between the bulk and weight of the merchandise brought 
into India and that taken away. 

The inception of a new enterprise in India generally 
involves a long and costly preliminary investigation, the 
results of which, when carried into practice, can no lon- 
ger be concealed. It frequently necessitates the special 
training of workmen over whom no permanent hold can 



AGRICULTURE AND INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPM KNT 111 

be retained. Should any measure of success be met 
with, the pioneer instead of being able to enjoy the fruit 
of his labour is confronted at once with competitors who 
do not scruple to avail themselves of his work and his 
workmen. 

A great obstacle to the success, and consequently a 
deterrent, of industrial enterprise is the absence of subsidi- 
ary or allied industries. Thus cotton spinning in Bombay 
suffers greatly in comparison with Lancashire from the 
absence of great engineering works devoted to the cotton 
trade and the Indian spinner is at a disadvantage from the 
fact that his base of operations is 7,000 miles away. The 
gradual growth of enterprise will to some extent remedy 
matters in this respect, but a country in which manufac- 
turing enterprise must always be of a partial character 
can never wholly hope to overcome this difficulty. 

Industrial operations in India, connected with the 
manufacture of the locally grown raw produce, suffer from 
the fact that the plant can only be kept going during the 
time the season's crop is coming in, or a big capital outlay 
of a very speculative character is necessary to purchase 
a sufficient amount of material to ensure continuity of 
operations throughout the year. Competition with indus- 
trial centres which can draw on the whole world for 
supplies and can obtain them at intervals throughout the 
whole year is, therefore, out of the question. It is for this 
reason that India can never hope to export flour or oil, 
but must always be content to dispose of its surplus wheat 
and surplus oil-seeds just as the crop comes from the ryot's 
hands. Further, in respect to oil- seeds the raw material 
is easily transported, but the manufactured product 
requires to be carefully packed in drums or casks and 
the freight on the same, owing to the extra storage 
space required and the more careful handling necessary, is 



112 



INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 



considerably greater. Again the wealthy countries of the 
West are much better markets, owing to the higher 
standard of agricultural practice, for; such bye-products 
as bran, offal and oil cake. 

The high quality of many modern products is often 
due to the fact that, they are produced by blending the 
raw materials from a variety of sources and, in the infant 
stages of Indian industry, it is obviously impossible to 
create the organisation necessary to obtain suitable supplies 
of raw material. Here it is all approximately of one class 
and 50 years of steady progress in the cotton trade have 
not sufficed to develop, to any considerable extent, the 
importation of raw materials of higher quality from other 
parts of the world. Lancashire, on the other hand, draws 
its supplies from every part of the world, and can without 
difficulty obtain exactly the raw material it requires to 
produce a specified class of yarn. 

These are some of the disabilities under which India 
suffers in comparison with the manufacturing nations of 
Europe, and to a large extent, they account for the 
disinclination of capitalists to encourage manufacturing 
enterprise in India. The force of some will be weakened 
as local enterprise grows stronger, but those that are due 
to geographical position can hardly be remedied. 



CHAPTER V 

INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISE 

I 

MADRAS TRADE RETURNS 

THE statistical records published by Government in 
various departments throw a good deal of light upon the 
development of Indian resources and I propose to ex- 
amine some of the records of the past ten years to 
ascertain not only the amount of material progress made 
in this Presidency so far as it can be expressed in figures 
but also to discover, if possible, the trend of the economic 
expansion which is undoubtedly going on. The first decade 
of the twentieth century has been marked by great activity 
in many directions and has culminated in a readjustment 
of the relations between the rulers and the ruled, in which 
the latter henceforth participate to a much greater extent 
than ever before in the control and direction of their own 
internal affairs. The spread of education and the conse- 
quent intellectual development of the people is in the main 
responsible for this change, and there is now a rapidly 
growing surplus of educated men for whom employment 
cannot be found in the ordinarily recognised channels. 
They must create new fields for themselves and their efforts 
so far have not met with any great measure of success ; 
there has therefore gradually grown up throughout the 

15 



114 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

country a strong feeling that Government should drop 
the laissez faire policy of the Victorian school of 
economics in favour of an active participation on 
the part of the State in industrial development. 

That no narrow view of the functions of the State has 
prevailed in the past the railways and the irrigation canals 
provide ample evidence. They are responsible to a large 
extent for such material progress as has been made and the 
people, recognising the success which has thereby been 
achieved, and aware of their own weakness in the face of 
Western industrialism, are asking for assistance to develop 
their own resources and meet the competition to which a 
free trade policy exposes their initial attempts at manu- 
facture on modern lines. There is a strong feeling 
throughout the country that the only remedy is a fiscal 
policy of an avowedly protective character, but such 
a policy is hardly likely to achieve the object aimed 

at, The State has done much for agriculture and contem- 
plates doing even more ; it has done little for other forms 
of industry and there are powerful interests opposed to 
any change. In lieu of protective duties, which there is 
but little hope the Home Government will allow, I am 
strongly in favour of an energetic educational and indus- 
trial policy having for its object the fostering of industrial 
enterprise and the diversion of a fair proportion of' the 
intellect of the country from non-productive to directly 
productive occupations. That India should remain 
almost entirely dependent upon agriculture no one can 
reasonably contend to be desirable and yet such is 
unquestionably the effect of the present policy of masterly 
inactivity in regard to technical and industrial education. 
The development of private enterprise in Bombay and 
Calcutta masks to some extent the inactivity of the rest of 
India and it is for this reason desirable that the statistics 



INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISE 115 

relating to the Madras Presidency should be examined 
apart from those relating to the rest of India. 

From the " Season and Crop Reports" issued by the 
Board of Revenue it appears that the average total area 
under cultivation in Government and Inam lands during 
the five years ending 1900-01 was 27*048 million acres and 
that in 1901-02 it was 28*423 million acres, whilst in 
1909-10 the area had risen to 36*358 million acres ; that is 
to say, in eight years the increase in total cultivated area 
amounted to 28*2 per cent. In respect to irrigation the 
figures for 1901-02 are 6*135 million acres, and for 1909-10 
they are 9*276 million acres, or an increase of 51 per cent. 
Possibly this large increase in the area under cultivation 
explains the growing cry which comes from all parts of the 
country regarding the scarcity of labour. During the period 
under review it is true that the population has materially 
increased but the area of land under cultivation has increas- 
ed even more rapidly. At the same time the percentage of 
food grains (cereals and pulses) has fallen from 80*5 to 79 
per cent, but this is a much smaller decrease than is current- 
ly believed to have taken place. The increase in the area un- 
der rice cultivation has been as much as 44 per cent, whilst 
the increase in the area under cotton and oil seeds has 
only been 30*7 and 23 f 4 percent respectively. It is evident 
therefore that so far as the Madras Presidency is concerned 
there has been no serious movement in favour of 
the cultivation of industrial, in place of food crops. 
In regard to agricultural stock a quinquennial estimate is 
framed, and comparing that published in 1899-1900 with 
the statement issued ten years later, it appears that the 
number of mature cattle has increased from 10*671 mil- 
lions to 14*615 millions, or by 37 per cent. That is to say, 
cattle have increased in number faster than the area under 
cultivation, but it is doubtful if this is a matter tor 



116 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

congratulation as there has been no improvement in the 
quality of the live stock. Experienced agriculturists are 
generally of opinion that there are far too many cattle 
already upon the land and that a diminution in their num- 
bers accompanied by a marked improvement in quality 
would be of immense benefit. 

In respect to the internal trade of the Presidency no 
statistics are available, but it is reasonable to assume that 
the same is developing since the internal rail borne traffic 
has enormously increased. For the external trade of the 
Presidency very complete statistical information is publish- 
ed every year and from the returns for foreign trade, for 
coasting trade and for rail borne traffic across the fron- 
tiers much useful information may be gathered. The 
following table shows the total volume of trade during 
each of the last 10 years and includes 

(1) Foreign merchandise imported or exported 
direct. 

(2) Products of India and foreign merchandise im- 
ported or exported coastwise. 

(3) Rail borne traffic exported or imported across 
the frontiers. 

The figures under (2) however unfortunately include 
coastal movements of merchandise between ports in the 
Presidency. These items should balance one another, as 
the coastal exports of one port are registered as the imports 
of another. They therefore do not influence the figures 
for the balance of trade and they form so small a portion 
of the totals that their inclusion is in no way likely to lead 
to false deductions. 



INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISE 



117 



Year. 


Total imports 
in lakhs, ex- 
cluding trea- 
sure. 


Total exports 
in lakhs, ex- 
cluding trea- 
sure. 


Excess of ex- 
port over im- 
ports in lakhs 
excluding trea- 
sure. 


1900-01... 


2146 


2472 


326 


1901-02... 


2118 


2247 


129 


1902-03... 


1819 


2451 


632 


1903-04... 


1943 


2628 


685 


1904-05... 


2283 


2675 


392 


1905-06... 


2494 


2866 


372 


1906-07... 


2770 


3113 


343 


1907-08... 


2817 


3325 


508 


1908-09... 


3019 


3300 


281 


1909-10... 


3022 


3336 


314 



It will be conceded that the figures in the above 
table are a record of steady progress, but it will be 
necessary to go into details to ascertain the direc- 
tions in which that progress has been made. During the 
first five years of the period under review foreign exports 
amounted to 6,658 lakhs and during the second five 
years to 8,963 lakhs, an increase of 2,305 lakhs. For this 
increase the following items are mainly responsible. 

Hides and skins ... 500 lakhs. 

Yarns and textiles ... 64 do. 

Articles of food and drink ... 740 do. 

Cotton ... 401 do. 

Oilseeds ... 301 do. 

"Articles of Food and Drink" of the exports of tea 
are the most important, having increased from 32 lakhs 
in 1900-01 to nearly 116 lakhs in 1909-10. 

Through Madras ports, however, a good deal of the 
trade of Hyderabad and Mysore passes and a large 



118 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

deduction has to be made from Madras figures on this 
account. For instance, thel average net imports by rail 
from 1906 to 1910 exceeded those from 1901 to 1906 
for the following items by the amounts specified. 

Hides and skins ... 259 lakhs. 

Yarns and textiles ... 268 do. 

Cereals and pulses ... 441 do. 

Cotton ... 49 do. 

Oilseeds ... 171 do. 

Turning to the coastwise trade, the imports and 
exports for the quinquennium ending 1904-05 amounted 
to 2,426 lakhs and 2,459 lakhs respectively, whilst for the 
quinquennium ending 1909-10 the figures are 3,330 lakhs 
and 2,718 lakhs respectively. The rapid growth of the 
import trade as compared with the export trade is 
noteworthy and is mainly accounted for by the following 
items. 

Cereals and puJses ... 660 lakhs. 

Mineral oil ... 187 do. 

Teak wood ... 69 do. 

The principle items of increase in the export trade 
are- 
Oil seeds ... 138 lakhs. 
Cereals and pulses ... 28 do. 
Yarns and textiles ... 26 do. 

From the figures in detail for foreign imports into the 
Presidency, no evidence can be obtained to show that in 
the matter of manufactures there is any falling off in depen- 
dence upon Europe. During the first quinquennium the 
total imports were valued, at 3,751 lakhs and, during the 
second quinquennium at 4,810 lakhs, the increase being 



INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISE 119 

1059 lakhs made up chiefly as follows. 

Yarns and textiles ... 365 lakhs. 

Metals and hardware ... 177 do. 

Machinery ... 71 do. 

Railway plant ... 93 do. 

Apparel ... 42 do. 

Provisions ... 25 do. 

Sugar ... 35 do. 

Glass \ ... 24 do. 

Scientific apparatus ... 28 do. 

Matches ... 20 do. 

Paper ... 22 do. 

Chemicals ... 18 do. 

Total 920 do. 

This conclusion is substantiated by the industrial 
statistics regarding factories, mills and mines complied in 
the office of the Director-General of Commerical Intelli- 
gence, Calcutta. From the latest published figures 
it would appear that in 1904 there were in the Madras 
Presidency 132 factories worked with steam power and 
employing 45,019 hands, whilst in 1908 the number of 
factories had increased to 224, or by 70 per cent, but the 
number of operatives employed was only 58,531, an in- 
crease of 30 per cent. Of these new factories, 29 were 
rice mills, 26 ginning factories, 13 tile factories and 4 oil 
mills,all of which belong to a primitive type of industrialism. 
The textile industries have made some, but not much, pro- 
gress during the decade. In 1899-00 the outturn of yarn 
was 32,252,000 Ibs., and in 1908-09 it was 39,635,000 Ibs. 
an increase of 22' 8 percent. For woven goods the 
figures of the corresponding years are 6,940,000 Ibs. and 
7,597,000 Ibs. an increase of only 9*5 per cent. 

The consumption of coal is a measure of commercial 



120 



INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 



activity and from the trade returns it is possible to obtain 
the figures for Madras after deducting the rail borne ex- 
ports which" chiefly go to Mysore. The following tabular 
statement gives the details for each year of the period : 





Imports by sea. 


Rail 


Total 


Year. 


Indian 
Tons. 


Foreign. 
Tons. 


Borne 
Imports. 


Tons. 


1900-01* ... 


215,656 


5,423 


16,231 


203,848 


1901-02 ... 


241,266 


3,403 


31,433 


276,099 


1902-03 ... 


187,027 


4,062 


17,355 


208,444 


1903-04* ... 


241,296 


4,509 


15,507 


230,298 


1904-05 ... 


313,578 1 


6,730 


17,471 


337,779 


1905-06 ... 


182,72) 


4,698 


143,584 


331,002 


1906-07 ... 


284,767 


9,813 


64,361 


358,941 


1907-08 ... 


378,655 


22,964 


25,049 


425,968 


1908-09 ... 


382,425 


30,192 


104,578 


517,172 


1909-10 ... 


305,968 


39,845 


186,678 


532,491 


Total ... 


2,732,358 


130,913 


558,771 


3,422,042 



It will be noticed that the consumption of coal has rapidly 
increased, and this is in the main due (1) to the substitution 
of coal for woed as a fuel and (2) to the increased demand 
for locomotive fuel consequent upon the very considerable 
expansion of railway traffic. For industrial purposes there 
is no evidence of an increased consumption of coal for 
generating power. Small steam engines have to a 'large 
extent been superseded by internal combustion engines 
using either gas generated from charcoal or mineral oils 
and petroleum residues. The increase in the imports of 
foreign coal is due to consignments from Australia and 
Natal and may be taken as evidence of the weakness of the 
Bengal export trade in coal. 

This examination of the trade returns suggests the 
conclusion that the increase in the area of land under 
* In these two years the exports by rail exceed the imports. 



INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISE 121 

occupation and that the increase in the irrigated area are the 
two main factors which account for the progress of the 
last ten years. Of any industrial growth they reveal but 
traces and one is therefore compelled to rely on personal 
knowledge of what is going on throughout the country to 
formulate any general statements regarding the trend of 
industrial movements in Madras. A review of this infor- 
mation leads to the conclusion that European enterprise is 
stagnating, that organised indigenous effort is making little 
progress, but that there is a distinct tendency to an increa- 
sed efficiency in individual undertakings. The diffusion 
of education, the Swadeshi movement, the work of the late 
Deparment of Industries and all the State aid afforded to 
Industrialism connoted by that deparment has led to a 
better appreciation of modern methods of working and to 
the use of modern tools in a small way. I n this connection 
attention may be drawn to the not insignificant increase 
during the last five years of imports due to the growth of 
enterprise in the Presidency. 

Machinery .. ... 71 lakhs. 

Scientific apparatus ... 28 do 
Chemicals ... ... 18 do 

The general tendency may be indicated by the suc- 
cess which has attended the efforts to popularize the use 
of the fly-shuttle loom, to the growing demand for what 
may be termed rural factories, in which machinery driven 
by oil engines replaces the primitive labour of men and 
cattle, and to the enormous increase in and the more intel- 
ligent use of the coal tar dyes. By the development of 
agriculture, by the growth of improved industrial crops 
and by the extension of irrigation wealth has increased, 
and among the wealthier classes there has been a general 
elevation in the standard of luxury and convenience in 
modes of living. The general rise in price of agricultural 

16 



122 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

produce has brought increased prosperity to the land 
owning classes and the condition of the landless labourer 
has also improved consequent upon the fact that he is 
not tied to the soil, that he can move freely about the 
country, seeking a market for his labour where it is most 
in demandand emigrating from the country to foreign plant- 
ations where his labour commands high wages. New 
ideas are slowly permeating the mass of the population 
and the economic pressure due to improved means 
of communication with the rest of the world is bringing 
about a change in methods of production which may be- 
come of vast importance later on. There is ample evidence 
to show that labour is now too expensive to neglect 
labour-saving machinery and the immediate need of the 
future is the development of credit. The agricultural re- 
sources are immense, but the lack of credit is a serious 
obstacle to improvement and there is no direction in which 
the efforts of Government can be more wisely extended 
than inthecreation of a sound system of agricultural finance. 
The movement in favour of Co-operative Credit Societies is 
a step in the right direction and it requires to be supplement- 
ed by efforts to establish co-operative working with the 
village as a unit. Village irrigation works and the village 
agricultural factory springing from a village Co-operative 
Credit Society are possibly dreams of a distant future, but 
the present condition of the people in this Presidency 
indicates that their realization would be attended with 
very Jiiaterial benefits. 

II 

INDUSTRIAL NOTES THE GODAVERI AND KISTNA 
DELTAS 

The irrigated area in these two deltas now amounts 
to over li million acres, mainly devoted to the cultivation 



INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISE 123 

of paddy, of which about one million tons valued at more 
than 5 crores of rupees is raised annually. Formerly nearly 
the whole of this crop was exported as paddy, but now 
a very large number of mills have been established and a 
large proportion, exactly how much I do not know, is clean- 
ed and converted into rice before it is sent away. Some- 
times the paddy is boiled before treatment in the mill when 
what is known as ' boiled rice' is the final production ; in 
other cases it is passed straight into the mill leading to the 
production of what is locally known as 'raw rice'. The 
earlier mills that were established in the towns generally 
consisted of two or three self-contained machines driven 
by an oil engine. In Bezwada there are 19 such small 
factories in existence, but apparently they find it difficult 
to compete with the larger and better equipped plants 
which have been started during the last year or two and 
which are to be found scattered all over these deltas. These 
earlier plants were very crudely installed and many of 
them are driven by oil engines, which use kerosine 
oil instead of liquid fuel, with the result that the running 
expenses are thereby very considerably enhanced. The 
most recent type of mill is driven by steam, furnished by 
boilers fitted with furnaces capable of burning the paddy 
husk and that commodity, which was formerly looked 
upon as waste product, is now in considerable demand for 
steam raising purposes. 

The new rice mills are not attractive looking factories 
being invariably constructed of sheets of galvanised cor- 
rugated iron and, to say the least, they are not an ornament 
to the landscape. They are practically all built on the 
same plan and the machinery used for hulling the rice 
differs only in detail in different factories. Where the 
paddy is first boiled, there are a number O:f iron kettles for 
this purpose, into which steam can be passed and there 



124 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

is usually a large area of cemented floor on which the 
paddy can be subsequently spread to dry in the sun. 
When the paddy goes into the mill proper, it is passed 
over reciprocating sieves to remove stones, sticks 
and other foreign matter, and in some cases fans are 
used to draw a current of air through the layer of 
paddy which removes the dust. After this preliminary 
cleaning process, it is elevated to bins placed over 
the shellers or hullers. These invariably consist of discs 
of cast iron faced with cement mainly composed of 
emery. The paddy is fed through the eye of the upper 
disc, the lower being the runner. The action of these 
disc separates the outer coat or husk from the interior of 
the berry formed by the rice grains. A certain percentage 
of the paddy passes through without being husked and 
screens are necessary to remove the unhusked grains 
which are passed through the huller again. The brown 
rice from the huller is passed into a machine consisting of 
a conical drum mounted on a vertical spindle running at a 
high velocity. The drum is faced with emery and 
surrounded by a casing lined with steel wire cloth. The 
rice enters at the top and the space between the cone and 
the casing is adjusted to secure a sufficient rubbing action 
to deliver clean rice at the outlet from the machine. 
Where a fine quality of rice is required it is passed through 
a similar polishing machine, the cone being covered with 
sheep skin instead of emery. A polishing action is there- 
by secured which greatly improves the appearance of the 
rice. 

The number of these factories is steadily increasing 
and already there appears to be considerable competition 
to obtain supplies of paddy. The ryots benefit by this, 
but it is doubtful if the managers of these rice mills are 
sufficiently versed in the fluctuations of market prices to 



INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISE 125 

conduct their business on altogether sound lines. The 
earlier mills were very profitable to their owners, but it is 
reported at the present time that competition has already 
greatly reduced the profits that can be earned by rice 
milling. The capital invested in these mills amounts, in 
the aggregate, to a very large sum, but the fixed charges 
of each individual plant are by no means a heavy burden 
and when prices are unfavourable they can shut down 
and wait for better times. There is, of course, nothing in 
this part of the country that can compare in size with 
the large rice mills in Rangoon, but even over there the 
small man is able to hold his own against the mammoth 
concern, owing to the fact that he is not always bound to 
be running and that he need not run at a loss. 

The high prices which have been realised for paddy 
during the past few years have rendered its cultivation 
very profitable and there has consequently been a rapid 
extension in the area under the delta canals. Large tracts 
of land, however, are at too high a level to be commanded 
by the canals and flow irrigation is not possible. There 
is also a large area of low lying land at the tail end of the 
irrigation channels, to which a supply cannot be given 
from the canals because it is all utilised before it reaches 
these tail ends, and in the Kistna Delta, at any rate, it is 
deemed inadvisable to provide specially for these lands as 
the area under irrigation is already nearly as much as the 
river in its natural condition can supply. In the Kollair 
Lake, which is an unfilled depression between the two 
deltas, and in the drains, both natural and artificial, by 
which the surplus water of'the delta is removed, there is 
usually throughout the irrigation season an abundant 
supply of water, but both in the lake and in the drains it 
will be necessary to lift the water several feet to enable it 
to flow over the land. 



126 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

Nineteen years ago I started the first steam pumping 
station at Mattugunta on the banks of the Upputeru and in 
the following year a second one was started at Kollita Kota 
Lanka in the Kollair lake by a Guntur firm. Still later an 
experimental pumping station was established on the Divi 
Island which ultimately resulted in the Divi Island Pump- 
ing Project, which has now been at work so success- 
fully for the last 4 or 5 years. This irrigation pumping 
scheme is the largest in the world of its kind, but I 
do not now propose to describe it as these notes are 
only intended to refer to private enterprise. The steam 
engines and pumps erected on the Kollair Lake did not 
prove a brilliant success and when the superior merits of 
oil engines as a source of motive power were demonstrated, 
it was not long before the riparian owners round Kollair 
began to utilise them for the irrigation of their lands, 
At the present time there are 13 installations in the Kollair 
Lake, of which only one is driven by steam. The oil 
engines aggregate 290 horse power and the area under ir- 
rigation is 3,000 acres. In no case is the lift more than 
a few feet. The majority of the installations are badly 
designed, the principal defect being that nearly all the 
engines are much larger than is necessary for the work to 
be done and most of them are old patterns which do not 
work with anything like the economy obtainable with 
engines of later construction. Amateur engineering is 
very much in evidence, and the remodelling of these 
pumping stations would lead to a very considerable econo- 
my in working expenses. 

The canals taking off from above the anicuts at Bez- 
wadaand Dowleshwaram run for a considerable distance in 
deep cuttings, and it is only some miles from their heads 
that direct irrigation becomes possible. It is further to be 
noted that the high level canals bounding the edges of the 



INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISE 127 

delta irrigate but a small tract on the side away from the 
delta, as on this side the land slopes towards the canal. 
Some of these lands are veFy fertile, others are saline and 
waste and the success of irrigation by pumping has led 
to several combinations of ryots who have obtained 
permission to pump water from the Government canals. 
In the Kistna district there are at present four installations 
which are allowed to take water from the canals for an 
area of 1,800 acres. The Atmakur installation was the first 
put down and may be taken as typical. The water has to 
be lifted 7 or 8 feet and the area originally sanctioned was 
500 acres. The motive power consisted of two 12 H. 
P. Hornsby engines, driving two 10" centrifugal pumps. 
Subsequently permission was given lo extend the area to 
800 acres and this year we have installed a 28 B. H. P 
engine and a 14" Rees Roturbo pump. The ryots, 
for these earlier installations, have been permitted 
to take water, paying only baling rates for the same, but 
in future it is quite certain that if any further extension of 
this kind of irrigation is found feasible the full water rates 
will be charged. The total cost of pumping is probably 
from Rs. 10 to Rs. 12 per acre and the keenness with which 
ryots are prepared to take water for pumps is evidence of 
the extreme value of the same. 

I have already mentioned the possibility of pumping 
from drains and reference may be made to the enter, 
prise of Mr. K. Hanumantha Row of Masulipatam who 
has devoted himself to reclaiming large tracts of land. He 
has at present three pumping stations at work and a fourth, 
consisting of a 40 H. P. Crossley Suction gas plant and ga s 
engine, driving a 12" and a 10" Rees Roturbo pump, is now 
under erection and when complete will lift enough water 
from the Dyyappa Kalava to irrigate about 450 acres of 
land. Another installation of a similar character but 



128 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

somewhat smaller is being erected for the Zemindar of 
Devarakota. So far I have dealt with completed projects for 
irrigating by pumping, but there are several other proposals 
in the air some of which relate to very large areas and 
ultimately, especially in the Godaveri district, we may 
expect to see a great development of irrigation by pumping. 

In the upland tracts of these districts there is, in many 
cases, so short a supply of water that difficulty is experien- 
ced in getting even enough for domestic purposes. Recently 
a considerable number of borings have been put down at 
the bottom of existing wells and some of these have tap- 
ped fair supplies of water which have proved a great con. 
venience to the villagers. Applications for borings are 
therefore very numerous. The Zemindar of Devarakota 
has recently purchased a steam drilling set and is now 
engaged in making borings at Sivagunga, near Masuli- 
patam. At the time of my visit the bore-hole had reached 
to a depth of 250ft. and several abundant supplies of water 
had already been tapped at various levels, but unfortunately 
in each case the water was brackish. With increasing 
depth the quality of water has, however, improved, and it 
is hoped that at a still greater depth a supply of suitable 
water may be obtained. The drill was an expensive 
tool as it cost about Rs. 7,000, but it has proved an ex- 
tremely effective instrument having already penetrated 
more than 50 ft. below the maximum depth that was ever 
reached by hand tools in the neighbourhood, 

Turning to purely industrial matters, the Zaraindar of 
Polavaram has erected a saw mill and a small ginning 
factory at Cocanada driven by a 36 H. P. oil engine and 
he assures me that it is turning out a very profitable invest- 
ment, though from some mistake in the original calcula- 
tions it has proved impracticable to work both the saw 
mill and the gins at the same time. 



INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISE 129 

The most remarkable industrial development in these 
I districts is, however, that of the aluminium industry in 
I Rajahmundry. There is no particular reason why the 
industry should be located there and its successful establish- 
ment is entirely due to the enterprise of the people in that 
town.. It originated after the Cocanada Exhibition held 
about 10 years ago when great interest was displayed in 
the exhibits of the then Government Aluminium Depart- 
ment. At the present time there are at Rajahmundry be- 
tween 20 and 30 small factories employing about 
600 men and turning out goods worth several lakhs 
of rupees a year. The recent fall in the price of 
^ aluminium has given the business a great impetus 
and as the metal is now much cheaper than brass 
it is commonly used by even the poorest classes of 
the community. All the work is done by hand, and though 
the articles are roughly made they are very serviceable. 
Detailed inquiry shows that though the industry has grown 
very rapidly during the last two years, the profits to owners 
of factories are comparatively small, as through excessive 
competition amongst themselves to get new business 
they have cut down the prices to a level which leaves them 
an exceedingly small margin of profit. To remedy matters 
they have had recourse to purchasing supplies of continent- 
al metal of a lower standard of purity than experi- 
ence has shown to be desirable. Aluminium cook- 
ing pots in India should be of the highest standard of purity 
commercially procurable so that they may withstand for a 
reasonable time the corroding effects of the acid and 
saline food-stuffs common amongst people. If the Rajah- 
mundry utensils exhibit an undue tendency to 
corrode the demand for them will rapidly fall off and their 
business will suffer. The Indian Aluminium Company 
have, however, taken the matter up and are arranging for 

17 



130 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

large supplies of the best metal to be available on very 
favourable terms. Apparently it is their policy to regard 
the Rajahmundry factories as coadjutors rather than 
rivals. They are serving to spread a knowledge of the 
metal and its valuable properties throughout the country, 
which I think cannot but tend to increase the demand for 
their own more varied and better finished manufactures. 
Judging from the extensive use to which Aluminium 
is now put in the Deltas and the Northern Circars, 
the prospects of the industry are of an extremely 
rosy character and it seems likely that within a 
few years : the demand for the metal in India will be 
so large as to fully justify the establishment of works in 
the country for its manufacture from the abundant 
supplies of suitable ore which, the Geological Department 
state, exist in various parts of the country. 

It has naturally been impossible in these notes to go 
into any detail and they will have served their purpose, if 
they create an impression that in these districts there is 
a considerable amount of industrial activity, still of a pri- 
mitive type, but working on fairly sound lines and likely 
in the future to develop. The people are accumulating ex- 
perience, and although the nature of their environment will 
probably restrict their efforts to a large extent, progress and 
improvement will continue. The great danger to be faced 
is excessive competition; due to the restricted opportunities 
available, and it is important that every effort should be 
made to devise new outlets along which capital and 

enterprise can flow. 

Ill 

INDUSTRIAL NOTESMADURA 

Excluding Madras, Madura has the largest popula- 
tion and is probably the wealthiest town in this Presi- 
dency. In 1871 the population was returned as under 



INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISE 131 

52,000 and according to the recent census it is 132,699. 
The town is in a notoriously insanitary condition, largely 
due to overcrowding, as the population is growing very 
much faster than the number of houses. The recent 
epidemics of cholera and small pox are said to have car- 
ried off nearly 2,000 people. Whether this is an exag- 
geration or not, there is no doubt that the epidemics 
were very severe and point to the urgent necessity for 
improved methods of sanitation I mention these matters 
as a prelude to my notes upon the industries of the town, 
as the growth and development of industrial life must 
largely be affected by the surroundings in which it is 
carried on. 

The commercial prosperity which Madura now enjoys 
is largely due to the efforts of two men the late Col. 
Pennycuick, R. E., who brought the waters of the Periyar 
into the country to the immediate north of Madura and to 
Mr. L.K.Tulsiram, who introduced the modern methods of 
dyeing now carried on by so large a proportion of the 
population. The Periyar waters irrigate nearly 150,000 
acres and have enormously increased the resources of the 
district. The land was formerly dependent on a large num- 
ber of rain-fed and river-fed tanks, the supply to which 
was extremely precarious. All this has now been changed 
and with unfailing certainty the cultivators of the Periyar 
lands can rely upon receiving an ample supply of water 
soon after the burst of the South-west monsoon. Col. 
Pennycuick served for over 30 years in the Madras Presi- 
dency and the Periyar irrigation is a lasting monument not 
only to his engineering ability but also to his force of 
character and strength of will, for the inception of the work 
in the Travancore hills was a desperate struggle against 
adverse natural circumstances. Madura owes much to his 
genius and resource and it would be a graceful act on the 



INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

part of its citizens if they took steps to express their grati- 
tude in some permanent memorial. 

The part which Mr. Tulsiram has played in the indus- 
trial development of Madura is modestly described by him 
in a note which he submitted to the Industrial Conference 
at Ootacamund. He says : " The origin of the industry 
in Madura dates from the casual visit to Madura of a 
student of Professor T.K. Gajjar of Bombay, who explain- 
ed to me the method of dyeing cotton yarn with alizarine 
on a large scale. I then visited the dyeing laboratory of 
the Badische firm at Bombay and developed the industry." 
To what extent the industry has expanded in the last ten 
years may be gauged from the figures relating to the im- 
ports of alizarine into Tuticorin, the whole of which is used 
in the Madura dye works. In 1901-02 they were valued 
at Rs. 1,51,519 and in 1910-11 at Rs. 5,26,795. Besides 
alizarine, other dye-stuffs are now beginning to be used 
and for the dye trade of Madura about 2,000 bales of 
cotton, each weighing 400 ft>s., are required per month: that 
is to say, the annual production of dyed yarn now amounts 
to about 10 million pounds. It is exported to all parts of 
the Madras Presidency and in steadily increasing quanti- 
ties to places beyond the Presidency. The typical 
shade is a brownish red, not a particularly good colour, 
but one which suits the taste of the people. This indus- 
try is remarkable not only for its extremely rapid growth, 
but also for the fact that it is in the hands of a very large 
number of individual dyers, none of whom are working on 
a very large scale. It is an excellent example of indige- 
nous industry adapted to modern conditions. The dyers 
are by no means experts in their trade, but they know how 
to produce the particular shade required by the market. 
For some years past, the more intelligent among them 
h ave been asking for the provision of technical instruc- 



INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISE 133 

tion and it is now probable that, within a comparatively 
short time, a tinctorial laboratory and an experimental dye 
house will be established which will afford the chemical 
and technical knowledge which the dyers recognise they 
are in need of. 

At the present time there is only one spinning mill in 
Madura, but for many years past it has enjoyed a consider- 
able measure of prosperity, owing to the local demand for 
its yarn. The mill contains over 35,000 spindles and to it 
is now being added a second and much larger mill which, 
when it is complete, will be fitted with nearly 75,000 
spindles and the two together will probably provide em- 
ployment for between 5,000 and 6,000 hands. A small 
spinning mill to contain 3,000 spindles is also being erect- 
ed by a native of the town, Mr. S. Ramier, and it will be 
interesting to see whether he is able to make a commer- 
cial success on a small scale of an industry which is 
usually associated with big capitalists and a large output. 
The conditions are favourable for the experiment, but I 
am afraid there can be but little doubt about the result. 

Madura has long been celebrated as a great weaving 
centre and the industry to-day seems to have been but 
little affected by the competition of imported piece-goods. 
Both silk and cotton are extensively woven and the bulk 
of the production takes the form of solid bordered cloths, 
which cannot at present be woven in power looms. 
It is difficult to say how many looms are at work in the 
town. The Imperial Gazetteer states that the number 
is about 2,000, whilst the census returns of 1911 
show that there are over 16,400 persons engaged in the 
weaving of silk and cotton goods. In the manufacture 
of these bordered cloths large quantities of silk and 
gold thread are used. The latter is all imported from 
France. Formerly, it was a local industry and there 



INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

seems to be no reason, except lack of enterprise why 
under modern conditions it should not again be reviv- 
ed. One of the most interesting industrial sights of the 
town is the Meenakshi Weaving Factory where, in a large 
hall, about 150 looms have been erected, all of which are 
engaged on the manufacture of bordered cloths. Some 
years ago an enterprising weaver in the town introduced 
some important modifications into the method of arrang- 
ing the harness whereby the patterns along the borders 
are produced. His invention was patented and being of 
some practical value was largely taken up and used. An 
attempt to levy a royalty led to extended litigation which 
ended in the upholding of the patent, but it is doubtful if 
the unfortunate patentee has derived anything but worry 
and vexation from his attempts to develope the use of his 
invention. ; 

From these notes it will be seen that Madura is essen- 
tially a cotton town, the mill trade being in the hands of 
a European Company, but the dying and weaving trades 
entirely in the hands of the natives and run very success- 
fully on more or less indigenous lines. For many years 
past, the District Board maintained a fairly efficient indus- 
trial school, which, curiously enough, confined itself to 
work in wood and metal and entirely ignored the two 
great indigenous industries of the town. A year ago 'it was 
taken over by Government and a scheme is now under 
consideration for converting it into a really living technical 
and industrial institute, to be intimately associated with 
the industrial enterprise of the neighbourhood. 

The chief object of interest in Madura is the great tem- 
ple dedicated to the Goddess Meenakshi. The Devastanam 
Committee have recently sought our assistance in regard 
to the insanitary condition of the Pottamarai, or the 
Golden Lily tank, in which all the pilgrims bathe on 



INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISE 135 

festive occasions. The tank is of considerable area and 
deep enough to communicate with the water bearing sand 
that underlie Madura. We have installed a 24 H. P. gas 
engine and Suction Gas plant to drive a 6" centrifugal 
pump and daily the water level in the tank can be lowered 
from 2 to 3 feet a fresh supply of water coming in from 
the sands below. This constant renewal of the water will 
enable the temple authorities to keep the tank in a 
thoroughly satisfactory condition. The large volume of 
water removed daily will be used to irrigate the gardens 
round the temple and the surplus, if there is any, will be 
carried by an existing culvert to the Elukadal or Seven 
Seas tank. The pumping plant need be at work only for 
a few hours every day and it is proposed to utilise the 
available power in the evenings to drive an electric plant to 
light up the temple. The plant is not sufficient to effective- 
ly light up the whole place, but it will provide current for 
400 incandescent lamps, which will be a great improve- 
ment on the present system of oil lighting. 

In the development of Madura cheap motive power 
would be of great advantage as coal is expensive and 
though the forests of the district can be made to yield a 
large supply of firewood, yet, as the cost of bringing it 
into the town is considerable, they can never be regarded 
as an altogether satisfactory source of supply. Within 70 
miles there is available, during the irrigation season, a vast 
amount of water power at the outlet of the Periyar lake. 
By a comparatively slight modification of the principles 
upon which the water is at present distributed it would be 
possible to arrange for a perennial supply sufficient to 
yield 20,000 horse-power for twelve hours per day. The 
scheme has not yet been approved of by the irrigation 
authorities of the Government of India as they are reluctant 
to admit of any interference whatever with what they 



136 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

consider to be the paramount claims of irrigation. It is 
certainly however merely a matter of time before this 
valuable source of water power is made practical use of 
and if it is ultimately found feasible to arrange for a 
perennial flow of water from the lake it will enable Madura 
to be supplied with what is now an unduly costly item 
in any manufacturing operations carried on in the town. 

A subsidiary advantage attaching to any scheme for 
supplying Madura with power would be the perennial 
supply of water which would become available for the 
irrigation of such crops as sugarcane, which require water 
all the year round. A 20,000 horse-power scheme would 
also enable 20,000 acres of the Periyar irrigated tracts 
to be converted to sugarcane cultivation and this area 
would ultimately yield a much larger revenue and would 
be to the district a much greater source of wealth 
than it now is, while yielding only a single crop of paddy. 
The Periyar water is devoid of silt and carries no fertilizing 
material to the fields. It is consequently necessary to 
supply manure in large quantities. This is a source of 
great difficulty to the ryots and ultimately it is certain 
that they will be driven to the use of artificial manures. 
Possibly the electric energy which can be obtained from 
the Periyar water may be of assistance in solving this 
problem. There is no doubt that nitrate of lime could be, 
manufactured comparatively cheaply and in very large 
quantities, but it is doubtful if that alone will be sufficient 
to maintain a uniform standard of fertility in the Periyar 
tract. The manure question is one of great importance 
and well worthy of study by agriculturists and chemical 
engineers. 

During the last year or two much interest has been 
evoked by the remarkable success which has attended the 
cultivation of what is known as Cambodia cotton. With a 



INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISE 137 

slight amount of irrigation this species of cotton yields extra- 
ordinarily large crops and the bolls are of very high quality. 
Already thousands of bales have been put on the market 
and there is a demand in excess of any possible supply. 
Although the land in the immediate neighbourhood of 
Madura is not favourable for cotton cultivation it lies in 
the centre of an immense district in which this Cambodia 
cotton can be largely grown. The necessity for irrigation 
restricts the area under cultivation, but it will encourage 
the development of well irrigation and as the profits 
are extremely large it is probable that a diligent 
search for water will be made and that numerous 
small pumping plants will be installed to deal with sup- 
plies lying at a much greater depth than those which have 
hitherto been deemed of any practical value. 

The minor industries of Madura are in a flourishing 
state. There is enterprise in every direction and wages 
of late years have risen to abnormally high figures. With 
or without a supply of electric energy Madura bids fair to 
become a great industrial city and it behoves those who 
are responsible for Municipal administration to take long 
sighted views of the requirements of the town and to pro- 
vide for its expansion on sound and well considered lines. 

IV 

WELL IRRIGATION COIMBATORE. 

In the Season and Crop Report for 1908-09, I find it 
stated that in the Coimbatore District there are 75,290 
wells in repair and 8,670 wells out of repair and not 
used. From these wells water was obtained for the 
irrigation of 302,703 acres, which is equivalent to an 
average of 4 acres of irrigation under each well. It 
is a noteworthy fact that there are nearly as many 
wells in the South Arcot district, but they only irrigate 
19 



138 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

3,790 acres, or an average of 1*2 acres per well. Yet 
the average rainfall of the Coimbatore district is only 25*65 
inches against an average rainfall of 46'40 in South Arcot. 
The total area under well irrigation in the Presidency in 
1908-09 was 1,322,05 acres, so that Coimbatore alone 
accounts for 23 per cent, of the total. 

It is not difficult to explain the development df 
well irrigation in a district at first sight singularly devoid 
of natural facilities for the storage of subterranean water. Ui> 
questionably the low rain fall and its precarious distribution, 
combined with the fact that only a very small proportion of 
the land could be irrigated by channels or tanks,has compel - 
le$ the people to resort to well irrigation to an extent un- 
known elsewhere. In the Coast districts there, are extensive 
beds of course sand which can be made to yield, without 
difficulty, very large supplies of water, but in Coimbatore 
there are none of these sandy deposits and the wells are al- 
most invariably deep holes in the ground/into which the 
water percolates from the surrounding strata. The large 
supply of water, yielded in many of the wells, is due chiefly 
to the thickness of the layer of decomposed or partially 
decomposed rock which overlies the gneisses forming 
the bedrock of the great central plain, bounded by the Nil* 
giris on the north and the Anamalais and the Palnis on the 
south. Besides the wells irrigating the dry lands there' are 
reported to be 3,140 wells which are used to supplement 
the irrigation of ihe wet lands. The records of the past 
century or more show that the ryots of Coimbatore have 
steadily pinned their faith on wells as a source of water for 
the irrigation of garden crops and we shall not be greatly 
in error in assuming that there are now 80,000 wells in 
the district (including the Karur taluk lately transferred to 
Trichinopoly.) 

The typical Coimbatore well is a rectangular hoie 



iNDUStRIAL ENTERPRISE 139 

dug in the earth which is usually hard enough to stand 
without much protection in the way of revetment or walls. 
It penetrates through the soil and sub-soil to the disinte- 
grated rock below and is continued to such depth, as the 
resources of the owner permit, or till a sufficient supply 
of water has been obtained. There is no permanent water 
level. It varies from month to month and is usually 
highest in November or December and lowest in June or 
July. The range may be a few feet, but it is usually about 
20 feet and sometimes more. As a rule, the wells do nof 
exceed 40 to 45 feet in depth and the great majority yield 
water all the year round ; that is to say, they penetrate to; 
some distance below the level of permanent saturation and 
we may take it that the water supply in the welJs.of 
Coimbatore could be considerably improved if every 
well was sunk an additional 10 or 20 feet. Natural-, 
ly the wells vary very much in size, but they nearly always 
cover a large superficial area and form deep reservoirs in 
which the percolation water is stored all night to be remov- 
ed the next morning. These wells represent a vast expendi- 
ture of human labour and if they were constructed at the 
present day they would involve an outlay of many cr ores of 
rupees. Every year the ryots of Coimbatore spend several 
lakhs of rupees in improving their wells and they ..mny.' 
represent an asset of extreme value. 

v From information which has been -kindly placed at- 
my disposal by Mr. J. K. Lancashire, the Special Settle-, 
ment officer, I find that in regard to 65,547 wells, about 
which certain items have been tabulated, they are fitted 
with 105,311 water-lifts ; that in 3,153 wells there are 3 
mhdtes, and in 1,177 wells 4 mhotes or more. The 
average area irrigated per well is about 4 acres and the 
average area irrigated per mhote about 2^ acres. Well irri- 
gation goes, on all the year round and special cattle 



INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDtA 

have to be kept to work the rohotes. The cost of keeping 
these cattle varies a great deal and much of it is paid for 
in kind. It will be within the mark to estimate the month- 
ly expenditure on a pair of average cattle at Rs. 15 ; 
that is to say, it will cost Rs. 180 per annum for the irriga- 
tion of 2J acres of land ; which means, the cost of irriga- 
tion per acre is over Rs. 70/This is merely an average figure 
and in many places, where the wells are deep, the cost 
of irrigation is considerably more and rises to over Rs. 
100 per acre per annum. Nothing but a very intensive 
system of cultivation will stand such a heavy charge and 
the garden cultivation of Coimbatore is universally ac- 
knowledged by agricultural experts to represent the perfec- 
tion of empirical methods. 

The area under well irrigation is over 3 lakhs of acres 
and an annual charge of Rs. 70 per acre means that this 
well water supply costs the Coimbatore district something 
like 2 crores of rupees per annum. The burden is 
a heavy one and is felt more and more, as prices 
rise and currency transactions become commoner. 
Many years ago Mr. Robertson, the Principal of the 
Saidapet Agricultural College, promised a saving of 20 
lakhs a year if the people would use his double mhote 
but they would have none of it and I think they were 
right. The ryot understood better than the scientific expert 
how to get work out of cattle. I made some inquiries 
into this matter some years ago and came to the conclu- 
sion that we could not materially improve the ryots' 
methods of lifting water and I should have ceased to 
concern myself with the problem of lifting water, but for 
the fact that in the oil engine and centrifugal pump modern 
scientific engineering has placed at our disposal something 
entirely outside the range of experience of the ryots. 
With properly designed plant of this kind the cost of 



INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISE 141 

liting water is reduced to from one-third to one-fourth 
the cost of doing it by cattle. This fact is slowly beco- 
ming recognised and there are to-day several hundred oil 
engines and pumps at work in the south of India, and in 
the Coimbatore district I have records of about 30 such 
pumping installations. 

The smallest scale, on which these are erected at 
present, involves the employment of a 3" centrifugal pump 
which will deliver 10,000 gallons of water per hour, driv- 
ing it by an oil engine of power proportionate to the height 
the water has to be lifted. Centrifugal pumps, of smaller 
size than this, are machines which have to be run at a very 
high speed and are extremely inefficient. The 3" pump 
is the smallest size that can be used with efficiency and 
it is unfortunate that it is so large, as it is equivalent to at 
least four mhotes worked with the very best cattle in the 
district and it is evident that unless smaller outfits for 
pumping can he designed the application of mechanical 
methods of raising water is limited to wells which have a 
large water supply. 

From the figures given me by Mr. Lancashire, which I 
have quoted, it appears that between 6 and 7 per cent, of 
the wells are fitted with three or more mhotes and assum- 
ing, as is only reasonable, that there is, during the agri- 
cultural season, sufficient water in these wells for three 
mhotes to be constantly occupied in lifting it out; then 
our experience suggests that in all these wells it 
would be to the advantange of the ryots if they could 
replace their mhotes by small pumping plants. As 
there are now approximately 80,000 wells in the Coimba- 
tore district this means that there is a field for the employ- 
ment of 5,000 pumping plants. The average cost of each 
plant may be taken as Rs. 2000 and the total expenditure 
would amount to one crore of rupees: Probably an average 



142 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION *N INDIA 

of 15 acres per well or 75,000 acres of cultivation could 
be brought under the pumps and it will be safe to cal- 
culate upon a saving of Ks. 40 per acre in the cost of lift- 
ing water, or a total saving of 30 lakhs of. rupees. Not 
only this, but the introduction of such plants would lead 
to great improvements in the wells, as at comparatively 
small cost they could be deepened very considerably and 
a much larger quantity of water obtained from a somewhat 
greater depth. If it pays now with cattle to lift water 
from a depth of 40 ft. it will certainly pay to go to a depth 
of 100 ft. with pump?. All that is necessary is that 
the plant should be of suitable design and unaffected 
in its working by variations in the water level. 

Apart from its large capacity the centrifugal pump 
does not altogether meet other important requirements; 
and for sometime past we have been experimenting? 
with power driven pumps of the loose piston * type;* 
Driven with small engines of only 2 or 3 H. P. these; 
pump can be conveniently arranged to work on lifts; 
of 40 or 50 feet and to discharge from two to three 
thousand gallons of water per hour ; that is tot say, they 
will do as much work as two mhotes and can, be: worked! 
twice as long per day which makes the engine equivalent 
to four pairs of cattle . 

I have already stated that there are about 30 pump- 
ing stations in the Coimbatore district. Some of them 
were put down several years ago, and it is .satisfactory to 
note that no less than ten have been put down in the last 
12 months and that there are a number otnew proposals 
under investigation t We may claim that the rvalue of 
engines and pumps is fairly well recognised and that the 
only bar- to progress is the inability of, the ryots tots 
obtain sufficient CQtPtnand of capital) tea enable them j 
to purchas^ them.; pbyipusly Co-operative Credit 






INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISE 143 

Societies cannot help the man who wants a loan of several 
thousand rupees. I have shown that at least a crore of 
rupees could be invested in engines and pumps in this 
district and that it would, on a very moderate estimate, 
effect a saving in the cost of pumping of at least 30 lakhs 
of rupees a year. It is really a matter for financiers to deal 
with. There js a field for the employment of a large 
amount of money. On a large scale the risks are negli- 
gible and the profits certain. 

To some extent Government have provided funds 
under the Land Improvement Loans Act and it is a 
pity that more general use is not made of the Act. The 
terms offered are extremely liberal and the unpopularity is 
largely due to administrative friction. There is no ques- 
tion that in the next few years large sums of money 
will have to be found for the provision of machinery for 
lifting water for irrigation and it is equally certain 
that no one can provide the money on such favourable 
terms as Government. What is wanted is a simpler system 
of administering the Act,and of power to take the improve- 
ments effected by the loans into account as part of the 
security for the loan. On the other hand, the rate of interest 
might well be increased to S or 9 per cent, and the term 
of the loans shortened so that they may be repaid within 
7 years. The interest and the instalments should be col- 
lected after the crops have been sold and when the man 
can pay without having recourse even temporarily to local 
money lenders. Finally, the profits on the working would 
enable a competent engineering staff to be maintained to 
supervise the erection of the plants and the maintenance 
of those already in , existence in thoroughly good 
working order. This is now being done by the 
Pumping and Boring Department, but the installations 
are so few and are scattered over so wide an area that 



144 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

they are not inspected as often as is desirable. We 
have already accumulated sufficient experience to 
carry out satisfactorily the preliminary investigations 
previous to the installation of a plant and there is in 
my mind no doubt whatever that a very large amount 
of money can be safely invested in providing machinery 
for lifting water out of the Coimbatore wells. The initial 
difficulties have been got over and it will be quite feasible 
now to spend a lakh or two lakhs a year on this work and 
as time goes on gradually increase the amount till the 
district is properly supplied with engines and pumps. 

The well irrigation in Coimbatore is responsible for 
a considerable area under sugarcane and the district enjoys 
the advantage of two crop seasons. In most cases it 
would not be difficult to arrange that the engine driving 
the pump should also be available to drive a sugar 
mill. The crushing of cane imposes a severe strain on the 
ryots' resources and the extensive employment of power 
driven cane crushers would go far towards solving the 
sugar problem in this country. Although the total areas 
under sugarcane in the district is less than 9,000 acres 
there are a considerable number of vllages possessing large 
areas under sugar-cane, and from information kindly 
supplied me by Mr. Lancashire I find that six villages 
Have each over 250 acres of sugarcane cultivation. It 
may be interesting to give their names and the areas 
under cultivation. They are : 

Singanallur ... 518 acres. 

Kunujamuttur ... 280 

Alangiyam ... 282 

Oddarpalaiyam ... 305 

Budinattam ... 1513 

Sholamadur ... 251 

In each of these villages it will pay to put up a fairly 



INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISE 145 

large sugarcane crushing mill with a modern evapora- 
ting plant for the manufacture of jaggery. In each 
case there would be, within a mile of the mill, more 
than sufficient cane to keep the plant working day 
and night through the whole of the two cutting seasons. 
The expenses of running the mill would be light and the 
ryots would be saved the whole of the work of converting 
their canes into jaggery. It seems to me that the establish- 
ment of these mills is obviously work that should betaken up 
on a co-operative basis, but it might perhaps be advisable 
that Government should establish one to demons- 
trate its advantages. The cost of such a plant may be 
taken as Rs. 10,000. Personally I believe it would be an 
excellent opportunity for any one who has that amount of 
money at his command and also possesses sufficient tact 
to gain the confidence of the ryots, upon whom he would 
be dependent for supplies of cane. I should prefer to see 
such mills established by the ryots themselves rather than 
that the ryots should be exploited by private capitalists, but 
the second alternative is preferable to the present state of 
affairs under which the area of sugarcane cultivation is 
restricted by the limited resources of the ryots in the two 
vital matters of water supply and cane crushing capacity. 



19 



CHAPTER VI 
INDUSTRIAL LEADERS 
I 

INDIAN TECHNICAL STUDENTS ABROAD 

INDUSTRIAL Development in India is seriously ham- 
pered by the difficulty which those, who wish to take part 
in it, 6nd in acquiring the preliminary technical know* 
ledge and practical experience which are essential to suc- 
cess in this direction. The facilities in India for technical 
education are of a very meagre character, but till the Swa- 
deshi movement gathered force, it could not be fairly sa i4 
that they were unequal to the demand. There are four 
Government Engineering Colleges, which, though they no 
longer solely train students for the Public Works Depart- 
ment and do not confine themselves to instruction in what 
is broadly termed Civil Engineering, are quite unable to 
meet the demand for miscellaneous technical knowledge 
which is now in evidence. The history of technical educa- 
tion in India reveals the fact that there has only been a 
demand for technical education when it has been evident 
that there was a demand for the services of technically 
trained students. Within the last few years, however,there 
has been a marked change in the attitude of the educated 
classes towards technical education. There is now a 
demand for such education, not to qualify for existing 
vacancies but to provide men capable of developing existing 
industries and pioneering new ones. 

I am not now concerned to trace out the causes 



INDUSTRIAL LEADERS 147 

which have brought about this remarkable change in the 
attitude of Indians towards what may be termed practical 
education. At the bottom, the causes are economic and 
the Swadeshi movement owes such vitality as it possesses 
to its economic origin, but it has been stimulated into 
unhealthy activities by imparting to it a political charac- 
ter. Hundreds of young men are encouraged to expa- 
triate themselves for a term of years in the hope that when 
they return they may be qualified to engage in industrial 
work, to start new industries and to carry on manufactur- 
ing operations in competition with the imported pro- 
ducts of the West, The need for industries to absorb the 
surplus energies of the unemployed educated classes is 
obvious, but the prospect is not an alluring one and the 
best intellect of the country still follows along beaten 
tracks and devotes itself to unproductive forms of employ- 
ment. There is a slight element of unreality, one might 
almost say of burlesque, obvious in the attitude of the 
Indian Technical students one meets abroad. They are 
prone to indulge in mock heroics and weave unsubstan- 
tial day dreams in which the dreamer appears as a 
triumphant pioneer against the overwhelming commer- 
cialism of the foreign trader. The political element does 
the students no good and gives a bias to their studies 
which carries them wide of the mark. 

The efforts now being made to promote a modern 
indigenous industrialism are worthy of the highest possi- 
ble commendation but that should not prevent the candid 
friend from criticising them. I am, therefore, tempted to 
enquire whether the means employed are wise and in fact 
whether the object aimed at will be secured. It was at the 
Simla Educational Conference in 1901 that the question of 
technical education came under review, and a recommen- 
dation was made to the Government of India to grant 



148 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

scholarships to deserving students to enable them to go 
to Europe or America, This Resolution was accepted and 
the Government of India Technical Scholarships were 
established. 

If! Somewhat unexpectedly the idea of going abroad 
for technical education found favour and funds were 
raised by political associations, by philanthropic bodies 
and by private effort to send students to Japan, to England 
and to other places in order that they might obtain the 
necessary knowledge to render their country free from the 
industrial supremacy of Western nations. Japan pursued 
a somewhat similar course 30 or 40 years ago and the 
result&of introducing Western civilisation, Western methods 
and Western ideas into Japan have been truly astonishing. 
India, it was thought, might score a similar success by 
using like methods. Accordingly Japan was asked to 
extend to India a helping hand and many students were 
sent there. The language difficulty was scarcely considered, 
the character of the Japs was imperfectly understood, but 
it was known that Japan had already achieved what India 
hoped to accomplish and the royal road to success was 
to study Japanese methods on the spot. I do not know 
that these young Indians were welcomed in Japan, but at 
any rate they were admitted to the Colleges and allowed to 
attend the lectures. Living was cheap and the atmos- 
phere compared to the steamy plains of Bengal was 
exhilarating, but the language proved to be a more serious 
trouble than was anticipated. The Japanese did not eagerly 
impart the secrets of their success and the students made 
no progress * The modern workshops of Japan are rigidly 
guarded from prying eyes and Indian students had to 
content themselves with occasional glimpses of the 
inimitable methods of the artizans. Unfortunately that 
did them very little good and they have returned to India 






INDUSTRIAL LEADERS 149 

no better prepared for Industrial work than when they first 
started. 

The idea of sending students to Japan has accordingly 
been dropped and the technical schools of England are now 
regarded with more favourable eyes though the expensive 
English training is a serious matter. Twice during the course 
of my recent furlough, Mr. J. H. Reynolds, Principal of the 
Manchester Municipal School of Technology, enabled me 
to meet all the Indian students who had come there from 
various parts of India. There were between 40 and 50 of 
them in this one Institution, some with Government of 
India Scholarships, some paying their own way and the 
rest supported by funds subscribed by the public. Many 
of the students were in difficulties of one kind or another 
regarding their future prospects and they were all begin- 
ning to realise their deficiencies and the fact that the 
school courses must needs be supplemented by practical 
work before the training could in any sense be considered 
complete. To get this training they were unable and 
those, at the end of their time, did not look forward to 
facing the future in India with equanimity. I could give 
them little encouragement and no real help as they wanted 
employment in English factories and workshops where 
they could gradually acquire a practical knowledge of 
workshop operations and business methods, without which 
it is hopeless to engage in established industries and futile 
to attempt to start new industries in an old country like 
India, with a completely organised system of foreign trade 
which entirely deprives industrial pioneers of the protective 
effect of imperfect business arrangements. 

India is in close touch with the markets of the world. ( 
She has a magnificent system of Railways and the cost of I 
transport of her trade, both internal and external, is ex* I 
tremely low. As an agricultural country the benefits there- J 



150 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

by conferred on the people are enormous. But the very 
perfection of the system, constructed and worked by alien 
agencies, militates against the development of her manufac- 
turing resources by minimising to the utmost extent pos- 
sible the natural protection which imperfect means of 
communication afford. 

The position of the Indian student in England has 
been the subject of much discussion of late and not a lit- 
tle has been done to render the period of his sojourn in 
that country pleasanter from a social point of view and 
more profitable from a practical one. For many years 
past, Indian students have proceeded to England to finish 
their education but, of late years, the number has increas- 
ed to a surprising extent. It is probably a symptom of the 
unrest and discontent with the present state of things 
which more or less prevails among that section of the 
population which has come most closely into contact with 
and has been most affected by European ideas. Some go to 
the Universities with the object of competing in the Civil 
Service Examinations, some to the Hospitals to study medi- 
cine, some to read law and get enrolled as Barristers and a 
few chiefly of the wealthy classes, with no defined object. 
All these know before they start what prospect is in front of 
them when they return. With the technical students, it is 
however otherwise, and it is the difficulties of their posi- 
tion to which I think attention should be drawn. 

The Civil Servant comes back to India to engage in 
the administrative work of the country, but he has to 
begin in a very humble capacity and gradually work his 
way up. The Barrister similarly, whether it be in a High 
Court or before District Judical authorities, begins at the 
bottom of the ladder and slowly and after much hard 
work wins a reputation for himself which enables him to 
command fees which represent something more than a 



INDUSTRIAL LEADERS 15 1 

living wage. Some what similary situated is the doctor, 
the educationalist and the merchant, but excepting the 
rare case where the technical student belongs to a family 
already engaged in manufacturing work, he is in an alto- 
gether less satisfactory position. He has been through a 
College course and possibly done exceedingly well. His 
English compeers find employment without great diffi- 
culty but seldom of a lucrative character and they are 
content to wait till they have acquired practical experience 
before they command more than a nominal remuneration 
for the services they render. The Indian student would 
probably do the same in India, if he could, but either the in- 
dustries do not exist or they are under control which turns 
a deaf ear to his request for employment. Vainly he essays to 
raise capital and start on his own account. Much sympathy 
is extended to him, but little practical assistance, and no 
one is willing that he should gain his experience at their 
expense. 

Sufficient time has not yet elapsed since the technical 
students first went abroad for these facts to become widely 
known and the bulk of those who have returned have so 
far been lucky enough to get work of some kind though 
generally not that for which they were looking. The 
training abroad has been an excellent education in itself, 
their travels and adventures have widened their outlook 
and made them more useful members of the community. 
So far. India has been able to make use of such young 
men but the numbers are increasing, and year by year, 
the proportion of returned students, who are not doing 
well, will be found to increase. It is not unlikely that, if 
the movement continues to grow, the remedy will prove 
worse than the disease and it would be well that those, 
who are furnishing funds for students to go abroad to 
obtain technical training, should pause and take steps to 



152 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

ascertain the results that have so far been achieved, The 
position is a very unsatisfactory one ; Government are 
helpless in the matter and there seems to be no simple 
way out of the impasse. English manufacturers look upon 
Indian technical students as possible future competitors 
and naturally they will extend to them none of the facili- 
ties or privileges without which experience cannot 
be gained. Foreign manufacturers, especially in Germany, 
welcome Indian students and afford them greater facilities 
but only because they regard them as possible future cus- 
tomers. The students do not fully recognise this and are 
apt to return to India with the idea that have been better 
treated on the continent than in England. The limitations 
of the assistance they have received are disregarded and 
and its one sided character only becomes apparent to them 
when they proceed to make use of it. 

It may be safely stated that the majority of the stu- 
dents who proceed from India to England for technical 
education do not possess the necessary qualifications for 
the work they have taken up. Few of them have attained 
distinction in their previous educational career and few 
have any knowledge of or connection with the industry in 
India which they propose to take up. They are looking 
out for some means of making a livelihood and the pro- 
blem is shelved for a year or two if they can get a scholar- 
ship to goto England. For some years I examined all 
the applications received in Madras for the Government 
of India Technical Scholarship, which is annually allotted 
to this Presidency, and the difficulty was not to select 
the candidate from among the applicants but to find one 
who was in the least degree likely to make good use of it. 
Equally my experience with returned students has been 
very unsatisfactory though, to be fair, I must admit that 
it generally as a last resource that they have appealed to 



INDUSTRIAL LEADERS 153 

me for employment or assistance, and in consequence I 
have seen and heard more of those who have failed than of 
those who have done well. 

It is not difficult to point out the direction in which 
remedial measures may be taken but to get them carried 
out is quite another matter. In the first place it would be 
well to institute a more searching examination into the 
qualifications of students before they are allowed to leave 
this country and the standards set up by the Provincial 
Government in respect to Government of India scholars 
might be adopted with advantage by those who administer 
the various funds which have been started to send 
students abroad. Next it should be remembered that the 
ultimate object in view will more likely be attained by a 
few good men than by a crowd of mediocrities. The idea 
should not be to send as many students as possible and for 
the shortest time and with the smallest allowances on which 
they will consent to go. These are matters about which 
the candidates for scholarships know little and it is to 
be feared that those who send them know less. The scholar- 
ship funds ought to be administered by people who under- 
stand what they are doing and who are capable of making 
arrangements suited to the requirement of each scholar- 
ship holder. It is not enough that they should be sent for 
a year or two years to a technical school and then left 
to shift for themselves. The school courses, without sub- 
sequent opportunities to gain practical experience, are 
worse than useless as they only tend to demoralize the 
individual. Unless the technical training can be completed 
it is better that it should not be entered upon. 

A very large proportion of the trade between England 

and India is on this side in Indian hands and these men, 

who distribute the imports through the country, have a 

powerful lever to open the doors of English manufacturers 

20 



154 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

to admit Indian apprentices. It is doubtful if their assis- 
tance has been asked, and, if so, it is not unlikely that it has 
been refused, as the Indian merchants who trade in Euro- 
pean imports, are by no means keen to see their business 
dwindle before an advancing wave of Swadeshism. Public 
spirit and whole hearted co-operation are sorely needed in 
Indian affairs and things will not go well till these tender 
plants hav attained a more sturdy growth than at present. 

The want of co-ordination in the various interests in- 
volved in the Swadeshi movement has been, and will con- 
tinue to be, a fruitful source of waste of energy and resour- 
ces. In no direction is this more evident than in the 
haphazard way in which the question of foreign technical 
education has been dealt with. In a few years time we 
shall have the country flooded with half-trained young 
men full of wild cat schemes for spending other people's 
money. The present procedure is "putting the cart before 
the horse 5 ' and till it is recognised that industries must 
precede technical education progress is bound to be slow. 
Till Indian capital flows freely into industrial ventures but 
little can be done. In the early stages European control is 
essential and what India really wants at the present mo- 
ment is the establishment of an entente cordiale between 
men with money in this country and men with industrial 
experience from outside. Co-operation between the two 
should be productive of great results, but that it may take 
place there must be mutual respect and faith in one ano- 
ther on the part of both, and there must be a willingness 
to risk and venture capital on the part of the Indian of 
which at present there are few signs. 

II 
EXPERT ASSISTANCE 

A FAIRLY intimate acquaintance with what has been 
going on during the last few years in connection with 



INDUSTRIAL LEADERS 155 

industrial development in the South of India leads me to 
the conclusion that, whilst the average educated Indian has 
very little faith in Joint Stock enterprise, the Lord has 
given him a good conceit of himself and he is willing to 
risk his money fairly freely in undertakings of which he 
has very little practical experience, provided he is able to 
retain complete control of the expenditure. No doubt, 
in many cases, these not infrequently weird ventures are 
the outcome of family pressure and are designed to assist 
a son or nephew who has not succeeded in carrying off 
any of the prizes which fall to the lot of those who do well 
in schools and colleges. Several interesting instances 
have come to my notice where comparatively wealthy 
fathers have started their sons is some kind of practical 
business without first giving these sons a sufficient train- 
ing to ensure a fair prospect of successful result. Too late 
they have learnt that their own experience, generally in the 
legal profession, has availed them but little in supplying 
the deficiencies of their incompetent relatives. For obvi- 
ous reasons details of these failures cannot be given and I 
allude to them chiefly because, if, at the inception of these 
schemes, disinterested expert advice had been obtained, 
many of them would have been worked on different lines. 
It is true there is great difficulty in getting any such 
expert assistanceias there are no consulting engineers practi- 
sing in this Presidency and the few technical experts, out- 
side Government service, are in the employ of private 
firms who naturally do not allow them to take up work 
on their own account. The experience of the Department 
of Industries in connection with such matters may be worth 
recounting, especially in view of the fact that ks opera- 
tions in this direction have received the approval of the 
Secretary of State, and the Madras Government are doing 
what they can to provide a staff of experts whose services 



156 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

will be available to those who want them. During the last 
few years applications have been made to me for 
assistance in a great variety of ways and not the 
least useful result of these applications has been that 
I have succeeded in inducing some would-be pion- 
eers to drop their projects and save their money. It 
is chiefly in connection with the development of lift irri- 
gation by mechanical means that, in the Department of 
Industries, we have been able to render positive assistance 
to a large number of people. At the beginning advice 
was gratuitously given to all who sought it, and the work 
of supervising the erection of installations was undertaken 
free of charge. Two years ago the experimental stage was 
considered to have been passed through and Government 
sanctioned the levying of fees of a very moderate character 
from those who sought the advice or benefited by the 
experience of the trained staff of mechanical assistants who 
had been gradually got together to deal with this branch 
of our work. The fees which may be levied do not cover 
much more than 10 per cent, of the cost of the work, 
but their effect has been remarkable. To avoid paying 
these fees ryots dispense with the advice of this department, 
purchase their machinery from commercial agents who 
have no practical knowledge of its working, and usually pro- 
cure the service of second rate mechanics out of employment 
to erect it. The results may be described as invariably 
unsatisfactory and we are frequently called in as a last 
resort to make the best of a bad job. The extent to which 
this is going on may be gauged by the fact that in 1909- 
10, whilst 33 installations were set up by the Department, 
no less than 28 were started without its aid. In a few of 
these cases the work was done by competent engineers 
connected with European firms and to such instances my 
remarks do not apply. 



INDUSTRIAL LEADERS 157 

For years we have been studying how to get at what- 
ever supply of underground water there may be and have 
endeavoured at least to keep abreast of progress in me- 
thods of lifting water. The design and erection of some 
300 pumping plants has enabled us to accumulate valua- 
ble experience, but, to save a few rupees whilst spending 
thousands, this is put on one side and the penny wise 
and pound foolish cultivator puts himself in the hands of 
an ignorant mechanic or a plausible salesman. 

With what results the publication of a few examples 
may serve some useful purpose. But before doing so 
I must explain that, in designing pumping plants, 
our object all through has been to reduce to the 
lowest possible figure the ultimate cost of lifting 
water. To achieve this the engine must work on 
liquid fuel which is roughly half the price of kerosine oil 
or if a gas plant is installed, charcoal must be readily pro- 
curable at a reasonable price usually about Rs. 20 a ton. 
Then the engine must be of sound construction with 
working parts that can be easily renewed ; it must be of 
simple design and reliable in action. If these conditions 
are not favourable the repair bill will be heavy, break- 
downs frequent and a skilled attendant will be necessary 
to keep it running and that means that he must be paid 
high wages. 

Turning to the pump for lifting the water, it must be 
of a suitable type for the work it has to do. It must pos- 
sess a high efficiency and be so constructed that it will 
run for hours or days at a high speed without any atten- 
tion worth speaking of. There are many pumps on the 
market suited for various conditions of work, and in many 
cases a very high efficiency is a matter of no great moment, 
but to the ryot, whose pump will be running 10 or 12 
hours a day or for even longer hours, efficiency is of 



158 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

considerable importance. Now, there are pumps on the 
market which will do 50 per cent, more useful work 
than others <vith the same expenditure of engine power. 
Naturally these pumps are more expensive, but a smaller 
engine can be used to drive them and what is saved in the 
cost of the engine frequently more than compensates for 
the extra cost of the pump, so that, with the better pump 
the actual capital outlay is even slightly less and the 
working costs, in respect of fuel, permanently smaller. 
Between the brake horse-power of the engine and the 
useful work to be obtained from the pump, a certain ratio 
should exist, departure from which means either trouble 
in working or waste of capital outlay. Lastly, the varying 
conditions as to volume of water supply and level from 
which it has to be raised at different times of the year 
materially affect the choice of the pump and the general 
design of the installation, It may also be mentioned that, 
during the last few years, very marked improvements have 
been effected in the design and construction of both 
engines and pumps, and patents soon get out of date. The 
Indian ryot is a suitable victim on whom to dump the 
machinery unsaleable in a more intelligent market and, 
naturally, stock of this description is readily sold at 
greatly reduced rates. Till the expiry of the patents on the 
Hornsby-Ackroyd engine, save for the competition 'of the 
Diesel engine in larger sizes, it enjoyed an absolute 
monopoly of the market for engines working with 
liquid fuel. Numerous other types of engines did very 
well with kerosine oil, but, in most cases, their manu- 
facture was given up directly the master patent of the 
Hornsby Engine expired. Not a few of these old fashion- 
ed engines have been sold in India and they are working 
in a perfectly satisfactory manner, save that they cost 
their unfortunate owners thrice as much for fuel as is 



INDUSTRIAL LEADERS 159 

really necessary to generate the same amount of power. 
Obviously, some technical knowledge and practical ex- 
perience is needed to steer clear of all these pitfalls, and 
that they have not yet been avoided the following cases 
will demonstrate : 

1. In the early days of irrigation by pumping a ryot 
purchased an engine and pump which would only work 
on kerosine oil and frequently got out of order. When 
asked his reason for purchasing the plant he produced a 
number of illustrated catalogues and stated that his choice 
was determined by the superior character of the illustrations 
and printing of the catalogue. 

2. A Hornsby Oil Engine was purchased in Calcutta 
and its erection entrusted to a local blacksmith. The 
work was not satisfactorily carried out and one of my 
Supervisors was asked to put it right. Whilst inspecting 
the running of the engine the fly-wheel burst and killed 
the unfortunate man. 

3. For one ryot on the Kollair Lake we installed a 16 
B. H. P. engine and a 10" pump. For a similar scheme 
another man independently purchased a 24 B.H.P. engine, 
which would only run pn kerosine oil, and an 8" pump, 
with the result that he pays three times as much to lift his 
water. An even worse case in the same neighbourhood is 
the employment of a 32 B. H. P. engine to drive a pump 
for which a 12 horse-power engine would be is sufficient. 

4. An enterprising Zamindar, who ought to have 
known better, purchased on his own account a 24 B.H.P. 
engine and a 10" pump. The engine is not of a satisfac- 
tory type and is of nearly three times the power necessary 
to drive the pump on the lift on which it will be worked. 
When the mistake was pointed out to him he promptly 
paid the departmental fees lest, in the erection of the 
machinery, worse errors might be made. 



160 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

5. In one case I inspected a factory which could 
have easily been driven by a small oil engine. To do the 
work I found installed a large portable steam engine of an 
expensive type with the wheels bedded in a mass of 
concrete. The capital outlay involved in this case must 
have been at least four times as much as was necessary 
and the working expenses increased in about the same 
proportion. I need hardly say that at the present time 
the factory is closed and the owners have probably lost 
all the capital they have invested. 

6. There are a number of engines offered for sale in 
the Madras market which are quite unsuited to ryots' 
requirements, but because they are cheap they have been 
largely purchased and it has come to our knowledge that 
many of them are already worn out and in least two 
instances we have replaced them by new engines. 

7. In a number of cases existing installations erected 
by this department have been copied, but the work has 
been entrusted to inexperienced men with very unsatis- 
factory results and the owners have finally had to appeal 
to this department to re-erect their plant in a suitable 
manner. . 

Experientia docet, and I am glad to say that at the 
present time there seems to be less inclination to avoid 
paying deparmental fees and it is possible that this ' out- 
burst of independence will prove a temporary phase in 
the development of South Indian industries. It will, I 
think, be our policy to increase fees till ultimately they 
fully cover the cost of the work done, as our main object 
is to develop a healthy state of industrial enterprise in 
which it will be possible for qualified experts to make a 
living. How long it will be necessary for Government to 
nurse this particular form of enterprise, it is impossible to 
say, but unquestionably it may be taken as certain that 



INDUSTRIAL LEADERS 161 

State assistance will be withdrawn as soon as it can be 
safely left to private effect. In the initial stages of any new 
development in this country, it is essential that private en- 
terprise should be able to command competent expert 
advice so that the little capital available should be invested 
to the best possible advantage. 

I have purposely drawn my illustrations from the 
operations of the Pumping Department, but it would 
be equally possible to furnish quite as glaring ex- 
amples of waste of money in other directions. Failures 
due to incompetence are dotted all over th cofuntry and 
each serves as a deterrent to other people. When, how- 
ever, a certain amount of success has been achieved 
through careful adaptations of means to ends, over-confi- 
dence is sure to establish itself and the services of the ex- 
pert are dispensed with, to save a little money or gratify 
the vaulting ambitions of incompetent amateurs. It is 
remarkable that in commercial and industrial matters the 
value of expert assistance should not be recognised 
because in legal matters it is very different. Not 
uncommonly the would be purchaser of an engine 
and pump employs the services of a vakil to interview me 
and explain the situation. It is quite unnecessary; but such 
is the force of habit that he thinks he will be better serv- 
ed thereby. If a similar frame of mind could be deve- 
loped in respect to expert technical assistance, industrial 
progress would undoubtedly be more rapid. The consult- 
ing engineer and the technical expert cannot obtain 
enough practice at present in this Presidency to make it 
worth their while to start in business and there is no doubt 
that the absence of these specialists seriously handicaps 
private effort. The Bureau of Industrial Information 
to the establishment of which Lord Morley has accord- 
ed his sanction will, to some extent, supply the 
21 



162 



INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 



deficiency and it might be further met by allowing the 
technical experts of Government in the Education 
Department to engage in a limited amount of private 
practice. There is a precedent for this in the case 
of the Medical Department, and in the Indian Institute of 
Science it has been expressly stipulated that the pro- 
fessors of the staff should, within certain limits, be allowed 
to engage in work on their own account. It is perfectly 
easy to frame rules to prevent any undue development of 
private work to the neglect of public duties, but the main 
argument in favour ot this policy is that its adoption must 
necessarily render the work of the teacher more practical. 
A Medical College staffed by officers, who never went 
inside a hospital or visited private patients, would be con- 
sidered a strange anomaly, but Engineering Colleges and 
Technical Schools are usually in this position. In some 
cases, their officers have no practical experience of en- 
gineering work in this country and, however able they 
may be, it necessarily follows that their teaching must lack 
that living interest which only profound practical exper- 
ence can impart. 



CHAPTER VII 
CHROME TANNING.* 

I 

One of the objects of your Association, which has 
only recently been formed, is the discussion of econo- 
mic questions and the promotion of industrial activity. 
As an association it is, of course, only possible for you 
to take an indirect part in the development of commercial 
enterprise ; but in view of the conditions which prevail in 
this Presidency, I think that, if your efforts are made on 
proper lines, you may be able to do a very large amount 
of valuable work. 

For many years past the indigenous industries of this 
country have been going from bad to worse and noth- 
ing has been done to arrest their decadence. At the same 
time a new India has been growing up, characterised by 
great industrial activity, but in its creation you have only 
borne a very subordinate part. Great industries are springing 
up in India and large amounts of capital are profitably in- 
vested in them, but your share is insignificant. The cotton 
spinning industry of Bombay is mainly in the hands 
of Parsis. The jute trade of Bengal, the leather trades of 
Cawnpore, and the great planting industries of Assam and 
Southern India are entirely financed and controlled by 
Englishmen. I am not going to trouble you with figures 
* An address to the South Indian Association, 1906 



INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

showing the vast amount of capital which has been sunk 
in India in the magnificent system of railways and in the 
perhaps still more wonderful irrigtaion works, but you all 
know it is very Jarge and that the bulk of it has come from 
Europe. India is growing richer day by day, and 1 think, 
no unbiassed mind can reject the evidence that through- 
out the length and the breadth of the land the people are 
on the whole, more prosperous and well-to-do than 
they were. But their progress is slow, so very slow that 
compared with Western nations the increase in material 
prosperity seems to be almost negligible. The reason 
for this is entirely due to your own peculiar 
mental attitude, which in being unable to shake off the 
customs and habits engendered by the necessities of other 
times, displays a singular want of elasticity. When life 
and property were very insecure there was a great deal of 
common-sense in investing one's wealth in readily porta- 
ble forms ; but the habit of hoarding which was then 
advisable is now simply utter foolishness. It has been 
computed by authorities, who are supposed to know, that 
no less than 550 millions sterling or over 800 crores of 
rupees are at present lying idle in this country. Whether 
these figures are strictly accurate or not, matters little. 
We all know that the total amount is a very large one and 
some of us are equally certain that, if we could induce you 
to bring forth your hoards and put them into circulation, 
the result for India would be very striking. Those of you 
who are mathematicians will understand me when I say 
that whilst the Western countries are accumulating wealth 
with a full knowledge of the laws of compound interest, 
you are not even investing your hard earned savings so as 
to obtain simple interest upon them. Everywhere we hear 
the cry that it is only capital that is wanted to develope 
India and everywhere we see the people of the country 



CHfcOME TANNING 165 

burying their capital in the ground or hoarding it in 
strong boxes. 

Now I take it that one of the most important func- 
tions of your association is to spread abroad new ideas 
on this subject and do all you can to combat your 
national weakness. The vast industrial and commercial 
transactions of modern times are based upon a gigantic 
system of credit and, where credit is most easily obtainable 
there progress is greatest, In India credit is at a very low ebb 
and there is no movement at the present day calculated to 
confer greater advantages on the people of India than that 
in favour of the establishment of Agricultural Banks, which 
if they are successful, will add enormously to the credit of 
the cultivating classes and in an equal degree diminish the 
tyranny of the money-lender. When money can be readily 
obtained at reasonable rates of interest the trade of the 
sowcar will disappear and the money, which now accumu- 
lates in his hands, will have to find other spheres of em- 
ployment and you will, probably, be content to invest it 
in some industrial enterprise yielding you a steady return 
of from 5 to 10 per cent. Some of you invest money in 
land and consider yourselves lucky if it yields 3 or 4 per 
cent. The ownership of land, which other people want, 
confers a sense of power and flatter one's vanity and these 
pleasing sensations are part of the return which you get 
on your investments. If you could only be induced to 
look at industrial enterprise in the same light, it would be 
an important step in the right direction. It would be well 
if you could be induced to invest money in industrial un- 
dertakings and if, to the direct return in the shape of 
dividends, you could add a sense of satisfaction at the 
thought of your enterprise and how much it means 
those to whom it gives employment, things would be 
greatly better than they are. 



166 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

1 am induced to make these remarks, because 
my work is almost entirely confined to the improve- 
ment of the indigenous industries of the country and 
in no matter what direction I turn, I find that to 
put things on a better footing, capital is required, and if 
you are to benefit by the improvements, you must supply 
the capital. Hitherto my experience has not been encour- 
aging. Nearly seven years ago we started, in the School of 
Arts, to work in aluminium instead of brass and copper 
with the object of introducing a new metal to the 
metal workers of this country to enable them to preserve 
that part of their business which was threatened with 
extinction by the competition of imported aluminium 
wares. From the outset we were very successful and 
made not a few efforts to induce native capitalists to 
take up what seemed likely to prove a very profitable 
business, but there was absolutely no response and 
eventually it was a certain number of enterprising 
Englishmen who thought it would pay them to take up 
and carry on the industry which had been pioneered 
through its infant stages by Government. I think I am 
not very far wrong in saying that the shares of the Indian 
Aluminium Company are mainly held by Europeans and 
that the profits of this industry go into their pockets. Of 
course, employment is found for a considerable number 
of artizans and the industry benefits the country generally, 
in exactly the same way as do those bigger industries to 
which I have already referred. But a good opportunity 
has been lost to found a native joint-stock enterprise as 
the success of the Company in native hands would have 
been a most encouraging and valuable object-lesson. 

During the last 60 years a most important export trade 
has been built up in hides and skin amounting in value at 
the present time to an average of about 10 crores of rupees 



CHROME TANNING 167 

a year. Madras and Calcutta are the two great centres of 
this export trade ; but whilst the exports from Calcutta 
almost entirely consist of raw hides and skins, those sent 
out from Madras, till quite recently were invariably partly 
manufactured leather. Of late years Bombay has claim- 
ed a not unimportant share in the trade and with 
its great natural advantages as a port of shipment it is 
likely that the trade there will grow, partially by natu- 
ral development and partly at the expense of other export- 
ing centres. The annual value of the exports from 
Madras varies between 2^ and 3 crores of rupees. During 
the last 10 or 15 years the volume of business passing 
through Madras has not materially increased in amount, 
owing probably to the fact that the limit of production 
of the Presidency has been reached, but the value of 
the business transacted has increased by fully one-third 
owing to the rise in prices in the markets of 
Europe and America. It is not my purpose this evening 
to enter into any detailed account of the tanning industry 
in this Presidency. Those of you who wish for informa- 
tion on this point will find all that I have been able to 
gather in a Monograph on Tanning and working in leather 
in the Madras Presidency, which has recently been publish- 
ed by the Madras Government. What I want to do is to 
draw your attention to the remarkable change which has 
come over the leather trade throughout the world owing 
to the introduction of a new system of tanning, which 
produces a leather in some respects so very much superior 
to that we have always been accustomed to. In this new 
process certain salts of chromium take the place of tannin 
and the resulting material possesses some very remarkable 
properties, The production of vegetable leather is a long 
and tedious operations which, when carried out in the 
most perfect manner possible, as in the case of thick 



168 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

hides from which, what is known as sole leather, is produc- 
ed, requires from a year to 18 months. Chrome tanning 
is a very much more rapid process and even the thickest 
hides seldom require more than a week for their complete 
conversion into leather. The leather exported from India 
has hiherto been sent away in an unfinished condition and 
the dressing of the skins or the currying of the hides is 
completed in the importing countries. Now with chrome 
leather it has been found necessary to proceed with 
the finishing processes immediately after the material 
is taken from the tanning bath. The reason for this is 
that chrome leather when once dried can never be pro- 
perly wetted again. 

In the United States of America there has always been 
a very considerable demand for Madras tanned goat 
skins but the growing popularity of the chrome tanning 
in that country and in Europe has led to the abandonment 
of Madras tanned goat skins in favour of raw or pickled 
skins. To the tanning trade of this Presidency the result 
has been somewhat in the nature of a disaster, as a very 
large percentage of the skins, which formerly passed through 
the Madras tanneries, now leave the country without any 
treatment except that necessary to preserve them in good 
condition. 

Two years ago I was asked by the Madras Government 
to enquire into the state of the tanning trade in this Presi- 
dency and to ascertain whether the intervention of Govern- 
ment in any way would be of advantage to the trade. 
My report was naturally based upon the information which 
was kindly furnished to me by those interested in the trade 
in Madras ; and it was to the effect that whilst the 
peculiar properties of chrome tanned leather require 
that the finishing and dressing processes should follow 
in unbroken continuity on those of the tanning, the 



CHROME TANNING 169 

fiscal regulations of foreign Governments rendered it 
impossible to export to them finished leather or dressed 
skins. In the course of my enquiries I found that some 
attempts had been made to produce chrome leather in 
this country, but solely with the view of exporting it abroad. 
They had ended in failure and the failure was attributed to 
the unsuitability of the Indian climate for chrome tanning 
and to the non-existence of skilled labour such as is neces- 
sary for the dressing and finishing of leather of the high qua- 
lity required in Western markets. From the outset I doubted 
very much if there was anything whatever in the climatic 
difficulty and I may say at once that subsequent enquiries 
both in England and in America, clearly showed that the 
hot climate of Southern India was in no way a barrier to 
the production of first class chrome tanned leather. Later 
on enquiries which I had to make to obtain informa- 
tion for the preparation of the Madras Monograph, to 
which I have already referred, revealed the fact that 
there was in India itself an enormously large consumption 
of leather and that the great bulk of that leather was of an 
exceedingly poor character. It was, therefore, obvious that 
though there might be no external market for Indian 
chrome tanned leather there was undoubtedly a very big 
market at our very doors. 

Before proceeding further I think I shall make the 
position clearer by quoting from an American book on 
the manufacture of leather written by Mr. C. T. Davis, 
who describes the characteristics of chrome leather in the 
following terms : 

" Chrome leather has special and peculiar qualities 
which distinguish it from all other kinds of leather and 
these features cause it to be a superior fabric for all the 
purposes for which leather is used. It has often been 
stated that chrome leather is water proof, but this is not a. 

22 



170 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

proper term to use in connection with it, it should more 
properly be called non-absorbent. All kinds of leather 
produced with tannin absord water readily, like a sponge, 
while chrome leather does not absorb water but resists it 
or sheds it, like the feathers of a duck. In fact it is a 
difficult matter to thoroughly wet chrome leather when 
it is once dry. Again, water and air are the agencies 
in nature which promote decomposition and decay, 
and as tanning and hide substances are both organic 
materials, and when combined as is the case in bark 
tanned leather, and subjected to the process of wetting 
and drying, such leather will eventually but surely 
deteriorate and become rotten. Chrome leather, on the 
other hand, being a combination of an inorganic material 
with the hide substance and subjected to the same 
process of wetting and drying, shows no effect what- 
ever. In fact the oftener chrome leather is wet and dried 
the softer and more flexible it becomes. Even subjecting 
it to boiling water apparently has no effect upon it, while 
any sort of leather produced with tannin and placed in 
boiling water is utterly destroyed. Moreover chrome lea- 
ther is of much lighter weight than bark leather and this is 
decided advantage for almost all purposes for which leather 
is used." 

Compared with European countries the consumption 
of leather per head of the population is comparatively 
small, but in the aggregate, nearly three hundred million 
people being concerned, it is enormously large, and it is 
probable that the value of the leather used in India exceeds 
the value of the exports of hides and skins both in the raw 
and manufactured states. No statistics are available on 
the subject and only the roughest possible guesses can be 
made. From the Census returns of 1901 it appears that 
the total number of people in the Madras Presidency 



CHROME TANNING 171 

who are partially or entirely dependent upon the leather 
trades is 190,000 and of this number nearly 112,000 are 
engaged in the manufacture of boots and shoes and 
sandals and 51,000 in the manufacture of water buck- 
ets, wellbags, buckets and ghee pots. The amount 
of work put into a given quantity of leather by the 
chuckler who makes foot gear is very much larger than in 
the case of the water bucket maker ;and it would not be 
unfair to assume that the consumption of leather in these 
two branches of the trade is approximately equal. Of 
irrigation wells there are in this Presidency more than 
600,000 and though the piccotah is largely used for the 
lifting of water from shallow wells, from the majority the 
water is baled by means of mhote. Iron buckets are 
almost invariably used with piccotahs but with the mhote 
the leather kavalai is practically universal. The buckets 
hold from 10 to 50 gallons of water and are generally 
made from fairly well tanned cow hides, though for very 
large buckets buffalo hides are sometimes used. The 
bucket is roughly semi-cylindrical in shape and suspended 
from an iron ring. At the bottom is a hole about 9 
inches in diameter which leads to the discharge pipe, 
a leather tube 4 to 6 feet long, the open end of which is 
attached to a rope. With the method of working you are 
all completely familiar and to what I would draw your at- 
tention is the very hard treatment which the leather receives 
in the hands of the ryot ; alternately wet and dry and 
seldom or never greased the leather perishes rapidly and, 
where the bucket is used every day, its life is seldom more 
than six months and during the latter part of that time it 
requires frequent repair, which is a source of much annoy- 
ance to the ryot as he is entirely in the hands of the 
chuckler. It would, probably, be a fair assumption to 
make that the life of a kavalai does not average more 



172 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

than a year; and that throughout the Presidency fully one 
million hides per annum are used for these purposes. The 
value of a tanned hide is from 3 to 4 rupees and the 
kavalai complete will cost the ryot from 6 to 9 rupees- 
The expenditure, therefore, on water buckets, including 
repairs, can hardly be less than 40 lakhs of rupees per 
annum. 

From Mr. Davis's description of the properties of 
chrome leather I think you will agree with me that chrome 
tanned leather is an eminently suitable material for the 
manufacture of these buckets. During the last 12 months 
we have manufactured and sold a considerable num- 
ber of them and from enquiries which have been 
recently made I learn that the majority of the pur- 
chasers are well pleased with them, but I must also 
admit that in some instances the results have not been 
satisfactory. I mention this, because I wish you to be in 
full possession of the facts, and because it gives me an 
opportunity of explaining the unsatisfactory results which 
have in some instances been obtained. When we first 
commenced operations we had no practical knowledge 
of chrome tanning and our earliest attempts at the 
manufacture of chrome leather were accompanied by 
a considerable number of failures. In some cases the 
leather produced was apparently perfectly good but 
unfortunately we neglected to neutralise the acid which was 
left in it, and it is the presence of this acid which,at the time 
escaped notice, which has been the cause of some of the 
failures which I have brought to your notice, Now that 
we are aware of the importance of completely neutralising 
any acid that may be left in the leather after tanning we 
take good care that this is done. The leather water-buckets, 
now made, are completely free from this defect and 
I have not the slightest doubt they will prove considerably 



CHROME TANNING 173 

more durable than the country tanned water-buckets 
which we hope to supplant. It would perhaps be rash to 
make any estimate as to how much longer life a chrome 
tanned bucket is likely to have, since sufficient time has 
not yet elapsed for any bucket of well made chrome 
leather to wear out. But from a variety of data which 
I have in my possession I think we may safely 
count on one chrome leather bucket outlasting at least 
two of the ordinary tanned kavalais. Supposing then 
that chrome tanned leather were universally employed for 
kavalais, one-half the number of hides now used would 
suffice for the present requirements of the ryots. If our 
estimate that one million hides per annum are used for 
kavalais is correct, the use of chrome-tanned leather 
would mean a saving of 5,00,000 hides, which if we 
value in their raw state at only Rs. 3 each, will mean 
an annual saving of at least 15 lakhs of rupees. These 
hides will be available for tanning for the export trade 
and when sent down to Madras would swell the volume 
of the exports from this Presidency by probably more 
than twenty lakhs of rupees. 

The technical details of the chrome tanning processes 
it is not necessary to describe but it is important 
that I should give you some idea of the difference 
between the old and the new methods of tanning, in 
order that you may form some notion of the rela- 
tive costs of production of chrome-tanned and veget- 
able-tanned leather. In the first place the cost of 
the raw material, namely the hides or skins, will be 
the same whatever process is employed. Secondly, the 
preparation of the pelt for tanning is in both cases the 
same ; only with chrome tanned leather it is necessary to 
be more careful about the complete elimination of the 
lime when the preliminary processes are complete. 



174 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

In the experiments now being carried on at the 
School of Arts, alJ this work is done for us by native 
tanners outside the Municipal limits, and the pelts, ready 
for tanning, are pickled in a solution of alum and salt, 
which prevents decomposition and enables us to deal 
with them at our leisure. 

The tanning solution is made by dissolving chrome 
alum in water and adding to it washing soda in certain 
definite proportions. This causes the rapid evolution of 
carbonic acid gas and it is necessary to constantly stir 
the mixture. To this solution common salt is added, in 
order to swell the pelt and enable the tanning liquors to 
operate rapidly. The tanning process may either be carri- 
ed on in vats in which the pelts are suspended, or, as is the 
practice in the School of Arts, in rotating drums, which 
enable us to keep the pelts in constant motion in the tan- 
ning liquor. 

Sheep skins are usually tanned in 3 or 4 hours, goat 
skins in 5 or 6 hours, raw cow hides in 24 hours, and 
very heavy buffalo hides in 7 days. When the goods are 
completely tanned they are of a uniform blue colour 
throughout the section and, after this is attained, it is ad- 
visable to allow them to remain in the bath some little time 
longer. They are then removed from the tanning drums 
and piled on a table for about 24 hours, to allow the 
tanning liquors to thoroughly complete the tanning pro- 
cess. After this the pelts, which are now converted into 
leather, are well washed in several changes of water and 
are then put into a solution of borax and water to 
neutralise any traces of acid which may remain. This 
last step is of extreme importance if the leather is to be 
of a durable character and careful tests have to be 
made to determine that no traces of acid are left. 
Further washing with water completes the tanning 



CHROME TANNING 175 

process and the leather is now ready to be dyed or fat- 
liquored according as it is required for conversion into 
finished leather, such as is used for boots and shoes, har- 
ness and saddlery, or book binding and upholstery work, 
or for such rougher work as the manufacture of piccotah 
buckets, kavalais, leather ropes and the commoner forms 
of boots, shoes and sandals. The dyeing of chrome lea- 
ther require great care and experience to produce uniformly 
good results. 

The fat-liquoring by which we introduce a certain 
amount of oil into the structure of the leather is a very 
simple but a very important operation. Castor oil is 
made into a soap by the addition of caustic soda and 
to this a certain proportion of castor oil is added and 
the mixture dissolved in hot water. This forms a com- 
plete emulsion which the leather readily takes up. The 
leather is placed in a drum with the fat liquor and in 20 
minutes or half an hour all the oleaginous matter passes 
from the water into the leather. After fat liquoring the 
leather is kept in a moist condition all night and next 
morning it is sleeked on a stone table and then stretched 
out on boards to dry. When this is complete the leather is 
rather hard and requires thoroughly staking, whereby it is 
rendered very soft and pliable. 

From this brief account of the process of chrome 
tanning you will see that there is nothing about it that is 
expensive and the cost of producing chrome leather should 
only be very slightly more than that of ordinary bark- 
tanned leathers, the difference being due to the slightly 
greater price which has to be paid for the chemicals as 
compared with the tanning bark. 

I have now placed before you the salient facts relat- 
ing to the manufacture of chrome leather and it only 
remains for me to point out what I consider to be the best 



176 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

way for you to deal with this industry if you wish to take 
active measures to foster it throughout the country. In 
the first place, it is necessary to disseminate a knowledge 
of the properties of chrome leather among the cul- 
tivating classes throughout the length and breadth 
of the country. Unfortunately, the ryots do not, as a 
rule, read newspapers, and ordinary advertisements 
are therefore of little use. Many of you own lands your- 
selves and have possibly numerous kavalais in use. 
For these you can yourselves try the chrome leather 
and you can all of you bring it to the notice of 
your friends and get them to try it. In this way there will 
be created a very considerable demand, which should 
rapidly grow far beyond the capacity of the present plant 
of the School of Arts. I would suggest to the Committee 
of your Association that you should appoint a Sub- 
Committee of three of your members to investigate 
the facts which I have placed before you. The 
Sub-Committee having come to a definite conclusion 
might submita report to your General Committee, and if 
that report is, as I think, I may fairly anticipate 
it will be, a favourable one, it remains for you to con- 
sider whether it will be worth while to start a limit- 
ed liability company with sufficient capital to carry on 
the process in several parts of the Presidency.' With 
a lakh of rupees, which you might raise by issuing 
4,000 shares at 25 rupees each, it would be quite easy for 
you to establish at least 4 tanneries in the centres of the 
great well cultivation districts such as Bangalore, Vellore, 
Dindigul, Coimbatore, Bellary, andiTrichinopoly. Local 
hides could, at any of these places, be purchased cheaply 
and I am sure there would from the outset be a rapid and 
growing demand for kavalais and it would also be possible 
to arrange to tan hides belonging to the ryots themselves. 



CHROME TANNING 177 

The work in and round Madras and for other parts of 
India might still be continued by the authorities in the 
School of Arts, and I think, it is not improbable that Gov- 
ernment will be prepared to develop the experimental 
tannery now at work and make it a real centre of instruc- 
tion for the tanning trade of this country. Into the details 
of what we might do at present this is hardly a convenient 
time to enter but I think if you will actively co-operate in 
the work we have done, there is a fine field of usefulness 
fora tanning school in Madras. 

The imports of manufactured leather, notwithstanding 
of the great tanneries at Cawnpore, still amount to a very 
considerable sum and by the proper application of energy 
and skill it should be possible to capture a very large 
proportion of this trade in finished leather goods. The 
initial work of training the labour may well be under- 
taken by a Government Institution and, I think, that it 
is highly probable that Government would be prepared 
to find the funds necessary, if they were assured that 
there is an energetic and capable native public ready 
to take up and turn to advantage the work of the school. 

II 

HIDES and skins, either in their raw condition or 

j lightly tanned, form important items in the export trade 

! of India. Fluctuating from year to year and dependent 

to some extent upon the character of the season, they have 

for some years past averaged about 9 crores of rupees in 

value, but last year * stimulated by the high prices 

obtainable in Europe and America the value of the trade 

rose to nearly 14 crores of rupees and in the list of exports 

arranged in the order of their importance they have now 

reached the fourth place. The great bulk of the trade is 



* 1906. 
23 



178 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

done in the raw material and is mainly from the three 
Presidency ports of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras. 
The Calcutta trade is entirely in raw hides and skins, 
the Bombay trade includes a considerable percentage 
of tanned hides and skins, whilst in Madras only 
tanned hides are exported and in the skin trade nearly 
two-thirds of the value of the exports are in the tanned 
condition. Up to the year 1898 there was no export of raw 
material from Madras, and although now in the skin trade 
it amounts to nearly 40 per cent, it has not grown so 
rapidly as was anticipated some four or five years ago. 

The demand for leather throughout the world seems 
to be rapidly increasing and, being in excess of the supply, 
prices have had an upward tendency for many years past. 
Excluding the great stock raising countries, such as the 
Australian Commonwealth and the Argentine Republic, 
India is one of the few countries which on account of its 
poverty is still able to export a very large proportion of 
the hides and skins which it produces. The external trade 
has risen to nearly 14 crores of rupees, but it is impos- 
sible to even roughly estimate the value of the internal 
consumption. Possibly its value is as great or greater 
than that of the external trade and there is evidence that 
it is steadily rising, Indian skins are of good quality, but 
with few exceptions the hides are inferior and it is impossi- 
ble to obtain a first-class manufactured product from them. 
Cawnpore is the centre of the modern leather trade and 
Bombay, on a smaller scale, produces leather in no way 
inferior. This industry has grown up under the stimulus 
of demands from the Military Department and its flourish- 
ing condition to-day is due not only to the expansion 
of military requirements but also to indents from other 
Government departments which in the aggregate require 
considerable supplies of leather goods, In recent years 



CHROME TANNING 179 

an internal demand has grown up for cheap machine- 
made boots and shoes and it is probable that the 
Swadeshi movement, especially in Bengal, has benefit- 
ted local manufacturers of such goods. Excluding boots 
and shoes, the value of which is not given separately, the 
trade returns show that from 25 to 30 lakhs of rupees 
worth of leather or leather goods are imported into India 
yearly. The bulk of this trade is probably in dressed 
skins for book-binding and upholstery work, in high class 
leather for belting and machinery and to some extent in 
fancy leather goods. It is hardly probable that the whole 
of this not inconsiderable import business could be 
captured by native manufacturers, but there is no 
reason, except want of enterprise on the part of the manu- 
facturers, why India should not produce dressed skins equal 
in quality to any made in Europe and America. 

The bulk of the leather used in the country 
is very poor stuff and the methods of tanning are 
so crude that vast quantities of fairly good hides 
are converted into most inferior leather. The in- 
efficiency of the indigenous tannery is notorious and 
in the aggregate the annual waste of material amounts 
to a sum which can only be estimated in crores of rupees. 
Boots and shoes, sandals, harness, mussacks, paccali bags 
and bags for lifting water from wells for irrigation are 
among the chief articles for which the inferior country 
leather is in large demand. No information is available 
regarding this native business. The village chuckler was 
both tanner and leather worker, but in the South of India 
at any rate, the numerous tanneries which have sprung up 
for dealing with the surplus hides and skins available for 
the export trade, have also secured a good deal of his 
business as a tanner. Yet he is by no means extinct and the 
enormous increase in the export trade of the last two years 



180 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

indicates the probability that there is still a good deal of 
valuable material to be rescued from his primitive methods 
of treatment. In one direction due to the increase 
in the number of wells used for irrigation from which 
the water is drawn by mhotes there has certainly 
been an enormous expansion in the local demand for 
leather. All over India the mhote or charsa is a familiar 
object and every year millions of good hides are conver- 
ted into bad leather for these water lifting appliances. 
The material is not altogether suited for the work and in 
constant use water bags have but a comparatively short 
life. If anything could be done to improve the quality of 
the leather and render it more durable it would be con- 
ferring a very substantial boon upon the ryot and, in 
proportion to the improvement, there would be set free a 
corresponding number of hides for export. The increas- 
ing demand for leather in India is due to a rise in the 
standard of living of the people and sooner or later it 
will affect the export trade unless, in the meantime, the 
available supplies of raw material are treated with greater 
respect and converted into better and more durable 
leather than at present. 

The mhote in good working order, and with a water 
bag the capacity of which is properly proportioned to the 
weight of the bullocks, is an extremely efficient method 
of lifting water when only animal power can be employed, 
but the normal condition of the ryot's mhote is far from 
satisfactory as the bag soon becomes brittle and tears and 
the rents are badly patched and fully a third of the water 
which is lifted from the well falls back into it before the 
bag is emptied. In the matter of repairs the ryot is entirely 
in the hands of the village chuckler and if he could be 
supplied with a better material than the common country 
leather, there is but little doubt that as soon as he becomes 



CHROME TANNING 181 

practically acquainted with its advantages, he will readily 
adopt it, even though it costs considerably more. In the 
South of India the piccotah with an iron bucket is almost 
universally employed in the Coast Districts where the 
water-bearing sands are not more than 12 or 15 feet from 
the surface and not a few mhotes, in use in brick wells are of 
composite construction, sheet iron being used for the bag 
and leather only for the trunk. With care such mhotes are 
satisfactory, but they are easily damaged and difficult to 
repair. In many districts, the irrigation wells are large holes 
sunk into the rock and in practice it has been found that the 
leather bag is superior to the iron bucket, as the latter is 
easily damaged against the rocky sides. Moreover, they must 
be very thin or else the weight becomes excessive and when 
very thin they require carefully looking after or they rapid- 
ly rust through. From time to time experiments have been 
made with various substitutes for leather, but nothing 
seems to have caught on and it remains therefore to im- 
prove the quality of the leather till a more satisfactory 
substitute for it can be found. 

With these facts very forcibly impressed upon me 
whilst conducting a series of experiments on various 
types of water-lift in Southern India it was only natural, 
when I learnt of chrome leather and the very slight 
action which water has upon it, to experiment with it and 
ascertain whether it was feasible or not to manufacture 
the leather in the country. The practical tanners of 
Madras, whom I consulted in the matter, were unanimous- 
ly of opinion that, owing to the climate, chrome tann- 
ing would be a failure. They had made experiments 
themselves and their experiments led to nothing because 
their object in view was to produce a material suitable for 
export. That was not the way I looked at the matter at all 
and it seemed to me that though it might be impracticable. 



182 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

to manufacture chrome leather or glace kid which would 
find a market in Europe or America, yet it might be 
possible to produce in India chrome leather suited to 
Indian requirements. Accordingly the Government of 
Madras were addressed on the subject and a sum of 
Rs. 2,000 was placed at my disposal for experiments 
on the lines which I indicated, the main object be- 
ing to produce a chrome tanned leather suitable 
for use in well irrigation. I had no previous know- 
ledge of leather manufacture and naturally began 
working on a small scale, tried many experiments and 
met with not a few failures, but ultimately was able 
to demonstrate the practicability of the orginal idea. That 
was probably the easiest part of the work as much 
assistance was obtained from such books as Procter's 
"Principles of Leather Manufacture " and in working 
out the local Indian problem the Secretary of State for 
India permitted me to enlist the services of a first-class 
English expert. The first stage has been accomplished and 
the more difficult matter of persuading the people of this 
country to give Indian chrome leather a fair trial is now 
engaging attention. 

We can manufacture chrome leather good enough 
for most purposes and the experience of the last two 
years has shown that the original anticipations 'of its 
superiority have been fully justified. The price list of 
our manufactures, which we have issued recently, con- 
tains a large number of favourable testimonials from 
people who have used it, but still the demand for chrome 
leather is small when compared with the enormous con- 
sumption of leather and only very slowly do sales increase. 
Nevertheless we are making progress and have now some 
sort of assurance that ultimately the chrome processes of 
manufacture will supersede the crude and wasteful me- 



CHROME TANNING 183 

thods of the chuckler. Many hundreds of water buckets 
have been manufactured and brought into use in all parts 
of India and the general concensus oi opinion of those 
who have used them is that the material is superior to 
ordinary country leather and the life of a bucket is very 
much longer. As will be seen later on there is no great 
difference in the cost of manufacturing leather by the two 
processes, though naturally in an experimental tannery 
like that attached to the School of Arts in Madras the cost 
of making chrome leather is heavier than it would be in a 
large tannery doing a big trade. If bark tanned leather 
were made under similar conditions, the cost of doing so 
will be much greater than it is in an ordinary native 
tannery. 

Having produced chrome leather situable for water 
bags, or kavalais as they are locally known, it was natural 
to experiment with the leather in other directions and 
boots and shoes, sandals, harness and a great variety of 
miscellaneous articles have been made from it. The 
natural colour of the leather is a pale lavender blue which 
is almost white when the leather is made in weak solu- 
tions. The colour is not at all displeasing and a good 
deal of it is worked up in the undyed condition, especially 
for harness in Madras. Usually iiowever, after the leathei 
is tanned, it has to be dyed and black leather and several 
shades of brown leather are regularly manufactured. 
Experiments also have been made in tanning skins and 
preparing glace kid and though it must be confessed that 
our productions are not equal in finish to those imported, 
they have proved serviceable enough and being much 
cheaper have found a ready sale. So far our work has 
been done almost entirely without the aid of machinery 
and now it is under contemplation to establish a separate 
tannery in the neighbourhood of Madras and to undertake 



184 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

the manufacture of leather on a much larger scale. The 
plans for the new tannery have been prepared and include 
the installation of a fairly complete set of modern leather- 
dressing machinery. It will then be possible to do much 
better work and ultimately we hope to be able to 
materially displace the leather imported from Europe and 
America. 

Characteristics of Chrome Leather. I do not pro- 
pose to discuss these at any length, but it may be 
well to briefly draw attention to some of the more 
important points in which it differs from ordinary 
leather. In the first place, from a given weight of hide sub- 
stance, the weight of chrome leather produced is consi- 
derably less than when it is converted into bark tanned 
leather. In the chrome process the hide substance is acted 
upon by the chemicals in the tanning bath, but 
very little additional weight is gained by absorption, 
whereas, as is well known, a very marked increase in weight 
is obtained when the ordinary bark tanning processes are 
properly conducted. From ten pounds of flint dry hide 
the average weight of bark tanned leather produced is 
nearly 10 Ibs., but the weight of chrome leather will be 
not more than 7J Ibs. The ratio is roughly three-fourths. 
It therefore follows that buying chrome leather by the 
pound the price will always be at least 33 per cent, more 
than that of bark tanned leather. Chrome tanned leather 
is stronger than bark tanned leather, so much so that the 
loss in weight and decrease in sectional area is actually 
accompanied by an increase in the strength. Its chief 
physical characteristic is its extreme softness, which 
renders it very suitable for boot and shoe uppers. In 
many cases, however, stiffness is distinctly desirable, 
and such articles as solid leather bags and trunks are 
much better made of ordinary leather. Chrome tanned 



CHROME TANNING 185 

leather unless very carefully manufactured tends to stretch 
considerably more than bark tanned leather, and for 
certain purposes that is considered a serious disadvantage. 
With care it is, however, possible to manufacture 
chrome leather which possesses no more stretch than 
ordinary leather and which, at the same time, has a 
considerably greater tensile strength. Harness made 
from the leather turned out in Madras has proved per- 
fectly satisfactory, and large quantities of belting are in 
use where centrifugal pumps driven by oil-engines are 
lifting water for irrigation. This is very trying woik for 
belting, and though we have not yet succeeded in produc- 
ing an absolutely satisfactory chrome leather belt, yet 
those made in Madras are able to hold their own against 
the belts formerly used. 

In the manufacture of sole leather the chrome 
process yields a material which is extremely durable, 
and it has been employed in making up thousands of pair 
of boots and sandals. The leather is sufficiently soft to 
make it comfortable to the feet, and it possesses a power 
of resisting abrasion which has never been approached 
by the very best English sole leather. For boots and 
shoes it possesses one serious disadvantage due to the fact 
that, when wet, the surface becomes slippery and it is not 
altogether safe to walk about on chrome tanned soles in 
cities which are paved with asphalt or stone flags. This 
is a matter of no importance in India where pavements are 
almost non-existent, and the general suitability of chrome 
leather for both soles and uppers is attested by the popul- 
arity of Madras chrome leather boots among the planters 
of India. 

The final property of chrome leather to which I wish 
to draw attention is its peculiar behaviour when wetted. 
Ordinary leather when wetted and dried becomes hard 
24 



186 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION' IN INDIA 

and stiff, and if soaked in water for any length of time, 
the water becomes turbid due to the solution of some of 
the constituents of the leather. On the other hand, chrome 
leather when wetted and dried remains quite soft, and 
prolonged immersion in water has no effect upon it. If 
ordinary leather be boiled, in a few minutes it is practically 
destroyed, whereas very little harm is done in the same 
time to chrome leather. Chrome leather is in no sense 
waterproof, but for practical purposes it is unaffected by 
water and is consequently well suited for exposure to the 
action of moisture. 

Methods of chrome tanning employed in Madras. 
In 1903, under the orders of the Government of India, a 
Monograph on Tanning and Working in Leather was 
specially prepared in each Province of India and those 
who are desirous of information regarding native methods 
of tanning will do well to consult these papers. 

In an addendum to the Madras Monograph a 
brief account of the earlier experiments in chrome tanning 
is given and in the remainder of this paper I propose to 
amplify that note and describe in some detail the actual 
methods of working employed in the Chrome Leather 
Department 

Hides and skins. The purchase of suitable raw 
material has proved to be one of the greatest difficulties 
we have had to contend with, as not only at the outset 
were we inexperienced in regard to the methods of the 
trade, but we had little or no knowledge as to what was 
best suited for the chrome tanning process. There are a 
considerable number of tanneries in the neighbourhood of 
Madras, but they mainly deal with coast hides or Calcutta 
rejections and it is practically impossible to get suitable 
raw material from such stock. We soon found that satis- 



' CHROME TANNING 187 

factory chorme "leather could only be produced from good 
hides and latterly for light hides we rely almost entirely 
upon those which can be obtained from the Madras 
slaughter-houses. For a heavier class of hide, the best of 
which are good enough for harness leather, we mainly rely 
upon Nellore cow hides, of which hitherto we have been 
able to get as many as we wanted at very reasonable 
prices. For water bags, or kavalais as they are locally 
called, light cow hides were found to be unsatisfactory 
and expensive and, light buffs which are usually free from 
brands and are fairly cheap, have proved to be more 
suitable. There is a very considerable demand for 
chrome tanned sole leather which has to be made from 
hides much heavier than those usually obtainable in the 
local market and there is some difficulty in getting a 
sufficient quantity. Buffalo hides are invariably used 
and in the wet salted condition they may weigh from 
50 to 100 tbs, depending upon the extent of the spread. 
One fairly large consignment of hides from Rangoon 
proved extremely satisfactory in regard to price, but in 
the absence of machinery for splitting the hides we found 
many of them too thick and they could only be worked 
up by incurring a heavy loss in shaving the leather down 
to a suitable thickness. Latterly we have purchased 
dry salted and arsenically cured hides in the Calcutta 
market and have found them fairly satisfactory. The 
demand for sole leather enables us now to make fairly 
large purchases at a time and there is in consequence less 
difficulty. It is almost impossible to procure, good calf 
skins but there has been no difficulty in the matter of goat 
and sheep skins. 

It may here be convenient to mention that a 
very considerable business has developed in tanning 
skins of wild animals such as those of the tiger, panther, 



188 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN 

bear and various kinds of deer with the hair on, 
and the results are extremely satisfactory if the skins 
are in good condition. The hair is unaffected by the 
chrome liquor and the skins when finished possess all 
the qualities of a good chrome leather. In a similar way 
a good many crocodile hides and a large number of snake 
skins, have been tanned, the latter being in great demand 
for the manufacture of fancy articles especially ladies' 
waist belts. In their natural colour they look very well 
and can be readily dyed to any required shade. Snake 
skins are very plentiful in India but so far as I know this 
is the first attempt that has ever been made to turn them 
to practical account. To obtain good results, the skins 
must not be damaged and special care has to be taken in 
killing the snakes. 

Processes preliminary to tanning. These differ very 
little from those ordinarily practised in native tanner- 
ies but if good results are to be obtained, it is 
necessary to exercise the greatest possible care at each 
stage. The first step is to get the hides back into their 
natural condition and free from blood and dirt. The 
dried hides require soaking in water for about 24 hours 
and when quite soft should be washed in several changes 
of water. The green and wet salted hides merely require 
to be thoroughly washed, and they are then in a fit'condi- 
tion to be put in the lime pits. These are worked in a 
series of four, the first pit containing the oldest lime and 
the last pit containing the fresh lime. The hides pass 
through the series of pits remaining in each pit about 2^ 
days, so that the whole liming process lasts about 10 days. 
The operations of unhairing, fleshing and scudding need 
not be described here in detail as there is nothing novel 
about them. It is most important that whilst the hides 
hould be well plumped up or swollen by the action of 



CHROME TANNING 189 

the lime, this should not be continued long enough to 
allow of the lime dissolving any appreciable quantity of 
the hide substance. If this is not carefully attended to the 
final leather will certainly be unsatisfactory. In the 
manufacture of good sole leather this is of the greatest 
possible importance, and latterly we have greatly shor- 
tened the liming process by the use of sulphide of sodium. 

After unhairing the hides are washed in water and 
put into SL tub of fresh lime where in 24 hours they are 
sufficiently plumped to be ready for further treatment. 
After scudding it is necessary to remove all traces of 
lime from the hides, and to this end, they are thoroughly 
washed in water and well trodden over by the coolies. 
The last traces of lime are removed by means of lactic 
acid of which a solution containing three-quarters of one 
per cent, is employed. After being put in the solution, the 
hides rapidly lose their plumpness and become very slip- 
pery to touch. To test whether the last traces of lime are 
removed or not, a small piece is cut out of the thickest 
portion of the hide and to the cut surface a drop of a 
solution of phenol phthalein in alcohol is applied. If the 
cut surface turns red, it indicates that there is still some 
lime left, on the other hand if no colouration is produced 
it may be taken that the hide has been sufficiently de- 
limed. Every hide is tested in this way and as soon as it 
passes the test is removed from the lactic acid bath and 
well washed in clean water. 

Pickling. The next operation through which the 
hides must pass is that of pickling which gives a preli- 
minary alum tannage to the surface of the hides and thus 
prevents to a large extent the formation of a drawn grain 
when the hides are finally tanned. For the pickling solution 
6 Ibs. of potash alum and 4 Ibs. of common salt per 100 Ibs. 
of the drained weight of the delimed hides are dissolved in 



190 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

sufficient water contained in a large rotary drum. The 
hides are put into this solution and kept in it for about 24 
hours, the drum being rotated from time to time by hand. 

Although chrome tanning can be carried on in pits 
or tubs, it is more convenient to employ large drums to 
hold the tanning solution. They are made locally of teak- 
wood and are mounted on a suitable wooden framing. 
The weight of the drum is carried by two centrally placed 
gun metal rings, one on each side, which rest on friction 
rollers supported by iron pedestals attached to the 
framing. On one side of the drum is fixed a large cast 
iron spur wheel of the same diameter as the drum and it 
is driven by a small pinion mounted on the framing. The 
drums we have constructed in Madras range from 6 to 8 
feet in diameter and from 3 to 4 feet 6 inches in width. 
At present they are turned by hand, coolies being em- 
ployed for the purpose, but it is ultimately intended to 
drive them all from a line of shafting. By hand power it 
is not possible to revolve them more than two or three 
times a minute, but when driven by a belt from shafting, 
the gearing will be arranged so that the drums make 
about 8 revolutions a minute. Inside the drums strong 
wooden pegs are fixed so as to turn the hides over as the 
drums rotate. This greatly quickens process of tanning 
and the drums can also be usefully employed for wash- 
ing, pickling and for removing the last tracts of acid 
after the tanning processes are complete. 

Chrome tanning. There are two methods of chrome 
tanning known respectively as the single and the double 
bath process. The latter produces the finest leather, but 
the former is both cheaper and simpler to work and has 
been adopted in Madras exclusively as it yields sufficiently 
good results, and with the unskilled labour available there 
is much less risk of anything going wrong. 



CHROME TANNING 191 

To secure uniform results and to save tanners, who 
are not chemists, from the risks of buying their own 
chemicals a number of tanning liquors have been put 
on the market ready for use. Experiments on a 
fairly extensive scale were made with two of these 
one the well-known Tanolin, which was supplied to us 
by the Martin Dennis Chrome Tannage Company of 
Newark, New Jersey, and the other by Messrs. Lepetit 
Dollfus, Gansser of Milan whose Chromo -Chrome produc- 
ed excellent leather. With both the results were quite 
satisfactory, but the leather was no better than that made 
using the very simple process described by Professor Proc- 
ter on page 212 of his principles of Leather Manufacture. 
The tanning solution is made by dissolving 10 Ibs. of 
chrome a'um in 4 gallons of water. To effect the solution 
readily the alum should be crushed to a fine powder. 
Between 3 and 3 fts. of ordinary washing soda is dissolv- 
ed in water and slowly added to the solution of alum- 
Rapid effervescence takes place and the mixture should 
be thoroughly stirred. If too much soda is added, a heavy 
precipitate is formed and there is a waste of valuable 
chemicals. The chrome alum costs in Madras Rs. 13-8-0 
per cwt. or roughly 2 annas a pound and one pound of 
chrome alum is sufficient for the production of 3 Ibs. of 
finished leather. The carbonate of soda costs Rs. 7-8-0 
per cwt. equivalent to slightly more than one anna a pound 
and as only one pound of washing soda is required for 10 
Ibs. of leather, it will be seen that the total cost of the che- 
micals employed in the tanning solution is very small and 
is actually less than that of the bark used in the ordinary 
processes of tanning. The tanning solution prepared in 
the above proportions contains 25 per cent, of chrome 
alum and is used as a stock solution. By diluting it with 
water solutions of any strength are readily prepared. 



192 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

Usually tanning commences in a one per cent, solution 
and ends in a solution the strength of which is about 5 
per cent. 

The tanning is done in the drums already described 
and usually about 500 or 600 Ibs. of pelt are put in each 
drum. Tne drums are arranged in a series through which 
the hides pass, first entering the drum containing the 
weakest solution and finally passing out of that containing 
the strongest. To the tanning liquor in the first drum 
about 15 fbs of sodium sulphate are added to prevent the 
formation of a drawn grain, The time occupied in com- 
pleting the tanning processes depends upon the thickness 
of the hides. Sheep and goat skins are tanned in a few 
hours, cow hides in from one to three days, whilst the 
thick buffalo hides used as sole leather take from a week 
to ten days. The process could be quickened considera- 
bly if the drums were worked by night as well as by day 
and it is probable that it would also be shortened if power 
were employed to drive the drums at a faster speed and 
continuously. The hides are considered to be tanned 
sufficiently when the blue colour produced by the 
chrome liquor has penetrated right through the hide 
and there is no white streak in the centre. Experience 
seems to indicate that there is considerable danger of 
producing bad leather by over-tanning and that where 
the hides are of very unequal thickness in different 
parts they should be rounded off as much as possible 
before being put in the tanning drums. Leather which 
has been over-tanned soon becomes brittle and useless 
and it is impossible to emphasize too much the necessity 
for care at this stage. As soon as it is decided that the 
tanning is complete, the hides are removed from the 
solution and spread out, one over the other, on a wooden 
horse where they are allowed to soak and drain for 24 



CHROME TANNING 193 

hours. The tanning liquor remaining in the hides 
contains a considerable percentage of sulphuric acid and 
it is absolutely essential that this should be completely 
removed or the leather will perish in a very short time. 
It may be here remarked that the three principal causes 
of the production of bad chrome leather are (1) over- 
liming, (2) over-tanning and (3) acid in the finished leather. 
It is not difficult to guard against damage arising from these 
causes once they are recognised, but there is no doubt that 
a good deal of chrome leather made, both in Madras and 
elsewhere, has been unsatisfactory through neglect to take 
proper precautions to prevent damage arising from the 
operation of any one or all of them. To remove the acid 
the hides are first washed in several changes of water and 
then drummed in a half per cent, solution of borax, the 
quantity of borax used being 3 Ibs. per 100 Ibs. of wet 
leather. Litmus paper is used to test whether or not the 
acid has been completely removed. When it is ascer- 
tained that the leather is free from acid it is taken out of 
the borax solution and well washed in several changes of 
water to remove any soluble salts that may have formed 
in the substance of the leather. 

Fat-liquoring. For leather which is not to be dyed 
this is the final chemical process to which it is subjected, 
any further treatment being of a purely mechanical nature. 
The " Fat-liquor " is an emulsion of oil in a solution of 
soap and when the chrome leather is put into this the 
oil is absorbed and renders the leather soft and pliable. 
The soap employed is made in the following way : 

One hundred Its. of castor-oil, selected because it is 
both cheap and gives satisfactory results, are placed in a 
wooden tub and 20 fbs. of caustic potash are dissolved in 
water and allowed to cool. When cold the caustic potash 
solution is slowly poured into the castor-oil and the 
25 



194 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

mixture stirred for about quarter of an hour so 
as to ensure that the potash and oil are thoroughly 
mixed. After standing about 24 hours the soap is ready 
for use. 

To prepare the fat liquor 7 flbs, of the soap are dis- 
solved in two gallons of boiling water to which is added 
an equal quantity of castor-oil and the mixture is 
boiled. It is then placed in an emulsifier which consists 
of a cylinder made of tin plate about 3 feet 6 
inches high and about 10 inches in diameter. In 
this works a losely-fitting piston attached to a long handle. 
The piston is perforated with a large number of small 
holes and by working it up and down the cylinder after 
the mixture of oil and soap has been put in the emulsifica- 
tion is completed. When it is desired to produce the 
better qualities of leather 2 Ibs. of egg yolk are added to 
the emulsion and thoroughly incorporated with it. When 
the emulsion is properly prepared it will mix with hot 
water without showing any trace of oil. For leather in- 
tended for water bags and rough usage it is desirable to 
make it absorb as much oil as possible and in practice we 
find that about 10 per cent, will be taken up by the 
leather. This gives the surface a dirty appearance but 
that is a matter of no consequence. 

The hides are fat-liquored in a drum which has been 
previously heated by means of boiling water. The 
door of the drum is closed and the requisite quan- 
tity of concentrated fat liquor diluted with sufficient 
hot water at a temperature of 140 F. is passed in through 
the hollow axle of the drum, which is then set in motion. 
After drumming for about half an hour it will be found 
that the fat liquor has been entirely absorbed by the hides 
which are removed and laid over a wooden horse to drain 
for several hours. Afterwards the hides are sleeked on stone 



CHROME TANNING 195 

tables and then stretched on wooden frames to dry. When 
the hides are dry they are taken off the frames and subjec- 
ted to the staking process which gives the leather that 
softness which is one of its principal characteristics. This 
completes the process of converting both skins and hides 
into undyed chrome leather. When it is essential that the 
leather should have a good appearance, the percentage of 
fat liquor, which the hides are allowed to absorb, must be 
reduced and when the staking operations are completed a 
little French chalk is dusted over the grain side. 

Sole leather. The process of unhairing now employed 
when the hides are destined for sole leather has already 
been described. The tanning takes from a week to ten 
days and the subsequent removal of the acid has to be 
carefully attended to on account of the greater thickness 
of the leather. It seems doubtful whether the process of 
fat-liquoring is necessary. At present the leather is drum- 
med in a concentrated solution of the fat liquor the pro- 
portion employed being about 5 per cent, of the weight of 
the sammed leather. After fat-liquoring the leather is 
brought into a sammed condition either by allowing it to 
dry naturally or by passing it between a pair of rollers. 
When nearly dry it is ready for stuffing. The composition 
of the mixture employed is as follows : 50 Ibs. of Burmese 
paraffin, 12J Ibs. of tallow and 2| Ibs. of resin, For the 
stuffing process it is advisable to use a flat copper or alu- 
minium dish large enough to take the biggest of the butts 
which go through the process. The dish should be from 6 
to 8 inches deep and supported on an iron frame. Under- 
neath a fire is placed and the mixture of paraffin, tallow 
and resin melted. The sole leather butts in a sammed or 
partially dried condition are put into the melted mixture, 
the temperature of which is sufficiently high to cause the 
air in the pores of the leather and the remaining moisture 



196 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

to rapidly pass off in bubbles. The stuffing penetrates 
thoroughly into the substance of the leather and when all 
the moisture has been driven off, as is indicated by the 
cessation of the stream of bubbles rising from the surface 
of the leather, it is removed from the dish and allowed to 
drain. As soon as it is cold the leather is rolled under 
considerable pressure between heavy rollers and is 
then ready for use. 

Dyed leathers. Most of the leather required for boots 
and shoes, saddlery and similar articles has to be dyed 
either black or some shade of brown as the natural colour 
of the leather meets with but little appreciation. This 
adds considerably to the cost of the leather and from the 
beginning it was recognised that it would be desirable to 
devise a simple process which could be carried out with- 
out having resort to aniline dyes. Experiments in this 
direction have resulted in the production of a very satis- 
factory brown leather, prepared by subjecting the neutra- 
lised leather after it leaves the tanning solution to a 
superficial tannage with avaram bark (Cassia auriculata). 
The tanning liquor contains about 5 per cent, of bark and 
the hides are drummed in it for about half an hour. They 
are then removed and washed and again drummed in a 
solution of Bichromate of Potash, there being about 8 oz. 
of the salt to every 100 tbs. of sammed leather. After this 
the leather is fat-liquored and finished in the usual way. 
The depth of colour can be increased by prolonging what 
is practically a bark tanning process till in the extreme 
limit a combination tannage is produced which will be 
dealt with later on. The brown leather thus produced Was 
first intended only for the uppers of cheap ammunition 
boots. When worked up with the ordinary leather dress- 
ings it has proved quite satisfactory for all classes of 
goods though some people prefer a much darker colour. 



CfcROME TANNING 19? 

Coloured leathers for boot uppers pass through ex- 
actly the same processes as those already described but 
it is permissible to allow of a somewhat longer liming 
so as to produce greater softness and flexibility. 
It is best to dye the leather to the colour re- 
quired after the acid has been washed out of it 
and before the fat-liquoring process. The dyes employ- 
ed are all aniline dyes and to fix them satisfactorily 
the leather must first be mordanted with some vegetable 
tanning material. In Madras we have found avaram 
bark both cheap and satisfactory. The leather, after being 
neutralised is well struck out on the grain side and then 
transferred, to a drum containing the decoction of bark, 
of which about 5 per cent, on the weight of the sammed 
leather is employed. The temperature should be about 
140 F., and the drumming should last for about half an 
hour. The leather which will then be of a light yellow 
colour is removed and washed in several changes of water 
after which it is spread out on the sleeking table and 
thoroughly struck out on the flesh side so as to remove as 
far as possible all surplus moisture. The leather is now 
ready for fat-liquoring, about 5 per cent, of which is used 
on the struck out weight of the leather. The fat-liquor- 
ing is done in a drum at a temperature of about 
160 F. and when all the oil has been absorbed, the 
hides are taken out and piled on a table where they are 
allowed to gradually cool down, Each hide or skin 
is dipped in hot water and then well struck out on 
the grain side so as to remove all the surface grease 
which, would make the subsequent dying uneven. With 
the enormous number of dyes now available any colour 
and almost any shade of that colour can easily be pro- 
duced by using suitable combinations. 

The dyes we employ are mainly of English manu- 



198 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

facture being phosphine substitute, new acid green, 
azoflavine R and acid green. The proportion in which 
they are mixed depends upon the colour required and as 
typical mixtures the following are given : 

(1) 4 oz. of phosphine substitute and 1 oz. of new 
acid brown. 

(2) 3 oz. of phosphine substitute, 3 oz, of new acid 
brown and oz. of acid green. 

(3) 4 oz. of phosphine substitute and 3 oz. of new 
acid brown. 

(4) 5 oz. of phosphine substitute, 2 oz. of new acid 
brown and one-fifth oz. of acid green. 

These quantities are for a dozen average sized skins. 
The total quantity of dye stuff required varies with differ- 
ent classes skins, about half an ounce being required for 
a sheep skin and a little over an ounce for a light cow 
hide. The aniline dyes are dissolved in boiling water and the 
solution is filtered to remove any suspended impurities. The 
dyeing is done in drums at a temperature of about 150 F. 
About half the quantity of the dye stuff is used at the out- 
set and the rest is added after about a quarter of an hour. 
At the end of another 30 minutes three-fourths of the dye- 
ing liquor is run out of the drum and egg yolk added 
to the extent of about 1 per cent, on the struck-out weight 
of the leather, after which the drumming is continued for 
another 20 minutes, when the goods are removed, horsed 
up and struck out. The skins are stretched on boards or 
frames to dry and the grain side is lightly rubbed over 
with a solution of 20 per cent, of glycerine in water. 
Before the skins are quite dry they are removed, being 
then in a good condition for staking. After staking the 
colour may be improved by topping with a half per cent, 
solution of the dye used warm and applied with a soft 
brush. When this is done the goods should be again 



CHROME TANNING 199 

staked and then finally dried right out so as to be in a 
condition to receive a coat of seasoning. 

Seasoning. This is made by taking 3 oz. of white of 
egg and one pound of milk and making up with water to 
one gallon adding sufficient of the dye solution to tint the 
mixture. The seasoning is applied lightly on the grain 
side and when the goods are sufficiently dry they are 
glazed in a pendulum machine and afterwards re-staked 
and then the seasoning and glazing processes are gone 
through a second time, at the end of which the leather is 
ready for use. 

Blacks. Experiments with aniline dyes such as Cor- 
voline B. T. using Cutch as a mordant have not been very 
successful and we have obtained better results with Hae- 
matine or logwood extract followed by the application of 
ferrous sulphate. About 1| per cent, of logwood extract, 
calculated on the drained neutralised weight of the leather, is 
dissolved in water, to which is also added a quantity of 
washing soda equal to about one-eight of the weight 
of the logwood extract. The leather is first drummed 
in this solution and in about half an hour obtains 
a deep blue-black colour. The goods are then removed 
from the drum and sleeked well on the grain side and 
"pleated;" i. e. y the skin is laid on the table, doubled 
down the ridge with the flesh side inside and the shanks 
and belly are sleeked over so as to stick them together the 
idea being to keep the flesh side protected from contact 
with the iron solution through which the goods are now 
passed. This consists of a 1 per cent, solution of ferrous 
sulphate through which the skins are pulled twice and 
then immediately washed in hot water and struck out. 
The iron in the ferrous sulphate acts upon the small 
quantity of tannin present in the logwood extract and turns 
the blue-black shade into a thoroughly good black. It is 



200 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

necessary to carefully remove any excess of ferrous sulphate 
that the leather may contain or the process of fat liquor- 
ing will be unsuccessful. This operation is identically 
the same as for brown leather and need not be described 
again. The seasoning for blacks should be of the follow- 
ing composition : 

Two oz. of logwood extract is dissolved in a quart of 
hot water and allowed to cool and oz. of ferrous sulphate 
in a quart of cold water. One pint of blood, 1 pint of milk 
and J oz. of glycerine are mixed together and diluted with 
one quart of water. To this the logwood extract solution 
is added and the whole well stirred. Finally the ferrous 
sulphate solution is added and the whole made up to one 
gallon with water. The mixture is applied with a sponge and 
the goods glazed for the first time whilst very slightly damp. 
The staking, seasoning and glazing may with advantage 
be repeated after which the leather is ready for the market. 

Combination Tannage. For some purposes chrome lea- 
ther is distinctly inferior to well tanned bark leather and it 
is possible by subjecting the hides to both processes to 
obtain a material which possesses in a marked degree the 
good qualities of both tannages. The production of 
such leathers will of course be much more expensive than 
when either process is used alone. 

There are three ways of carrying out a combination 
tannage. Either process may be carried out first, or 
the two tanning liquors may be mixed together and 
allowed to act simultaneously. Most excellent leather 
has been produced by purchasing from local tanners 
hides and skins which have been lightly tanned in 
avaram bark but not subjected to any process of dyeing 
with myrobolams or stuffing with grease. These lightly 
tanned kips or skins were chrome tanned in the 
usual way and either finished in their natural colour or 



CHROME TANNING 201 

dyed brown or black. The leather has proved very 
suitable for many purposes and as the natural colour 
is a not unpleasing brown it does not really cost anything 
more than ordinary chrome leather dyed brown. In a 
similar way sole leather has been made from combination 
tanned hides, but there has not yet been time to ascer- 
tain whether there is any very marked advantage in 
the process. For highly finished boots it can certainly 
be employed as it lends itself more readily to a neat 
finish than does ordinary chrome sole leather. 

Experiments have also been made in which the hides 
are first subjected to the chrome process and then tanned 
in an avaram bark solution. As already mentioned this 
process has been largely employed, more with a view to 
dyeing leather than to materially altering its properties,and 
so far it has proved perfectly satisfactory. Experiments 
with a more prolonged vegetable bark tannage have not 
been satisfactory and at present it seems doubtful if this 
order of tanning will be able to compete with that in which 
the vegetable process takes precedence. Tanning with 
mixed solutions has not yet been tried. 

Conclusion. The processes of chrome tanning which 
we follow in Madras have been described in the above 
general terms, not because there is any novelty about 
them, but because there is prevalent in India an idea that 
chrome tanning involves the introduction of machinery on 
a large scale and methods of operating better adapted for 
employment among more advanced communities. Whilst 
the trade in hides and skins is in a flourishing condition 
the art of tanning in India, except in a few tanneries, is in 
a deplorably backward state. In the Madras Presidency, 
where the tanned skin trade represents the highest develop- 
ment of native tanning, nearly all the best skins are bought 
up and exported to Europe or America in a raw state, 
26 



202 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

year the average value of each raw skin exported was 
Rs. 1-12-0, whilst the average value of tanned skins was 
only Rs. 1-3-0. The report of the Committee of the 
Society of Arts on leather for book-binding condemned 
East-India skins tanned with avaram bark as being the 
worst and most unfit from which to manufacture book- 
binding leathers, This was not due to any defect in the 
skins themselves but solely because avaram bark contains 
catechol tannin and experiments have clearly demonstrat- 
ed that to secure the necessary durability in leather bind- 
ings those only can be used which have been prepared 
with a pyrogallol tannin. The effect of this report has 
been to restrict the market for Madras tanned sheep and 
goat skins and to encourage the export of all the best 
skins in the raw state. Myrabolams and divi-divi both 
yield excellent pyrogallol tannins. The former are already 
exported on a large scale and it would probably be 
wise to ascertain whether these natural products of the 
soil could not be utilised, not so much to bolster up a 
moribund industry as by a re-arrangement of ideas, to 
create a new one. The hides and skins of the domestic 
animals of India have come to be an important asset and 
it seems desirable that the most that can be made should 
be made of this national source of wealth. The abolition 
of the crude system of branding cattle which now prevails 
would probably add fully a crore of rupees to the value of 
the exports of hides and the abolition of the village tanner 
would even lead to greater results. It will probably be a 
long time before the people can be induced to abandon 
branding, but the gradual extension of the chrome process 
and the keener demand for raw hides, which the enhanced 
value of leather now enables dealers to offer, will do much 
to improve the methods of realising the real value of 
hides and skins. 



CHAPTER VIII 
HAND-LOOM WEAVING 
I 

WEAVING IN INDIA* 

It is now nearly two years since I first had the pleasure 
of meeting the members of the South Indian Association 
and addressing them on industrial subjects, the discussion 
of which was one of the objects with which the Association 
was formed. On that occasion I brought to your notice 
the experimental work which was going on at the School 
of Arts in connection with the development of the manu- 
facture of chrome leather, and I sketched out a plan for 
developing this industry with indigenous capital to be 
subscribed by shareholders in a Limited Liability Company. 
My suggestions, however, fell on barren ground, and as 
an Association I received no help from you in what, after 
all, was a well-meant attempt to induce people in India 
to make a better use of one of their raw products than 
they now do. Nor so far as I know has any one else 
met with better success you have welcomed lecturers 
upon various subjects connected with Indian industries 
and have doubtless been interested in their enthusiasm, 
but they have not aroused you to action, and I am not 
sanguine that this afternoon anything I have to say will 
meet with a better fate. I have purposely indulged 
in this mild diatribe not because you are any worse 

* A lecture delivered at the South Indian Association, Madras. 



2()4 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

than your neighbours, but because I wish to draw 
prominent attention to the fact that, although during 
the last two or three years there has been an enor- 
mous amount of writing and talking about the regenera- 
tion of Indian industries and much enthusiasm has been 
aroused over the expression 'Swadeshi/ yet little or nothing 
practical has come of it, and I think I am stating what is 
a literal fact when I say that two years' political agitation 
has done absolutely nothing whatever to further industrial 
progress in India, The Swadeshi movement, though per- 
haps not generally known by that name, was steadily 
gaining ground before it was dragged into prominence by 
the fervid politicians who have arisen in these later days 
and ask to be entrusted with the control of the destinies 
of India. These gentlemen are asking for power, and to 
demonstrate their capacity for achievement have voluntarily 
taken upon themselves to create a new industrial India. 
The undertaking is no light one, and their fitness for power 
may well be judged by the success with which they ac- 
complish their self-imposed task. It will demonstrate to 
the world at large that they are able to do something more 
than criticise, that their capacity for production extends 
beyond the manufacture of verbiage, and that they are 
capable of the self-sacrifice and sustained effort which is 
necessary to achieve great objects in the face of unusual 
difficulties. I do not for a single moment deny the fact 
that India is making considerable industrial progress but, 
having perhaps more than average opportunities of seeing 
what is going on in various parts of India, I can confident- 
ly assert that the Swadeshi movement and the Bengal 
methods of boycott have so far done nothing to advance 
the material interests of the country. Much work is going 
on and not a few people are earnestly labouring to reduce 
the pressure of the population on the soil, and the success 



rtAND-LOOM WEAVING 205 

which has been obtained if not sufficient to engender 
enthusiasm, warrants further efforts in the same direction. 
Not long ago I received from the Editor of a local 
monthly review a request to furnish him with a note setting 
forth the reasons which in my opinion have prevented the 
Swadeshi movement from accomplishing anything of 
real practical importance. Possibly some of you may think 
that this gentleman has been rather previous in acknow- 
ledging the failure of the so-called national movement, but 
for myself I think he is rendering you useful service in 
frankly acknowledging the existing state of things, and in 
endeavouring to ascertain whether any remedy is to be 
found by setting to work again on new lines. The dis- 
cussion which he is endeavouring to excite covers an ex- 
tremely wide field and touches upon many very controversial 
topics. What Japan has done, you would like to do, and the 
ambition would well become a nation, provided its patrio- 
tism was sufficiently deep-rooted to eusure the strenuous 
effort and individual sacrifice which has been shown by the 
Island Nation of the Far East. It is impossible for me in 
the time at my disposal this afternoon to discuss these 
questions at any length, nor is there any necessity that I 
should do so because, as a matter of fact, the reasons for 
the failure of indigenous industrial enterprise are neither 
obscure nor very complex. The occasion, however, seems 
to me to be favourable to impress upon you one of the 
most important lessons to be derived from the recent 
financial disasters which have occurred in this Presidency 
and by which so many hundreds and even thousands of 
you have been deprived of no small portion of your savings. 
The accumulations of half a generation have disappeared, 
and you have nothing to show for them. For reasons 
which I need not go into, you have preferred to entrust 
others with your capital and have refused to embark upon 



206 INbUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

indigenous enterprises conducted by men of your own 
race. Much outcry has been made regarding the drain 
of India's wealth, but the drain of experience which is 
constantly going on has almost entirely escaped the atten- 
tion of your political leaders. There is much industrial 
enterprise in India, but it is mainly in the hands of 
foreigners, and year by year these men retire from the 
country, taking with them not only some of the wealth they 
have helped to create, but all the experience they have been 
able to gain. If you wish to see India restored to the indus- 
trial pre-eminence which centuries ago it undoubtedly en- 
joyed, you must be prepared to recognise the changed con- 
ditions under which modern industrial activity is carried 
on, and you must be prepared to entrust your capital to 
your own countrymen. Only in this way can you gradually 
accumulate in this country that fund of industrial experi- 
ence which must exist if you are to successfully compete 
against manufacturers in other parts of the world. It 
is thought that much can be done by sending promising 
young men to Europe, America or Japan to acquire a 
knowledge of the industrial processes which are there 
carried on. The results of the work in this direction are 
far from encouraging, mainly because the wrong class of 
people have been sent and few of them have stayed long 
enough to gain that knowledge and experience, not only 
of the processes of manufacture but also of the methods of 
conducting business, which are absolutely essential to 
the successful initiation of industrial undertakings. It 
is generally forgotten that these young men leave India, 
not to undergo a preliminary training or to pass examina- 
tions which may enable them to start on a definite and 
well recognised career when they return, but to 
acquire a thorough knowledge of some practical trade 
or industry, and they are always in too great a hurry 



HAND-LOOM WEAVING 207 

to do this properly. Consequently when they return 
and find they have to depend entirely upon their own 
resources, hopeless failure is nearly always the result. I 
need not remind you that industrial work offers few 
attractions to the intellectual youth of this country, and 
that only those who have evinced no aptitude for the 
studies necessary to success at University Examinations 
turn as a last resource to commercial and industrial 
pursuits. I do not say that the course which you at pre- 
sent pursue is a foolish one, for the circumstances of the 
country are such that there is but little prospect of a suc- 
cessful career open to those who take up industrial work. 
There must be a beginning to all things, and over the 
greater part of India no attempt has yet been made 
to carry on industrial work on modern lines. Every- 
thing remains as in the days when the artisan was 
supreme, and if improvements are to be effected, capital 
must be put into Indian industries, technical knowledge 
applied to them, and a regular organisation introduced, 
involving a minuter sub-division of labour with its attend- 
ant economy and efficiency. As an example of what 
can be done in this direction, I should like to draw your 
attention to the workshops of the Indian Aluminium 
Company, situated in the very heart ol Triplicane. There 
you will see one of the oldest native industries in Madras 
working on modern lines and the most improved 
and up-to-date metal working machinery used in con- 
junction with the cheap but highly skilled hand-labour 
of Southern India. On a fairly large scale the experiment 
has turned out extremely successful a not inconsiderable 
number of artisans find remunerative employment, and 
the capital embarked upon this venture earns very good 
dividends. Practically the whole of India derives its 
supplies of aluminium utensils from this little factory, and 



208 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

the scale of production is in consequence sufficiently 
large to enable work to be turned out at rates with which 
imported goods cannot compete. The only unsatisfac- 
tory feature about the business, from a purely Indian 
point of view, is that the bulk of the capital does not 
belong to the people of this country, and as a natural 
consequence the supervision and management are in the 
hands of Europeans. 

Quite recently I paid a visit to Madura, and I spent 
some time in enquiring into the conditions under which 
the dyeing industry of that town is carried on. The 
modern phase of this ancient industry dates back to only 
1895, when Mr. K. Tulsiram, a Sourashtra of Madura, 
started with a capital of only Rs. 100 to dye grey yarn 
with alizarine red. The methods of working struck 
me as extremely primitive, but when I tell you that the 
outturn last year of dyed yarn was valued at as much as 
24 lakhs of rupees, and that upwards of 250 tons of alizarine 
dye worth about Rs. 1,100 a ton was consumed, you will 
be able to form some idea of the energy and ability which 
have been displayed in the development of this trade. 
There are now between 35 and 40 dye houses in Madura. 
Every available open space in the suburbs of the town 
is utilised for drying the yarn, a process which has to be 
tfone through some thirteen or fourteen times before 
the final product is obtained. I am told that the demand 
for the yarn is greatly in excess of the supply, and it 
struck me that the introduction of more capital into the 
industry would be attended with every beneficial results. 
The surprising growth of this trade in the last 10 years 
has been due to the multiplication of the number of firms 
engaged in it rather than to the growth of the pioneer 
firms. A very large amount of labour is employed in 
carrying on the operations, and the time required to carry 



HAND-LOOM WEAVING 209 

them out runs into weeks owing to the dependence of the 
dyers upon open yards for drying their yarn. The way 
in which the work is done affords employment to a great 
number of coolies and a few maistries, but for the techni- 
cally trained chemist or mechanic there is no opening. 
I do not now propose to criticise in detail the methods 
of working pursued, but what I wish to draw your attention 
to is that they are undoubtedly wasteful of capital and 
prodigal of labour. The capital locked up in the drying 
yards represents a very large sum, and it is possible 
that a fraction of this amount invested in machinery 
would materially diminish the time required for dyeing, 
effect an enormous economy in unskilled labour and give 
employment to a few men of a higher class from whom 
we might expect that further developments would emanate. 
Mr. Tulsiram is fully aware of the direction in which it is 
probable that improvements can be effected, but lacking 
the stimulus of enterprising competitors and coming but 
little into contact with men accustomed to Western me- 
thods of working, he has experienced some diffidence 
in launching out on untried lines. This is but natural and 
perhaps not altogether devoid of wisdom ; at any rate it 
is characteristic of the way in which things are done in 
this country, due to the marked objection which exists to 
converting liquid capital employed in trade into the less 
easily realisable forms which investment in machinery 
necessitates. 

The regeneration of Indian industries can only be 
accomplished by the intelligent application of capital and 
by bringing to the assistance of the artisans the technical 
results of modern science. The day has gone by when 
each artisan family could be considered a complete indus- 
trial unit, and if any improvement is to be effected in the 
status of thd indigenous industries it must follow on the 



210 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

lines on which industrial development has proceeded in 
almost all industries all over the world. All modern pro- 
gress is in the direction of a minuter sub-division of labour 
and the introduction of automatic appliances which 
render production less dependent upon manual skill and 
dexterity, The artisan can no longer work for himself, 
he is bound to co-operate with others, and his daily work 
must be directed by men who have received a special 
training to fit them to exercise efficient control over con- 
siderable numbers of hand-workers. 

For the last 20 years it has been generally recognised 
throughout this country that the hand industries were in a 
decadent condition, and many futile efforts have been 
made to do something to resist the inevitable decay. 
Technical education and industrial education have been 
invoked to remedy matters because in other countries their 
necessity was obvious. At the end of the seventies we, in 
England, discovered that our manufacturing industries 
were suffering from the competition of the scientifically 
directed and technically trained workmen on the Conti- 
nent. It was gradually realised that a successful manu- 
facturer must go through a preliminary training to put 
him in a position to take advantage of the practical instruc- 
tion to be obtained in workshops and factories. Technical 
Schools and Colleges arose to supply this demand/ and at 
the present day it is generally admitted that the provision 
for technical instruction is fairly adequate. In India indus- 
tries are not dying out because they have become so compli- 
cated that the old methods of training men to direct them 
have become inadequate ; on the contrary they are gradual- 
ly being extinguished because the methods of working 
continue in their primordial simplicity, and no attempt 
whatever has been made to take advantage of modern 
developments. At the outest this was not recognised and 



HAND-LOOM WEAVING 211 

the remedy called for in India was the same as that which 
had proved efficacious in England. Schemes to provide 
technical instruction were set on foot, technical institutes 
founded, scholarships offered and greedily accepted by 
impecunious youths, but gradually it was realised that 
there was no field of employment for the students when 
they had completed their training and that in fact the 
course of treatment was not applicable to the complaint. 
Time has revealed the situation more clearly, and we are 
now able to make a more or less correct diagnosis of the 
disease and to indicate the direction in which efforts must 
be made if any improvements are to be effected. It 
remains to be seen how far we can get you to readjust 
yourselves to the changed environment and how far the 
Government in this country can judiciously take a direct 
part in establishing new industries and resuscitating old 
ones. 

In the Madras Presidency more has been done in 
this direction than in other parts of India, and as the 
Secretary of State has recently sanctioned the appoint- 
ment of a special officer to deal with industrial and 
technical inquiries, it may be presumed that the work 
which has been done in the past has been sufficiently suc- 
cessful to justify its continuance and development in the 
future. Where the people are self-reliant and private 
enterprise is strong, the direct intervention of Govern- 
ment in industrial matters is calculated to do more harm 
than good. But in this Presidency these conditions do 
not prevail, and Government acting as a pioneer may do 
much useful work and determine the direction in which 
the capital available may be most judiciously employed. 

One of the greatest difficulties, Indian capitalists expe- 
rience in their efforts to start new industrial undertakings, 
arises from the fact that they cannot obtain disinterested 



2l2 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

advice on technical matters, and there is no question that 
Government in this direction will greatly stimulate private 
effort if steps are taken to render it practicable for any 
one in this country to get expert assistance in working 
out new schemes. This will in part counteract the evils, 
which you are suffering from, owing to the lack of that 
fund of industrial experience which has been gradually 
accumulating in other countries. It would be interesting 
to discuss these general questions further, but this evening 
I have come here to tell you what has been done and 
what, so far as I can see, is likely to be done in the future 
with the hand-loom industry. 

For nearly ten years the decadence of the native 
hand-weaver has been the subject of much correspon- 
dence and discussion in the Indian daily papers and 
a good deal of false sentiment has been engendered in 
connection therewith. The glamour of the past has 
bonded the friends of the weaver to the realities of the 
present and to a large extent the efforts which have 
been made to improve his position have been futile be- 
cause they have neglected to take into account certain 
economic factors of overwhelming force. Two cen- 
turies ago Europe was scarcely on a par with India in 
respect to textile manufactures and the exports from India 
to England had much influence in bringing about that 
marvellous revolution in the processes of manufacture 
employed in the textile trades which began about a 
century-and-a-half ago and has scarcely been completed 
yet. It will not be true to say that all this while the Indian 
weaver has stood still ; for he also has been affected, and 
his methods of working to-day are an advance on those of 
the 18th century. Nevertheless he has been very badly 
worsted in open competition with the products of the 
power-looms of Lancashire and even where he is not 



HAND- LOOM WEAVING 213 

subjected to the stress of direct competition, the primitive 
organization of his trade places him at a serious dis- 
advantage. 

There are many fabrics manufactured in India which 
cannot be made with commercial success in the power- 
loom and in these branches of weaving, the only thing to 
be feared is that the hand-weaver may lose his business 
through changes in the tastes and customs of the people 
which may lead them to substitute fabrics which can be 
made in power-looms for those which arenowmade and can 
only be made in hand-looms. As an example of the class 
of goods to which I refer, I would draw your attention to 
the beautiful solid bordered cloths which are manufactured 
in large numbers in Salem and Madura. Attempts have 
been made to produce them in power-looms, but the 
article produced was not at all the same thing, and 
weavers of these cloths are as yet unaffected by direct 
competition of power-looms. These cloths are expensive 
and the demand for them has diminished, because other 
cloths of inferior quality can be produced so very much 
more cheaply. In the manufacture of very coarse cloths a 
vast amount of dungri is made from very inferior cotton 
on hand-looms, and those engaged in this branch of the 
trade have little to fear from the competition of power- 
looms because the material employed does not possess 
the strength which must of necessity be found in warps 
which are to be employed on such looms. The hand-loom 
has not died out in Europe but wherever it is found 
working, investigation generally shows that there are 
special reasons why it continues to be employed, and as 
these reasons are not applicable to India, they offer no 
encouragement to those who are endeavouring to make 
out a case for the vitality of the hand-loom industry. The 
hand-loom weaver of India still survives to the present day 



214 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

mainly because there was no alternative open to him ; but 
in the struggle he has been reduced from prosperity 
to poverty and even with the assistance of his 
women and children, he is only just able to earn a 
bare livelihood. In many cases he is no better off 
than an unskilled labourer and in times of famine and 
scarcity the cessation of the demand for his cloths reduces 
him to complete destitution at once. 

Five or six years study of the problems connected 
with hand-weaving has led me to the conclusion that 
whatever may be the ultimate fate of the hand- weaver 
he can easily hold his own for a long time to come, since he 
is content to exist on but little more than the bare neces- 
sities of life. Even as a hand-weaver he has much to 
learn, and if we could endow him with intelligence 
and energy there is no doubt that a bright future 
would be in store for him. The condition of the hand- 
weavers varies much in different parts of India, mainly 
because the pressure of outside competition has been felt 
much more severely in some branches of the trade than 
in others, but this alone does not account for the whole 
difference. In some places the local conditions are 
favourable to the weaver, in others the reverse, and in 
places where the weaver has been induced by friendly 
assistance and control to adopt more modern methods of 
working there his condition is by no means so deplora- 
ble. Climate has a good deal to do with success in 
weaving and much better work can be done in the moist 
climates of the Coast Districts than in the dry regions of 
the interior. In Lower Bengal the weavers not only enjoy 
a favourable climate, but in some of the Districts they 
have adopted the fly-shuttle loom, and this enables them 
to make a rather better living than their contemporaries 
who still adhere to the old-fashioned method of passing 



HAND-LOOM WEAVING 215 

the shuttles through the warp by hand. The efforts to 
improve the hand-loom industry during the last year 
or two have mainly been confined to attempts to introduce 
improved forms of loom whereby the rate of working may 
be considerably increased, and there is no doubt that 
whatever is accomplished in this direction is to the 
weaver's benefit, but it must not be assumed that the 
difficulties of the hand-weaver will entirely disappear in 
the presence of an improved hand-loom. In a paper re- 
cently contributed to the Industrial Conference at Calcutta 
it was stated : 

" The production of hand-looms working in the 
country is estimated at 1650 million yards. The looms 
work at an average effective speed at 20 picks per minute, 
and if this can be increased to 50 picks, the increased 
production with the same number of looms will be 2,475 
million yards. This increase more than equals the total cloth 
imports to the country. As this increase can be produced 
by the same number of men as are now engaged on the 
looms, the price per yard will be cheaper than at present, 
and their ability to withstand foreign competition will so 
far be increased." 

There is a germ of truth in the above paragraph, but 
it is easy to exaggerate the effect of an improved loom, 
and it is quite certain that the mere doubling or trebling of 
the out-put of the hand-loom will not by itself bring about 
any material improvement in the weaver's condition. In 
the first place weaving is but one of the processes through 
which cotton is made to pass in its conversion from yarn 
into cloth, and an improvement in this one stage may 
have only a very slight effect upon the total cost. 
Between the primitive methods of warping and sizing 
employed by the hand-weaver, and the methods employed 
in the modern power-loom factory there is an immensely 



216 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

greater difference in the rate and cost of production than 
there is between the outturn of the hand and the power- 
loom. Similarly between the methods of disposal of the 
finished goods adopted by a highly organised weaving 
factory and the primitive system in vogue in the bazaar, 
there is an equally great difference, and it can scarcely be 
doubted that the hand-loom weaving industry would be 
in a very much more flourishing state, if the hand-loom 
weavers could be induced to work in factories under 
proper supervision and organised in such detail as to 
reap the advantages which always accrue from a proper 
sub-division of labour. That there is something in this 
contention is widely recognised and within the last year 
Government have permitted me to extend the scope 
of our weiving experiments by opening a hand-loom 
weaving factory at Salem, whilst a number of purely 
commercial factories are being started in other parts 
of the Presidency. In Madura, the Meenakshi Weav- 
ing Company has been established with a capital 
of about one lakh of rupees, and the Proprietors are 
building a weaving shed at a cost of nearly Rs. 40,000. 
Whilst this work is going on, they are employing 70 
weavers to work for them in their own homes and have 
supplied them with 20 fly shuttle-looms for weaving plain 
cloth, and 50 looms for bordered cloths, each of the latter 
being fitted with a system of harness for weaving pat- 
terns, which is the invention of a local weaver and is 
a marked improvement upon the very cumbrous system 
usually employed. This enterprise has been started on 
very sound lines, and it seems likely that the capital em- 
ployed will yield a good return. 

What is perhaps of greater interest to you, since it is 
situated near Madras, is the weaving factory in Tondiarpet 
which has been started by Mr. P. Theagoraya Chetty. 



HAND-LOOM WEAVING 217 

In this factory some experiments are now being made with 
warping and sizing machinery recently imported from 
England ; but what I should like to make clear to 
you is this, that the ultimate improvement of hand-weav- 
ing depends more upon the successful establishment of 
these hand-weaving factories than upon the details of 
methods of working which may yet be devised to increase 
their capacity. 

For many years past the weaving establishments 
of the Basel Mission on the West Coast have been suc- 
cessful examples of hand-loom factories, and a careful 
study of the methods of management adopted by these 
German Missionaries will render it comparatively easy to 
establish native factories on similar lines. It is true that 
they are not run as purely commercial institutions, but 
nevertheless they have proved successful on the 
financial side. In these factories, they employ ball warp- 
ing mills, the weaving is done on European hand-looms 
and where complicated patterns have to be woven 
suitable dobbeys or Jacquart apparatus are employed. I do 
not wish it to be implied that all has been done that 
can be done to improve the hand-loom machinery but 
what I wish to emphasise is that if full use is made 
of what has already been tried somewhere or other 
on an extensive scale, there is reasonable prospect 
of infusing new life into hand-loom weaving and 
putting the weavers themselves into a more secure 
position. 

The difficulties which have to be faced lie mainly 
with the weavers themselves, and of these we have ex- 
perienced a full measure in the work which is going on 
at Salem. There is not the least doubt that the fly- 
shuttle loom is from 50 to 100 per cent, more effective than 
the native hand-loom, but the weavers object to turning 
28 



218 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

out in a day more cloth than they have been accustomed 
to, and neither in Salem nor Madras have we ever been 
able to get them to make full use of the improved way of 
working. It is perhaps difficult for most of you to realise 
the great change which bringing the weaver into a factory 
system involves. He is a fairly hard-working individual, 
as if it were not so he would be starving, but he is ac- 
customed to work at his own time and in his own home, 
and the regular hours obtaining in a factory are extremely 
distasteful to him. In the factory the work is undoubted- 
ly more monotonous than in the domestic circle, and the 
main compensation which the weaver can look forward 
to is that he will have to work shorter hours and be able 
to earn sufficient wages to keep his family respectably, 
and allow them to enjoy freedom from sordid cares and 
anxieties which at present is very much their lot. 

The establishment of hand-loom factories will 
afford excellent opportunities for educated young men 
to acquire a knowledge and insight into the princi- 
ples and methods which must be pursued to enable 
manufacturing operations to be carried on profitably. 
Excepting these recently established factories, I think I 
am correct in saying that not a single educated man is 
directly employed in the weaving trade although it is by 
far the largest indigenous industry in this country. I am 
not without hope that we may see hundreds of weaving 
factories gradually coming into existence, and it will be 
difficult then to estimate the effect of the improvements 
which will be brought about by associating the work of 
the weaver with men whose intellects have been trained 
and who have a full knowledge of the conditions under 
which the weaving industry must be carried on. If this 
is to be accomplished it must be in the main the work of 
private enterprise though Government at the outset has pro- 



WAND-LOOM WEAVING 219 

vided the initial stimulus and, for some time to come, must 
exercise a preponderating influence on the way in which 
the weaving problem is handled. We have already, 
as you are aware, an experimental weaving factory in 
Salem, where weaving experiments on a practical scale 
are being carried out, where new apparatus can be tried 
and new ideas tested. What we lack at the present 
time is advanced expert knowledge in regard to the higher 
developments of pattern-weaving, and there is no doubt 
that by providing typical apparatus and bringing out a 
capable expert to develop its use, much good work could 
be done through the medium of the weaving factories al- 
ready established and through those which are likely to 
spring up in the immediate future. I am of opinion 
that when the hand-weaving factory system has got 
fairly into motion, much good may be done not only 
by sending men home to study technical weaving in such 
schools as exist in Manchester and elsewhere, but that 
still more may be done by bringing out to India experts 
to assist private enterprise in working out new develop- 
ments in the local factories. This is but an example of the 
way in which Government may help you out of the diffi- 
culties which have arisen from the fact that in this country 
you have not hitherto been able to do anything towards 
accumulating that fund of technical experience and skill 
without which it is impossible that you should make the 
least headway. 

From all parts of India correspondents apply to me 
for advice regarding the establishment of hand-loom 
factories but without local knowledge there are only cer- 
tain matters which can be dealt with in general terms. 

The first question which naturally arises is on what 
scale hand-loom factories should be started, and this, I 
think, depends very largely upon the method of warping 



220 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN iNDiA 

which is to be employed at the outset. If the ordinary native 
methods of warping are employed, it will be practicable to 
make a start with 20 or 30 looms, as if properly arranged 
the outturn from these should give full employment to a 
competent manager ; and the profit on working should be 
sufficient to provide him with adequate remuneration in- 
cluding interest on the capital outlay. Machines which pro- 
duce the warp in a continuous sheet, which is wound direct- 
ly on the weaver's beam, as in the slasher sizing machine or 
machines, of smaller capacity, which produce the warp in 
sections to be subsequently combined and run off on to the 
weaver's beam, have a very much larger output, and, if the 
capital outlay expended on them is to be fully utilised, the 
weaving factory must possess from 150 to 200 looms. 
In regard to the equipment of a hand-loom weaving 
factory, it is essential to definitely settle what cloth it is 
proposed to manufacture before any machinery is pur- 
chased, and then warping mills and looms should be 
purchased which are best suited to turn out such work. 
At present I cannot recommend any of the warping 
machines which have been recently suggested as suitable 
for hand-weaving factories. The superiority of hand- 
woven goods in this country depends very largely upon 
the methods of sizing employed, and machines cannot 
effect this operation so as to produce a result similar to 
that obtained by stretching the warp and brushing it 
by hand. This of necessity involves employing a very 
large number of leases, and the hand-warping machines 
now in use, of which large numbers may be found in the 
bazaars of weaving towns like Salem and Madura, do very 
excellent work. With good fly-shuttle looms the output 
of a weaving factory should be double that which can be 
obtained from the same number of native hand-looms, 
and it is therefore desirable that much longer warps 



tUND-LOOM WEAVING 221 

should be employed than at present is the custom ; but 
at the same time care must be taken not to employ too 
long warps, lest the sizing should deteriorate and the 
threads become rotten. 

Much attention has been paid during the last two or 
three years to the improvement of hand-looms, and a great 
number of patents have been taken out but I need hardly 
tell you that most of them are very imperfect and are never 
likely to be brought into practical use. Up to the present 
time I have not been able to discover any better loom than 
that which I have adopted for work in the Salem factory, 
and which Mr. Theagoraya Chetty has also adopted in his 
factory at Tondiarpet. This is practically the old English 
fly-shuttle loom with as few complications as possible. It 
possesses an automatic take-up motion to ensure regulari- 
ty of picking, but in every other respect it is a non- 
automatic machine. Very ingenious hand-looms, or it 
would be better perhaps to call them foot-looms have 
been put on the market by one or two English firms, such 
as Messrs. Hattersley & Sons and Messrs. Raphael Brothers, 
but my experience with them is unsatisfactory. They are 
really power looms adapted for working with treadles 
or pedals. They are complicated, expensive and much 
too heavy for the ordinary weaver to drive. A high rate 
of picking can only be obtained either by the use of a 
very light shuttle or by the expenditure of considerable 
power, and in a successful hand-loom it is desirable to 
adopt a middle course and make the rate of picking such 
that it can be kept, up with a fair amount of regularity 
throughout a working day. The effort required to drive 
the shuttle backwards and forwards through the warp is 
very fatiguing in the English hand-loom and the weaver 
only keeps going because he has frequent interruptions 
.which enable him to rest his arm, and there is no practical 



222 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

advantage in introducing devices which will lessen the 
period of these interruptions beyond that which is neces- 
sary to the weaver to enable him to keep going. If the 
weaver can throw his shuttle effectively for half the time 
he is at the loom, the result may be considered satisfactory. 
In the English hand-loom the throwing of the shuttle and 
the beating up of the weft are two independent opera- 
tions and naturally inventors endeavour to combine 
them and thus render the working of the loom much 
simpler. This is done in the Japanese hand-loom and 
in the very ingenious loom designed by Mr. Churchill of 
the American Mission at Ahmednagar. In both these 
looms the picking strings are done away with, and the 
picking is effected by a mechanism worked from the slay 
which comes automatically into operation in the process 
of beating up. The Japanese loom is too much like a 
power loom to be suitable for a hand-loom weaving factory, 
and Mr. Churchill's loom is unfortunately defective in the 
mechanism for timing the throw of the shuttle, and in 
practice we have found no advantage in its use when the 
cloth to be woven was more than a yard wide. These 
defects Mr. Churchill has been the first to admit, and only 
recently he wrote to me saying that he was still at work 
endeavouring to produce an effective hand-loom. The 
problem is a very difficult one, and his disinterested labours 
will be watched with interest, for there is no doubt that if 
he succeeds in producing a hand-loom which will work as 
effectively on wide warps of high counts as the Ahmeda- 
nagar loom now does on narrow warps of low counts, the 
benefit to India and to the weaving population will be very 
considerable. 

In conclusion I should like to briefly sum up the 
view of the situation which 1 have endeavoured to place 
before you. It is this, that the amelioration of the con- 



HAND-LOOM WEAVING 223 

dition of the hand-weavers in India depends upon 
the introduction of the factory system and the organiza- 
tion of the labour available in a more efficient manner. 
This will necessitate the employment of capital and 
will find occupation for a considerable number of 
highly trained young men. The weaver will have to be 
educated, and his lot will be improved only when his 
services become more valuable. Only those who have tried 
to manage hand-weaving factories can form any adequate 
idea of the difficulties which have to be faced, and I 
commend to your attention the extremely valuable work 
Mr. P. Theagoraya Chetty has done in Tondiarpet. 

II 
THE SALEM WEAVING FACTORY.* 

In the present paper 1 propose to give a brief account 
of the origin and objects of the Hand-loom Weaving 
Factory which was established early last year in Salem 
under the orders of the Government of Madras. This 
Factory has attracted a great deal of attention not only in 
the Madras Presidency but in all parts of India, unfortu- 
nately however its aims and objects have been misunder- 
stood with the result that the work done there has not 
exercised that influence over the movement in favour of 
reform in the methods of the hand-weaver which we think 
it is entitled to and which in the interests of the Indian 
weavers themselves ifshould. 

As far back as the year 1900 my attention was drawn ' 
to fly- shuttle looms as an improvement over native hand- 
looms by the then Deputy Superintendent of the Chingle- 
put Reformatory and in the following year I set up about 
half a dozen fly-shuttle looms in a shed in the School of 
Arts, Madras, with the object of getting experience as to 

Contributed to the Industrial Conference, Surat, 1907. 



224 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

their working capacity and data regarding their possibilities. 
I was aware of the existence of the large weaving establish- 
ments on the West Coast belonging to the Basel Mission 
where fly-shuttle looms are exclusively used and, as 
Inspector of Technical Schools in Madras, I knew of a 
number of mission institutions where weaving with fly- 
shuttle looms was taught. But in every case the work 
was with comparatively coarse counts and the goods 
turned out were invariably copies of the Basel Mission 
work. So far as I was aware no attempt had ever 
been made to turn out purely indigenous cloths on fly- 
shuttle looms and it was to achieve this Qbject that 1 
began the investigations. From enquiries in Madras 
I found that some attempts had been made by people 
interested in the piece-goods trade, but that nothing had 
come of them and a Muhammadan firm, Messrs. Hajee 
Mahomed Badsha Sahib & Co., showed me the results of 
a very extensive series of experiments they were under- 
taking in the manufacture of Madras handkerchiefs with 
the domestic hand-loom manufactured by Messrs. Hatter- 
sley & Sons. When their experiments ended in failure 
they lent me some of the looms with which to make 
further experiments and these looms may still be seen in 
the School of Arts, Madras, among the discarded relics of 
our various weaving experiments. 

At the outset Madras handkerchiefs were taken up 
and for two or three years we made great efforts to im- 
prove the various details of their manufacture in the hope 
of being able to turn them out at a profit. At first the 
handkerchiefs fetched poor prices, but latterly we were 
able to command the highest rates paid for them. 
Attempts were also made to introduce the manufacture of 
these handkerchiefs into some of the Industrial Schools, 
but in every case the experiment ended in failure and at 



HAND-LOOM WEAVING 225 

the end of 1905 after carrying on the work for nearly five 
years it was found impracticable to make the fly-shuttle 
loom a success on the lines along which we were working. 
We had, however, definitely ascertained that it was practi- 
cable to turn out a much larger percentage of cloth on a 
fly-shuttle loom than on the native loom, that a cloth of 
even better texture could be produced and that if the sizing 
processes could be improved there seemed to be some 
hope of the fly-shuttle loom coming into general use 
throughout the country. Our want of success was partly 
due to trying to do too many things at onetime but mainly 
to the difficulty of getting good weavers to work regularly 
in the weaving shed. 

In August and September 1905, I made a tour through 
Bombay, the United Provinces and Bengal and in passing 
orders on my report the Government of Madras expressed 
their willingness to establish a hand-loom weaving factory 
for experimental work either in Salem or Madura. For a 
variety of reasons the former town was selected and in Feb- 
ruary of last year the looms and apparatus with which we 
were working in Madras were transferred to Salem and a 
new start was made. Salem was selected, because accord- 
ing to the Census Reports there were over 8,000 hand- 
weavers in the town who were supposed to be in a more 
or less chronic state of poverty, because the climate was 
considered suitable, and finally because it was conveniently 
situated in regard to access from Madras a matter of some 
importance in connection with the supervision of the 
factory. All the experience gained in running the looms 
in Madras was made use of in considering the lines upon 
which the Salem Weaving Factory was to work. 

In a report on the results of the first year's working of 
the factory which was submitted to the Government of 
Madras I have explained that it is an experiment to ascertain 
29 



226 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

whether it is possible to improve the condition of the hand- 
weavers in Southern India. 

(1) by substituting for the native hand-loom improved 
hand-looms which will enable the weaver to produce a 
greater length of cloth in a given time without in any way 
sacrificing the essential characteristics of native hand-woven 
goods ; 

(2) by introducing the factory system among the 
weavers so that they may work under the management of 
men with commercial and manufacturing experience 
and so that capital and organisation may be introduced 
into the industry to render the hand labour more pro- 
ductive ; 

(3) by introducing, if possible, improved preparatory 
processes to diminish the cost of the preliminary warping 
and sizing which the yarn undergoes before it is placed 
in the loom. 

From this it will be seen that the Weaving Factory 
is not a school for imparting instruction in the trade, 
but is simply for solving certain problems which have 
been definitely formulated and the future action of 
Government in regard to the weaving industry will 
largely depend upon the solution which is arrived 
at. With the first set of problems and the third set no 
one, I think, will disagree, but a great deal of opposition 
has been raised to what is characterised as an attempt to 
introduce the factory system with its assumed squalor and 
ugliness into what is deemed an artistic handicraft. If 
the hand-weaving industry is to be materially improved, 
a great deal has to be done not merely in connection with 
the technical details of the weaving processes, but also in 
connection with the training and education of the weaver 
himself. In the design of woven fabrics there is immense 
scope for artistic -skill, but the production of these fabrics 



HAND-LOOM WEAVING 

in the loom is a purely mechanical operation and the hand- 
weaver is an artisan and not an artistic handicraftsman. 
The production of solid bordered cloths is still beyond 
the capabilities of the power-loom and for the very 
finest work the native hand-loom is still supreme ; 
but for the bulk of the textile fabrics required by the 
people of India the power-loom is one method of manu- 
facture and the question which has yet to be answered is 
whether or not it will ultimately be the only method of 
manufacture. 

Those who study the weaver in his house amid his 
ordinary everyday surroundings, often short of work and 
nearly always in the hands of the cloth merchants in the 
bazaar, see little of the independent artisan who is to be 
the industrial backbone of this country, but much of the 
misery and poverty of his lot. With the assistance of 
his women and children he ekes out a miserable existence 
and his seeming independence is merely indolence and 
aversion to regular work. The imagination of the artist 
casts a glamour over the wretched isolation of the weaver 
and would have us leave him to fight a losing battle 
against the products of one of the largest and best 
organised industries in the world, telling him to work 
with tools which have been discarded in other countries 
as inefficient. The purchasing power of money in India 
is steadily decreasing and in most of the other trades and 
industries the earnings of the workers are increasing. 
In the weaving trade at best they are .stationary and in 
many places are on the decline. Will the hand-weaver 
survive the stress of competition or will he be driven as 
in other countries to seek a livelihood at other work? 
The answer is doubtful. The fact that he has survived so 
long is in his favour and there is no doubt the transitional 
period can be prolonged, but it is still an open question as 



228 [INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

to whether he can be put in a position which will enable 
him to command the same wages for the same number 
of hours of work as the power-loom weaver, or the 
blacksmith or carpenter, whose industrial existence is 
not threatened by the prospect that ingenious machinery 
will be devised to supplant them. On all these ques- 
tions, I have in respect to the weaving factory 
endeavoured to preserve an open mind and it has 
only been called a factory and organised on factory 
lines because it seemed to be the simplest way of testing 
the efficiency of new methods of working and of training 
a certain number of weavers to carry on industrial experi- 
ments to a definite commercial conclusion. As a Govern- 
ment institution one can hardly hope that it will be a 
great commercial success. Experimental factories cannot 
be run on purely commercial lines and there is no chance 
of establishing any sort of a monopoly which might ena- 
ble us for a time to obtain unusually profitable work. 

So far at Salem we have not had time to tackle any 
technical problems connected with the hand-weaving 
industry. All our time has been engaged in getting to- 
gether a sufficient number of capable hand-weavers 
to really test the capacity of the various looms which 
have been brought to our notice. We have found 
that the hand- weavers of Salem like the hand-wea- 
vers of Madras object to working in factory, and 
although their wages are good their attendance is 
unsatisfactory. This is mainly because the weavers 
prefer to work in their own homes, assisted by their 
women and children, and dislike being subjected to 
the discipline and regular hours of working which must 
necessarily prevail in the factory. Although the men can 
earn considerably more than they do in their own houses 
and are ensured regular and continuous employment, they 



HAND-LOOM WEAVING 229 

much prefer the old system and seem to find steady employ- 
ment extremely irksome, but few of them are free agents 
and nearly all are in the hands of the cloth merchants who 
from time to time make them advances and receive the 
cloths they manufacture. Naturally these gentlemen view 
the experiments at the Weaving Factory with suspicion 
and their influence has all along been against us. So far, 
therefore, we have had to work mainly with the waifs and 
strays of the weaving community, and the Assistant in 
charge of the Factory has had a long and tedious task in 
getting it into even some semblance of order. Private in- 
dividuals however have watched our efforts, imitated our 
methods and without any special advocacy on our part a 
considerable number of hand-weaving factories have been 
started in various parts of the Presidency, but with what 
degree of success I am not able to state. 

The interest in hand-weaving is mainly due to 
the Swadesi movement and most of these factories 
owe their existence to the enthusiasm engendered at 
the birth of a new political movement. Whether, in 
the long run, they will hold their own or not, and 
whether, in consequence, they will grow in size and 
multiply in number, remains to be seen. Comparatively 
recently there has been a great development in the use of 
cotton checks for native clothing and it is largely to sup- 
ply this demand that most of the factories were started. 
The pioneer work in this direction was done by the Basel 
Mission weaving establishments and it is not improbable 
that if the demand continues to grow to any great extent 
the power-loom weavers will try to cut into the business 
and possibly with success. In Madras, at any rate, there 
are two large hand-weaving factories in Tondiarpet, both 
of which are manufacturing Madras handkerchiefs and 
in this direction the proprietors assure me that they are 



230 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

doing better than with native hand-looms, but as no 
accounts are available it is difficult at present to tell 
whether they have succeeded in placing these factories 
on a firm commercial basis, or whether they have 
achieved little or nothing more than has been done in 
the Government Weaving Factory. 

I freely invite criticism of our methods of working 
and of the way we are tackling the Cveaving problem, but 
I deprecate all criticism which is based on ignorance of 
our local conditions. In Conjeeveram, a large weaving 
centre, at no great distance from Madras, the National 
Fund and Industrial Association have endeavoured to 
popularize the fly-shuttle loom and I have assisted their 
efforts in so far that I have lent them six fly-shuttle hand- 
looms, but the experiment has not been productive of any 
satisfactory result and the National Fund and Industrial 
Association have failed to popularize the fly-shuttle 
loom notwithstanding the fact that they fully recog- 
nise its merits. Similarly in the town of Madura 
where the weavers are more enterprising than inmost 
parts of the country numerous experiments have been 
made with fly-shuttle looms and I have seen the most im- 
proved types of European hand-loom such as the domes- 
tic loom of Messrs. Hattersley & Sons at work in the 
bazaar, but none of these looms have caught on and plain 
weaving to-day is done in Madura much in the same way 
as it was more than a hundred years ago. It is not the 
expense which a good fly-shuttle loom entails which stands 
in the way, for in places where looms have been lent 
there has been no eagerness on the part of the weavers to 
avail themselves of the loan. Finally our experience in 
Salem itself is dead against any idea that the fly-shuttle 
loom can be popularised among the weavers themselves. 
On the other hand in the Guntur arid Krishna Districts 



HAND-LOOM WEAVING 231 

there are signs that the weavers are beginning to take to 
the fly-shuttle. It was first introduced to their notice at 
the Vetapallyam weaving school and it is certainly now 
largely used in the neighbourhood of Masulipatam.* 

In connection with weaving in fly-shuttle loom the 
opinion has hitherto generally prevailed that fine cloths 
cannot be woven on looms fitted with the fly-shuttle 
attachment, because owing to the greater strain only com- 
paratively course yarn which will not readily snap can be 
used for the warp. This opinion has absolutely no founda- 
tion in fact, as where the fly-shuttle looms are designed 
for working in fine counts no difficulty has been experien- 
ced. The great bulk of the work done in the Salem Weav- 
ing Factory is in counts between 60's and 100's and I 
should not have the least hesitation in undertaking work 
in higher counts if the orders were sufficiently large 
to make it worth while. The fly-shuttle loom, no matter 
what type, must be constructed to suit the work for 
which it is intended and a loom which may do very well 
for dungries or checks may be unsuited for fine counts 
and it is mainly owing to the neglect of this point 
that fly-shuttle weaving has made so little real progress 
among the Indian weavers. 

From the time when these experiments in weaving 
were first started a great deal of attention has been paid to 
the various forms of loom which have been placed on the 
market and any pattern which offered the least promise of 

* A recent detailed enquiry (December 1911) has established the fact 
that there are now nearly 10,000 fly shuttle looms in use in the Coast 
Districts to the North of Madras and that the adoption of this method of 
weaving has greatly improved the condition of the weavers. In many 
respects the people on the East Coast seem to be more susceptable to 
the influence of new ideas than in other parts of the country. Evidence 
of tnis may be seen in almost universal use of aluminium in place of 
Brass and copper, in the numerous small factories which have been 
started and in the extensive use of oil engines and pump for irrigation, 



232 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

success has been thoroughly and carefully tried and I pro- 
pose briefly to state the results of the observations. Work 
was started on hand-looms of the pattern generally found 
in mission schools in the south of India and it was found 
in such looms that although fly-shuttle enabled the 
rate of picking to be greatly increased yet the increased 
time spent in mending broken threads in the warp 
almost entirely nullified its advantages. One by one 
the defects of this loom were remedied, the pro- 
portions were changed, the warp beam was mounted on 
springs, an automatic take-up motion was introduced and 
the picking string carried over a guide pulley with the 
result that at the present time it can hold its own in fairly 
fine weaving against any loom which has so far been 
brought to my notice. In this loom there is nothing 
absolutely novel. It has simply been proportioned in its 
various parts to suit the work to be done and care has 
been taken to prevent it becoming complicated. For 
instance whilst we were engaged in making Madras hand- 
kerchiefs in which several colours are used in the weft 
it was thought that possibly the English drop box might 
prove a convenient addition to the slay but in practice it 
was found to be no great advantage and the use of 
the drop box was discontinued. In the English 
hand-loom, as in the native hand-loom, the picking mo- 
tion is independent of the treadles which control the shed- 
ding motion and the weaver must learn to jerk the picking 
string with his hand when he has opened the sheds suffi- 
ciently by the levers controlled by his feet. The loom 
is in no sense automatic, but it is possible when the picking 
strings are carefully adjusted to make from 80 to 100 
picks per minute through a warp 54" wide. At the present 
time at the Salem Factory, where we use nothing but 
country warps sized by hand, to avoid frequent stoppages 



HAND-LOOM WEAVING 233 

to shift the lease rods a fairly long spread of warp between 
the warping beam and the healds is necessary. This 
makes a long frame necessary and the loom takes up a 
lot of space which is in some ways a serious disadvantage. 
It became obvious at a very early stage in the ex- 
periments that the fly-shuttle slay could be used in 
the native hand-loom, and that we could improve 
the rate of picking. I am not now certain to whom 
the credit of first making this suggestion is due, but 
it is a very important one, as it places in the hands of 
the native weaver a very great improvement in his 
loom, and one which can be obtained at a very small 
expense. This modification has been largely tried 
and with considerable success, but it does not 
secure all the advantages of the frame loom pattern 
and is to be regarded rather as an intermediate stage 
between the Native and the English loom. Experience 
has taught us that the greatest defect of this loom is the 
number of broken ends which occur in the process of 
weaving, and these have been much reduced by 
putting the warp on an elastic frame and by 
us.ing brass reeds and healds with metallic eyes. The 
healds and reeds we employ are obtained from Messrs. 
Jones Brothers of Blackburn, England, through their agents 
Messrs. Hutheesing & Co. of Bombay. They are consider- 
ably more expensive than native healds and reeds, but 
those who have given them a fair trial consider that they 
are worth the money. It is not an uncommon custom 
for native weavers to vary the closeness of ihe texture of 
their cloths by using reeds set much closer together near 
the edge of the cloth than in the middle. The practice, 
if not actually fraudulent, is not to be recommended, as it 
is calculated to deceive the unwary, but it is widely in 
vogue and is likely to render English reeds unpopular un- 
3Q 



234 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

less they are made to conform to this practice. The 
automatic take-up motion is not an essential feature of 
the loom, nor is it a very popular one with native weavers, 
but it enables the weaver to produce cloth of a perfectly 
uniform texture. The cost of this loom varies with 
the amount of timber put into it, the quality of the 
timber and the general style and finish. Complete with 
English healds and reeds it will not cost more than 
Rs. 100 and in large numbers can be produced for a some- 
what smaller figure. In our experimental workshops we 
have made a good number of these looms and we sell them, 
exclusive of healds and reeds, for Rs. 85"each These looms 
are purchased more as patterns to be copied than as actual 
working looms and our price is perhaps Somewhat high. 

1 do not propose to furnish a dissertation on weaving 
mechanisms, but before discussing the results obtained 
with other types of loom it may well to explain that in all 
the improved hand-looms mechanism is provided whereby 
the picking and shedding motions are combined, and the 
weaver is reduced to a pure automation who either works 
the loom through a pair of pedals or sets the mechanism in 
motion by causing the slay to swing in pendulum fashion 
by one or both hands. The weaver is a mere automation 
so long as everything works well, but if anything goes 
wrong or if the driving force he supplies is insufficient a 
break down always occurs and his skill as a weaver will 
be called into play in repairing the damage done. 

During the last few years the discussions about the 
hand-loom weaving in India have led many people, 
competent or otherwise, to attempt the improvement of 
the hand-loom, and many worthless patents have been 
taken out. During the last six years I have had under 
observation every loom, that I have heard of, which seemed 
to offer the least prospect of turning out successful, and 



HAND-LOOM WEAVING 235 

the following is, a complete list of the looms which have 
been tried : 

(1) The Domestic hand-loom of Messrs. Hattersley 
& Sons. 

(2) The Domestic loom of Messrs, Raphael Brothers. 

(3) The Japanese hand-loom. 

(4) Mr. Churchill's loom (Ahmednagar). 

(5) Captain Maxwell's loom (Salvation Army). 

I had the Hattersley's looms at work for a long time 
on a great variety of fabrics, made from yarn of counts up 
to 40's, but the output was never satisfactory, as the work 
of driving the loom was far too heavy for the native weaver. 
For a time I tried them with two weavers for each loom, 
so that when one worked the other rested, and this natural- 
ly increased the output but not to the extent that was to be 
expected. When the loom is driven at a perfectly uniform 
rate, it works very satisfactorily, but when the source of 
supply of power is an Indian weaver the supply is very 
irregular and the result unsatisfactory. 

The Raphael loom was never actually at work in 
either the Madras or the Salem weaving shed and my 
knowledge and experience of its working is gained by 
observations made on the loom purchased by Mr. Thea- 
garaya Chetty of Tondiarpet. This loom suffers from 
the same defects as the Hattersley's loom and is much too 
hard work for the undeveloped legs of the Indian weaver. 
To all intents and purposes both these looms are power- 
looms and better work will be got from them if the 
treadles or pedals are done away with and an arrange- 
ment made to drive them off a line of shafting. The 
looms are made of cast iron and it is astonishing how 
easily the castings are broken, and how helpless the Indian 
weaver is in face of even a simple fracture. These looms 
are totally unsuited for individual weavers working on 



236 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

their own account, and I fail to see what advantage 
there is if they are gathered in large numbers in a factory 
and human labour is employed to drive them. Thirty or 
forty such looms can be driven by a small oil engine 
costing not more than Rs. 4 or 5 a day to run and there is 
not the least doubt that the output of these looms will be 
three or four times as much as when worked by hand- 
labour. I am inclined to think that small power-loom 
factories of this type might be worked with great success 
in this country and would afford an admirable training 
ground for the development of indigenous manufacturing 
genius. I am now dealing with hand-weaving and it will be 
out of place to discuss this suggestion any further, but I 
think that small power-loom factories would prove very suc- 
cessful if properly designed and worked on the right lines. 

With the Japanese hand-loon my experience was 
very unsatisfactory. It was obtained from Mr. Shaft 
through the Ludhiana Loom Manufacturing Company and 
was found to be a crude and ill designed loom and no 
warp ever put into the loom was woven into a satisfactoy 
cloth. Why the loom was brought from Japan to India 
I do not know and the sooner it sinks into the obscurity 
from which it was dragged the better. I have been told 
by Japanese connected with the weaving trade that the 
loom is not used in Japan and I am not surprised as at the 
best it is only suitable for very coarse work. 

Mr. Churchill's loom. When I visited the American 
Mission Industrial School at Ahmednagar in 1905, Mr. 
Churchill showed me a number of his looms at work on a 
kind of dungri, and I was much struck with the results ob- 
tained when weaving this kind of cloth. Subsequently Mr. 
Churchill built 6 looms f or ttie Salem Weaving Factory to 
weave fine cloths from 45" to 54'' wide. On such work the 
loom has not been a success and the Salem weavers 



hAND-LOOM WEAVING 237 

object to it. The mechanism for timing the throw 
of the shuttle is defective and the shuttle is very 
liable to be caught in the warp when it is more than a yard 
wide. To make the shuttle travel properly the slay has to 
be moved forward with increasing rapidity and then 
suddenly brought to rest, and on the finer warps the per- 
centage of broken threads renders the output of the loom 
much smaller than would be anticipated from the rate at 
which picking can be done when the warp is not too wide. 

The last loom with which we are still experimenting 
at Salem is that invented by Captain Maxwell of the 
Salvation Army and known as the <4 Triumph" loom. I 
have only one of them at work at Salem, with which fairly 
satisfactory results have been obtained and a second loom 
has been ordered with some slight modifications which 
it is hoped will improve its outturn. If this anticipation 
is realised, it is proposed to put down six more looms 
and to thoroughly test them on the same class of work 
against six looms of the English pattern already described. 

In the looms of both Churchill and Maxwell the driv- 
ing force is applied to the slay and I am inclined to think 
that, whilst this will work satisfactorily on coarse warps, 
the necessarily somewhat jerky motion of the slay is not 
conducive to a good output when the warp is fine. 
Personally I hold the opinion based on over six years' 
experience with different types of hand-loom that, 
when the power-loom is converted into a hand-loom, it 
becomes an unsatisfactory machine owing to the irregu- 
larities in the driving force and that the hand-loom must 
be a simple piece of mechanism in which the irregula- 
rities of the weaver are compensated for by the gentleness 
of the action of the loom. 

- - A power-loom will .make from 20.0 to 250 'picks 
a minute, and from careful observations made of tire 



238 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

outturn of hand-looms I find that the daily average has 
only in one instance exceeded 30 picks per minute and 
when weaving fine cloths an average of from 20 to 25 
picks a minute may be considered very good work.* Mr. 
Churchill at Ahmednagar was able to weave 30 yards of 
dungri in 8J hours, the warp and weft being of 10's counts 
and the number of picks per inch 28. This is equivalent 
to an average rate of picking af 60 per minute and is an 
extraordinarily good result. I have often watched the 
weavers at Salem and I find that they can easily do from 
80 to 100 picks per minute whilst actually weaving, but 
their daily out-turn under favourable circumstances shows 
that at this rate of picking less than 25 per cent, of their 
time is spent in plying the shuttle and that the rest is 
frittered away. Weaving is a very monotonous occupa- 
tion and the weaver is certainly unable to go on picking 
for any length of time without a change of some kind. 
The changing of pirns, the repair of broken threads, the 
shifting of the lease rods and other little, incidents break 
the monotony of the work, but they greatly impair the 
efficiency of the loom. 

I am convinced that, if the fly-shuttle hand-loom is 
to be largely used in making the finer classes of native 
goods, the direction in which improvement should 
be sought for is not so much in increasing the rate 
of picking which is already quite fast enough as 
in improving the details of the shedding and the 
working of the slay so that the operation of weaving sub- 

* These facts are substantiated by the recently issued report of the 
weaving competition which took place at Calcutta at the exhibition 
associated with the Indian Industrial" Conference of 1906 The Salvatioft 
Array : loom, which was awarded the gold medal, was worked at the rate*- 
of 37-3 picks per minute for 7& houf's-, but at the end of that time Hie 1 
weaver showed signs of distress as did all the other competitors and it 
was, obvious that the- result depended as much upon the endurance of 
the weaver as upon his skill or the merits of the loom, 



HAND-LOOM WEAVING 239 

jects the comparatively delicate threads to the minimum 
amount of strain. The idiosyncracies of the weaver how- 
ever remain and 1 doubt if, under any circumstances, 
the average rate of picking throughout a day will 
ever rise to as much as 40 or 50 per cent, of what 
may be termed the normal rate at which picking 
can be done. Even in a weaving factory it is very 
difficult to collect reliable data regarding the work- 
ing of looms and their output. The conditions 
vary so much from time to time and the human element 
plays so important a part that some exceptional motive 
must be brought into play to obtain anything like uniform 
conditions. For this reason I attach considerable im- 
portance to the results obtained in weaving competitions 
when a powerful stimulus is supplied to each weaver to do 
the best he can. Under the auspices of Local Associations 
in the Madras Presidency one or two such competitions 
have already been held and in February next a competition 
be held which is being organized on much more elaborate 
lines than any of those already mentioned. The main 
object of the competition is to ascertain the working capa- 
city of the various hand-looms on the market under favour- 
able conditions, but under as far as possible conditions 
which could be reproduced in a weaving factory. Each 
competition will last for six days and each weaver will have 
to work for 7 hours a day and the results will be judged by 
the week's outturn. In this way it is hoped we shall 
obtain reliable data regarding the output of the various 
types of loom when working on different kinds of cloth. 
A considerable number of competitions have been arrang- 
ed for and the Government of Madras have contributed 
very largely to the prize fund, which it is hoped will in- 
duce the makers of every practical type of loom to enter 
them in the competitions. 



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HAND-LOOM WEAVING 241 

From data collected at the Weaving Factory at 
Salem a tabular statement has been prepared giving details 
of the cost of production of several kinds of goods most 
largely manufactured there, and I would draw attention to 
the column in which the cost of each item is given as a 
percentage of the total cost. These figures are very in- 
teresting and it would be well if similar figures could be 
produced from other weaving establishments and the 
various items discussed. It will be seen that in the very 
fine cloths like angavastrams and turbans the cost of the 
raw material is but little more than a third of the cost of 
the finished articles, whilst in the goods made in the lower 
counts the percentage varies between 56 and 60. At Salem 
the warping and sizing is done outside the factory by men 
who do nothing else and they use fairly efficient warping 
mills and from the figures for warping and sizing it is 
obvious that there is not a great amount of room for im- 
provement. The cost of the actual weaving work is pro- 
bably the main item in which improvement can be 
effected and this is emphasized by the figures given 
regarding the rate of picking which varies from .1 2 to 23 
picks per minute excluding country towels, the figures for 
which are not given as they are usually made on native 
looms with a simple fly-shuttle attachment. The item 
4 warping ancf sizing' varies considerably with different 
kinds of cloths and the figures given are probably lower 
than would be obtained in many other places owing to 
the fact that in Salem the preparation of warps is to a 
large extent a special business and is carried out in a much 
more efficient manner than I have seen elsewhere. 

Whilst the experimental plant was in Madras a great 

many experiments were carried out in different methods 

of sizing and various forms of hand-warping mill were 

tried. The problem of preparing warps suitable 

31 



242 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

for use on native hand-looms was laid before the 
makers of warping machinery at home and after a 
great deal of discussion a plant was ordered from 
Messrs. Butterworth and Dickinson. It was set up and 
tried in Mr. Theagaraya Chetty's factory at Tondiarpet, 
but the results were anything but satisfactory and on 
account of other and more important work the experiments 
are at present in abeyance, The main idea was to employ 
hank-sizing and a sectional warping machine capable of 
turning out cheeses of warp of 500 ends. To make up a 
warp containing 3,000 or 4,000 ends the requisite number 
of cheeses were put on a spindle and the required warp 
run off on to the weaver's beam. The principal defect is 
in the sizing which proved inferior to that which is done 
by the native method where the warp is stretched out on a 
frame and carefully brushed. It is my intention as soon 
as possible to set up this warping mill again and prepare 
warp of unsized yarn and then to expose the warp 
in sheet form and size il according to the ordinary 
native method. I cannot say that I am very sanguine 
that this will be a success, but it seems worth trying and 
should effect a considerable economy in the cost of warp- 
ing. Recently Messrs. Hattersley & Sons have brought 
out a hand slasher sizing machine, which will probably 
give good results with low counts where the hand-looms 
may be expected to turn out from 20 to 30 yards of cloth a 
day, but with the much finer class of goods which we are 
weaving at Salem, where the outturn is seldom more than 
5 yards a day, the use of very long warps is not recom- 
mended as they remain in the loom much too long a time 
and the sizing deteriorates so much that the warps have 
to be re-sized on the loom and, when this is done, it 
greatly diminishes the outturn. 

Before concluding this paper it may be of interest to 



HAND-LOOM WEAVING 243 

give some details regarding the factory itself. For the 
present the factory is located in a rather large straggling 
bungalow in the middle of the town of Salem for which 
we pay a rent of Rs. 60 a month. It was intended origi- 
nally to instal about 100 looms, but owing to the difficulty 
of getting weavers nothing like that number has yet been 
reached and we find it difficult to keep more than about 
35 looms in full work. The cost of running the factory 
last year was about Rs. 300 a month in addition to the 
sale-proceeds which amounted to about Rs. 350 a month, 
A steady improvement is however going on and with bet- 
ween 40 and 50 looms installed and an average of 35 at 
work the sale-proceeds now amount to over Rs. 1,000 a 
month and the cost of running the factory to about Rs. 200 
a month. Ultimately it is hoped that the factory will 
pay its own expenses, in fact it could probably be made to 
do so now were commercial considerations of paramount 
importance. 

To the capitalist who puts his money into a hand- 
weaving factory it is essential that a profit should be earn- 
ed and as that is not done at Salem it may be well to 
indicate briefly why such a desirable result has not been 
attained. In the first place the factory is a Government 
institution, and it is generally recognised that commercial 
work cannot be carried on under Government with the 
same degree of economy as is possible when the control 
is vested in the hands of private individuals who are 
keenly interested in making it pay. In the factory we have 
arrived at some conclusions regarding looms which have 
already been stated, and if money-making was the object 
in view, we ought to at once discard all other types of loom 
and confine ourselves to those classes of work which pay 
best. New experiments are always being tried, looms are 
always being altered, the weavers have to accustom them- 



244 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

selves to the new conditions, frequently a good deal of 
cloth is spoiled and generally the efficiency of the institu- 
tion asafactory is greatly impaired. It is for these reasons 
that the factory does not pay and those who examine 
the accounts must take these facts into consideration. 
If some of the gentlemen who have interested them- 
selves in hand-weaving and have started hand-weaving 
factories could be induced to furnish accurate manufac- 
turing accounts, they would be of great value, but it is 
hardly fair to expect business men to give a way the results 
of their experience and those who would like to find out 
whether the investment of money in hand-weaving factories 
is likely to be a success, must examine the published ac- 
counts of the Salem Weaving Factory in the light of my 
remarks. 



Ill 



THE FUTURE OF THE INDUSTRY 

Of the industrial problems which India presents for 
solution, none are more complicated than those connected 
with hand-loom weaving. There are between two and 
three million hand-looms in the country producing fabrics 
ranging from coarse dungaree cloth, made from such 
loosely spun cotton that it cannot be woven in power- 
looms, to the magnificent kincobs and brocades of Benares 
and Surat. From abroad over 2,000 million yards of 
cloth are imported and 79,000 power-looms in the 
country manufacture nearly another 1,000 million yards. 
What the hand-loom weavers produce can only be roughly 
estimated from the known quantity of mill yarn consumed 
in the country. Probably it falls very short of the im- 
ports in quantity but considerably exceeds them in value. 
Thirty millions sterling or forty-five crores of rupees would 



HAND-LOOM WEAVING 245 

be a very moderate amount at which to value the outturn 
of the hand-looms of India. Whether these figures be 
accurate or not matters very little, as they are only adduced 
to indicate the order of magnitude of the interests involved 
in the indigenous weaving industry. They are certainly 
big enough to make the industry one worthy of careful 
study, and yet it will not be difficult to show that up to 
the present time very little of practical value has been done 
in this direction. That it has attracted attention, a great 
deal of attention, cannot be denied, but it has been mainly 
from amateurs or power- loom weavers. The former 
approached it from the artistic standpoint and deplored 
the decadence of the craft, the latter regarded it as an 
industry doomed to extinction almost as complete as that 
of hand-spinning. The former decried the investigations 
of those who thought that it had still a future as an in- 
dustry and persisted in viewing every effort to improve 
the methods of the weaver as deliberate attempts to des- 
troy those special features which raised it to the dignity 
of an art industry. The latter regarded it as impracticable 
to improve hand-weaving methods without eventually pro- 
ducing a power-loom weaver and refused to believe that it 
was possible to develope along lines which would preserve 
the characteristics of handwork. 

Under these circumstances, it is not surprising that 
the administrators of this country have found some diffi- 
culty in deciding what measures would be appropriate to 
deal with the decadent condition into which the hand- 
weavers have fallen. Gradually, however, the opinion has 
gained ground that the situation is not absolutely hopeless 
and in almost every Province tentative steps have been 
taken to assist the hand- weavers, either by establishing ex- 
perimental factories in which the problems of the trade 
could be studied, by opening weaving schools in which 



246 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

improvements upon the indigenous methods of working 
are taught or by forming model Co-operative Guilds or 
Associations to assist the weavers in their constant struggle 
against adverse conditions consequent upon their poverty 
and lack of credit, In each of these ways something has 
been done, but only in what may be termed preliminary 
work as the practical effect on the industry and on the 
artizans is almost negligible. 

It is unfortunate that those who have interested them- 
selves in the solution of the Indian weaving problems have 
all been new to the trade at the outset and have acquired 
experience aud knowledge by slow degrees and mainly 
by the process of trial and error. Possibly, by way of 
compensation, their outlook has been wider than would 
have been that of technically trained men and in their ig- 
norance they have not been deterred by unseen and some- 
times imaginary obstacles which would have kept back men 
of greater experience. The greatest achievement to their 
credit is unquestionably a restoration of confidence in the 
capacity of the hand-loom weaver to withstand the compe- 
tition of the power-loom in extensive branches of the weav- 
ing business. There are brighter prospects in front of the ten 
millions of India who look to the hand-loom for at least the 
means of subsistence. The way to an amelioration of 
their condition has been discerned ; it remains to explore 
the path. 

During more than a century, the power-loom and its 
various accessary appliances have been the subject of 
study by many ingenious mechanicians and they have 
devoted the whole of their skill to making it as perfect a 
machine as is conceivable and they have rendered it 
almost independent of the services of the weaver. It is 
true that it requires skill and experience to run it but it 
is of a different kind to that of the hand-loom weaver. 



HAND-LOOM WEAVING 247 

The hand-loom also received some attention and reached 
its highest developments about the time that it almost com- 
pletely succumbed to its rival in progressive Western coun- 
tries. The defeat, crushing and complete as it was, may be 
attributed in the main to economic forces. The products of 
the hand-loom differ essentially in character from those of 
the power-loom and the balance of advantages is probably 
slightly in its favour, but in temperate regions where the 
cost of living is high, the outturn of the hand-loom does 
not afford adequate remuneration to the weaver. He was 
reduced to poverty, destitution and finally driven out of 
the trade by the steady decrease in the cost of manufacture 
of power-loom fabrics. In the East, in India, the story 
is not quite the same and, though the hand-loom weaver 
has suffered, he has not been driven out of the field. To-day 
his looms convert about 400 millions pounds of yarn into 
fabrics of various kind and it is at least doubtful if in the 
palmiest days of the Moghuls or the East India Company 
such an enormous amount of yarn could have been pro- 
duced by hand-spinning alone. He has not done perhaps 
much more than hold his own, but he has done it with the 
primitive appliances of his forefathers and without assist- 
ance from the Western mechanician. 

This represents a very low stage of industrial efficien- 
cy, and who can doubt that the hand-weaver will be able 
to turn the tables on the power-loom weaver, if but a 
fraction of the capital, energy and organisation were 
devoted to his trade that have been expended in pushing 
power-loom weaving. The experimental factories have 
demonstrated this, and there are now, in the Madras Pre- 
sidency at any rate, a number of small weaving companies 
able to keep going and apparently with prospects of better 
times in front for them. They have done little more 
than introduce the fly-shuttle loom and the rotary 



248 



INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 



warping mill, both great improvements on indigenous 
methods but almost certainly capable of further develop- 
ments. Quite a number of methods of shuttle throw- 
ing have been patented during the last few years 
and some few of them have met with a greater measure 
of encouragement than their real merits warrant. The 
weaving competitions, which have become such a popular 
feature of the Industrial Exhibitions at the present time, 
have demonstrated over and over again that for simplicity, 
accuracy and speed of working nothing has yet been 
brought out superior to the best forms of the English 
fly-shuttle loom. Mr. D. C. Churchill has invented a loom 
full of promise, which automatically tends to correct one 
of the greatest defects of the hand-weaver, namely, the 
irregular rate at which he works. The weaver can ply his 
shuttle quite fast enough and nothing will be gained by 
further efforts to increase speed. The best prospect of 
improvement lies in the direction of gentler handling of 
the warps, the threads of which are frequently broken and 
the efficiency of the weaver will be increased if less time 
is wasted in mending them. 

In the Salem Weaving Factory, we found that in an 
average day's work a weaver was seldom able to make 
more than twenty per cent, of the total number of picks 
he could easily make when steadily throwing the shuttle ; 
that is to say, four-fifths of his time was employed, in 
operations other than actual weaving. It is for this reason 
that Mr. Churchill's spring control of the picking me- 
chanism is likely to prove a new departure of great 
importance. 

We may regard, then, with equanimity the prospects 
of ultimately obtaining what is wanted in the matter of 
hand-looms, but the preparation of the warp is still carried 
on in a very primitive way and though apparently capable 



HAND-LOOM WEAVING 249 

of improvement little or nothing has been done. The 
main reason for this is that it can only be carried out 
on a fairly large scale and must be associated with large 
groups of hand-looms. There is no difficulty whatever 
about arranging the warps ; the trouble comes when they 
are to be sized and the ordinary slasher sizing machine is 
not suitable. When in England last year, I consulted the 
textile experts at the Manchester Municipal School of Tech- 
nology and I was furnished with introductions which ena- 
bled me to see at work a dressing machine which seemed 
to me would prove a solution of the difficulty. The 
warps prepared were of very high quality and equal to the 
best hand-dressed warps made out here. The work obvious- 
ly required great skill and experience and a single machine 
was capable of dressing about a thousand yards a day. 
Probably on half this output, it would still be profitable 
to use it but that would mean that from 100 to 150 hand- 
looms would be required to draw their supply of warps 
from it. Experiments with such a machine must therefore 
be costly and can only be conducted in an organized hand* 
loom weaving factory. With Government assistance, it 
seems to me possible that the experiment will be made 
and though the loss will be rather heavy if it proves a 
failure, on the other hand, if it is a success, the future of 
hand-loom weaving will be assured. 

One branch of weaving in India has not been subject- 
ed to European competition as solid bordered cloths 
have never yet been made on a po\*er-loom. The weavers 
of these fabrics are fairly well off and if they have suffered 
at all, it is entirely due to changes in the fashions of dress. 
They are costly cloths and the solid borders are often woven 
with silk and gold lace in intricate patterns. The method 
of working these patterns is extremely simple but very 
laborious and it can be performed equally well and much 

32 



250 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

faster with a Jacquard machine. Experiments in this direc- 
tion have already been started in the workshops attached 
to my office in Madras and anyone interested in them will 
be welcome to see what has been done. The results are 
very satisfactory and indicate that the Jacquard machine 
will prove an extremely valuable addition to the border- 
loom or, in fact, to any type of native hand-loom engaged 
on moderately complex pattern weaving. 

Those who regard weaving as an artistic handicraft, 
will probably deprecate the introduction of the Jacquard 
machine. Its effect on weaving as an art has been strongly 
criticised by Mr. Luther Hooper in a delightful book 
on " Hand-loom weaving " and I cannot refrain from 
quoting the concluding paragraph. "Theie can be 
no question that the best weaving was done before 
these innovations of the engineer and the mechani- 
cian were made. It would therefore seem, that the 
right road to improvement in weaving, as in all the 
crafts, can only be found by those who are willing to 
return to the traditional methods and simpler ideals of 
the earlier masters of craftsmanship." This summarizes a 
not inconsiderable school of thought and one that has 
much influence at the present day though utterly unable 
to stem the flowing tide. It is not modern methods but 
the abuse of modern methods they should rail at. Accor- 
ding to Mr. Luther, " The Jacquard machine is responsi- 
ble to a great extent, for the separation of the art of de- 
signing from the craft of weaving." Doubtless this is true 
in a sense, as the Jacquard machine facilitated the growth 
of the weaving factory which triumphed over the indivi- 
dual weaver through the economies effected by sub-divi- 
sion of labour. 

It is a pity that the Indian craftsmen have not been 
studied by the master craftsmen of Europe who live in 



riAND-LOOM WEAVING 251 

modern luxury and pretend to despise it all. The lot of 
the Indian weaver is hard toil, often in the midst Of 
extreme penury and " the pleasant ingenious occupation 
which exercises all his faculties," according to Mr. Luther, 
leaves him with the lowest standard of physique among 
all the artizan classes in this country. 

THE greatest obstacle to the improvement of the 
condition of the hand-loom weavers is the artizans them- 
selves. In a paper on the " Salem Weaving Factory " 
contributed to the Industrial Conference held at Surat in 
December 1907, I described the condition of the weavers, 
the nature of their work, the miserable existence which 
most of them lead and the hopeless attitude of mind, which 
renders them averse to any change. In the last twelve years, 
I have had a good deal to do with the artizans of the South 
of India and no class have 1 found more difficult to deal 
with than weavers. They are clever enough at their own 
work in their own way and are capable of turning out ex- 
cellent material, but with an expenditure of time and labour 
that keeps them in a wretched poverty stricken condition. 

There is an interesting chapter in Professor Chapman's 
work on "The Lancashire cotton industry " describing 
the condition into which the hand-weavers of England 
fell during the course of their prolonged struggle against 
the power-loom and lam tempted to quote from it to show 
that history is but repeating itself in India and that the 
economic development of the country has, under the 
operation of similar causes, produced similar results. He 
says: "The lot of the hand-loom weaver wasjnot an unplea- 
sant one throughout most of the eighteenth century; 
Certainly, his food was simple, his clothing was coarse*' 
and he worked hard ; but his life was not without 
variety, and it oould be spent in the country and 
fresh air. Guest says of the weavers that they were a 



152 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

fine body of men, full of the spirit of self-reliance. 
This he attributed to the fact that they sold their cloth and 
not their labour, that they were not servants but indepen- 
dent business men," That was before the advent of the 
power-loom, andduringthe interval between the introduc- 
tion of machine spinning and the beginning of competition 
witn power driven looms, the weavers enjoyed a transient 
period of extraordinary prosperity. Then came a time of 
adversity and the weavers gradually sank lower and lower 
in the social scale and finally disappeared altogether. In 
1835 the evidence offered the Committee appointed to con- 
sider the condition of the hand-loom weavers represent- 
ed the situation as appalling and Prof. Chapman quotes 
John Fielden as asserting " that a very great number of 
weavers are unable to provide for themselves and their 
families a sufficiency of food of the plainest and cheapest 
kind ; that they are clothed in rags, and indisposed on 
this account to go to any place of worship, or to send their 
children to the Sunday school .... that notwith- 
standing their want of food, clothing, furniture and bed- 
ding, they, for the most part, have full employment ; that 
their labour is excessive, not infrequently 16 hours a day." 

Much of the distress to which the hand-weavers were 
subjected was due to their sullen, disdainful attitude. 
" Only the direst necessity could drive the typical hand- 
loom weaver into a steam factory, and not infrequently he 
preferred to fight famine at close quarters rather than sur- 
render his liberty. . . . most hand-loom weavers com- 
peted with the factory, instead of entering it and attempting 
to secure for themselves as large a share as possible of the 
gain resulting from new economies in production. The 
handicraftsmen, as whole, at that time were entirely un- 
enterprising ; it is small wonder, therefore, that competition 



,. HAND-LOOM WEAVING 253 

cut prices at their expense. Their wages stood for the line 
of least resistance. The typical hand-loom weaver with his 
cottage loom, who dreaded the thought of factory life and 
remained rooted like a tree in his parish represented a social 
order that was already obsolete. . . . Partly as a result 
of the attitude of hand-loom weavers as a whole, the first 
steam weavers, both in England and Scotland, were nearly 
all women." 

The resemblance between the fate of the English and 
the Indian hand-weavers is striking, but the analogy is not 
complete. The Indian hand-weaver, thanks to more genial 
surroundings, is able to keep going on a very little and has 
therefore survived and forms, and will undoubtedly 
continue to form, the largest section of the Indian 
industrial population. As an artizan, he is worse off than 
other artizans because he has been subjected to the stress 
of greater competition and the present generation have 
grown up under very adverse circumstances. The opera- 
tives in mills and factories earn much higher wages and 
are fairly certain of regular employment. They are inde- 
pendent and free, for there is competition for their labour, 
whilst the hand-loom weavers, though nominally working 
for themselves, are tied hand and food by their debts to the 
cloth merchants and moneylenders. Their intractableness 
and indolence is engendered by the feeling that they have 
nothing to lose, and they have sunk into such a state of 
apathy that they have no desire to rise. As long as they have 
sufficient to satisfy their animal cravings, they will not work 
and the long hours they have to work are forced upon them 
by the difficulty of procuring a bare subsistence with their 
inefficient methods of production. 

There is little hope that anything can be done to 
alleviate the lot of those who have been allowed to grow 



254 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

to maturity amid such surroundings and the best hope for 
the future of the weavers is to deal with their children. 
The hand-loom factories are extremely unpopular with 
adult weavers and those which are now running depend 
largely upon non-caste weavers trained in Mission and 
other schools. That any improvement can be effected by 
working along Co-operative lines is very doubtful and it 
is even still more certain that the individual weaver can 
never hope to better his present condition. The hand-loom 
weaving factory is the only direction in which progress 
seems possible. The weavers themselves are helpless and 
the organziation and capital which are necessary to put 
the industry on a better footing must come from outside. 
The warping mill and dressing machine are the key to 
the situation, the centre around which the factory must be 
built. The weavers need not necessarily all work in a 
single shed, their looms may still be in their own houses 
and they may still be allowed to work as they will, but 
instead of preparing their own warps, they will be supplied 
by the managers of the warping plant, who will finance 
the trade and place the finished goods on the market. 
Whether the weaver will be able to earn enough to keep 
his family under these conditions remains to be seenif he 
cannot dispense with the assistance of his wife and family, 
there appears to be no reason, except that it has not been 
the custom, why the women should not ply the shuttle. 
The lighter kinds of weaving are admirably adapted for 
women and all over the world they are, or have been, so 
employed. In one Mission school in India I have seen a 
a number of girls weaving with great success and there is 
no adequate reason why the custom should not spread. 
The simple life of an artizan's household leaves the women 
with ample leisure and weaving has much to recommend 
it as a domestic industry. Pirn winding might Still be 



HAND-LOOM WEAVING 255 

done by children without interfering with their attendance 
at school, and it would give them that delicate sense of 
touch which is essential to those who have to handle 
cotton threads during the various stages of their conver- 
sion into fabrics. 

The question of practical importance is how these 
changes are to be brought about ; how a new generation 
of weavers is to be created who will at any rate ply their 
trade on terms of equality with other artizans, who will 
be at least as well off as operatives in steam factories and 
mills. Education alone can do this and to be effective 
it must be begun at an early stage. To put my ideas in 
a concrete form ; I should like to see some weaving 
schools started in the larger weaving centres, in which 
education and a training in weaving would be given 
to the children of weavers only. The boys should be 
received at about 10 or 12 years of age and should be 
bound as apprentices for at least 7 years. They should 
live at home and should be given sufficient wages to 
compensate their parents for the loss of their labour, but 
the working day should be spent in the school and they 
should be clothed and fed in the school. An elementary 
general education is necessary to counteract home influ- 
ences and prepare the mind for the reception of new 
ideas. For the first half of the period of apprenticeship 
this should be the main work, the trade being considered 
of secondary importance, but during the last half of the 
period the reverse should be the case. 

This proposal I know is contrary to the generally accept- 
ed principle that trades should not be taught in elementary 
schools or general education imparted in a trade school, 
but the principle is based upon a limited amount of expe- 
rience gained in schools of this mixed character which 
were by no means efficiently managed. Year by year, it is 



256 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

more and more strongly forced upon us that the modem 
conditions under which industrial work must be carried on 
involve the employment of a more intelligent and adapt- 
able class of operative than has hitherto generally been 
deemed necessary. This is so in Europe and will be found 
to be equally so in India. To increase the efficiency of 
Indian labour is to solve at least one-half the economic 
problems confronting us. I therefore think it is es- 
sential we should educate the hand-weaver if only 
that he may be a centre of light and influence in his own 
community and contribute to dispelling the darkness and 
banishing the apathy which now enshrouds it. These 
schools will be costly, especially at first, but the industrial 
side should run as nearly as possible under factory con- 
ditions. From the educational point of view, it is the 
discipline of the factory that is necessary, and though there 
may be difficulty in disposing of the materials which must 
be used, it can doubtless be done by arrangement with 
those actually in the trade. 

The education of the artizans is only one of the steps, 
though the most important, that should be taken if we are 
to restore hand-weaving to its natural place among Indian 
industries. Besides, provision for the training of the rank 
and file., adequate arrangements must be made for the 
education of those who will be the leaders in the trade, 
and the masters or managers of the future associated 
groups of weavers, be they in factories, guilds or associa- 
tions. For them, a high grade technical school is required 
where the art may be studied in all its varied branches and 
where experimental work can be carried on. It has 
been decided to start such a school at Madura but the 
details of the scheme have yet to be worked out. The 
hand-weaver enjoys conspicuous advantages in the manu- 
facture of art fabrics and we may hope that it will be found 



HAND-LOOM WEAVING 257 

possible to do something in this direction and preserve as 
far as possible the combination of artist and draftsman in 
one person. The organization of the hand-weaving of the 
future will include dyeing and finishing and, if it should 
prove possible to establish a dyeing and bleaching school 
also in Madura, there will be no great difficulty in combining 
it with the weaving school, and thus provide for the South 
of India a Textile Institute worthy of ihe great trade 
carried on and capable of rendering it invaluable assistance 
in future developments. 

The power-loom has invaded almost every branch of 
weaving but not in every direction with the same degree 
of success. Where wages are high and the costs of 
living are in proportion, the hand-loom makes but a poor 
show, but where living is cheap, it has a better chance and 
for a wide range of fabrics can easily holds its own. The 
demarcation of the field in which hand-weaving may fairly 
expect to do well is a very important matter. There is 
much loose talk about the superiority of the one or the 
other method of manufacture which is based upon, at 
best, popular experience and is usually mere dogmatic 
expressions of opinions. Investigation is desirable so that 
hand-weaving factories may equip themselves for the out- 
turn of those lines of goods in which they possess the 
greatest advantages over the power-loom. Concentration 
of effort along definite lines is essential and the mistake, 
so often made in the past, of trying to do too much will 
then be avoided, 



33 



CHAPTER IX 
MISCELLANEOUS INDUSTRIES 

WOOD DISTILLATION 
I 

Whatever be the outcome of the movement in favour 
of indigenous industrial enterprise, whether it results in the 
establishment of large organised factories or, as seems 
more probable in the immediate future, it leads to the 
development of numerous small centres of manufacture, 
it is certain that it will necessitate the installation of many 
plants to supply power in either large or small units. The 
power question is therefore an exceedingly important one 
and it may be of some interest to briefly state the situation 
in Madras in reference to the facts upon which it is 
desirable that attention should be concentrated. The 
fuels used in Madras are coal from Bengal and Sirigareni, 
wood from local forests and plantations and charcoal 
brought into Madras chiefly from the forests of Chingle- 
put and North Arcot. Liquid fuel is also imported from 
Borneo by the Asiatic Petroleum Co., kerosine oil by 
several companies and anthracite coal and Bengal coke 
are used to a small extent in one or two suction gas 
producer plants. 

The price of coal within the last few years has 
fluctuated between Rs. 12 and J6 a ton and, at the 
present time, it is somewhat easier than it was a year or 
two ago. For heating purposes one ton of Bengal coal 



MISCELLANEOUS INDUSTRIES 259 

may be considered equal to 1 tons of really dry wood but 
the wood that usually comes into the market is green and, 
if it is stacked for a few months to dry, will easily lose 25 
per cent, of its original weight, so that we may take one 
ton of coal as being equal to two tons of green wood. 
The consumption of wood in Madras amounts to about 
120,000 tons a year and the price has been steadily rising 
for years past. The best kind of casuarina wood 
fetches Rs. 13 a ton and this is practically the same price 
as coal, although it possesses only half its heating value. 
In other parts of the Presidency, various kinds of jungle 
wood can be obtained at much lower rates and the rail- 
ways, which consume large quantities, can usually make 
contracts at under Rs. 6 a ton. In regard to the price of 
coal, the principal factor is the cost of transport, whether 
by rail or sea. As the sources of supply of coal are all to 
the North of Madras railway freights are lower to towns 
situated in that direction, whilst they are higher to those 
lying to the South or West. Madras, Negapatam and Tuti- 
corin are the only ports on the East Coast to which coal 
can be shipped with advantage. The cost of wood 
varies very much and obviously depends upon the proxi- 
mity of jungles or plantations from which it can be obtain- 
ed. From the fact that on many sections of the railways, 
wood is still used, notwithstanding the inconvenience 
entailed by its employment as fuel, it may be concluded 
that this material is distinctly cheaper than coal. 

All over the world, wood is rising in value as the 
natural sources of supply become depleted and India is no 
exception to the general rule. If with the present prices 
of fuel, any large industrial development were possible, 
the increased demand would undoubtedly lead to enhance- 
ment of the rates. Around Madras, the supply of fuel is 
insufficient to meet the demand and the prices are steadily 



260 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

rising, and, except in so far as they are kept-down by 
competition with coal, they will continue to rise. The 
price of casuarina wood is nearly double what it was twenty 
years ago and the profits derived from plantations are very 
considerable. But these tend to decrease owing to the 
increased rates for labour and the more extended area 
from which supplies are drawn. The area of reserved 
forests in the Madras Presidency extends to about 23,000 
sq. miles and over the whole area the average annual in- 
crement is probably not more than half a ton per acre 
per annum. Assuming that figure, it would amount 
to more than seven millions tons equivalent to about 
half that quanity of coal. Most of this, however, is only 
available in the hill tracts, remote from the centres of 
population and industrial activiy. The cost of transport 
renders it of little economic value and for not more 
than about half a millions tons a year can a market 
be found. On the West Coast there is a large area of 
forest in the hands of private individuals, but it is unlikely 
that any of this area could be counted upon to increase 
the fuel supply of the country, as much of it is capable of 
yielding good timber and for the rest the owners would 
demand too high a rate. On the East Coast, particularly 
jn the districts of Chingleput and South Arcot, there are 
extensive privately owned plantations of casuarina, 'which 
is widely grown for fuel, but the high price which the 
wood fetches is evidence that the demand on them is 
greater than the supply and since the profits on existing 
plantations are high, it may be assumed that the area under 
casuarina will rapidly extend till the natural limit is reached. 
On the Nilgiris, the Palnis and some of the high 
ranges, blue gum plantations of great extent could be 
started and would in few years yield very large sup- 
plies of firewood, as an annual increment of at least six 



MISCELLANEOUS INDUSTRIES 261 

tons per acre is easily obtainable, but the cost of transport 
to places where the fuel would be of use is prohibitive. It 
would, nevertheless, be of advantage if these bare hill tops 
were clothed with vegetation and within reasonable limits 
it is certainly desirable that the small area planted out 
should be gradually extended. As reserves of fuel they 
might ultimately prove of great value but in the imme- 
diate future the justification for expenditure on them will 
have to be sought chiefly in the beneficent action which 
forests exercise in moderating the effects of wind, rain 
and other climatic influences. 

Such being the existing state of things, and with no 
hope of any material improvement in the fuel supply of 
the Presidency, industrialism in the South of India must 
necessarily be of a restricted character. In metallurgical 
industries, a cheap supply of fuel is of vital importance 
and our inability to comply with this essential condition 
renders the vast iron ore deposits of Salem, Bellary, and 
other districts valueless. In electro-metallurgy and in elec- 
tro-chemical industries a cheap supply of power, such as is 
obtained at Sivasamudram from the Cauvery falls, may 
prove to be a satisfactory substitute for cheap fuel, but the 
amount of such power in the South of India is very limited, 
and for the present may be neglected. Industries such as 
these are therefore out of the question and there are pros- 
pects of success only in those industries in which the fuel 
used, whether for power or heat, forms only a small part of 
the total manufacturing expenses. A local supply of raw 
material, a local demand for the goods and in some cases 
a local supply of suitable labour, are all factors which may 
more than counterbalance the disadvantages due to the 
high cost of fuel. Again some special condition such as 
the fragility or bulkiness of the articles produced may 
operate in favour of a local industry which otherwise 



262 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

would be hopelessly handicapped by expensive fuel. The 
manufacture of glass, for instance, has been started in 
Madras and may become an established industry in spite 
of dear fuel and an unfavourable climate, because it is 
protected by high freights and heavy packing charges 
relative to the value of the imported articles. The most 
important element upon which success depends seems to 
be in this case the existence of a sufficiently large local 
market for the outturn of the factory. Lastly for such 
work as pumping water, power is required and though the 
cost of the fuel is the main item in the cost of the work, 
the extent to which this operation will he affected by the 
price of the fuel depends upon the value of the water. It 
is easily possible to conceive that the water, whether for 
town supply or irrigation, is so valuable that all that is 
available will be made use of, and the field for employ- 
ment of engines and pumps will not be increased or 
diminished by fluctuations in the cost of fuel. 

The calorific power of fuel is not the sole factor 
which is taken into account in assessing its value. For 
domestic purposes, as we have seen, wood is nearly equal 
in price to coal, although it yields but little more than 
half the amount of heat. Similarly from wood large 
quantities of charcoal are prepared although in the process 
of conversion about one half the total heat producing 
power is dissipated. The charcoal is valued for the intense 
heat which can be developed by its combustion, for its 
freedom from impurities arid for the absence of smoke 
attending its use. But in the processes now employed 
about five tons of wood are required to produce a ton of 
charcoal. It is therefore an expensive fuel and only used 
when its special properties are in demand. In re- 
cent years, it has come largely into use for the manu- 
facture of gas for generating power in gas engines. The 



MISCELLANEOUS INDUSTRIES 263 

initial expense of the fuel is counterbalanced by the 
efficiency with which power can be obtained from the 
gas it yields. 

The fuels available for generating power in this 
Presidency have already been mentioned, and we have 
seen that the price of each fuel fluctuates from time to 
time and varies enormously in different places owing to 
cost of carriage from the sources of supply. The size of the 
the generating unit also materially affects the question as 
to which is the cheapest fuel to use, and in nearly every 
case, it is a matter of some difficulty and requires extensive 
practical experience and intimate knowledge of local con- 
ditions to satisfactorily decide what fuel should be used 
and what method of using it should be adopted. The 
Diesel engine is by far the most efficient heat motor that 
so far has been designed, but whether it can compete with 
steam engines using coal or gas engines supplied with gas 
from one or other of the various types of gas producers, 
in which coal, coke, charcoal, wood or waste products 
such as saw dust or tannery refuse are burned, depends 
on the relative prices at which these sources of heat can 
be obtained. In most towns, for very large units, the steam 
engine still holds its own, of which evidence is afforded by 
the fact that during the last few years several large cotton 
mill engines have been installed in this Presidency and in 
only one instance has a Diesel engine been employed. On 
the other hand for smaller units, but still comparatively 
large ones, the steam engine shares the field with the Diesel 
engine, whilst for small sources of power, gas and oil en- 
gines alone can compete, and at the extreme end of the scale, 
the oil engine enjoys unrivalled supremacy. To the people of 
Southern India, the interest mainly lies in the relative advan- 
tages of oil and gas engines. Where large amounts of power 
are consumed there are always competent Engineers availa- 



264 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

ble to decide how it is to be obtained, but the projectors 
of small factories and agriculturists or landowners, who 
want to pump water, cannot easily obtain such expert 
advice, and it is an unfortunate fact that they are prone 
to decide a question like this on the advice of incompetent 
or interested parties and generally with dire results. 
Government fully recognise this fact and though the 
Department of Industries has ceased to exist, this branch 
of its work is still carried on and for a trifling fee, the 
whole experience of the late Department is placed at the 
disposal of those who wish to make use of it. 

The liquid fuel or kerosine oil used in oil engines 
is imported from abroad and is cheaper in Madras than 
anywhere else in the Presidency, There is competition 
in the kerosine oil trade but the liquid fuel is monopolised 
by one company, and it has power to withhold supplies 
or arbitrarily change the price at any time. This is not an 
altogether satisfactory position and it is at least politic to 
encourage any rival system that can compete with oil 
engines using liquid fuel. For gas engines, charcoal is the 
most convenient material from which the gas can be 
obtained and it is naturally cheapest where wood is most 
plentiful and when there is no large demand for it for 
other purposes. This is generally in the neighourhood of 
the forest tracts and remote from railways. These are 
nor usually centres of industry and in order that the 
field for employment of gas plants may be greatly widened, 
it is necessary that there should be greater inducements 
to manufacture charcoal and that more economical 
methods should be employed than those now in vogue. 
It is certainly a point in favour of the gas engine that its fuel 
can be obtained in the country and need not be imported 
from abroad and it is therefore a matter of some economic 
importance to encourage the development of charcoal 
manufacture on improved lines, ... :, 



MISCELLANEOUS INDUSTRIES -265 

Four years ago, the attention of Government was first 
directed to the probability of a growing demand for 
charcoal and an enquiry was started to ascertain what 
prospects the scientific method of preparing charcoal 
known as wood distillation offered for the employment of 
capital to those interested in the improvement of Indian 
industries. The information finally collected was placed 
before an Advisory Board appointed by Government to 
consider whether the industry should be left to private 
enterprise or undertaken by Government. The Advisory 
Board reported that it did not offer sufficient inducements 
for the investment of private capital and thought that if it 
was desirable to start the industry, it should in the 
first place be undertaken by Government. The orders of 
the Secretary of State in regard to the pioneering of new 
industries preclude the possibility of this being done and 
things must remain in statu. quo ante unless it can be shown 
that the opinion of the Advisory Committee was not well 
founded. 



II 

A careful reconsideration of the facts gathered more 
than two years ago, supplemented by information of con- 
siderable value obtained whilst in Europe on furlough, 
induces me to put forward a case for wood distillation as 
an industry eminently suited to Indian conditions at the 
present time. It is not a difficult or complicated industry. 
It can be started with a moderate capital outlay, the raw 
material is available in sufficient quantity to secure the 
permanence of the industry and for the products there, is 
an assured market at remunerative prices. It is true that 
it is a new industry to the country, and that no one here 
has any practical experience in working it, but it is carried 

34 



266 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

out on a large scale in many other parts of the world and 
there will be no difficulty in obtaining the services of an 
expert to start the plant and train local men to run it. 

The methods of burning charcoal prevalent in India 
are practically the same as those pursued in other parts 
of the world where this primitive process has not been 
displaced by wood distillation. Briefly, the wood is 
stacked in large heaps, protected from the atmos- 
phere by a covering of earth, and fired with a limi- 
ted amount of air. The heat generated by the com- 
bustion of part of the wood causes chemical disinte- 
gration of the rest, with the evolution of the acid vapours 
and tar and there finally remains a residue consisting of 
almost pure carbon. The one product is carbon or char- 
coal of which about two tons are obtained from every 10 
tons of wood carbonised. This process is very , simple, 
but extremely wasteful, as by it, from hundreds of thousands 
of tons of good wood, we every year obtain none of the 
valuable bye-products which a more scientific procedure 
would render available. In place of this crude way of 
treating wood when charcoal is required, it may be sub- 
jected to prolonged heating in closed retorts or kilns, whereby 
all the volatile matter is driven off and a residue of practi- 
cally pure carbon left behind The volatile matter is of 
complex composition and yields on condensation pyrolig- 
neous acid and tar. The liquor is allowed to stand in 
tanks whereby the tar sinks to the bottom and the super- 
natant liquor is then distilled, yielding crude wood spirit 
and acetic acid. This distillate after standing in wooden 
tubs for a certain time, whereby further separation of im- 
purities is effected, is mixed with milk of lime and transfer- 
red to a copper still and again subjected to heat till all the 
wood spirit is removed. The residue consists of an aque- 
ous solution of acetate of lime, which is concentrated and 



MISCELLANEOUS INDUSTRIES 267 

finally dried to a grey powder in a kiln. The wood spirit 
is subjected to fractional distillation and commercial 
methyl alcohol produced. From the destructive distillation 
of wood, we therefore obtain four marketable products : 

(1) Charcoal. 

(2) Acetate of lime. 

(3) Methyl Alcohol. 

(4) Wood tar. 

There is also a large quantity of incondensable gas 
which passes through the first condensation process, and 
can be utilised to assist in heating the retorts. All these 
products are of considerable commercial value. 

The price of charcoal in Madras at the present time 
is Rs. 30 a ton. The acetate of lime fetches from to 
11 a ton in the London market and may be taken as 
worth fully Rs. 120 a ton in Madras. The methyl alcohol 
fetches from 2s. to 2/6 a gallon in London and may be 
taken as worth Re. 1 per gallon in Madras, if it is to be 
exported from the country. As will be subsequently 
shown, a market can be found for it in India in which case 
it will be worth at least Rs. 1-8-0 a gallon at the 
factory. There remains the tar which is worth a great 
deal more in India than in England. Last year, 1909-10, 
there was imported into Madras 23,861 cvvts. of tar valued 
at Rs. 79,030 or slightly over Rs. 66 a ton. It will there- 
fore be well within the mark to assume that the locally 
manufactured tar will be worth Rs. 40 a ton at the factory. 
Experiments have been made in England with a consider- 
able number of Indian timbers to ascertain what they 
would yield on being subjected to destructive distillation. 
In the case of blue gums which grow so freely on the 
Nilgiris and of casuarina, ten ton lots were sent home 
and the experiments were on a sufficiently large scale 



268 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

to yield fairly accurate commercial results. These are 
presented in the following table. 

Blue gum. Casuarina wood. 

Charcoal, per cent. ... 35 30 

Acetate of lime, per cent. 5'42 5'2 

Methyl Alcohol, 

gallons per ton, 3 4 

Tar, per cent 5^ 4^ 

From 10 tons of casuarina wood, we should therefore 
obtain products worth Rs. 228 as shown in detail in the 
following statement : 

Rs. 

Charcoal, 3 tons at Rs. 25 per ton ... 75 

Methyl alcohol, 40 gallons at Rs. 1/8 per gal. 60 
Grey Acetate of lime (80 %) 12J cwt. at 

Rs. 120 per ton ... 75 

Wood tar 9 cwt. at Rs. 40 per ton ... 18 

Total ... 228 

It now becomes possible to present a balance sheet 
to show the probable results, which would be obtained, 
if a wood distillation factory were started on the East 
Coast, in the neighbourhood of large casuarina plantations, 
preferably situated near the Buckingham Canal, so that 
advantage may be taken of water carriage to reduce the 
cost of transport of raw material as much as possible. 
To deal with about 6,000 tons of dry wood per annum, 
such a factory would cost, erected in complete working 
order, about Rs. 1,50,000 and a company with a paid up 
capital of Rs. 2,00,000 would have ample funds to 
carry on the business. The principal items on the debit 
side of the balance sheet would be the cost of the wood 
the cost of the fuel for working the furnaces and 



MISCELLANEOUS INDUSTRIES 269 

the stills. It would of course be possible to use part of 
the wood this way, but it will be found more economical 
to buy coal. For the casuarina wood I have allowed Rs. 8 
a ton and for the coal Rs. 13 a ton delivered at the 
factory. 10 per cent, depreciation is allowed on the whole 
plant and the other items are based on the actual charges 
incurred on a wood distillation plant of about this size in 
Germany. The total amounts to Rs. 1,00.900 per annum 
as shown in the following statement : 

Rs. 

Wood, 6,000 tons 48,000 

Coal, 1,000 13,000 

Lime, 150 ... 900 

Labour ... ... ... ... 5,000 

Repairs ... ... ,.. ... 4,000 

Management ... ... ... ... 15,000 

Depreciation ... ... ... ... 15.000 



Total Rs. ... 100,900 



We have already seen that 10 tons of casuarina wood 
will yield products worth Rs. 228. 6,000 tons will there- 
fore yield products worth Rs. 136,800 and the gross profit 
on a capital of Rs. 2,00,000 will amount to Rs. 35,900 per 
annum, I think that there can be no doubt that away from 
the immediate neighbourhood of Madras, casuarina wood 
in abundance can be obtained at lower rates than tlmse 
quoted and if this be so, the prospects of the undertaking 
are still more favourable. 

It may be interesting to compare the conditions, under 
which this factory will work, with those which I actually 
found in a factory at Ivry near Paris. The wood cost Rs. 
13 per ton and 4 tons were required to produce a ton of 
charcoal. The charcoal was sold at Rs. 45 a ton, that is 



270 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

to say, wood worth Rs. 52 produced charcoal worth only 
Rs. 45, and the whole of the working expenses and the 
profit on the manufacture, together with the loss of Rs. 7 
on each ton of charcoal produced, had to be realised 
from the sale of the bye-products. The firm found it more 
profitable to work them up into marketable chemicals and 
the acetate of lime was converted into white or brown 
sugar lead, glacial acetic acid and acetate of copper, and 
in the export department, I saw a large consignment 
of acetate of lead packed for shipment to Bombay. For 
the tar, there was no market and it was found that the 
best way of disposing of it was to burn it under the stills. 
The methyl alcohol was rectified to a high degree of 
purity and sold to colour works or for the manufacture 
of formalin. The firm at the time of my visit were also 
experimenting with a direct process for the manufacture 
of acetone, another very valuable product from pyroligne- 
ous acid. Dealing with such a friable material as char- 
coal, there is always a large amount of waste and this is 
utilised for the manufacture of what is known in France 
as charbon de Paris and Bouches de Noailles, which are 
practically charcoal briquettes. The charbon de Paris is 
made as follows ; 

75 fbs. of powdered charcoal and 35 tbs. of 
tar, which may be either coal or wood tar, and 
half a pound of carbonate of soda are mixed under edge 
runners and the resulting product compressed in moulds 
to briquettes of various sizes and shapes. The briquettes 
are allowed to dry from 6 to 8 days and are then packed 
in closed kilns and fired internally with a very limited 
supply of air. In the course of about 12 hours, nearly all 
the tar is removed and the comparatively soft briquettes 
are converted into hard blocks of carbon somewhat similar 
in appearance to coke. For these, there is a very large 



MISCELLANEOUS INDUSTRIES 271 

demand in Paris for domestic and other purposes in which 
a very slow rate of combustion, freedom from smoke, 
smell and noxious fumes are essential. They consequent- 
ly sell at a high price, the rate at the time being as much 
as Rs. 100 per ton. With our cheaper raw material, we 
could manufacture them at probably half this price, 
and as there is no doubt whatever that they would be 
extremely well adapted to Indian domestic conditions, 
it is possible, therefore that a large market might be 
found for them. At any rate, the experiment is very well 
worth trying as it could be conducted on a small scale at 
very little expense. In Paris, it is found profitable to 
complete the manufacture of the products of wood distil- 
lation and I think it will be advisable to proceed on the 
same course in India. The Government Cordite Factory 
at Aruvankad on the Nilgiris might purchase large quanti- 
ties of acetate of lime to manufacture it into acetone, 
but otherwise there is not likely to be any demand 
for acetate of lime except on the part of chemical manu- 
facturers to convert it into more useful products such 
as sugar of lead which is used in dyeing and calico print- 
ing, for the preparation of alum mordants and for the 
manufacture of chrome yellow. It would certainly not be 
feasible to manufacture acetone in the plains of India as 
the boiling point of this compound is very low and it 
is highly volatile and difficult to pack in such a way that 
it can be transported without loss. 

Wood spirit is largely used in Europe for denaturiz- 
ing alcohol, but for this purpose, as caoutchoucine is used 
in India, it is hardly likely that the advent of a wood 
distillation plant would lead to any change. The use for 
the wood spirit must be found in the manufacture of 
formalin compounds and in the sale of rectified spirit 
suitable for varnish making. 



272 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

For the tar, there already exists a local market which 
is at present met by importation from abroad and it will 
probably be convenient to simply displace part of the 
imports, but if necessary, the tar can be worked into 
products such as creasote and guaiacol, both disinfectants 
which would find a ready sale in this country. 

The above represents a fair statement of the prospects 
of a wood distillation industry and they seem to me to be 
sufficiently attractive. Once started on the moderate scale 
now proposed it would be easy to extend them if my 
anticipations are realized. On the Nilgiris, in the Salem 
District, in North Coimbatore and in North Malabar, wood 
could probably be obtained at even lower rates than those 
charged for casuarina in this note and there would be 
little risk in setting up additional plants with the experience 
available if these proposals are successfully carried out. 

MILK PRODUCTS 

In strange contrast with Burma where milk is scarcely 
ever used as an article of food, in India it plays a very 
important part in the dietary of the people all over the 
country. A rough estimate of the cows and she- 
buffaloes places the number at about 40 millions, 
and it is well-known to all interested in the matter 
that the average yield of milk is extremely poo'r and 
probably does not amount to more than a quart per 
head per day. In various parts of the country there are 
to be found special breeds of cattle which yield much 
better results than this. During the last 20 years Dairy 
Farming has been a subject of investigation by specialists 
with very valuable results. As long ago as 1895 Mr. 
Mollison, the late Director-General of Agriculture, who 
was then the Superintendent of Government Farms in 
Bombay wrote : " The yield of Indian cows rarely ex- 



MISCELLANEOUS INDUSTRIES 273 

ceeds 20 to 25 Ibs. per day. 12 to 16 ibs more nearly how- 
ever approximate the average of good cows in full profit. 
Buffaloes on an average give considerably more than 
cows in India and their milk is also much richer. 
Under skilful management there is no reason why the 
milk breeds of India should not be very much im- 
proved. It is quite within the bounds of possibility to 
breed up Indian buffaloes to become one of the best 
butter producing breeds in the world." This prediction 
has to some extent been realised in the Government 
Dairy Farms in the United Provinces and Meagher and 
Vaughan in their book on " Dairy Farming in India" 
published in 1904 give the results of observations made 
by them on well bred milch cattle at the Allahabad farm. 
There the Hansi cows yielded from 3 to 4 gallons of milk 
per day and buffaloes of the Murrah breed from 4 to as 
much as 6 gallons per day. Cattle can be obtained which 
will yield from 4 to 7 gallons of milk during the milking 
season, and as the period between two successive births 
averages about 500 days we may assume that it is possible 
to obtain a yield on an average of a gallon of milk per 
day from a herd of cows during the whole of their useful 
life. 

It may be taken as fairly certain that owing to the 
rapid growth of the population, the milk supply in India 
is insufficient for the needs of the people and evidence of 
this is to be found in the rapid advance in the price at 
which milk is sold in large towns. Especially so has this 
been the case in the past year or two, during which in 
addition to the increased demand, there has been a material 
rise in the cost of cattle food. Further evidence in this 
direction is to be found in the imports of condensed milk 
which have increased by more than 50 per cent, in the 
last five years. From the Trade Returns for 1909-1910, 
35 



274 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

J find that 9,198,428 Ibs. of condensed milk were imported 
into India and Burma valued at Rs. 25,61,722. Of this 
Burma took the greater part, its share be not less than 56 
per cent, of the whole imports, whilst that of Bengal was 
22 per cent, and that of Madras nearly 13 per cent. 

If we assume that the milk supply of India amounts 
to only 5,000,000 gallons per day, which would mean that 
each cow only yielded one pint of milk per day and 
that its average value is now 8 annas per gallon, we arrive 
at the somewhat startling result that the total value of the 
milk produced in India is not less than 90croresof rupees 
per annum. Compared with this gigantic sum, it may at 
first sight seem trifling that milk to the value of rather 
more than a quarter of crore of rupees is annually import- 
ed. But looked at from another point of view, it is a 
sign of the times and may be taken as an indication of 
the ease with which enterprising foreigners can find a 
market for their surplus products in this country. Here, 
it is evident that there is an enormous field for improve- 
ment, and I think there is no doubt that if sufficient atten- 
tion were paid to the matter of breeding milch cattle, the 
yield throughout India could be increased by at least 50 
per cent and possibly doubled. In other countries, 
results at least equal to this have been achieved and I 
need only mention the extraordinary success of co-opera- 
tive dairying in such widely different countries as Denmark 
and Ireland. 

Not only does India import tinned milk to the 
quantites already mentioned, but there has always been 
a large importation of ghee along the Northern frontiers 
the average value of which is about Rs. 50 lakhs per 
annum. 

With an agricultural population fully alive to the 
value of their milch cattle and working their products into 






MISCELLANEOUS INDUSTRIES 275 

a marketable form on a co-operative basis, India would 
not only be able to supply her own requirements but 
might easily become one of the largest, if not the largest, 
exporter of dairy produce in the world. I am fully aware 
that it is hopeless to expect any rapid improvement in 
this direction but that is no reason why attention should 
not be drawn to the matter, especially in view of the fact, 
that recent developments in the methods of dealing with 
milk render it possible to preserve it for an indefinitely 
long time in an extremely concentrated form. Condensed 
milks have long been known and are largely used, but it is 
generally recognised that even the best of them are inferior 
to fresh milk and are only largely used because of the 
facility with which they can be transported. 

In recent years, various processes have been introduc- 
ed for converting liquid milk into a dry powder, but the 
majority of these have not met with any great measure of 
success, chiefly because the temperatures to which the milk 
is subjected during the process of drying are so high that 
the physical constituents of the milk itself are partially 
changed and the resulting powder when again mixed with 
water yields a fluid with solid particles suspended in it 
which differs very materially from fresh milk. 

Whilst at home last year, I came across a new 
process of converting milk into a dry powder which 
seemed to be worthy of further investigation. I was 
able to interest the patentees of the process in the 
Indian milk question and they were good enough to 
afford me ample opportunity to investigate their method 
of working in every detail. Their principal factory is 
situated in Cheshire and the plant, which they have erected 
there, is capable of dealing with about 5,000 gallons of 
milk per day, but at the time of my visit, they were 
only able to get delivery of about 3,000 gallons per 



276 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

day. I am not at liberty to give a very minute 
description of the process employed as its success- 
ful operation depends upon attention to many details 
which naturally a commercial concern does not wish 
to have disclosed. At the time of my visit to the 
factory, which was in the early morning, the farmer's carts 
were bringing in the morning milk supply. The milk was 
first weighed and then warmed and sent through a 
cream separator whereby about 7 per cent, of commercial 
cream was extracted. This was stored away in a cool room 
and daily sent to London. The skimmed milk, after 
leaving the centrifugal separator, was pumped into a 
pasteurizing kettle and then passed into a vacuum pan 
where under a vacuum of 26" to 27" it was concentra- 
ted to 2/9 of its original volume. The final process 
whereby this highly concentrated liquid milk was 
converted into a dry powder was extremely simple, but its 
successful operation was the result of much experimental 
work, into the details of which I am precluded from 
entering. Briefly, it consists in pumping the milk 
through an extremely fine hole in a plate at the 
end of a nozzle which projects into a wooden chamber 
lined with tin plate, into which a current of filtered hot 
air was blown. The pressure of the milk behind the 
spray plate varied from 3 to 4 thousand tbs per stj. inch, 
and in the chamber the milk was sprayed into a fine mist 
and almost instantaneously deprived of its moisture, fall- 
ing to the bottom of the chamber as an impalpable white 
powder. In the rear of the chamber suitable filters were 
provided through which the hot moist air escaped to the 
outside leaving all the milk powder behind. Extreme 
care has to be taken in filtering the very large volume of 
air which passes through the chamber and its temperature 
is maintained at 175 to 180 F. by regulating the 



MISCELLANEOUS INDUSTRIES 277 

quantity of concentrated milk which is sent in to be 
evaporated. 

This drying process could be equally well applied to 
unconcentrated milk but the output would be very much 
smaller and the cost of evaporation much greater. On the 
day of my visit the milk powder being made, as has already 
been mentioned, was from milk deprived of the greater 
part of its cream, but the same process is equally applicable 
to unseparated milk and large quantities of what is known 
as full cream milk powder are so manufactured. The yield 
of milk powder from skimmed milk is about 8 percent, 
of the original weight and from unseparated milk 
about 12 per cent, and the plant, I saw at work, 
was capable of producing about 2^ tons of normal 
milk powder or 35 cwt. of skimmed milk powder, 
per day. It is interesting to note that wheyed milk powder 
the principal constituent of which is milk sugar, can also 
be produced in an exactly similar manner and in fact is so 
manufactured, either for sale as such, or for mixture with 
the other milk powders so as to produce mil-k foods speci- 
ally suited for infantile or impaired digestions. 

This method of producing dry milk powder is equally 
applicable to eggs, and the egg powder so produced can 
be used for every purpose for which fresh eggs are employ- 
ed in cooking. The eggs delivered at the factory first 
have their outer shells thoroughly washed in clean water 
and are then thrown into a centrifugal which entirely sepa- 
rates the fluid contents from the outer shell. The liquid 
which is a mixture of the yolk and the white of the eggs is 
pumped directly into the hot air chamber and converted 
at once into a dry powder. The treatment of eggs demon- 
strates more clearly than is possible with milk the impor- 
tant advantage of this process, and that is, that the albumen 
which forms the white of the eggs and which is present in 



278 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

milk only in small quantities is not coagulated by the 
temperatures to which it is subjected in the drying chamber. 
At this Cheshire Factory egg powder was only occasion- 
ally produced, as in England, the demand for fresh eggs 
is so great that they command a much higher price than 
that at which it would be profitable to convert them into 
egg powder. In India this would not be the case, and 
it seems to me that it would be quite possible to produce 
eggs by scientific poultry farming on a co-operative basis 
on a sufficiently extensive scale and at prices which would 
make it profitable to manufacture egg powder for export. 
Poultry rearing in India has never been developed 
to anything like the extent that is possible, owing to the 
fact that eggs, as an article of food, are much too expen- 
sive for the bulk of the population. Assuming however 
a demand for fresh eggs in large quantities at a fixed price, 
it seems to me not improbable that the villagers could be 
induced to take to rearing poultry as a subsidiary occupa- 
tion, and that as such it would be a considerable source 
of additional income, A plant for drying eggs is a com- 
paratively simple affair compared with that which is 
necessary for producing milk powder, and the capital 
outlay involved need not be large, so that the only diffi- 
culty which I can see in starting such an industry in this 
country would be to secure a sufficiently large supply of 
eggs at the outset. Probably it would be necessary 
to start a large poultry farm to begin with and, to 
offer to supply fowls with a good laying strain, to 
the surrounding villagers, buying such eggs as they pro- 
duced. I do not know if any records of egg laying have 
ever been maintained in India, but great importance is 
attached to them by the Agricultural Department in Ire- 
land and in a recent number of the Department's 
journal there are some interesting records given. It ap- 



MISCELLANEOUS INDUSTRIES 279 

pears that the general average is rather more than 111 eggs 
per bird per year. Whether it is greater or less than this 
in India I have been unable to ascertain, but assuming 
that fowls can be obtained which will lay 9 dozens eggs 
in a year, if these eggs fetch 3 annas a dozen, each hen 
will produce an income of Rs. 1-11-0 per annum. Whe- 
ther this would be profitable or not would depend upon 
the cost of keeping the hens. In Ireland, it amounts from 
Rs. 2-8-0 to Rs. 3 per annum, but in India it should be 
materially less than this, as, if the hen population be not 
too dense, they will be able to pick up the greater part of 
their food themselves. 

With samples of the different products of this English 
factory, I have made a number of experiments both in 
England and in India with eminently satisfactory results. 
The flavour of the milk is slightly different from 
that of fresh milk and would probably be preferred by most 
people to that of boiled milk. Compared with condensed 
milks, the milk powders possess many advantages. In the 
first place, they are somewhat cheaper, and, as they con- 
tain no moisture or added sugar, are much less bulky. 
After the tin is opened its contents can be used up gradual- 
ly, and here in Madras, at any rate during the cold weather, 
the milk powder will keep in good condition for several 
months. It is essential of course that the powder should 
be kept perfectly dry. From a hygienic point of view, the 
milk is perfectly safe and the scrupulous state of cleanli- 
ness maintained in the factory, which is essential for 
the working of the process, is a guarantee of the 
purity of the products. 

Before the milk powder can be used it has to be mixed 
with water, and it is of course necessary that the water 
should be safe. This involves a little trouble and is proba- 
bly the principal disadvantage in using milk powder as 



280 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

compared with condensed milk. Buffalo milk which con- 
tains nearly twice as much fatty matter as cow's milk 
seems to be well suited for treatment by this process. To 
start with the percentage of fat can be reduced to any 
extent desirable by the use of centrifugal separators 
and the milk so modified converted into powder. The 
separated fat may be made into butter or ghee, and 
where there is a large demand for either of these 
commodities, the whole of the fat can be removed 
and the milk powder made from the separated milk will 
then be an excellent material for the manufacture of what 
is known in Northern India as Dahi and in Madras as 
Moru. 

For invalids and young children, normal milk is not 
an altogether satisfactory food and it is often necessary to 
modify it in some way. On a large scale this can be done 
by mixing the dry powders resulting from the milk which 
has been treated so as to secure a predominance of one or 
other of its constituents. For young children, for in- 
stance, it is a simple matter to prepare a mixture of or- 
dinary milk and wheyed milk which will have a com- 
position almost the same as human milk, and for invalids, 
from the wheyed milk powder, a solution can be prepared 
of much greater strength than that which can be obtained 
by the ordinary method of preparing wheyed milk. 
Under certain circumstances, this may be a great advan- 
tage as an invalid can obtain a large amount of nourish- 
ment from a comparatively small volume of liquid. 

THE ARI INDUSTRIES OF SOUTH INDIA 

Craftsmanship reached a high degree of excellence 
in the South of India when the country was under its 
Native rulers and there are extant many beautiful speci- 
mens of old work. The artizans lived under the patronage 



MISCELLANEOUS INDUSTRIES 281 

of the Rajahs and Zamindars and devoted their skill arid 
experience to enhancing the fame and prestige of their 
masters by contributing to the magnificence of their sur- 
roundings. The stonemason, the sculptor and the wood 
carver constructed and embellished the palaces in which 
they lived and the temples in which they worshipped; the 
weavers and the jewellers furnished clothing and orna- 
ments for the adornment of their persons; and the metal- 
workers supplied the household vessels and domestic 
utensils, but the highest development of their work found 
expression in the design and decoration, of the trappings 
and vehicles used in State and religious processions. In the 
former elephants played an important part, and the how- 
dahs were often sheathed in silver and in part plated with 
gold, the trappings were of silk supported by a coarser 
fabric underneath, and the Mahout carried a goad, always 
of elaborate design and frequently of exquisitely carved 
steel. In the religious processions the gods were removed 
from the temples and carried round the precincts of the 
sacred edifice in vahanams, which were special carriages 
in the form of some animal more or less mythological 
and conventional. The frame work was usually con- 
structed of wood and covered with silver plates very highly 
worked in repousse. 

In ancient times the south of India, and more especi- 
ally Mysore, was celebrated for the quality of the iron and 
steel which was there manufactured, and the arts of the 
armourer and smith reached a high degree of perfection. 
The wootz steel was held in high esteem for weapons and 
was certainly greatly in demand throughout the East and 
it is not improbable that the celebrated blades of Damus- 
cus were forged from it. 

Under British rule the indigenous art industries have 
to some extent decayed. The picturesque pageantry of 
36 



282 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

the native courts has disappeared and the descendants 
of the old chieftains and princes adorn their reception 
rooms with gilt mirrors, glass chandeliers and Parisian 
ormulu and bronzes. Musical boxes, mechanical toys and 
the phonograph excite their wonder and amuse their idle 
hours. The gilt and tinsel of Europe attract them more 
than the artistic productions of their own countrymen. 

Accustomed to work for a patron under the old 
regime, and shielded more or less from the effects of 
competition, the hereditary art workers have fallen 
upon evil days and to earn a livelihood have been forced 
to meet the demands of the dealers and globe trotters for 
cheap imitations of what they were formerly encduraged 
to produce and which they are still capable of making if 
they are allowed to work under conditions which suit 
their artistic temperaments. Though much harm has 
been done there are still many talented and honest crafts- 
men who, if given the opportunity, can do good work, 
and in recent years there has been an unquestioned 
revival in the handicrafts of the Madras Presidency. For 
this the Nattukottai Chetties are largely responsible. As is 
well known they have provided very large sums of money 
for the restoration of the great temples in the south and 
on this work many skilled artizans have been employed 
for a long period., and there is but little doubt that the 
modern restorations are quite equal in merit to the original 
structures. There is plenty of evidence that the old skill 
can still be called forth by congenial surroundings and 
there is not the least doubt that the craftsmen of to-day, 
are in no way inferior to their predecessors, but when 
employed to work against time for a foreign market, and 
for patrons with whom they have no sympathy, they fall 
away horribly in their efforts to produce what they think 
will please. 



MISCELLANEOUS INDUSTRIES 28 

Even in the Native States where the conditions of 
life have changed less than in British India the demand 
for the services of the local art craftsmen is not 
what it used to be owing to the general prevalence 
of the idea that it is a mark of enlightenment to 
prefer Western methods of decoration. The fault 
of course lies partly with the craftsmen themselves, 
who, through conservatism and possibly also lack 
of opportunities, have failed to adapt themselves and their 
crafts to the changed conditions of the present day. This 
is very strongly exemplified in the new palace at Mysore, 
the internal decoration of which is almost entirely the 
work of the subjects of that State. Even though the gene- 
ral effect produced by the lavish use of indigenous orna- 
ments is not beyond criticism, yet there is not the slightest 
doubt that the determination of those responsible for the 
building of this new palace, to have the work carried out 
by the craftsmen of the State has done much to place the 
art industries of Mysore on a new footing and give them 
a new lease of life. There is much truth in the contention 
which has been put forward that the decadence of Indian 
art industries is due to the neglect of Indian architecture 
and to the adoption of purely untilitarian ideas, in regard 
to both public and private buildings, since the former 
were placed under the Public Works Department. There 
is of course another side to the question which cannot 
now be discussed, but under an administrative system the 
key-note of which is efficiency, it is obvious that utilitarian 
rather than artistic considerations must be predominant. 
Nevertheless, the effects of the present policy have produced 
many misgivings in the minds of those responsible for the 
administration of this country, and in none perhaps more 
than Lord Curzon, who during his term of office did 
much to restore the prestige of Indian art, and if his effort 



284 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

did not meet with the success they deserved, it was largely 
due to the deep-seated nature of the evil he sought to 
remedy. 

In recent years the true functions of art schools in 
India have been recognised and they are now doing much 
good work, but the remedy is not entirely in their hands, 
as though they may train an art craftsman or an artisf, 
they cannot find him opportunities of pursuing his art or 
craft afterwards. In Madras, to a greater degree than any 
where else, this has been recognised and the Council of 
the Victoria Technical Institute are making a real effort 
to place the skilled artizans in this Presidency in 
touch with those who can appreciate and desire 
to possess good specimens of the various Arts and 
Crafts still carried on. The Victoria Memorial Hall, 
in the Pantheon Road, has been built and, by purchase 
from the artizans, has been filled with specimens of the 
best work they are capable of turning out. All the arti- 
cles are for sale and when sold are replaced by others and 
thus a constant flow of orders pass to the workers. The 
Institute, in fact, plays the part of a patron and secures for 
the workers a succession of opportunities for displaying 
their craftsmanship and ingenuity. The scheme is still in 
its initial stages and those who are behind the scenes are 
fully aware of the difficulties which lie before them.' It is 
to them a matter of great regret that they are almost 
entirely dependent upon Europeans for patronage and 
that the wealthier classes in this country take little or no 
interest in this truly Swadeshi movement to infuse life and 
vitality into the Arts and Crafts of the Presidency. It is 
becoming increasingly evident that but a minor degree of 
success can attend their efforts so long as the people them- 
selves hold aloof. A national Art is one of the clearest 
indications of a vigorous national existence and those who 



MISCELLANEOUS INDUSTRIES 285 

are able to read the signs of the times suggest that the 
political aspirations of India are much on a par with her 
artistic perceptions. 

Except weaving, the art industries of Southern India 
are purely Dravidian and have been but little influenced 
by the long period of Moghul domination over the rest of 
the country. The hard gneisses, which crop up every 
where, formed the principal building material and the 
forms which this could be made most readily to assume 
have deeply influenced the craftsmen who later on learned 
to work in wood and metal. At a very early date steel 
tools of excellent quality must have been made, or the 
masons and stonecarvers could never have attained the 
skill in rendering such an intractable material the medium 
for the expression of their ideas which even the most 
ancient remains display. A regular system of architecture 
was evolved, divided into orders, each of which was 
governed by rules and sub-divided elaborately into propor- 
tional parts to control the master builders and the rigidity 
with which these formulae were observed is clearly visible 
in all the temples, chutrams and ancient buildings which 
still exist. Wood never entered very largely into Dravidian 
architecture and was probably only employed for doors 
and for verandah pillars in domestic buildings. The dur- 
able South Indian timbers are all very hard and the carpenter 
never attained any degree of skill in making framed struc- 
tures, whilst the wood carver hewed it into form much as 
if it were stone and his work is characterised by the bold- 
ness of its outlines and the grotesqueness of the forms 
which were called into existence by the weird fancy of the 
ancient sculptor. The temple cars were huge structures, 
with solid wooden wheels which are obviously the design 
of men accustomed to work in stone and the carving with 
which they are lavishly adorned is equally of lithic origin* 



286 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

Metal-work in brass and copper was almost always 
cast by the cire perdue process, and it is only since sheet 
metal began to be imported from Europe that the methods 
and patternsof the silversmiths have been extensively copied. 
Beating out thin sheets of metal was a very arduous busi- 
ness and was mainly confined to silver which is compara- 
tively easy to work. Swamis, lamps, panchapatrams and 
spoons were needed for every domestic shrine and in the 
manufacture of such articles great skill was often displayed, 
though the modeller was rather at a disadvantage owing to 
the conventional restrictions by which he was bound. The 
metal workers are now mainly engaged in making house- 
hold utensils which are usually but slightly decorated, but 
those used on ceremonial occasions are often of ornate 
character and excellent design. The growing wealth of 
the country has led to a much greater demand for metal 
ware than was ever possible before, and it may be said 
without the least hesitation that as good work is now being 
done in India as was ever done, though it must be admit- 
ted that a vast amount of cheap and inferior stuff is always 
in evidence. 

Weaving gives employment to the largest number 
of artizans, but the bulk of the work is of a purely indus- 
trial character and, except when the cloths have a 
solid border, seldom possesses any artistic merit. 
There was a large migration of Mahratta weavers to the 
South of India some centuries ago and large colonies of 
their descendants are still to be found in the principal 
weaving centres. It is probable, therefore, that the 
Dravidians never attained to the high standard of weaving 
reached in the North of India, and the present general 
high level is due to the immigrants who settled in Salem, 
Tanjoreand Madura, probably after the break up of the 
Vijianagar Kingdom. Hand printed cottons have always 



MISCELLANEOUS INDUSTRIES 287 

been a famous Madras industry, and palampores, 
curtains and tab)e covers are still made in quite a number 
of towns, the most celebrated being those from Masuli- 
patam, Kalahasti and Kumbakonam. 

The carpet industry is in anything but a flourishing 
condition and its decadence is largely due to exploitation 
by traders whose sole idea was to produce showy articles 
manufactured at the lowest possible price. To meet 
the demand for cheap carpets the use of vegetable dyes 
has been abandoned but this would have been a 
small matter if the dyers had been able to acquire 
a knowledge of how to use appropriate coal tar dyes. Unfor- 
tunately they have not done this and any dye stuff which 
will produce a temporary colouration in the wool has been 
employed, with the result that the carpet industry in the 
South of India may be regarded as dead and beyond any 
possibility of revival. It is true that efforts are still being 
made in this direction, but it is equally true that such 
efforts have so far proved futile, and the reason is not far 
to seek. There is difficulty about getting local supplies of 
wool, lack of knowledge as to how to treat it and finally 
the prices which can be obtained for even the best South 
Indian carpets do not offer a living wage to the weaver. 

Of minor art industries there are many in the South 
of India. Embroidery, in the hands of enterprising 
Mahommedans, has reached a very high standard of 
excellence and much of it is sent to other parts of India 
or exported from the country. Ivory carving is chiefly 
carried on in the Travancore State, and, as through the 
efforts of the Trivandrum School of Arts it has be- 
come widely known, there is a ready market for it at 
prices which should be remunerative to the carvers. 
The same may be said of the beautiful sandal wood 
carving of Mysore, which is seen at its best in the 



288 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

panels of the ! caskets which are commonly made. The 
subjects are generally taken from the Mahabharata, but 
occasionally illustrate scenes of every day life. Much of 
it however suffers from imperfect drawing and ignorance 
of anatomy. The old conventionalism has been abandon- 
ed and the attempts at realism are somewhat crude. Com- 
paratively little lacquer work is dene in the South of 
India and that chiefly for the decoration of musical 
instruments, such as the Veena, but the art still survives 
in Kurnool and has been revived to some extent by the 
efforts of the Victoria Technical Institute. The goldsmith 
and jeweller are to be found all over the country, but the 
best work is naturally done in the large towns. The 
influence of modern European jewellery has resulted in 
greater perfection of mechanical details, but the designs 
have sadly deteriorated. 

The object of the Swadeshi Movement is to try and 
cultivate among Indians a taste for home made articles 
and in no direction is there a more promising field than 
that presented by the Art industries of their country. I 
do not think it would be true to say that there is no 
movement at all in this direction, but at best it is a very 
slight one. None would deny the keen perception of beauty 
of form so generally prevalent in this country, but the 
ideas of the people in regard to Western Art are altogether 
lacking in taste and judgment. The educational system 
of the country makes no effort to provide for the cultiva- 
tion of artistic instincts and till, in some way or other, 
this is accomplished we can hardly hope for any , marked 
improvement in indigenous Art. 

This is a field in which possibly the Victoria Techni- 
cal Institute might do useful work. The native artist and 
craftsman is inarticulate and totally unable to express his 
ideas i.n words. But there are experts who have made a 






MISCELLANEOUS INDUSTRIES 289 

special study of Indian Art and are filled with enthusiasm 
for its mysticism and grace and if they could impart some 
of that enthusiasm to the educated classes in India itself, it 
would be productive of greater results than are ever likely 
to be achieved by gorgeously illustrated hand books 
published at prohibitive prices, that serve to while away a 
few idle moments in a lady's drawing room. Let them be 
given opportunities to explain by word of mouth and to 
illustrate by actual examples the aesthetic principles 
underlying Indian Art to Indian audiences, Lectures such 
as I have in my mind would open out a new field of culture 
to educated Indians ; but so far as I know nothing in 
this direction has ever been attempted. Have we the men 
who can strike the right chord and revivify the dormant 
instincts and feelings of India in matters pertaining to Art. 



CHAPTER X 
WELL IRRIGATION 

BORING FOR WATER 

Since 1905, when we first began experiments with bore 
holes to locate supplies of underground water, we have 
put down more than 1,000 bore-holes and bored through 
upwards of 40,000 feet of ground. The results have been 
extremely satisfactory and have considerably increased our 
knowledge of the underground water resources of the 
districts in which this boring work has been conducted. 
There are about three quarters of a million wells in 
this Presidency, but except in a few favoured tracts 
the sinking of a new well is always attended with 
some degree of uncertainty as to the depth to which 
it will have to be sunk to reach the permanent water level 
and a still greater degree of uncertainty as to the quantity of 
water which it will yield. To a large extent this information 
can be obtained by a preliminary exploration of the 
ground with a bore-hole, which will reveal the nature of 
the material through which it passes. To interpret 
correctly the indications thus afforded requires local know- 
ledge and experience and as our operations extend this is 
rapidly accumulating. 

The cost of a well varies greatly, especially of a well 
which will yield a sufficient supply of water to be of any 
use for irrigation, It is very seldom less than two or 
three hundred rupees and often amounts to over a thou- 



WELL IRRIGATION 291 

sand. Obviously it is worth while to go to some expense in 
preliminary investigations to make sure that the work is 
not undertaken in vain but there are serious difficulties in 
the way of private enterprise in this direction. A set of 3 
inch boring tools, with steel lining tubes to penetrate to a 
depth of 50 feet, costs about Rs. 600 ; whilst a set of 4 inch 
tools which can be conveniently used for depths up to 200 
feet or more, will cost about Rs. 1,500. Considerable ex- 
perience is required to do satisfactory work with these tools 
and the men in charge of them have to go through a long 
course of training before they can be trusted to work 
independently. Boring as a method of exploring the 
ground therefore is beyond the resources of private indivi- 
duals unless they be very large landholders. In the French 
territory of Pondicherry, where hundreds of artesian 
wells have been sunk, private individuals have found it 
feasible to take up this work but only because the condi- 
tions there are extremely favourable and there has been a 
very large demand for bore-holes. A private company 
started work in Madras, but it soon came to grief and it is 
not likely, at any rate for some time to come, that any 
boring work will be done by other than State agency. A 
boring outfit is very heavy and the cost of carting it to site 
and starting work is a big initial charge, but if a large num- 
ber of bore-holes have to be put down in a comparatively 
small area this initial expense is distributed over the whole 
lot and the cost of boring is reduced to a reasonable 
figure. 

In the alluvial deposits along the coast in the 
Chingleput district where some hundreds of borings have 
been put down the average cost of a 3" bore-hole is 
about 4 annas a foot up to a depth of 20 feet, thence on 
to 40 feet it costs 6 annas a foot, up to 60 ft. 12 annas, 
from 60 to 70 ft. Re. 1 and from 70 to 80 ft. Rs. 1-4-0 



INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

a foot. Beyond this depth the cost varies greatly and 
much depends upon the skill and experience of the man 
in charge of the work. Boring through rock is always 
expensive and naturally varies with the hardness of the 
rock, but the cost of the work remains the same through a 
considerable range of depth as lining tubes are not 
required. 

We have recently made a few borings with an Ameri- 
can drill driven by steam and there seems to be no 
question whatever that for deep bore-holes it will effect a 
great saving in the cost of the work. For boring through 
very hard rock we have also a petrol driven rotary drill 
which has proved very satisfactory so far as the speed of 
boring is concerned, but the cost of doing the work 
seems to preclude its general use. In searching for water 
for irrigation there is not much use in attempting 
to go to depths greater than 100 feet, unless there 
is a probability of tapping artesian or sub-artesian water 
and, so far as we know at present, this is only likely to 
occur in the alluvial deposits along the coast. To obtain 
a supply of water for domestic purposes, whether it be on 
a small scale for a village or on a large scale for a town, 
a much larger amount of money may be spent on investi- 
gation work than is practicable when a water supply for 
irrigation is looked for. For such cases power-driven 
boring tools may be employed with advantage, also for 
irrigation work when a large number of bore-holes 
can be put down comparatively close to one another, but 
ordinarily for the present, since it is not usually necessary 
to go to a greater depth than 100 feet, hand boring tools 
may be considered to be best adapted to the requirements 
of the ryots. 

It may be interesting to briefly describe the way in 
which these tools work. Just as a hole is bored in wood 



WELL IRRIGATION 293 

by means of an auger or bit, so through the soft strata of 
alluvial deposits holes can be made by similar tools 
of much larger dimensions. As the auger consists 
of a handle, a shank, and a suitable formed head carrying 
a cutting edge, so the boring tools are similarly con- 
structed Various types of auger head are used and these 
can be screwed to steel rods which are usually 10 feet 
long, and as many as are necessary are employed to reach 
from the surface of the ground to the bottom of the bore 
hole. At the top there is a swivel head by which the 
rods can be lifted and what corresponds to the handle of 
the auger is formed by clamping iron levers to the boring 
rod at a convenient height above the ground so that men, 
by walking round in a circle, can rotate the auger. When 
the material to be bored through is fairly stiff the auger 
takes the form of a worm or an open shell, and 
from time to time it has to be lifted from the hole to 
remove the clay which has gradually worked into it. 
When the soil is of a loose character, the auger has to be 
fitted with a shell to hold the material removed by the 
cutting edge, otherwise it would fall back into the hole 
whilst lifting the auger to clean it. These shell augeis are 
fitted with various forms of cutting edges to suit the nature 
of the material to be removed, which may vary from fine 
sand to soft sandstone. When hard rock has to be pierced 
rotary tools worked by hand are not effective, as the speed 
of working is too slow and recourse must be had to the 
percussive action of variously shaped chisels for breaking 
the rock. The chisel is attached to the boring rods and 
a heavy blow is given by lifting them a few inches 
and allowing them to drop. Care must be taken that 
each blow of the chisel is on a different diameter in 
the bore- hole, otherwise the chisel will get jammed and 
possibly prove very difficult to loosen. When the chisel 



294 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

has powdered a sufficient quantity of rock, it is withdrawn 
from the hole and a plain shell lowered by a rope which, 
when it is rapidly jerked up and down in the water at the 
bottom of the hole, collects all the loose material in the 
tube above the valve. In addition to chisels and augers 
it is necessary to have a number of special shaped tools 
for performing specific operations, the most important of 
which are the recovery of broken tools. To work a set 
of boring tools a derrick is required and it may be 
conveniently made of castiarina poles. At the top of 
the derrick is fastened a pulley over which the lifting 
rope passes from the swivel head to the winch. This latter 
is usually attached to two legs of the derrick and should 
have a lifting capacity of at least two tons. When the 
hole is bored through soft material it must be protected 
by lining tubes which are forced down as the boring work 
proceeds. Usually the tubes can be got down by screw- 
ing them into the hole, but, if they should happen to 
stick, a driving head is placed on the top of the pipe 
and the methods commonly employed in pile driving resort- 
ed to. If the lining tube has to pass through a layer of 
stiff clay, the work is facilitated by rymering the hole bored 
out by the auger to a larger size. In alluvial deposits 
lining tubes are always necessary as thin layers of sand are 
sure to be met with, which will run into the hole unless 
excluded by a lining pipe. In hard clay or disintegrated 
rock they can usually be dispensed with. The lining 
tubes used for exploratory boring work are made of steel 
with very carefully formed screwed joints and are natur- 
ally somewhat costly. 

As soons as the bore-hole is finished, and all the in- 
formation that can be got from it obtained, the lining 
tube is withdrawn and can be used an indefinite number 
of times. Considerable difficulty is frequently experienced 



WELL IRRIGATION 295 

in drawing the tubes from deep bore-holes and at the 
present time I have a gang of men at work slowly raising 
some 5" lining tubes with two 20 ton screw jacks. These 
tubes have been in the ground for sometime and an up- 
ward pressure of at least 40 tons was required to start them. 
When a bore-hole is to be permanently lined much cheaper 
tubes wiiJ suffice as they need only be strong enough at the 
joints to stand being forced into the bore-hole. To tap a 
sub-artesian or artesian supply usually means putting 
down two bore-holes. The first bore-hole is put down 
to determine the existence of the water-supply and the 
depth at which it can be tapped, whilst the second is put 
down to form a permanent connection with the water 
bearing deposit. This second bore-hole may with advan- 
tage be considerably larger than the exploratory hole. 

The principal sources from which subterranean water 
can be obtained are beds of sand, and rock which is 
highly fissured or partially decomposed. The object of 
putting down a borehole is to locate these deposits, and 
obtain information as to their physical characteristics. The 
sand deposits, may be on the surface or at any depth 
below the surface in the alluvial soil. They may be com- 
posed of particles as fine as the sand found on the sea 
shore, or they may be extremely coarse and so mixed 
with stone as to almost justify them being termed gravels. 
The fine sand contains as much water as the coarse, 
but it is much more difficult to remove the water 
from the sand, and the hydraulic gradients necessary 
to produce movement through fine sand are extremely 
steep. To form an estimate of the water yielding 
capacity of any sand deposit revealed by a bore-hole, 
the character of the sand must first be examined by 
passing it through sieves of different mesh and the 
percentage of sand obtained on each sieve noted. 



296 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

Broadly speaking, it may be said that the water yield- 
ing capacity depends, partly on the coarseness of the sand 
and partly on the absence of very fine grains which would 
fill up the interspaces between the larger grains. If the 
sand in this respect proves satisfactory, the bore-hole should 
be continued through the sand to determine its thickness 
and the character of the deposits upon which it rests. If 
the bed of sand is thicjc and rests upon an impervious 
layer the conditions may be considered satisfactory and 
to make an accurate forecast of the prospects of a well it 
is only necessary to know the superficial extent of the bed. 
This can be ascertained by putting down trial-borings 
at some distance from the site of the proposed well. It 
may happen that the deposit of sand is overlaid by imper- 
vious strata and if such be the case it is almost certain that 
the water in the sand will be under some degree of pres- 
sure which will cause it to rise in the bore-hole. 

In searching for sub-artesian water it is always desirable 
to utilise, if possible, existing wells and start boring from the 
bottom of them. The wells can easily be kept dry and the 
deeper the well, the more readily will sub-artesian water will 
be detected. When a bore-hole has been started from the 
surface of the ground and a deep lying bed of sand 
is met with, the use of a bore-hole pump will give valua- 
ble indications as to the quantity of water likely to be 
within reach. If it is found that a considerable quantity 
of water can be drawn from the bore-hole by means of 
such a pump it is always worth while to sink a well round 
the bore-hole, which should be carried to a depth of 8 or 
10 feet below the static level of the water in the bore-hole. 
The upper length of the lining tube may then be removed 
and water will flow into the well. By baling out, an 
accurate determination can be made of the quantity pass- 
ing up the bore-hole. From these data experience will 






WELL IRRIGATION 297 

enable us to determine the value of a source of water and 
the steps to be taken to obtain it. Generally, in place of 
the exploratory lining pipe it is advisable that a much 
larger permanent tube should be sunk to tap the water. 

Formerly it was thought that water existed under 
artesian conditions in but a few places in the south of 
India, but the recent boring work shows they are fairly 
common in the alluvial deposits along the East Coast. They 
have been found in the Godaveri,at Ellore, intheGuntur 
District, over quite large areas in the Chingleput and South 
Arcot Districts and in isolated places elsewhere. The 
greatest development of artesian water is in the 
neighbourhood of Pondicherry where the wells over- 
flow the surface of the ground. So many wells 
have been sunk in this tract that the pressure is now 
comparatively feeble and much larger quantities of wate r 
could be obtained if they ceased to treat them as flow- 
ing wells and adopted methods similar to those which have 
proved so successful with artesian supplies which do not 
rise to the surface of the ground. In Madras there is an 
extremely interesting example of an artesian or sub-artesian 
well in the compound of the Napier Iron Works, but it is 
in the village of Surapet on the banks of the Korttalaiyar 
river that supplies of artesian water have been most ex- 
tensively developed. There are a number of engines and 
pumps lifting the water from brick wells sunk round the 
bore-holes and one, in particular, yields a continuous 
supply about 30,000 gallons per hour. 

The essential condition for 1 the establishment of an 
artesian or sub-artesian supply from deep seated beds of 
sand is that the latter should be covered by a thick layer 
of stiff clay impervious to water. The lining pipe should 
not penetrate the sand but terminate on the under side of 
the clay. As soon as the sand is reached there will be a 
33 



298 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

strong rush of sand and water into the well, but after a 
time this will cease and a cavity will be formed under the 
clay of such size that the movement of water in the 
sand towards the borehole will not be sufficiently 
rapid to carry the sand in suspension. The clay must 
be stiff enough to form a stable roof over this cavity, as 
a bore-hole sunk into sand without this protective cover 
invariably chokes up. Our experiments show that strainers 
fixed at the bottom of bore-hole pipes have not been suc- 
cessful as they do not offer a sufficient area through which 
the water can filter into the pipe. In the coarse gravel 
deposits met with in America such straining tubes have 
proved eminently satisfactory, but it would appear that in 
India even the coarsest beds of sands are too fine to admit 
of their being adopted, except possibly for small domestic 
supplies of water. 

Turning now to wells sunk in rock, we find that a good 
water supply depends almost entirely upon the presence of 
extensive fissures, though of course the fissures themselves 
are fed with water by percolation from the porous rocks 
through which they run. The geological structure of 
Southern India is extremely unfavourable to the draining of 
large tracts of land at any one point and the most we can 
hope for is numerous wells holding a moderate supply of 
water. Experience has taught the people that rock -wells 
must be large and deep. Bore-holes sunk in the bottom 
of these wells frequently connect up with additional 
fissures which contain water under a certain amount 
of pressure and if the 1 water in the main well is kept 
at a low level by constant baling the flow up the 
bore-hole is encouraged. The chances of opening up 
communication with fissures are considerably increased 
by torpedoing the bore-holes ; that is to say, by exploding 
aconsiderable charge of dynamite whereby the rock round 



WELL IRRIGATION 299 

them is shattered. As to the value of such torpedoing our 
experiments are not sufficiently numerous to be conclusive. 
In many cases they have been distinctly successful, 
but the conditions which determine the result of torpedo- 
ing have not been definitely ascertained. It would 
seem that in fresh rock, or in rock, that is but slightly 
fissured, the effect is negligible, whilst in partially 
disintegrated rock, especially when highly fissured, the 
effect of the explosion is to greatly increase the area 
through which the water can get into the bore-hole. 
The evidence collected by the Pumping and Boring 
Department all points to the necessity for much deeper 
wells and such deep wells for irrigation are rendered 
possible by the use of power-driven pumps which have 
proved capable of lifting the water at much less cost than 
when cattle power is employed. 

A NEW WATER-LIFT 

The area under wells in British India was reported 
by the Irrigation Commission to be not less than 
13,000,000 acres. In all India, including Native States, it 
is now over 16,000,000 acres. The cost of irrigation 
varies with the crops, the minimum being about Rs. 10 per 
acre for wheat to a maximum of Rs. 30 an acre for paddy. 
Perennial crops, such as sugarcane, and garden crops, such 
as plantains and betel nut, cost not less than Rs. 5 per acre 
per month. Under wells two crops a year are usually 
grown and an average expenditure on lifting water of 
Rs. 25 per acre per year will be within the mark. For 16 
million acres this amounts to 40 crores of rupees, which is 
truly a heavy burden to place upon agriculture, and be 
it remembered a burden which is growing year by 
year as the area under lift irrigation extends and as 
the value of labour and the cost of cattle food increases. 



300 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDiA 

The Land Revenue of all India is about 30 crores 
of rupees and we hear much from politicians and platform 
orators about the opressiveness of this tax or rent, call it 
which you like, but singularly little about the cost of lifting 
water, which at any rate taxes the ryots on about 6 per cent, 
of the area under cultivation, to such an extent that he 
pays in one form or another the equivalent of at least one 
and one-third times the Land Revenue. The gross revenue 
from State irrigation works is a little over five crores of 
rupees and this is levied on an area of nearly twenty million 
acres. The cost of irrigation to the fortunate owners of 
land under these works is, therefore, approximately one- 
tenth the cost of irrigation under wells. These figures 
should be carefully studied both by those in charge of the 
irrigation interests in this country and by those who are 
vigilantly searching for defects in the administrative 
machinery of Government. 

The great Tungabudhra project, which, if ever carried 
out, will probably cost twenty crores of rupees and will 
supply water to possibly two million acres of land, has 
been indefinitely postponed because, at the current rates 
levied on wet lands supplied from Government channels, 
it will impose a permanent burden on the finances of the 
country which is deemed unjustifiable. If those .rates 
were increased 50 per cent, the project would pay its way ; 
if they were doubled it would yield a magnificent return. 
I do not dogmatically assert that the ryots on the lands 
which would be irrigated by the Tungabudhra project 
would benefit enormously if it were carried out 
and they had to pay such higher rates, than now com- 
monly levied, as would make the project a perfectly 
feasible one ; but I do contend that investigations in this 
direction are desirable in view of the fact that ryots can 
cultivate paddy under wells and pay Rs, 30 per acre for 



WELL IRRIGATION 301 

lifting the water. There are many other irrigation schemes 
hung up for the same reason. The future progress of 
India will be seriously delayed if more accurate ideas re- 
garding the value of water for irrigation are not to influ- 
ence the construction of the great public works which 
alone can place at our disposal the invaluable water now 
running uselessly to the sea. 

This is somewhat in the nature of a digression from 
the question of well irrigation, but it is a legitimate con- 
clusion to draw from the vast expenditure on lifting water 
and there is a great need that those who understand these 
matters should use all available ; opportunities to create 
an intelligent public opinion thereon. If Indians, 
who by their position and influence command the 
respectful attention of their countrymen and of the 
authorities responsible for the Government of the coun- 
try, would turn their attention to these very practical 
problems and make themselves acquainted with the issues 
involved, they would do a great public service. 

From more than one point of view the vast expendi- 
ture on lifting water for irrigation is a matter of great im- 
portance and it is unfortunate that it has not attracted 
the attention of engineers to any great extent. 

It is true that we have done something of late years 
with oil engines and centrifugal pumps, but that involves 
a scale of operations which can only be applied to a com- 
bination of conditions that comparatively rarely exists. 
The wells and other sources of water-supply capable of 
feeding centrifugal pumps are only found in favoured 
localities and to make use of them to this extent means a 
a large outlay of capital and a sufficient area of land to 
make proper use of the water. The land is always there, 
but often split up between many owners whose powers of 
co-operation are too feeble to jointly undertake a pumping 



302 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

scheme. The ordinary ryot has still to water his land in 
the way his forefathers did and everywhere through the 
length and breadth of India will be seen rude contrivances 
for lifting water, which are, when the circumstances 
of the ryot are fully considered, nevertheless wonderfully 
effective. Not a few attempts have been made to improve 
them as the records of the Indian Patent Office will show, 
but for one reason or another only a very moderate degree 
of success has been attained. 

At one time I held the opinion that it was almost 
hopeless to try to improve indigenous methods of lifting 
water and in one sense I still adhere to that opinion, as 
the picottah and the mhote, when properly adjusted to the 
work to be done represent as near perfection in the way 
of applying man or animal power as is conceivable, but 
with increased experience of the ryot and greater know- 
ledge of this problem I am convinced that it is now possi- 
ble to introduce new methods of lifting water which will 
reduce the cost of that operation very considerably and 
that their general use will effect a very large annual saving 
one which may be counted in crores of rupees. What 
we want are mechanical appliances to work on a smaller 
scale than is efficiently possible with the centrifugal pump 
and in this present article I propose to describe a new 
development in this direction which lately occurred to 
me and which though perhaps not yet perfected in regard 
to the details of its construction, is sufficiently advanced 
to be recommended for use by those in search of a simple 
appliance for lifting water which is both efficient and 
cheap. 

As is now well-known the Department of Industries 
has a number of boring parties at work exploring the 
sub-soil for water bearing strata and in the course of the 
last few years has put down over 1,000 bore-holes to depths 



WELL IRRIGATION 303 

varying from 50 to as much as 200 feet. Many of these are 
started from the bottoms of existing wells and in certain 
parts of the country they have revealed very valuable sub- 
artesian supplies. That is the bore-hole tube, after passing 
through an impervious bed of clay, enters a bed of sand 
containing water under sufficient pressure to cause it to rise 
in the bore-hole and flow into the well till the water in the 
well rises to such a level that its pressure is equal to that 
of the water in the sand and then the flow ceases. By 
drawing water from the well either with a mhote or a pump 
the static equilibrium is disturbed and flow again occurs. 
By adjusting the capacity of the pump to the size of the 
bore-hole and the pressure of the water at its base, a con- 
tinuous flow can be obtained. But in most instances the 
pressure is not sufficient to cause the water to rise to 
the ground level or the free surface of the water in the 
well and the only way to test what has occurred, when a 
bore-hole reaches a water bearing layer of rock, is to intro- 
duce a pump and withdraw from it as much water as pos- 
sible. For this purpose lift pumps were specially designed 
to work in bore-holes but they proved excee- 
dingly troublesome and raised so little water that they 
were seldom used and it is possible that many bore-holes 
recorded as failures may have penetrated useful water 
bearing deposits. While testing a borehole in this way it 
occurred to me to dispense with the usual type of piston and 
to employ a loose tubular piston which could be worked 
with a rope and required no pump rods to force it down 
again. Accordingly a few lengths of gas pipe were screw- 
ed together and a plain hinge valve made of leather 
weighted with an iron plate fitted at the bottom. For the 
piston a short length of gas pipe, which would just go 
inside the long pipe, was used and a similar valve fitted 
to it. A piece of iron rod bent into an inverted U was 



304 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

rivetted to the upper end of the piston pipe and the rope 
attached to it. At the upper end of the discharge pipe a 
pulley was fixed to carry the rope and the pump was com- 
plete. When used on the borehole it proved admirably 
adapted to the work and could be erected and taken down 
in as many minutes as it took hours to adjust the pump 
previously employed, whilst, having no defined pump 
chamber, it could be worked at any depth and with any 
convenient length of stroke. A gang of coolies at the end 
of the rope pulled it back and raised the piston causing 
water to flow out of the pipe, whilst by letting the rope 
go slack the piston fell back again and was ready for 
another stroke. 

For testing bore-holes, or for permanent use in them, 
I have but little hesitation in saying that it is the simplest 
type of pump ever designed and probably as efficient as 
any. Obviously the pipe might be fastened to the side 
of a well instead of being hung in a borehole and experi- 
ments in this direction were tried. To pull the rope with 
the arms is a very ineffective way for a man to work and 
it is much better that he should be able to apply his 
weight to the end of the rope, descending a few feet 
whilst the piston rises to a corresponding height. This 
was easily arranged by constructing a see-saw platform 
and attaching the rope to one end whilst the other was 
loaded to almost but not quite counterbalance the weight 
of the piston so that at rest the piston is always at the 
bottom of its stroke. 

To work the pump the platform is set oscillating with 
one foot and the water immediately begins to rise in the 
pipe and as the resistance increases, more and more 
pressure is put on the platform till finally, the water 
begins to flow and the man puts his whole weight on the 
platform, which descends about 3 feet, he then steps off 



WELL IRRIGATION 305 

and raises himself by a step at the side to a position from 
which he can coveniently get on the lift as soon as the 
piston has fallen back in the pipe to the bottom of its 
stroke. Tests with this lift show that a man weighing 110. 
Ibs. can raise 20 gallons a minute to a height of 15 feet, 
but this is admittedly hard work and to keep going for any 
length of time he must work at a slower rate. When he is 
accustomed to the motion of the lift and able to go through 
the cycle of movements with the minimum of exertion he 
can easily raise 15 gallons a minute to a height of 15 feet 
with is equivalent to doing 2,250 foot Ibs. of useful work. 
The lift will work conveniently over a wide range say 
from 5 feet to 60 feet, the quantity of water raised being 
inversely proportional to the height of the lift. Similarly the 
diameter of the pipe should vary and the following tabular 
statement show the limits for each size of pipe : 
Diameter of pipe. Max. Lift in feet. Discharge in Gallons per hour. 
6" 6i 2,400 

5" 9 1,500 

4" 15 900 

3" 25 550 

2" 40 330 

2" 60 200 

With two men working the lift, either double the quan- 
tity can be raised or the same quantities can be raised to 
double the height. The advantages of the lift are (1) that 
it can easily be worked by one man, whereas a picottah 
cannot be worked by less than two men, and, to obtain 
good results from it, must be worked by three men ; (2) 
that it requires no special skill to work it and the plat- 
form being on the ground level is perfectly safe, whereas 
the picottah requires trained men and working it is regard- 
ed as a hazardous occupation ; (3) that it can be easily 
constructed and whilst not likely to get out of order can be 
39 



306 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

repaired by any village artizan ; (4) that it can be employed 
to lift water from depths ranging from 6 to 60 feet and is 
thus suitable for any well, whilst the picottah has a very 
much smaller range and cannot be used for depths over 
20 feet and is best adopted for a lift of from 10 to 15 feet. 

From the above statement it is clear that the lift 
is suited to the needs of the poor man who cannot afford 
to employ cattle to water his land or hire men to work a 
picottah. Against it is the fact that it cannot be made 
entirely from country materials but the gas pipes are not 
expensive and should last for many years. Wet cultivation 
is very profitable and this lift renders it possible for the 
small ryot to indulge in at any rate a patch of such 
cultivation. In many places pot wells can be sunk to a 
good supply of water for a few rupees and this lift, so far 
as I know, is the only one that can be applied to such 
wells. For village water supplies it meets a much needed 
want. At every well one might be set up and the water 
raised into a small tank from which it could be drawn off 
by taps. This would secure the water in the well from 
contamination, as the top could be closed in, since there 
would be no longer any necessity to lower the water pots 
into the well. Lastly, the lift, can be used on a bore-hole, 
pure and simple if it taps a sufficient supply of water. 

There is no great mechanical difficulty in arranging 
for the lift to be worked by cattle but I have not yet con- 
structed one and I am not at present prepared to recom- 
mend it for such a source of power. The ordinary cattle 
gin could be used to drive a double pump but it is at its 
best an unsatisfactory way of employing cattle and I am in 
doubt if it would prove any better than a mhote. 

If, however, a small engine be employed as a source 
of power, it seems certain from the experiments already 
made in Madras that it has a wide field open for it. 



WELL IRRIGATION 307 

The great majority of wells in this country do not 
yield sufficient water to give continuous employment to 
a 3" centrifugal pump which will lift about 10,000 gallons 
of water per hour and is the smallest size that can be 
efficiently employed for irrigation work. Moreover, it 
is not very easy to arrange to drive the centrifugal 
pump when the well is very deep. It is true that vertical 
spindle pumps might be used, but they are expensive and 
will require careful looking after. What is wanted in 
this country is a mechanically driven pump which will 
lift from 3,000 to 4,000 gallons of water per hour from 
any depth and this pump lends itself admirably to such 
work. By employing suitable gearing, which is of a very 
simple character, a double pump can be arranged in 
which all the moving parts balance one another, and 
with a small engine of from 2 to 3 H. P. the pump is 
capable of lifting up to 5,000 or 6,000 gallons of water 
per hour on a lift of as much as 60 feet On such high 
lifts both the piston and the pipe in which it works 
should be made of cast iron and should be turned and 
bored so that the clearance may be as small as possible. 
This greatly reduces the slip which would otherwise 
occur. It adds to the cost of the pump, but even then 
owing to its great efficiency it is very much cheaper than 
any other arrangement. To secure smooth working, 
the chains which carry the pistons must never be 
allowed to get slack and it is found in practice that 
this limits the speed of working to about 20 strokes a 
minute, the length of each stroke being 3 feet. 

UNDERGROUND WATER IN MYSORE 

Ten or twelve years ago I wrote a short article in the 
" Indian Review" on " Underground water supply ", the 
object of which was to point out that the small yield of 



308 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

wells in the Madras Presidency was due to the fact that 
they were not deep enough and that the reason they 
were not sunk deeper was due to the feeble appliances 
which the ryot could command tounwater the well during 
the process of sinking or excavating it. I pointed out 
that, in the majority of cases, the minimum capacity of 
the well to supply water at the end of the dry season would 
be less than the capacity of the water-lifts employed during 
the construction of the well, and I suggested experiment- 
ing with oil engines and centrifugal pumps to ascertain 
whether much larger supplies could not be obtained with 
these more powerful modern methods of raising water. 
The article attracted the attention of the then Chief Engi- 
neer for Irrigation, Col. Smart, R. E., and he obtained 
the sanction of Government to the provision of funds in 
the Public Works Department and the first experiment 
was made with the co-operation of the Rev. A. Andrew 
at his Mission Settlement at Melrosapurarru 

Since then we have moved a long way and the old 
ideas about the limited quantity of underground water 
available for irrigation have been proved to be erroneous. 
The establishment of nearly 400 pumping stations has pro- 
vided very definite information on the point over widely 
scattered areas and the records of nearly a thousand bpnngs 
have disclosed the fact that at depths much beyond the 
reach of ryot with his unaided resources there exists an 
abundant supply of water. To get at this water in suffi- 
cient volume for its profitable use and to provide means 
to bring it to the surface in the cheapest possible way has 
been an important part of the work of the late Department 
of Industries and will continue to be an object of solicitude 
on the part of Government in whatever department it is 
finally decided that the development of agricultural engi- 
neering shall be carried on. 



WELL IRRIGATION 309 

The Government of Bombay have for some time 
past employed an engineer to design and carry out small 
irrigation pumping plants on somewhat similar lines and 
in the United Provinces the improvement of indigenous 
methods of lifting water hasMong occupied the attention of 
Mr. Moreland, the Director of Agriculture. Apparently, 
the Mysore Government has also given the question serious 
consideration, though their primary object was the im- 
provement of the water supply for domestic purposes, as 
Geological Department of that State has recently published 
a volume " Notes on Underground Water- Resources in 
Mysore * which has been prepared by Dr. W. F. Smeeth, 
the State Geologist. From a careful study of the informa- 
tion collected by the local officers of the Public Works 
Department regarding 2,563 wells scattered all over the 
State, Dr. Smeeth has arrived at some very important 
results. The investigation is an excellent piece of 
scientific work which is worthy of being made more wide- 
ly known, in the hope that it may stimulate others to 
further inquiries in this direction. To this end I pro- 
pose to briefly describe the evidence collected by DP 
Smeeth and then to examine his conclusions in the light 
of the information we have gathered in Madras during 
the last few years. 

The Mysore Plateau lies at a level varying from 
two to three thousand feet above the sea and is al- 
most entirely composed of old crystalline schists, gneis- 
ses and granites. The rocks in their fresh condition 
are but slightly permeable to water, but over the 
greater part of the area they have been subjected to 
weathering action with the result that to an average 
depth of about 50 ft. extensive decomposition has taken 
place and the character of the rock so changed that it is 
readily permeable to water. The porosity of the complete- 



310 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

ly decomposed rock, immediately below the surface soil 
is estimated at from 30 to 40 per cent., and that of the 
highly decomposed rocks in the next layer at from 16 to 24 
per cent., gradually decreasing as the effect of weathering 
diminishes with increase of depth till in the unchanged 
rock it is so small as to be negligible. The records of the 
wells which have been examined show that the water 
level varies very considerably during the year and that the 
range of variation is greatest where the water 
level is nearest to the surface. For the State, as a 
whole, Dr. Smeeth comes to the conclusion that the 
level of permanent saturation is about 50 ft. from the 
surface and that above this level there is a zone of 
intermittent saturation which averages 8 ft. in thick- 
ness. The evidence furnished by the wells justi- 
fies the conclusion that, the nearer the surface, the 
thicker is the zone of intermittent saturation and 
the greater the porosity of the rocks. Allowing for 
this Dr. Smeeth assumes that the zone of intermittent 
saturation extends to a depth of 10 ft. and possesses an 
average porosity of 12 per cent, and therefore contains 
14*4 inches of water. Under no circumstances does this 
zone oi intermittent saturation ever become dry, but there 
is evidence to show that during the three or four months 
of the hot weather about 40 per cent, of the contained 
water drains away and the assumption is made that during 
the rest of the year an equal amount of water is removed. 
The total loss then amounts to about 12 inches or 10 per 
cent, of the depth of the zone. Now the rainfall varies 
from 73 inches in the Kadur district to as little as 22 
inches in the Chitaldroog district and it is a somewhat 
remarkable conclusion to arrive at, that the per centage of 
water penetrating to such a depth, as to reach the surface 
of saturation, should be approximately the same in each 



WELL IRRIGATION 311 

district. Yet such is the fact disclosed by the yearly 
variation of the water level in the wells. In the Kadur 
district it is 12-84 feet and in the Chitaldroog district 
11*39 ft. whilst in Bangalore, which enjoys an average 
rainfall of over 30 inches, the variation in 
water level is only 10-82 ft. From this it would 
appear that the fluctuations in the level of saturation are 
independent of the rainfall on the surface and that what- 
ever the rainfall may be, only about 12 inches of water 
per annum can pass through the surface and sub-soil to 
the level of saturation. The rest either runs off by direct 
flow or after penetrating to a certain depth is returned to 
the surface by capillary action and dissipated by evapora- 
tion. I am not aware that any similar conclusion to this- 
has been deduced from observations in other parts of the 
world and it would be interesting to ascertain what happens 
under widely different surface conditions. 

The rate at which the surface water niters down to the 
permanent subterranean water level probably varies very 
much, but from these results it would appear that, within 
the limits recorded in Mysore, rainfall is not an important 
factor in determining the rate. The uniformity of the rate 
of percolation over so wide an area as the whole of the 
Mysore State is probably due to an equal uniformity in 
the character of the soil due to the prevalence through ou t 
the whole area erf similar geological conditions. 

The statistics of well irrigation in the Madras Presi- 
dency tend to show that where the rainfall is least, there 
well irrigation is most highly developed. I purposely only 
say " tend to show," because there are other factors 
influencing the extent to which well cultivation is possible 
such as the presence of black cotton soil and the general 
status of the community in regard to agricultural and in- 
dustrial pursuits. 



312 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

Put in plain figures the quantity of water temporarily 
stored in the zone of intermittent saturation amounts to 
270,000 gallons of water per acre or 170 million gallons 
of water per square mile. Some interesting light is thrown 
upon the accuracy of these calculations by data furnished 
regarding the pumping at the Kolar Gold Fields. The 
area drained by the pumps in the mines is certainly less 
than 5 sq. miles and the actual quantity of water raised 
per annum is 546 million gallons or something over 110 
million gallons per square mile, that is to say, two-thirds 
of the water presumed to be present is actually dealt with 
by the pumps and this must be taken to be satisfactory 
justification of Dr. Smeeth's deductions, since they are 
based on data that are admittedly rough and can under no 
circumstances be very accurate. 

There can, I think, be no doubt that Dr. Smeeth is 
justified in stating that " throughout the Mysore State there 
is a permanent zone of water at a moderate depth below 
the surface and that above this there is a variable zone 
which fills and empties annually/' The volume of water 
in the intermittent zone is surprisingly large and it would 
be interesting and possibly of great practical value if we 
could ascertain with some precision the mechanism of the 
arrangements by which it is disposed of. Of course there 
is an underground lateral flow, but whether that is an ex- 
tremely slow movement through a great thickness of rock 
or whether it mainly takes place through fissures and 
cracks is not definitely known. All the available evidence, 
which comes from the various mines, supports the 
conclusion that except by fissures the water does not 
penetrate to any great depth, as at 300 ft. sound rock is 
found to be invariably quite dry and it is certain that there 
is no movement of water through it. The lateral move- 
ment of water must therefore be through the superficial 



WELL IRRIGATION 313 

layers of decomposed rock, but from an examination of a 
large number of rock wells I am certain that such move- 
ment must be extremely small and will not account 
for any appreciable proportion of water that drains 
away. Dr. Smeeth's conclusions show that we have 
to 'deal with about eight-ninths of a cubic foot of 
water per second from each square mile of the country, 
and it is not difficult to imagine that the faults and 
fissures in the rocks near the surface provide a sufficient 
waterway to easily dispose of this flow with the hydraulic 
gradients available. The important question to determine 
is whether information regarding the geological structure 
of the country can in any way be used to locate the places 
where these fissures are most numerous and carry the 
largest quantity of water. There is not enough evidence 
available at the present time to discuss this question pro- 
fitably, but it suggests that there might be some advantage 
in examining the wells of the country in reference to the 
geological structure. Along rifts or main lines of faulting 
it is possible that there may be a concentration of sub- 
terranean flow, but unfortunately for practical purposes 
it is likely to be at a very considerable depth. 

Dr. Smeeth discusses the influence of baling upon 
the water level in wells and conclusively proves that " the 
effect of baling is not to increase the annual variation but 
to gradually lower the water levels as a whole down to 
some limit depending on the quantities baled and on 
various natural factors which tend to reduce the annual 
loss of the zone." The opinion is very generally held 
by ryots, not only in Mysore but also over wide 
tracts of the Madras Presidency, that the water level 
in wells has been gradually falling for many years past and 
there is no doubt that this is to some extent accounted for 
by the enormous increase in well cultivation which has 

40 



314 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

been going on in recent years. It is important to remember 
that the volume of water available for raising to the surface 
remains the same, but lowering the water levels involves 
an increase in the work of lifting the water and, what is 
even of greater importance, to a considerable increase of 
capital outlay in deepening the wells to get at the water. 
From the information collected regarding the wells in 
Mysore, Dr. Smeeth comes to the conclusion that they are 
not sunk deep enough, that many of them only penetrate 
the zone of intermittent supply and that few go deep 
enough into the permanent water zone to yield a large 
supply at the period when the water levels are lowest. To 
cause flow from the surrounding strata into a well, there 
must be a head of several feet and as the hydraulic 
gradient is necessarily a steep one, the withdrawal of a 
large quantity of water creates a gradually increasing cone 
of depression of the water level round the well. This 
may be counterbalanced to some extent by fissure water 
coming from a considerable distance, but where fissures 
do not exist, a well to yield water all the year round must 
be sunk to a considerable depth below the line of perma- 
nent saturation. To sink these deep wells is beyond the 
means of the ryots, as not only is the rock hard and only 
to be removed by blasting, but temporarily there is an 
abundance of water which is beyond the capacity of 
their mhotes to deal with. Their practice therefore when 
the well dries up is to sink another well in the immediate 
neighbourhood in the hope of striking better fissures, but 
of late years, especially in the Coimbatore District, they 
have taken to jumping holes to a considerable depth in the 
hope of striking additional fissures. On the whole, the 
practice is justified by the results and the chances of in- 
creasing the water supply are somewhat enhanced by 
torpedoing these holes or exploding a charge of dynamite 



WELL IRRIGATION 315 

at the bottom of them. The explosion shatters the rock 
and greatly increases the probability of opening a connec- 
tion to fissure water. Sometimes this fissure water is 
under sufficient pressure to deliver a considerable stream at 
the mouth of the bore-hole, but in many cases which are 
now regarded as failures, it is not improbable that a bore 
hole pump would be able to extract a considerable quantity 
of water which cannot now rise to the mouth of the bore- 
hole, owing to deficiency of pressure in fissures. Our ex- 
perience in the Madras Presidency, in those parts of the 
country where the conditions are somewhat similar to those 
prevalent in Mysore, confirms the conclusions arrived at by 
Dr. Smeeth, and I would strongly emphasise his advice 
regarding the use of boring tools. We have done a good 
deal of boring in hard rock with hand tools, but it is a 
very slow and expensive process and we are now experi- 
menting with various forms of power driven drills. 

The Mysore Government have in view the improve- 
ment of wells for domestic water supply, and I have no 
hesitation in confirming the advice tendered by Dr. Smeeth 
in regard to this matter. Working on similar lines but 
with the object of getting greater supplies of water to be 
used for irrigation we have met with a considerable degree 
of success, and if it had been with us merely a question of 
getting at few hundred or thousand gallons of water a day 
we should hardly have a single failure to record. 

WATER-LIFTS * 

In the report of the Irrigation Commission, which for 
statistical purposes is now perhaps a little out of date, it is 
stated that in the United Provinces there are 500,000 
permanent wells and 830,000 temporary wells irrigating 
in a normal year 5,731,000 acres. The average lift 

9 The Agricultural Journal of India, July, 1911. 



316 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

is probably not less than 30 feet and in the aggregate 
the amount of work done by cattle power in lifting 
the water for the irrigation of this vast area is enor- 
mous and the cost to the ryots of the country an 
annual sum which may be more than, but certainly 
cannot be far short of, 10 crores of rupees. This is not 
all, as besides the area under wells, there is much irriga- 
tion under canals, jheels and swamps which involves lift- 
ing the water. It is true that the lift in these cases is 
seldom more than a few feet, but most of the work is done 
by hand and human labour is invariably more expensive 
than cattle power. 

I do not pretend to any great accuracy in the above 
statements, which are only made to illustrate the import- 
ance of water-lifting in these Provinces and the neces- 
sity for carrying out such work in the most economical 
manner possible. That it is not so done goes without 
saying, but the extent to which improvement is possible is 
quite unknown. It is a matter for the State to deal with, 
as the problem is far too difficult for private individuals to 
tackle, and there is but little chance that any adequate 
solution would yield a direct pecuniary reward to the 
individuals who worked it out. It is mainly a question of 
adapting the means available under modern conditions 
to the end required, which is the lifting of small volumes 
of water through a moderate vertical distance. If the 
volumes were larger or the vertical range greater, the pro- 
blem would be a simpler one. The real element of diffi- 
culty is to apply mechanical methods of lifting water to 
the small scale on which the ryot works. 

I am not sufficiently acquainted with the ryots' 
methods of lifting water in the North of India to express 
any opinion on the possibility of improving them, but in 
respect to the South of India I feel fairly confident in 



WELL IRRIGATION 317 

saying that the best practice of the ryots in their methods of 
applying animal or human power to lifting water is, if not 
perfect, exceedingly hard to improve upon. The picottah 
is a very efficient water-lift for heights ranging between 10 
and 20 feet, and though at first sight it may seem that to 
employ one man solely to tilt the bucket and guide the 
lifting rod is a waste of energy, yet it is not really so, as by 
changing round from time to time each man gets a needed 
rest and the work goes on, without exhausting the men, for 
a longer time than would otherwise be the case. Simi- 
larly, the South Indian mhote with its leather or iron 
bucket and leather discharge pipe is, when worked on a 
steep incline on the Kill system, an excellent method of 
utilising cattle to draw water from a deep well. It of 
course involves the employment of two pairs of cattle and 
is not well adapted to shallow wells from which water 
may be drawn by the mhote worked on the lagor plan with 
one pair of cattle. Various attempts have been made to 
improve on these methods and some of them have had a 
certain amount of vogue for a time, but they have gone 
out of use and must therefore be classed as failures. The 
indigenous methods are the result of long experience and 
are probably an example of the law of the survival of the 
fittest that is, of the methods of drawing water from wells 
which are most suited to the environment and resources of 
the ryots. Experience has taught the people of India that, 
to get the maximum amount of work out of men or 
animals, they must not apply their muscular efforts to the 
direct production of external work, but that they must, as 
far as possible, store kinetic energy in their bodies, and 
utilise the same by allowing their weight to act by the 
descent of their bodies. The picottah has a. high efficiency 
because this principle is very perfectly carried out in that 
water-lift and the single mhoti has easily held its own 



318 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

against the double mhote, partly because of its simple 
character, but mainly because whilst descending a steep 
incline, the gradient of which is from 1 in 2^ to 1 in 3, 
the animals automatically throw a very considerable 
proportion of their weight on to the yoke and thus are 
able to exert a much stronger draught than when walk- 
ing on the level and therefore draw up a much larger 
bucket of water each time. Again, an animal like a bullock 
and still more a pair of them are able to exert a much 
stronger draught in a straight line than when walking in a 
circle. To attach a pair of animals to a gin or whim such 
as is very commonly used is to employ their muscular 
efforts in the most inefficient way possible. The smaller 
the diameter of the circular path in which they walk, 
the worse is the result. No ingenuity in the design of the 
water-lift worked in this way can altogether compensate for 
the defects in this system of employing animal power. In 
some instances, such as the common mortar mill, the cheap- 
ness and simplicity of the device compensates even for this 
defect, but in the case of water-lifts the possibility of using 
other and better methods of lifting water puts the gin out 
of court. 

It is not unlikely that mechanical methods of lifting 
water will ultimately .displace cattle power almost entirely, 
but that day is still far distant, and in the meantime it 
would be of great advantage to the agricultural community 
if authoritative and complete trials were made of the effi- 
ciency of the various indigenous methods of lifting water. 
Fifteen years ago with Mr. C. Benson, the then Deputy 
Director of Agriculture in Madras, I made some experi- 
ments in this direction which led me to the above con- 
clusions, but it would be well if they could be repeated 
on a more extended scale and the relative merits of the 
different methods of applying power determined with 



WELL IRRIGATION 319 

greater accuracy than was possible with the limited 
opportunities we then enjoyed for such experiments. Con- 
sidering the enormous number of cattle power water-lifts 
at work in India, it seems to me that the interests involved 
will amply justify the trouble and expense of such investiga- 
tion. 

It is true that records exist of many tests of water-lifts 
but unfortunately the results are of no comparative value 
as every observer failed to measure the strength of the 
cattle employed. A pair of bullocks is a vague term ; one 
pair may be easily twice as strong as another and some 
way of comparing the strength of the animals must be 
devised. Failing any better method, I assumed that for 
animals and men in good working condition their strength 
was for each class proportionate to their weight, and though 
this may not be strictly accurate, there is no question that 
it does to some extent serve as an indication of the amount 
of muscular energy which can be obtained. Here it may 
be convenient to state that I obtained a very useful co- 
efficient, or figure of merit, by dividing the useful 
work done in foot pounds per hour by the weight 
of the animals in pounds. My experiments led me 
to the conclusion that we were not likely to be able to 
effect any marked improvement in the indigenous me- 
thods of lifting water. The development of the internal 
combustion engine a few years later rendered it possible, 
however, to employ mechanical power in place of men 
or animals, wherever the supply of water exceeded a cer- 
tain quantity, and opened out a new field for experiment 
and investigation. The American windmill also seemed 
worthy of trial and during the last nine years in Madras 
we have been working to adapt these entirely novel 
sources of power to the service of the ryot, With the 
windmills, we have not met with much success owing to 



320 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

the general feebleness of the air currents, but it has been 
otherwise with the oil engine coupled to a centrifugal 
pump, as is attested by the fact that there are about 400 
installations of this character at work in the South of India. 
The main objection to the oil engine and centrifugal pump 
is that it can only be worked economically when the quan- 
tity of water to be dealt with is large. Nine thousand 
gallons per hour may be taken as the economic minimum 
that the centrifugal pump can deal with and there should 
be enough water to keep the plant at work for about 6 
hours per day. Any extension of these figures means 
increased economy, and the larger the unit that can be 
employed, the more satisfactory is the result. With suffi- 
cient water, the cost of lifting it is from one-fourth to one- 
tenth that of the older methods, and volumes can be 
dealt with and vertical lifts tackled that are absolutely 
beyond the range of cattle power. We are still only at the 
beginning of this revolution in lifting water for irrigation, 
and no one can doubt that as it extends, the increased ex- 
perience will render it more efficient a.nd more adaptable 
to the every-day needs of the smaller irrigators. 

These preliminary remarks on the subject of lifting 
water are necessary to explain the standpoint from which 
the following notes have been written on the display of 
water-lifting machinery at the Allahabad Exhibition. 
As a spectacle, the show round the lake in the Agri- 
cultural section was impressive, but a detailed exami- 
nation of the exhibits leads to the conclusion that the 
problem of lifting water for irrigation has not yet received 
the attention in the North of India which its importance 
deserves. The exhibits may be divided into three main 
classes, according to the source of motive power : (1) 
men, (2) cattle, (3) engines, and only in the third section 
was there anything like a complete representation of the 



WELL IRRIGATION 321 

available methods. Indigenous methods of lifting water were 
conspicuous by their absence, and it is a matter of regret 
that no attempt was made to show one specimen at least 
of each of the methods of lifting water commonly used in 
various parts of India. For instance, in Madras we have 
quite a number of water-lifts which seem to be unknown 
in the North of India, and under suitable conditions the 
introduction might be attended with advantage. I might 
cite as examples the various forms of double mhote, the picot- 
tah and the Malabar scoop wheel. Where so much was 
done, it is perhaps ungracious to ask for more, especially 
as the erection and exhibition of these lifts in working order 
would have entailed much trouble and not a little expense 
on the authorities in charge of the Agricultural section. 
Of water-lilts to be worked by men there were a great 
variety of pumps actuated by levers, all better suited for 
garden work and occasional use than for steady employ- 
ment, day in and day out, on the irrigation of field crops. 
The only device really intended for inigation was the 
chain pump exhibited by the United Provinces Agri- 
cultural Department. For low lifts up to, say 5 feet it is 
probably an effective device as the pump is very efficient, 
gives a continuous flow of water, and the only objection 
to it is the mode of application of the power which is 
extremely simple but very fatiguing. For lifts above 5 
feet its utility is doubtful and at 15 feet it is only about 
half as effective as a picottah. From a circular on pumps 
issued by the Agricultural Department at Cawnpore I find 
it is stated that four men working 10 hours a day will lift 
6,806 c. feet of water to a height of 15 feet in two days. 
Assuming that the men weigh an average of 120 Ibs, each, 
1 calculate that they will do 319,000 foot Ibs. of work per 
hour, and this number divided by their total weight gives 
as a figure of merit or co-efficient of utility, 664. This 

41 



322 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

may be compared with a trial I once made with a 
picottah. The lift was 14J feet, and the three men employ- 
ed weighed 331 Ibs., and did 394, 310 foot Ibs. of useful 
work per hour the co-efficient of utility being 1,191. 
The duration of the trial in this case was seven hours and 
the men worked in a normal way. This is by no means 
an unusually good result, and with an improved lift work- 
ed on the pic&ttah principle, 1 have obtained co-efficients 
as high as 1,800. The chain pump is a very efficient water 
lift, but the rotary method of driving it, though it has the 
advantage of being very simple, is not an effective method 
of applying human power. I doubt if it would be possible 
to satisfactorily arrange any system of treadles or levers 
to be moved by the weight of the operators, and such be- 
ing the case, the advantageous application of the lift is 
limited to raising water a few feet. 

In all the lifts worked by cattle the gin was used and 
the cattle walked in a circle about 20 feet in diameter. 
The gins were well and substantially made, but the 
rotating arm was too short except for small cattle, 
and a pair could only be effectively employed by 
attaching one animal to each end of the rotating arm. 
This is unsatisfactory unless the animals can be train- 
ed to work without a driver to each of them. The gins 
were employed to drive chain pumps or norias. From 
data given in the circular of the Agricultural Depart- 
ment already referred to, it appears that the co-efficient 
of utility of a gin-driven chain pump works out at about 
470, which is about as good a result as can be obtained 
with the single mhote worked on the Kill system and 
somewhat better than when they are worked on the 
lagor system. My practical experience with chain pumps 
and norias is too limited to justify me in expressing any 
opinion on iheii n ents as water-lifts for ryots' use. I 



WELL IRRIGATION 323 

once made some experiments on a noria and obtained a 
co-efficient of utility of 404, and from measurements made 
on the draught exerted by the cattle I found that as a 
machine it had an efficiency of 50 per cent. For low 
lifts the chain pump is un loubtedly superior to the noria, 
but on lifts of over 20 feet 1 have no information as to 
their relative efficiency. 

Besides the bullock-driven chain-pumps and norias t 
there was exhibited a double trough water-lift called a 
" Baldeo Balti. " I quote from the Agricultural Department 
circular the following description : " It consists of two 
iron troughs, each having a valve at the bottom opening 
upwards. They are hinged on a beam fixed to the ground 
at discharging level and are alternately raised and lowered 
by ropes attached to the back ends of the troughs, passing 
over two pulleys and so to a horizontal beam pivoted at 
one end, which is pulled round by a single bullock walk- 
ing in a circle." It is certainly a simple effective device 
for lifts of 3 or 4 feet, but its merits would be mainly 
determined by its efficiency and on that point I have no 
information. I am inclined to think it would be less effi- 
cient than a well-designed chain-pump. 

It should be pointed out that chain pumps and norias 
are not suitable types of water-lift for wells in which the 
water level varies greatly. The load against which the 
power is exerted varies with the height to which the water 
has to be lifted, and as the water goes down, the strain on 
the cattle increases. On a noria the load might be di- 
minished by removing some of the buckets, but in practice 
this is not a convenient arrangement. Cattle working a 
gin walk at a uniform pace and exert a steady draught and, 
to be employed in an effective manner, the load must be 
steady and proportioned to the draught they can exert. 
Obviously this is impossible with chain pumps and norias 



324 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

if the water level varies, At the beginning of the day's 
work the load will be too light, or if properly adjusted to 
the strength of the animals, then at the end of the day it 
will be too heavy. It is possibly for this reason they have 
never found favour in the South of India where the 
Persian wheel is unknown and where the water level in 
the wells varies greatly. 

The mechanical methods of lifting water may be con- 
veniently regarded as consisting of a source of motive 
power and of a pump and that within certain obvious 
limits any source of motive power may be coupled 
to drive any type of pump. At Allahabad nearly every 
modern type of engine was at work in the exhibition and 
most of them connected up to pumps. It will be conveni- 
ent to tabulate the exhibits in two columns. 

Type of engine. Type of pump. 

Oil engines : Centrifugal pumps : 

1. Petrol. 1. Open impeller. 

2. Kerosine oil. 2. Closed impeller. 

3. Liquid fuel. 3. Self-regulating. 

4. Diesel engines. 4. Multiple stage. 

5. Semi-diesel. Chain-pumps, 
Gas engines : . Norias. 

Vertical. Cornish pumps. '- 

Horizontal. Three-throw pumps. 

Steam'engines : 
Portable. 
Semi-portable. 
Windmills. 

It is only in the Madras Presidency that mechanical 
methods of lift-irrigation are at all largely used by the culti- 
vators, and my remarks on the exhibits at Allahabad are 
necessarily based on the experience that has been gained in 
the Pumping Section of the late Department of Industries, 



WELL IRRIGATION 325 

The steam engine may be dismissed with a very few 
words. Even where coal is very cheap it cannot be recom- 
mended as suitable for the ryots' work. By the use of 
superheaters the fuel consumption has been reduced to a 
very low figure, but the engine requires a skilled attendant 
who must satisfy the requirements of the local Boiler Acts. 
For very small powers it is hopelessly beaten by the inter- 
nal combustion engine, but for larger powers where coal 
is cheap, as in parts of Bengal, it is still the best type of 
motor that can be employed. 

For agricultural purposes the type of engine which 
should be recommended depends largely upon the relative 
cost of the different kinds of fuel which can be used in 
internal combustion engines. Over the whole of India the 
price of kersoine oil varies but slightly, whilst it is only in 
places that a cheap supply of liquid fuel can be obtained. 
In the Madras Presidency liquid fuel is about half the price 
of kerosine oil and the consumption per brake horse-power 
is by volume practically the same so that, although 
liquid fuel is not so clean and nice to use as kerosine 
oil, the large saving in cost outweighs this dis- 
advantage and renders it desirable to employ a type of 
engine in which it can be used without difficulty. At one 
time the Diesel and the Hornsby-Ackroyd engines were 
the only two which were quite satisfactory to use, but 
since the expiry of the Ackroyd patents there are a number 
of engines on the market by different makers, all of which 
run well enough with liquid fuel. The Diesel engine is 
not suited for small powers and requires a skilled atten- 
dant to keep it in good running order. Its capital cost is 
also high, and for these reasons it may be considered out 
of the agricultural field. Within the last year or two 
English makers of oil engines have put on the market 
what may be termed a 'Semi-Diesel' engine, of which at 



326 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

least one example was to be seen at Allahabad. It was 
working very smoothly and the consumption of fuel, though 
higher than in the Diesel engine, was much below that 
usually obtained in ordinary oil engines working with 
liquid fuel. Where a portable oil engine is required, the 
work is not only intermittent but generally of a special 
character that will bear the cost of a rather more expensive 
fuel, and there were exhibited several small vertical oil 
engines which would run on petrol or on kerosine oil if 
first started with petrol. Such engines invariably run at a 
very high speed and require to be of good design and the 
best possible workmanship. A cheap engine of this type is 
therefore not to be recommended, but if a sufficiently high 
price is paid, it is possible to get a really satisfactory motor. 
They are usually magneto fired and it is important that the 
magneto should be of an approved type. I have used one 
of these engines coupled direct to a 3-inch centrifugal 
pump during the last three years and found it admirably 
suited for testing water-supplies or any other work of a 
temporary character such as cleaning out temple tanks. I 
understand that the local conditions are such in the Unit- 
ed Provinces that portable engines are likely to prove very 
useful, and I think that on the whole the light high speed 
type will be found better suited for this class o-f work than 
the ordinary type of oil engine mounted on a girder frame. 
Where wood charcoal can be obtained at a cost not 
exceeding Rs. 20 per ton, gas engines and suction gas 
plants represent for anything over 10 h. p. the most 
economical of type of motive power that can be employed. 
There are many designs of gas engine now on the market 
which work extremely well and with most gas producers 
charcoal can be used if adequate provision is made to 
remove the tar which invariably comes over. Suction gas 
engines are now made which will work with wood, or 



WELL IRRIGATION 327 

sawdust but they cannot well be employed for anything 
under 35 h.p. I have no extended experience with this 
type of producer, but I am satisfied that they will do all that 
the makers claim for them, as I have had one such plant 
at work, developing about 80 B. H. P. for several months. 

There were several windmills exhibited at Allahabad, 
but owing to the lightness of the winds during the exhibi- 
tion it was impossible to get them to work against any 
load. Where fairly strong continuous winds can 
be relied upon, a windmill is a very suitable type 
of motor for well irrigation when the lift is not more 
than twenty-five feet. On the West Coast of India and in 
the Deccan there is sufficient wind to make it worth while 
to put up these mills, but over the rest of India the air 
currents are usually too light and of too variable a charac- 
ter to obtain results commensurate with the capital outlay 
involved. It should be noted, however, that the wind 
velocities are usually the highest during the hot dry month 
of the year when water is most required. 

Turning now to the various power-driven water-lifts 
attention may be drawn to the norias and chain pumps. 
For small lifts, and not very large volumes of water, the 
chain-pump appears to have a possible future in front of 
it, but without prolonged experience as to the life of the 
chain and the general wear and tear and without accurate 
tests as to its efficiency I am not prepared to say that 
it is better than a centrifugal pump. Some well- 
designed norias driven by small engines were also exhibit- 
ed, but I doubt if they can hold their own either in first 
cost, efficiency or durability with the best modern 
types of centrifugal pumps. For irrigation work it is 
hardly necessary to consider the various types of high 
pressure pump, either of the reciprocating type or the 
multiple stage centrifugal, as it will be a long time before 



328 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

agriculturists in India will be sufficiently advanced to ven- 
ture to lift water from depths which will involve working 
against high pressures. It remains, therefore, only to 
consider the single stage centrifugal pumps, and of these 
practically every modern design was in evidence at the 
exhibition. It is quite beyond the range of these notes to 
enter into a discussion of the principles on which the vari- 
ous forms of this pump are designed. The efficiency of a 
centrifugal pump increases rapidly with increasing size, and 
pumps below 3" in diameter of suction pipe should ordi- 
narily not be employed. The majority of 3" centrifugal 
pumps on the market have an efficiency ranging between 
40 and 45 per cent, and the larger pumps have an effici- 
ency up to 55 per cent, but during the last few years much 
attention has been paid to the design of centrifugal pumps, 
and 3 pumps can now be obtained with an efficiency of 70 
per cent, and the larger sizes with an efficiency of nearly 
80 per cent. These pumps are naturally more costly than 
the older types, but they require, for equal quantities of 
water delivered, a much smaller engine, and we find in 
Madras that it pays well to buy centrifugal pumps of the 
highest efficiency obtainable as the combined cost of the 
engine and pump is lower and the working expenses per- 
manently less. Where the vertical lift, on which the pump 
works, varies considerably at different times of the yean 
or as often happens in wells during the course of the same 
day, there is a great advantage in using self -regulating 
pumps, and these can now be obtained to work with practi- 
cally the same amount of power over a very long range of 
lift. This is a very important matter when internal com- 
bustion engines are used, as such engines can only be 
efficiently worked near their maximum load and will not 
stand any over-load whatever. Till the self-regulating 
pumps came on the market we often fitted the ordinary type 



WELL IRRIGATION 329 

of centrifugal pumps with two fast pulleys of different dia- 
meters so that the speed of the pump could be roughly varied 
to suit marked changes in the height of the lift. Previous to 
the adoption of this practice the variations in the water- 
level rendered the working of centrifugal pumps extremely 
unsatisfactory, and in more than one instance I have 
known a rise in a river so increase the load thrown by the 
pump on to the engine as to pull it up. This may sound 
paradoxical, but it is well-known to those who have much 
experience in the working of centrifugal pumps and the 
difficulty has been entirely eliminated since attention was 
first drawn to this point in one of our reports on Irrigation 
by Pumping, 

The exhibition of water-lifts at Allahabad demonstra- 
tes conclusively that Mechanical Engineers both in Eng- 
land and India are becoming alive to the fact that a great 
market awaits them in connection with lift-irrigation in 
India, and we may confidently expect that competition 
for business will lead to a careful study of the problems 
and that great improvements will ultimately result. It is a 
matter for regret that the recently invented Humph- 
rey Gas Pump did not arrive in time to be shown in 
working order at the exhibition. It represents a revolution 
in our methods of generating power, but the exact range 
of its application can only be determined by practical 
experience. So far, the pumps constructed have been of 
a capacity much greater than will ordinarily be required 
in India, and it is certian that the details of the design 
will require to be greatly modified before it has any chance 
of proving a serious rival to the small pumping plants for 
which a very big field undoubtedly exists in India. 



CHAPTER XI 

ENGINEERING IN INDIA* 

I 

When it was first suggested to me that I should deliver 
an address to you this afternoon, I gladly consented, as I 
was conscious of the great honour conferred upon me, 
and I was anxious to renew my connection with the 
Central, which during the last seventeen and a-half years 
has been of a very slender character. At the time, however, 
I did not realize the extent of the responsibility I was 
thereby incurring, or the difficulty I should experience in 
selecting a subject for my remarks which would be appro, 
priate to the position 1 am now placed in. On previous 
occasions you have received words of weighty advice from 
men whose names, throughout the world, are associated 
with some of the most brilliant achievements of Engineering 
science, and whose long and illustrious careers entitle 
them to address you in terms which it would be presump- 
tuous for me to use. After some consideration, however, 
it seemed to me that I could only come before you as an 
old student of the College, who has been out in the world 
long enough to test the value of the training he received, 
first at the Finsbury Technical College, and then here, and 
give you some idea of what the future has in store for you 

'Inaugural address to the students of the City and Guilds Central 
Technical College. 1905. 



ENGINEERING IN INDIA 331 

if any of you should be destined to find that your life's 
work lies in India. 

It is twenty years, all but a month,, since, with six or 
seven others, I attended the first lecture that was given in 
this building, and I think you are all to be congratulated on 
the fact that with but one exception the departments of this 
College still continue to be directed by the same distin- 
guished pioneers in the cause of technical education that 
presided over them in the beginning. This is the first 
formal meeting of the students that has taken place since 
Professor Unwin resigned the chair of Civil and Mechani- 
cal Engineering, and I am glad to have this opportunity 
to express both on your behalf and as a represen- 
tative of the students who have passed out of the College, 
the regret we feel that he should have felt it necessary 
to retire from active participation in the work of the 
College, whilst at the same time we rejoice to know 
that after many years spent in training young Engineers 
he still retains health and strength to enjoy the more 
ample leisure which lies before him. 

The students of the Central owe avast debt to 
Professor Unwin which they can in part discharge by 
cherishing and acting up to the same high ideals that 
were ever before him in all professional matters. His 
work extended far beyond the walls of this Institution, 
and all over the world Engineers have benefited enor- 
mously by his labours in those branches of scientific 
Engineering which he made more particularly his own. 
I am just old enough to remember how great a part he 
took in working out the courses of instruction and 
methods of training which are followed in nearly every 
English-speaking Engineering College at the present day, 
and all of you must be acquainted with those Well-known 
volumes on Machine Design which have done so much 



332 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

to take the work of the draughtsman out of the region of 
pocket books, empirical formulae, and rule of thumb ex- 
perience, and place it on a definite scientific basis. In 
Hydraulics, the article which he contributed to the ninth 
edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, notwithstanding its 
necessarily extreme condensation, has attained the remark- 
able position of becoming the standard English work on 
that branch of Engineering. 

There are other well-known books which he has 
written to which attention might be drawn but I refrain 
that I may remind you that before Professor Unwin 
came to this College, more than twenty years ago, 
he had been Professor of Hydraulic Engineering at 
the Royal Indian Engineering College at Cooper's 
Hill, and in that capacity he was largely responsible 
for the training of the men who now occupy all the 
senior Engineering appointments of the Indian Public 
Works Department. India has been the scene of many 
great Engineering exploits and in these Professor Unwin's 
students have borne a distinguished part, and upon them 
at the present moment rests the responsibility of preparing 
the great programmes of future work which are the out- 
come of the strenuous labours of our most sagacious and 
distinguished viceroy. I am personally acquainted with a 
great many of these Cooper's Hill men, and I know that 
they hold Professor Unwin in the same high esteem that 
we do. 

When Professor Unwin went to Cooper's Hill in the 
early seventies, the methods by which men became Engi- 
neers were widely different from what they are to-day. 
Engineering education had usually to be picked up in the 
workshops and drawing office in a hap-hazard kind of way, 
and the facilities for acquiring a thorough knowledge of 
toe scientific principles underlying the practice of the 



ENGINEERING IN INDIA 333 

profession were of a very limited character. For years 
previously the Government of India had experienced 
considerable difficulty in enlisting a sufficient number of 
engineers with the qualifications essential for a successful 
career in the East. When, therefore, it was determined 
to adopt a vigorous policy in respect to Public Works 
which it was easy to foresee would require large additions 
to the engineering staff, the establishment of a special 
College for training young men for the Indian Public 
Works Department was sanctioned. From the very outset 
the scheme was a great success, the College filled up with 
students from the public schools, and after a three years' 
course they were sent out to India, where they proved 
themselves well qualified to maintain the high traditions 
of English administrative efficiency which have been 
established in India. 

Times however changed, and in recent years the 
Government have been unable to offer appointments to 
all the successful students of each year, so that gradually 
it came to be thought somewhat anomalous to maintain a 
State College at considerable expense for the training of 
men who could easily be obtained from the Engineering 
Institutions of University rank which had been founded 
later than Cooper's Hill. 

Though the original raison d'etre for its existence had 
disappeared, the College did its work so well that every one 
was loth to disturb it. Only when the question of funds 
to bring it in line with modern requirements became 
acute was the necessity for the College itself challenged. 
In face of the provision which has been made in re- 
cent years throughout the British Empire for the special 
training of engineers, there could be but one result of 
the enquiry, and the decree has gone forth that the Col- 
lege should cease to exist. Henceforth the Government 



334 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

of India will recruit its engineering service with men 
trained in possibly any part of the King's dominions ; and 
from the wider field thai may bs drawn upon from the 
more varied experience of the men selected it is not un- 
reasonable to expect that great advantage will accrue to 
India ; but that advantage would be worth little if it were 
purchased at any sacrifice of the splendid heritage that 
the Cooper's Hill men have created in the way of esprit 
de corps, a high standard of professional honour and self 
sacrificing devotion to the public service. 

So far the Central Technical College has not sent many 
men to India, but under the new conditions it is not im- 
probable that some of you here to-day may find employ- 
ment there, in the not very distant future, either in the 
service of Government or in the prosecution of private 
enterprises, which it is the policy of the Government of 
India to actively encourage. 

India entails a great responsibility upon the British 
people, yet it is one that the average man bears lightly 
enough and perhaps rightly considers that his duty 
is done when he assures himself that the administra- 
tion of that great Empire is entrusted to statesmen 
of high probity and great skill, with the expert knowledge 
essential for the government of so many millions of people 
who live under conditions so very different from those 
that prevail here. It is not a little to the glory of English- 
men that India ha? never been a subject for political dis- 
cussion, and that all parties have ever been united in 
agreeing that Indian problems must be dealt with in a 
calm, judicious manner by men who are fully qualified by 
special experience and training to deal with them. It was, 
I think, Lord Curzon who declared that to the possession 
of India the British Empire largely owes its present great- 
ness and commanding position in the eyes of the rest of the 






ENGINEERING IN INDIA 335 

world. This being so it is certainly desirable that you, 
who in the future are destined to be among the leaders of 
industrial enterprise should take an intelligent interest in 
the material development of the country. It therefore re- 
quires no apology from me, if I direct your attention to 
thatg.eat Eastern dependency and briefly discuss some of 
the industrial questions which come before us out there, 
and which we hope to solve by the application of technical 
knowledge and skill such as you are acquiring here. 

Compared with European countries, India is extremely 
poor ; but were it not for the periodical visitations of 
famine, caused by severe droughts over large and thickly 
populated tracts, the pinch of poverty would seldom be 
felt. The tilling of the soil is the occupation of the great 
bulk of the people, and, where there is sufficient moisture, 
the earth yields a generous harvest. The people lead sim- 
ple lives, and, if their worldly possessions are few, their 
wants are fewer. Even in the worst years there is enough 
food for all grown in the country, and the difficulty of 
transporting it to the famine stricken districts h*s been 
met by the construction of a very extended system of rail- 
ways ; but the problem of finding work for the millions 
thrown out of employment by the enforced cessation of 
agricultural operations has not yet been satisfactorily 
solved. 

In the towns the artisan classes, who look to the indi 
genous industries of the country for a means of livelihood, 
are in a less satisfactory condition than the agriculturists. 
To a large extent these industries have suffered from the 
competition of imported goods produced in modern mills 
and factories with labour-saving machinery of the highest 
type. Without much enterprise, unaided by capitalists , 
incapable of adapting themselves to the changes in their 
environment, and wedded to their antiquated, hereditary 



336 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

methods of working, the artisans have had no resource 
but to sell their labour at lower and lower rates, till at last 
a limit has been reached, and they can part with the pro- 
ductions of their labour at no lower price without risk of 
starvation. It must not be imagined that the Government 
of the country have stood callously by, heedless of the way 
in which the people are being ground down by the opera- 
tion of economic forces beyond their comprehension and 
control. Not much, indeed, has been done, for the re- 
sources of Government are limited, and it is only quite 
recently that the higher and more intelligent castes have 
began to take an interest in industrial questions. 

There is not the slightest reason to doubt that India 
is steadily growing richer, but the wealth is flowing into 
new channels, and, during the long period which must 
necessarily elapse while the people are being prepared to 
face the changed order of things, it is unavoidable that 
much suffering should be experienced by those who are 
weakest and least capable of helping themselves. 

During many centuries war, pestilence, and famine 
prevailed through the land, and sternly checked the too 
rapid growth of the population. For nearly half a century 
there has been uninterrupted peace : sanitation has made 
enormous strides; and though we have not yet made much 
headway against the ravages of bubonic plague, it is held in 
check, and the mortality from epidemic diseases has greatly 
decreased. People do not now die by millions from actual 
starvation, thanks to the splendid system of famine relief 
which has been devised to meet the failure of the harvests 
when the rains hold off. This is a record of which any ad- 
ministration may be proud, but it has resulted in an alarm- 
ingly rapid increase in the population, which presages terri- 
ble calamities in the future unless adequate measures are 
taken in time by a far-seeing Government to ward them off. 



ENGINEERING IN INDIA 337 

The opinion is generally held that India is a country 
with vast undeveloped natural resources. To some extent 
this is true, but not in the sense that the same statement 
would imply when made of the United States and Canada. 
They are new countries with great mineral wealth, vast 
water powers, and huge tracts of rich land yet unoccupied. 
India is an old country, which for many centuries has 
supported a teeming population, and all its good land has 
been occupied for countless generations. It possesses 
some mineral wealth, but it is too diffuse to be easily 
garnered, and its stores of precious metals which probably 
exist are buried beneath the debris of workings carried on 
in a dim past. The soil is in the possession of small 
farmers or ryots, who are devoid of ambition, and content 
if only they can procure their daily bread at the least 
possible exertion to themselves. In some places they are 
good agriculturists, who make the most of their limited 
resources, but generally they are backward and ignorant ; 
the land does not yield to them what it might be made to 
do under better treatment. Where water is difficult to 
obtain it is generally used with intelligence and skill ; 
where it is abundant and costs little or no labour to apply 
to the land, there it is wasted on crops which are easy to 
cultivate but, in consquence, of little value. In favoured 
localities the ryots are wealthy, but this wealth is hoarded 
in the form of jewels and gold coins, and is literally buried 
in the ground inside their houses instead of being usefully 
expended on the improvement of their fields. No man 
trusts his neighbour, and seldom his brother, co-operation 
to secure a common end has proved a failure, and joint en- 
terprise is almost non-existent. In face of these difficulties 
something has to be done, and men are wanted with per- 
severance and tact to steadily overcome the ignorance and 
prejudice which are such fatal barriers to any progress, 
43 



338 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

In the aggregate, the modern industrial enterprises of 
India are by no means insignificant ; but, in comparison 
with the extent of the country, the number of the popu- 
lation, arid the value of the raw material produced, theyf 
are surprisingly small. The cotton mills and weaving' 
sheds of Bombay, the jute mills of Bengal, and the[ 
tanneries and leather works of Cawnpore may be cited as 
well-established industries. The gold mines of Mysore 
and the coal mines of Bengal, especially the latter, are of 
immense value and increasing importance. The railways 
have large locomotive repair shops and carriage building 
works scattered about the country, and there are a few 
private engineering shops, but the iron trade is represented 
by only one establishment, which, after many vicissitudes, 
seems to have now entered upon an era of prosperity and 
development. Of miscellaneous industrial undertakings, 
there are not a few ; but they are widely scattered and of 
little importance. For military reasons, it is considered 
desirable to render India independent of England in the 
matter of equipment ; and the. arsenals, factories, and 
workshops which have been established to carry out this 
policy, employ many skilled artisans, and are of some 
importance as centres from which technical knowledge is 
gradually spreading. 

The extremely rapid progress which in recent years 
has been made in the transmission of energy through long 
distances by alternating currents of electricity, and the 
continual expansion of the field for its employment, not 
only for electric lighting and power but also in electro- 
chemical and electro-metallurgical industries, has given to 
possible sources of water-power a high potential value. In 
India, the available power is considerable, but it is badly 
situated, and it is difficult to make any profitable use of it. 
Something, however, has been done, and the water-power 



ENGINEERING IN INDIA 339 

plants which have been installed total up to quite a 
respectable figure. 

You may possibly think that this brief review of the 
condition of India is not very inviting, and that I have 
painted a rather gloomy picture. Perhaps so, but my 
object is not to tell you of what has been done, so much 
as to point out how much remains to be done, and what 
a splendid field exists for men with technical knowledge 
to devote their energy and ability to overcoming the 
difficulties which the geological structure of the land, the 
meteorological conditions of the atmosphere, and the 
social peculiarities of the people place in the way of those 
entrusted with the material development of that country. 

Service in India is not without serious drawbacks, 
but the advantages are great, and not the least of these, to 
any one of an enthusiastic temperament, are the many 
opportunities for beneficent work. The Government of 
India, with wise liberality, pays its servants well, is 
generous in the matter of furlough and leave, provides an 
adequate allowance when the time comes for retirement, 
and, in return, expects strict integrity, single- mindedness 
of purpose, and whole-hearted attention to duty. More 
than this cannot be asked from any body of men, but more 
is often rendered, and there are not a few who recognise 
that behind the Government are the people of India on 
whose behalf all are working, and the interests and welfare 
of these dumb millions appeal to them with the same force 
and the same earnestnees as do the spiritual needs of these 
great masses to those self-sacrificing men and women 
who, from the Christian nations of the world, go forth, 
without hope of earthly reward, to labour amongst them 
in the best interests of the human race. 

The work of Englishmen in India is daily increasing 
in difficulty, and will continue to do so as a natural result 



340 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDtA 

of our efforts to ameliorate the condition of the people. 
Education is spreading, and its foundations are becoming 
broader and deeper, and, as the final product improves, a 
larger share of the administration will be claimed and 
conceded. But a leaven of Englishmen will always be 
required to preserve the present high standard of service, 
and it is difficult to even imagine the time when the direc- 
tion of affairs will pass out of our hands. Our numbers 
may decrease, but we shall have to give of our best to 
India if we are to successfully continue the work that has 
been so well begun. Especially is this true in those fields 
of activity with which we are more especially concerned, 
though the reasons for it being so are somewhat different. 
Nearly all the obviously possible work has been done, 
and ahead of us are nebulous schemes of great magnitude 
which will require the application of great engineering 
skill to reduce to the region of practical projects. 

In this work, native assistance will be gladly wel- 
comed, and provision has been made to render it avail- 
able as far as may be possible. There are in India 
four Engineering Colleges, whose equipment compares not 
unfavourably with that of similar institutions in Europe, 
and provision has been made to give instruction similar 
in character to that which you receive here. The results 
within the last few years have been eminently satisfactory, 
and it seems not unlikely that India will again produce 
engineers, to whose works future generations will accord the 
admiration we now ungrudgingly bestow on the construc- 
tors of the irrigation tanks of Southern India, or of those 
magnificent buildings and archaeological remains in 
Northern India; of which I need only cite the Kutub at 
Delhi and the Taj at Agra as examples, the one dating from 
the beginning and the others from near the end of a long 
period of steady progress in civilized arts. 



ENGINEERING IN INDIA 341 

The men who go to India must be prepared to devote 
themselves to the pressing necessities of the moment. It 
is no place at present for learned leisure or abstract scientific 
research. Engineering, chemical, and physical laboratories 
have been provided for the training of students, and 
facilities exist for the prosecution of researches. The 
work, however, should have a practical bearing on the 
development of the country, and for my own part I can 
see no reason why, because it has an immediate economic 
value, it should be less worthly of regard in other respects. 
The advancement of knowledge, deep probing into the 
mysteries of nature, the carrying on of investigations 
for their own sake and without regard to their utility, 
these are all fascinating pursuits, which rich countries can 
afford to pay for, but the Englishmen, who go to India, 
go there to administer to her needs and to devote their 
attention to the work which must be done on the spot. 
What are wanted in India are men who will carry there a 
knowledge of what is being done elsewhere and will turn 
that knowledge to useful account. Indian engineers and 
Indian engineering are much better known in Eng- 
land than was formerly the case, but even now it is given 
to few men, who spend there lives in India, to achieve 
a reputation which extends beyond the jurisdiction of 
the Viceroy ; yet their work meets with generous recog- 
nition in India and by none more than by the people 
themselves, who are keen to distinguish and appreciate 
the services of those who are labouring for their advan- 
cement. Undoubtedly the greatest monument of English 
engineering skill in India is not her system of railways, 
magnificent though they be and remarkable for the economy 
and safety with which they are worked, but the vast network 
of canals and channels which distribute water to the fields 
and enable rich crops to be grown on what where former- 



342 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

ly barren wastes. The irrigated area to-day is equal in 
extent to the whole of Great Britain, and almost every year 
a tract of land that would make a fair-sized English 
country is added to it. In all the rest of the world there 
is not more than half as much again. 

Do not suppose, however, that we claim all the credit 
for this great work. The Dravidian Kings of the South 
built Tanks whilst this land was under Druidical domina- 
tion, and the engineers of the Mogul emperors dug canals 
from the Jumna that were the precursors of our later 
works. Yet we must not give these ancient men too much 
credit there was not much science but a good deal of 
brute force in their methods of procedure, and it is incon- 
ceivable that under any circumstances their systems of 
irrigation could have ever advanced beyond the primitive 
stage in which we found them. 

Sixty years ago, Sir Arthur Cotton completed the 
works necessary to restore prosperity to the Cauvery Delta, 
and fully fifty years have elapsed since the Upper Ganges 
Canal, due to the genius of Sir Probyn Cautley, secured 
the Gangetic Doab from seasons of scarcity and drought. 
From that time onwards, irrigation has steadily progressed, 
though not so rapidly as some would have us think is 
desirable in the best interests of the country; and when 
the ancient land of Egypt came under British influence, 
it was to India that Lord Cromer turned for engineers to 
deal with the deplorable state of affairs which he found 
there. How well they responded to his call, the whole 
world knows, and the reputation of Indian engineers has 
greatly risen in consequence of what a few of them have 
been able to do there under circumstances of great diffi- 
culty, and in sight of all the politicians of Europe. 

It is not my purpose to attempt even the briefest 
description of irrigation in India, but I would like to invite 



ENGINEERING IN INDIA 343 

your interest for a few minutes in the problems which 
have to be tackled in the future, and which some 
of you may perchance have to do with. Two or 
three years ago the irrigation of India was thoroughly 
reviewed by a special commission, who issued a re- 
port indicating clearly the policy which should be 
pursued with regard to future extensions of irriga- 
tion, and they recommended an expenditure of over 
30,000,000 in the course of the next 20 years. India 
wants water for irrigation above all things ; the water 
is there in ample abundance, but it is not where it 
is wanted, nor is it always available when it is wanted. 
So far, all Indian irrigation works which we have con- 
structed are gravity schemes, which take the water from 
the rivers and, by carefully graded systems of canals, 
convey it to land at a lower level than the intake. In some 
cases, the canals are combined with storage works to tide 
over fluctuations in flow of the rivers, and in other cases 
the reservoirs impound the whole flow of considerable 
drainage areas, and hold it in reserve till required. 

But nearly one- third of the irrigated lands of India are 
watered in a totally different way. The water is below 
the surface of the ground and has to be raised above it. 
Millions of wells have been sunk to tap the subterranean 
supplies, and it has been estimated by the Indian Irriga- 
tion Commission that every year one billion cubic feet of 
water are thus obtained. The amount of work that has to 
be done is very large, and it is all performed by animal 
or human-labour. I calculate that if this work is done in 
120 days, of 8 hours each, the rate of doing work during 
that time is not less than one and one-third million horse- 
power, and that about four million pairs of cattle are em- 
ployed. There is a great deal yet to be done, especially 
in the Punjab, with gravitation schemes, but, in the main, 



344 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

future extensions of irrigation will be dependent on either 
the construction of huge reservoirs of the type of that 
which has recently been formed in the Nile valley by the 
construction of the Assuan Dam, or on an increase in 
the water supply derived from flowing rivers by raising 
the water with powerful pumps, or upon a large increase 
in both the number of wells and the quantity of water 
which is derived from each individual well. 

For some years past it has fallen to my lot to be asso- 
ciated with the enquiries and investigations that have been 
going on regarding the possibilities of developing irrigation 
with well water, and I am inclined to think that there is 
more hope in this direction, than in any other, of obtaining 
the water so much needed to enable the future of India 
to be faced with equanimity. 

Till quite recently it was commonly accepted by 
engineers that engines and pumps could not compete with 
the indigenous methods of raising water from wells in 
India, partly because the units of supply were too small to 
deal with, and partly because cattle could do the work at 
absolutely no monetary cost at all to the ryots. Oil engines 
have now given us a simple and cheap source of power in 
small units, and a study of the water supply to Indian wells 
has enabled improvements to be effected which have greatly 
increased the yield and demonstrated beyond question 
that, in certain instances at any rate, modern methods of 
lifting water may be profitably employed in India. 

We are, as yet, but in the initial stages of the work, 
and have only advanced far enough to realize all the 
troubles that lie before us in trying to effect on a large 
scale what has been accomplished in a few instances under 
special circumstances. The problem of lifting water from 
a well is apparently a very simple one, but if it is to be 
done by mechanical means in tens or hundreds of 



ENGINEERING IN INDIA 345 

thousands of instances in India, not only every item 
of the plant will have to be subjected to rigid scrutiny 
with a view to improvement of details but it will also 
be necessary to go back to first principles again and 
examine the possibilities of development along mecha- 
nical lines which have hitherto been neglected. To 
begin with, the centrifugal pump is not a model of effi- 
ciency, and we look for the evolution of an irrigation 
pump which will be a great advance on what may be 
termed the contractor's pump, which, hitherto, has been 
most widely employed. A more efficient pump means a 
smaller motor, less capital outlay thereon, reduced work- 
ing expenses, and, to obtain that, it may be made in a 
more costly way, provided its certainty of action and 
freedom from breakdown is not in any way compromised. 
Again, the oil engine is a very good motor, but it has not 
yet reached finality, and every improvement that can be 
effected in it increases the sphere in which it can be use- 
fully employed. Even in such a comparatively simple 
matter as belting, the irrigation engineer is far from satis- 
fied and would be glad to find a more durable material. 

Next to India, there is more irrigation in the United 
States of America than in any other country in the world, 
and quite recently I was deputed to visit some of the 
States to see what progress has been made in methods of 
lifting water. I found that where the conditions were 
favourable great things had been accomplished, particularly 
in the States of California, Louisiana, and Texas. In the 
irrigated orchards of California, especially in the citrus 
fruit-growing districts of the South, water is of immense 
value, and there has, in consequence, been perfected a 
system of irrigation which surpasses anything that has 
been done elsewhere. The water is lifted as much as 150 
feet from wells of great depth by centrifugal pumps, driven 
44 



346 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

by three-phase alternating current induction motors, and 
the power is supplied from generating stations driven by 
water in the distant canyons of the Sierras. To avoid loss 
by percolation the water is conveyed to the land in concrete 
pipes and distributed through the orchards in concrete 
channels, and in extreme cases pipes, buried in the subsoil, 
carry the water to the roots of the trees, so that from the 
time it is raised from the well till it is absorbed by the 
trees it is never once exposed to the open air and evapora- 
tion losses are entirely eliminated. In some places I found 
compressed air was in use for lifting water from deep wells 
with very satisfactory results, for though the efficiency of 
the method is generally less than 30 per cent., yet the 
amount of supervision required is extremely small. Wages 
in California are very high and liquid fuel is very cheap in 
the oil regions, so that a process, which is extravagant 
elsewhere, becomes economical under these unusual con- 
ditions. We cannot copy Californian irrigation practice in 
India with any hope of success, but there seems to me to 
be no reason why we should not profit by the experience 
of rice cultivation in the Gulf States of Louisiana and 
Texas. There, within a very few years, 600,000 acres have 
been brought under irrigation with water raised from the 
bayous and swamps which extend along the sea-coast 
to the West of the Mississippi delta. The lift varies con- 
siderably, up to a maximum of 72 feet, and is generally 
much greater than anything we have supposed to be practi- 
cable in India. 

In the United States there are hundreds of thousands, 
if not millions, of windmills in use for pumping water for 
domestic purposes, for watering stock, and for the cultiva- 
tion of small vegetable gardens or patches of alfalfa, but 
only in certain tracts are they largely used for lifting water 
for irrigation. Where the winds are regular and of suffi- 



ENGINEERING IN INDIA 347 

cient strength, as in Nebraska and Kansas, they have 
proved satisfactory. The windmill which will automati- 
cally vary its load to suit the force of the wind has yet to 
be designed, but when that very difficult feat has been ac- 
complished there seems to be a great future for windmills 
in irrigation work, and in certain parts of India, in the 
Deccan and along the Peninsular coasts, it is likely that they 
may be used with advantage. 

Very closely connected with irrigation questions in 
India is the improvement of agriculture, and in that direc- 
tion much requires to be done to induce the ryots to alter 
their ways and by more intelligent labour cause the soil to 
yield a better return. A great college of agriculture with 
laboratories and experimental farms has recently been 
established at Pusa, but it will probably take a long time 
for the work done there to permeate downwards and to 
become the established practice of the ryot. The capi- 
talist cannot find profitable employment for his money in 
the extension of well irrigation unless a system of intense 
cultivation is introduced at the same time. The average 
value of crops in India is small not more than 30s. or 35s. 
per acre for dry crops and perhaps double that amount 
for wet. With an average lift of 30 feet the cost of irri- 
gation by pumping would amount to about 1 per acre, 
and it is therefore obvious that the crops as ordinarily 
grown will not pay. Crops such as sugar cane, plantains, 
ginger, turmeric, sweet potatoes, &c., will yield returns of 
from 10 to 35 per acre, and it is to the extension of 
this sort of cultivation that we must look for relieving 
the pressure on the soil. The returns from these crops are 
large, and, though the expenses of cultivation are heavy, 
they ultimately resolve themselves mainly into labour 
charges even in the case of manure unless it be imported 
from abroad. 



348 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

It is crops which are on the ground all through the year 
which yield the greatest return and it is from wells that we 
can obtain the most reliable continuous supplies of water. 
A permanent flow of one cubic foot per second is worth 
from 6 to 8 times as much as when it is available only 
for six months in the year. Hence it is desirable that 
engineers should turn their attention to securing water 
for irrigation at all times in the year, and not merely 
during the monsoon months and immediately after them* 
Storage works are one way of doing this, but the losses 
from evaporation and percolation are so very considerable, 
when the water has to be held up to last right through 
the dry weather, that it is seldom sufficiently favourable 
sites can be found to render the outlay on them remunera" 
tive. Pumping from river beds and subterranean reservoirs 
is likely to prove feasible and where the water is 
utilized to the best advantage it will certainly prove 
profitable. Sugar-cane is largely grown in India, but 
the quantity is insufficient for the needs of the people 
and more than 10,000 a day is paid for imported sugar 
which might easily be grown in the country. Between 
17 and 18 million acres are devoted to the cultivation of 
cotton, but the value of the crops does not exceed 1 per 
acre, whilst in Egypt it is worth 14 times as much.. The 
conditions are vastly different, but I believe it is within the 
powers of the engineer and the scientific agriculturist to 
reduce the inequality to some extent. If the Indian cotton 
crop averaged per acre but one quarter what it does in 
Egypt, India would be enormously benefitted and the 
troubles of the Lancashire cotton spinners would be inde- 
finitely postponed. 

In India the people hoard money, from the Prince 
upon his gadi to the ryot in his fields it is a relic of 
by-gone days when might was right the necessity has 



ENGINEERING IN INDIA 349 

passed away but the habit remains ; yet not entirely so, as 
good land is freely purchased and the demand for first- 
class irrigated land in favoured situations has forced 
values up to extravagant figures. A great deal of barren 
land can be made as productive as the best by the free 
expenditure of capital, and our scientific and engineering 
skill should be devoted to demonstrating this ; not in one 
place or two, but in many. Then the native land-holders 
and men of wealth will follow suit. They have at their com- 
mand more than sufficient capital and, if we could gradually 
get them to spend it on the land, who can doubt but that 
marvellous changes would be effected ? 

One is generally told that India wants water and that 
in the extension of irrigation is to be found the remedy 
for her poverty and its concomitant train of evils. That 
is only partly the truth : India not only wants water, but 
wants to be taught to utilise it to the best advantage. 
America has shown what can be done in this direction and 
we might with advantage follow some of her methods. 
They ryots it is true are very conservative but they are 
also very much alive to their own interests when they un- 
derstand them it is for us to point out to them the direc- 
tion in which they can do best for themselves. 

The future welfare of India depends mainly upon our 
being able to provide for a more rapid rate of increase in 
the powers of production of her people than the 
rate of increase of the people themselves, and that, not 
only among certain sections of the community, but generally 
throughout the whole mass of the population. The 
substitution of machinery of human or animal labour is 
an important step in this direction, and should be carefully 
fostered. Well cultivation would probably extend much 
more rapidly than it has done, were it not dependent 
upon cattle for lifting the water. Under present conditions, 



350 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

the area so cultivated is the maximum possible, and 
without some external source of power it can only grow 
slowly. Double the amount of power at the disposal of 
the ryot, and you will enormously increase the 
area of land supplied with water. The ryot really 
pays a great deal for the work done for him by 
his beasts, but he has not enough intelligence or 
sufficient knowledge to appreciate the fact. With his own 
cattle he can irrigate a certain amount of land : if he 
attempts to hire cattle to extend the area, his methods of 
cultivation do not return him sufficient to make the venture 
profitable. In almost every part of the country we can 
supply him with power for lifting water either by steam 
engines, oil engines, or electric motors at not more than 
half the rates he really pays for cattle. Induce him to 
cultivate more valuable crops ; induce a flow of capital 
to the land to enable this to be done ; with part of this 
furnish the necessary motive power, and the result will be 
a satisfactory return on the total outlay. That this is no 
mere theory I could easily show, by giving you details of 
what has actually been accomplished, but time does 
not permit. 

Owing to the concentration of the rainfall into certain 
months of the year, the water power of India fluctuates 
through extreme limits, and storage works will be neces- 
sary to render any very large quantity available throughout 
the year. Fortunately, the cost of such storage works can 
be partly recouped from the returns which the irrigation 
under them will yield, but, unfortunately, there is practical- 
ly no use to which water power can be put in India. The 
great industrial centres, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Cawn- 
pore, Lucknow, Delhi, and other towns, would be immen- 
sely benefitted by a supply of electric energy at low rates, 
but they are all too far away from any source of supply 



ENGINEERING IN INDIA 351 

which will not fail for months in every year. Electric light 
is too great a luxury for the country, and the water 
power that has so far been turned to good account 
has been made use of because of exceptional conditions, 
Every year, however, prospects in this direction are im- 
proving, and., once in five years at least, it is worth while 
re-examining the water power schemes to see if electrical 
developments have brought them within the range of com- 
mercial possibility. As 1 have already mentioned, electricity 
generated by water power is largely used in California for 
pumping water for irrigation, and it is merely a question 
of time before it will be similarly used in India. Provide 
water for irrigation all the year round, and you will have 
water power also available, By means of electricity this 
power can be used for raising further supplies of water, 
and the area of intense cultivation can be further extended. 
To turn to another direction, a report recently pre- 
pared for the Government of the Dominion of Canada 
brings forcibly to our notice the progress that has been 
made in what may be termed the electro-thermic produc- 
tion of iron and steel. In the South of India especially 
there are valuable deposits of iron ore, extensive forests 
capable of yielding considerable supplies of excellent 
charcoal and water power, which can easily be converted 
into electric energy. Here are all the requisites for electro- 
thermic iron and steel works on a great scale, and in India 
there is a market for the products. If the process is prac- 
ticable, Canada will probably give us a lead which we 
shall do well to follow with as little delay as possible. 
India cannot afford to be the pioneer in such matters, 
but as early as may be, she should be placed in a posi- 
tion to take advantage of new discoveries. 

Excluding the telegraph, electricity plays no part in 
the life of people save in the capital cities and a few big 



352 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

towns. Many schemes are under discussion, and in the 
near future there is likely to be something done, but 
even as it is useless to patch a threadbare garment with 
new cloth, so it is absurd to think that electricity can be 
usefully employed in India on a large scale, till great 
changes have been effected in ways and thoughts of its 
inhabitants, and a new race evolved. The spread of 
education is gradually bringing this about, but progress is 
slow, much slower than is generally acknowledged. The 
Parsees in Bombay, and the Europeans in Calcutta and 
elsewherej are mainly responsible for the modern industrial 
enterprise which is credited to India. In reality, the 
Hindus and Mahomedans have done very little, and 
their constantly reiterated cry for Technical Education 
may be taken as evidence that they themselves, in a dim 
kind of way, perceive how little share they are taking in the 
regeneration of their own country. The system of educa- 
tion we have given to India has produced excellent govern- 
ment officials, good lawyers, and fair traders, but it has 
not turned out manufacturers or men capable of re-organ- 
izing the artisan labour around them on a new basis on 
one which would enable it to withstand the pressure of 
external competition. 

Attempts are now being made to remedy the evils 
that this unilateral system of education must be held res- 
ponsible for, and technical skill and knowledge of a high 
order will be required to carry out the policy of reform 
which is gradually forcing itself upon Indian Adminis- 
trators. Many experiments have been made, and in some 
instances success has been attained, and it is now fairly 
definitely settled that the Government may with perfect 
propriety take active measures to establish the industries 
of the country on a better footing. Encouragement is to 
be given to private enterprise, new industries are to 



ENGINEERING IN INDIA 353 

be exploited, and the technical assistance placed at 
the disposal of those who need it and are not yet in a 
position to provide it for themselves. 

England and India face the world as free traders, 
the former a great manufacturing country, importing 
mainly raw materials and food-stuffs ; the latter an agricul- 
tural country, exporting raw materials and importing 
manufactured articles. The tariff walls of protectionist 
countries preclude India from hoping to find a market out- 
side the British Isles for her manufactures, and compel 
those who would promote industries to confine their efforts 
to producing what can be sold in the country itself. The 
internal demand depends almost entirely upon the state 
of agriculture, and fluctuates with the varying* nature of 
the seasons. Hence, the improvement of agriculture is an 
essential preliminary to industrial expansion. 

Hand labour in India has failed in competition with 
machinery, not because the labourer demanded much for 
his hire, but because he offered little as the results of 
ft. There is no virtue in hand-work when the same can be 
better done by machinery, and no reason for resisting the 
introduction of such machinery, but rather otherwise, 
since it is desirable that the hand-worker should be 
relieved of drudgery as much as possible and taught to 
concentrate his attention on the production of what is 
beyond the range of machinery. This is the direction 
in which the most can be made of the cheap hand labour 
of India, and, for a beginning, we must educate the 
artisans in modern methods, tools, and processes of 
working, demonstrate the necessity for co-operation and 
the advantages of the sub-division of labour, and finally 
put them in the way of getting the necessary capital for 
associated working on favourable terms. 

The Indian workman is ; to a large extent, what his 

45 



354 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

previous training has made him. As a rule he makes 
good use of his chances, possesses considerable inherited 
aptitude, and under proper supervision he works well 
and cheaply. 

The hand weavers are by far the most numerous 
section of the artisans and at the same time the most 
in need of help. They number upwards of ten 
millions throughout the country, and when trade is 
normal they are probably able to keep from two million 
looms at work. They are greatly in need of assistance, 
but how to help them is the difficulty. The European 
hand-loom has been introduced, but as yet it has not 
found favour. The native warp is good enough for the 
native loom, but a stronger warp of more even tension is 
required for the fly shuttle slay, and it is not easy to 
supply this without getting involved in methods of working 
which are only suited to power factories. Hitherto native 
industries have been left very much to themselves, and it 
remains to be seen what will be the effect of subjecting 
them to careful scrutiny by technical experts. 

Primitive simplicity is picturesque but it is not pro- 
ductive, and it should not be beyond our power to improve 
the native hand industries by introducing better tools, 
more efficient, even if more complicated methods,, and a 
more varied supply of materials. But above all, native in- 
dustries require business men to run them, to finance thern^ 
to advertise them, and to find markets for them. All the 
talent of the mercantile community is devoted to the 
export of raw produce and the sale of manufactured 
imports local manufactures are too insignificant to 
interest any one and in consequence have sunk into 
decadence. 

This picture of one side of industrial India only 
comes prominently into view out of India once in ten years 



ENGINEERING IN INDIA 355 

when the census returns furnish definite information as to 
the progress of communities and sections of communities 
devoted to particular industries. The indigenous trades 
and the village industries may flourish or perish without 
serious effect on the sea-borne trade, yet they are of vital 
importance to the people of the country, and indirectly 
they are a measure of the whole motion of the people 
whether it be forward or retrograde. 

What I think struck me most during my recent visit 
to the United States was the immense amount of 
investigation and experimental work going on. I 
believe that this is so in every branch of engineering, 
but my attention was mainly devoted to matters pertain- 
ing to the utilization of water power, to irrigation and to 
agriculture. Nowhere in the world is so much left to 
private enterprise, and nowhere has private enterprise a 
freer hand. But the individual requires data to base his 
calculations upon, and to supply these is the recognized 
work of Government Departments and Public Institu- 
tions. The Federal Departments of Agriculture and 
Geology have a large staff of men engaged in investigations 
all over the Union, and the results which they obtain are 
regularly published in convenient form and can be obtained 
by any one who thinks that they may be of use to him. 
In the engineering schools and colleges students are well 
trained in making measurements, and they leave these 
Institutions fully imbued with the idea that in practical 
work nothing should be taken for granted, and that every 
detail should be subjected to test and scrutiny before it is 
accepted in a general scheme. I cannot help thinking 
that we want more of that spirit infused into our work 
in India. We are apt there to be a little too cautious, 
and to rely upon the West too much in matters about 
which we ought to make our own special enquiries. New 



356 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

ideas, new process, new inventions come to us, but they 
are received with some degree of timidity, whereas in the 
States they are welcomed, examined, and adopted with 
confidence if they pass the skilfully devised tests to which 
they are subjected. 

There have been a good many failures in India from 
the absence of this spirit of enquiry ; much that might 
have been done remains undone from excess of caution 
and a well meant intention to avoid possible waste of 
either private or public money. It seems to me desirable 
that in these matters we should change our ideas; if we 
do so, we may have to record more failures, but I am 
certain that we shall also have more successes placed to 
our credit. One success will often pay for many failures, 
because the failures will be on a small scale, whilst the 
successes can be developed to the utmost extent possible. 

Indian engineers have a splendid record behind them, 
to which the irrigation works and the railway systems 
testify, and they have obtained brilliant results in the face 
of great natural obstacles, but many of them in the future 
will have to face the competition of the rest of the world 
in their attempts to give to the country its due share of 
manufacturing capacity. In this struggle nothing can be 
neglected, and if, as I hope, not a few students from this 
College will be found taking part in it I would advise you 
to make the most of the opportunities you now enjoy. 
But this last remark applies to you all. In the friendly 
struggle to be leaders in the world's progress our kinsmen 
across the Atlantic, in both Canada and the United 
States, are making great efforts, and it behoves you to 
display the same keenness for the honour of the country 
to which we belong. 



CHAPTER XII 

A RETROSPECT * 

It was in July, 1888, just a year after leaving the Cen- 
tral, that I joined the Madras Educational Service as 
Professor of Engineering in the College of Engineering at 
Madras. At that time, and in fact till about seven years 
ago, the Public Works Department was entirely recruited 
in England from the Royal Indian Engineering College 
at Cooper's Hill, so that students from other colleges could 
only get employment in the railways, the municipal and 
local fund service, the harbour boards, or in private work. 
The field open was no doubt a large one, but the plums 
were reserved, and naturally Central men only occasion- 
ally found their way out to India. The abolition of 
Cooper's Hill has, however, changed all this, and the pre- 
sent number of THE CENTRAL will convey some idea of 
the part which we are now taking in the work of develop- 
ing the natural resources of a country in which one-fifth 
of the human race are living. It is still, however, the day 
of small things for Central men in India, and I take it that 
one of the objects of this special number of our journal is 
to draw the attention of both past and present students to 
the nature of the work which engineers have done, 
are doing, and are preparing to do in our great Eastern 
dependency. It would, I am afraid, extend my contribu- 
tion far beyond the limits assigned to me if I were to 
~~~From " The Central " 1911. 



358 INDUST&IAL EVOLUTION Itf INDIA 

attempt even briefly to discuss Indian engineering from 
this broad standpoint, and I only propose to illustrate the 
extent to which India has need for British engineers by 
stating that at the present time upwards of 550 members 
of the Institution of Civil Engineers and about 250 
members of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers are 
resident in the country. Obviously, therefore, there is 
room for a very large number of men from the Central to 
take up and carry on the high traditions and lofty ideals 
so worthily maintained by the Cooper's Hill engineers. 

As the pioneer of the Central contingent, I have been 
asked to indicate in a general way what appear to be the 
more important changes which have been brought about in 
India since I landed there a little more than 22 years ago. 
This is a somewhat difficult task, and would doubtless be 
much better performed by one who could survey the whole 
field of action from a distance. Nearly the whole of my ser- 
vice has been spent in the South of India, and for much of 
the time on work of a highly controversial nature, which 
has left me but little leisure to take stock of what others are 
doing, and only in the Madras Presidency have I been able 
to observe at first hand the effect of the great wave of 
unrest which has in recent years swept over the land. The 
educational policy initiated by Lord Macaulay in his 
famous minute of 1837 is now beginning to bear fruit, and 
last year, for the first time in history, the people of 
India were allowed to exercise a distinct voice in the 
management of their internal affairs. The prudence and 
moderation displayed at the first meetings of the elected 
councils is a happy augury for the future of India, and 
evidence that the much maligned system of education 
has not altogether failed to produce men of character and 
ability. That our educational policy has been only a 
partial success, that on its technical side we have done 



A RETROSPECT 359 

very little, is largely due to the characteristics of the people 
themselves. English engineers have achieved some of 
their greatest triumphs in India, but they have not yet 
succeeded in producing from among the natives of the 
country more than a very small number of men capable 
of following in their footsteps. The truth is, that they do 
not possess in any very large measure the grit and com- 
mon sense which mark the engineer, and it is fairly cer- 
tain that if they did possess these qualities they would not 
want our assistance to maintain peace and order. When 
India can do her own engineering work and carry on her 
own industries, then, and then only, she will be able to 
govern herself, and our dominion, in its existing form at 
any rate, will come to an end. With the gradual develop- 
ment of local self-government there will assuredly be a 
corresponding development of engineering skill and a 
gradually decreasing demand for external assistance. The 
progress in one direction will measure the progress in the 
other, and viewing each separately at the present time, 
there is but little to show that India can dispense with our 
assistance either in administrative or purely engineering 
matters. 

For the lower grades of professional work there is, 
however, no longer any need for Europeans, and even in 
all but the highest ranks of the service it will be well for 
young Englishmen, looking to India for a possible career, 
to remember that they will have to meet the competition of 
an ever increasing number of well trained and experienced 
Indian engineers, and that only men of great energy and 
considerable intellectual capacity are really required. It is a 
recognised principle in the administration that what the 
people can do for themselves they should be allowed to do, 
and men are only sent out to India to supply what cannot, 
as yet, be obtained from the country itself. Year by year the 



360 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

lot of Englishmen in India is becoming more strenuous, the 
problems they have to tackle more complicated, and the 
need for ability of a high order more apparent. The im- 
portance of attracting the best men for service in the 
East is fully recognised, and in no branch more than that 
of engineering, if we may judge by the very material im- 
provements which have of late been made in the terms 
under which recruitment for the Public Works Depart- 
ment is made. In the last twenty years the importance of 
thoroughly trained and highly efficient technical assistance 
has been more fully recognised than was formerly the 
case, and the gap between the covenanted and uncovenan- 
ted branches of the civil service has materially decreased. 
In process of time it will probably altogether vanish when 
the work which will fall to Englishmen in India will 
throughout be that which can only be performed by the most 
capable men the Bpitish Empire can produce. 

The puplic services attract the best men in India and 
it would be altogether erroneous to assume that the very 
marked improvement in the efficiency and morale of the 
natives employed in the administration is general through- 
out the country. Progress there is, but it is at a very much 
slower rate, and must continue so for lack of men working 
among the people imbued with the high ideals which gov- 
ern the conduct of the European officials. The schools and 
colleges are turning out year by year shoals of educated men, 
who find increasing difficulty in obtaining employment 
for their trained faculties. Naturally they are discontended 
with their lot. and inclined to blame the Government for 
their unhappy condition. One of the great problems which 
faces us in the future is to provide suitable employment for 
this growing class by establishing an industrial system, suited 
to the environment in which these people live, and adapted 
to their somewhat limited capacity for organisation and 



A RETROSPECT 361 

control. The education they have received has unfitted them 
for the narrow range of rural life, but has not been sufficient 
to enable them to cope with the obstacles which confront 
them directly they attempt to carve out a way for them- 
selves. On the one side they are faced with a vast, help- 
less, unorganised indigenous industrial population ; on the 
other, with a complex European mercantile and industrial 
system ; whilst in front of them is a fully occupied soil 
offering no scope for their puny efforts. By co-operation 
much might be done, but associated effort is a plant of 
tender growth in the East, and will require much careful 
watching on the part of a paternal Government to bring it 
to a vigorous, healthy life. 

For more than a century India has enjoyed the advan- 
tages of a slrong and resolute administration, devoted to 
the task of restoring order and prosperity throughout the 
land, and none can say that it has not achieved a signal 
degree of success. Since the suppression of the Mutiny, 
the last and greatest effort of the lawless forces which still 
slumber beneath the surface, much has been done to 
improve the material condition of the population, chiefly, 
by the construction of railways, which have rendered 
every part of the country easily accessible and have faci- 
litated the transport of surplus produce to the coast 
or to places where it is in deficiency ; and by the gradual 
development of a magnificent system of irrigation works, 
which have enormously increased the productiveness of 
the soil and rendered it capable of supporting with ease, 
even in years of extreme drought, the immense population 
which has grown up since anarchy ceased to exist, and 
the dreadful ravages of famine have been repressed. Almost 
entirely this has been the direct work of the Government 
but private agency, in an almost equal degree, has been relied 
upon to turn to advantage the facilities for transport and 
46 



362 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

irrigation, which have been created. A large measure of 
success has attended this policy ; the railways carry a heavy 
traffic, bat it is mostly raw produce or imported manufac- 
tures. The water rendered available for irrigation is fully 
utilised, but the methods of cultivation are primitive, and 
agriculture has advanced to an inappreciable extent. It 
yet remains to give India that industrial life which will 
supply a sufficient diversity of occupations to absorb the 
intellectual unrest generated by the extension of education, 
and at the same time create a wider diffusion of material 
prosperity without which it is impossible that there should 
be any great improvement in the social condition of the 
people. 

At the time of my arrival in India the necessity for 
doing something in this direction had been recognised, 
and there was a fairly general movement in favour of 
technical education. Something was done, but the diffi- 
culties of the situation were not properly appreciated, and 
the inevitable failure of the first efforts caused disappoint- 
ment. The engineering progress of the last twenty years 
has done much to intensify this feeling, for whilst India 
has greatly benefited by the accelerated rate of develop- 
ment, the actual work has been accomplished by outsiders, 
and the people of the country can claim only a small share 
in the achievements, so that to-day they are nearly as depen- 
dent on imported technical skill and experience as they 
were when first they began to realise their deficiencies. Des- 
\ pite the ravages of plague and the widespread distress caused 
;by a succession of partial failures of the monsoon, the for- 
eign trade of India hasmade marvellous strides, but there is a 
limit to the expansion of the export of agricultural produce 
and that limit is probably not far off. The price of food- 
stuffs has nearly doubled within the last few years, bring- 
ing great prosperity to the land-owning classes, but entailing 



A RETROSPECT 363 

much discomfort, if not actual distress, among the landless 
labourers, coolies, artizans, and others, whose incomes 
have not risen proportionately. Wages have increased to 
some extent, but the upward movement is slow. 

TheJmproveiTient Qf,agriculturjs,_which may be con- 
fidently expected as the result of the operations of the 
scientific staff now employed in all the Provincial Depart- 
ments of Agriculture, will probably create an increased de- 
mand for labour, employed in a more intelligent way, to cul- 
tivate the soil, and to a more abundant and more valuable 
return than has hitherto been attained. It is in this direc- 
tion, rather than in industrial openings, we must look fora 
solution of the labour problems. Favoured in the matter 
of climate and simple in their habits of life, the people of 
India require for their comfort and well-being but a small 
fraction of the necessities for existence in colder climates . 
The proportion of artizans to agriculturists is small, and 
would be much smaller if the artizans were better instruct- 
ed and employed on modern methods of production. The 
industrial question has become of importance, because of 
the surplus educated class which has grown up in recent 
years, and for whom suitable work must be found. 

The free trade policy pursued by England during the 
last sixty years has of late been subjecled to severe criticism, 
but there is not the least doubt that its imposition on India, 
though it has possibly entailed hardship, and even suffering 
in some directions, has on the whole been distinctly 
beneficial to the country. Yet it is absolutely certain 
that if India enjoyed autonomy in fiscal matters it would 
reverse the present policy, and establish protective duties 
with the object of fostering industrialism within its own 
borders. The European mercantile community would, 
with good reason, welcome it as affording increased facili- 
ties for extending their sphere of operations; the educated 



364 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

natives would equally welcome it, because they think that 
behind the sheltering screen of protection they would be 
able to take an increasingly important part in the industrial 
movement. The dumb millions would have no voice in the 
matter. There can, I think, be no question that the in- 
troduction of an avowedly protective system would greatly 
stimulate industrial activity, but it seems more than doubt- 
ful whether the educated natives would be able to achieve 
their aims. They lack experience of manufacturing opera- 
tions on a large scale, their technical knowledge has yet to 
be acquired, and their command of capital is limited. On 
the otherhand, protection would attract capital from abroad, 
and with the capitalist would come the technical expert 
and the trained organiser of modern industrial undertak- 
ings. Success would undoubtedly attend their efforts, and 
India would contribute labour and raw material, The 
educated Indian would play but a small part, and he 
would in course of time realise that the protective duties, 
mainly served to enable Europeans to exploit the country. 
It can hardly be doubted that this would increase the 
discontent with the existing regime and foster the growth 
of seditious movements. We have imposed free trade on 
India because we have adopted it ourselves, and the majori- 
ty of the British nation hold that in the long run it is the 
best policy that any nation can pursue. If in the British 
Isles we cease to hold that view we must allow the Indian 
Government to alter its fiscal policy also. It is almost 
inconceivable that the manufacturing districts of the 
North will consent to a change in policy that involves 
'the partial closure at least of the Indian markets to 
their trade* Capital and technical skill might, and 
probably would, migrate to the East, but the operatives 
would suffer from the dislocation of trade, and it is difficult 
to see how India would benefit from the sudden establish. 



A RETROSPECT 365 

ment in its midst of an alien industrial system foreign 
to the habits and customs of the people. Protection I 
regard as no satisfactory solution of the Indian industrial 
problem, but rather as likely to increase the difficulties of 
the situation. 

The experience of the past twenty years points to the 
conclusion that the mere provision of facilities for techni- 
cal education, as it is understood in Europe, except for 
industries already established in the country, leads to no 
useful result. In schools and colleges only half the work 
of preparing men for industrial careers can be accomplish- 
ed, and it has proved hopeless to expect that the pioneer- 
ing of new industries can be undertaken by anyone who has 
had no business training and no opportunities of acquiring 
experience in the management of workshops or factories. 
Indian students who have spent years in Europe studying 
in some of the best technical institutions in existence have 
failed to make any headway on their return to India, 
chiefly because they have been unable to secure admission 
to manufacturing concerns, where alone they can obtain 
the knowledge of men and business essential to com- 
.mercial success. The Japanese, it is true, were extraordi- 
narily successful, but under conditions very different 
from those which now prevail. The manufacturing 
concerns, which were freely opened to them, are now 
strictly closed to Asiatics, and the opportunities they 
enjoyed of getting an insight into practical processes of 
manufacture can no longer be obtained. The Japs have 
proved serious trade rivals, and there is no intention in 
Europe of providing another Eastern race with the means 
to set up factories which will ultimately secure the trade 
which has been built up by patient efforts over many 
years. 

'- India, therefore, must recognise that there is 



366 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

no short cut to the industrial conditions necessary 
for her well-being, and that it can only be built 
up by adopting novel methods to meet the unprece- 
dented state of things in the country. There has been 
much discussion as to what can be done, but it 
can hardly be said that any generally accepted plan has 
been evolved. State action in some form or other is re- 
cognised as essential, but in what direction it should be 
exerted is the subject of much controversy. No definite 
declaration of policy has been made by the Government 
of India, but each province within certain limits has been 
allowed to deal as best it can with the local situation. 

In Madras I think it may be fairly claimed that we 
have gone further towards the adoption of a definite policy 
than in any other part of India and, as a natural conse- 
quence perhaps, we have aroused much opposition, and 
it is possible that we may yet be compelled to recede from 
the advanced position that has been taken up in regard 
to the functions of the State, and the extent to which it 
may legitimately take part in the creation of the industries. 
With the exception of a few cotton and jute mills, 
ginning factories, railway workshops, mining ventures, 
and private iron works, there are no large industrial un- 
dertakings in the Presidency, and no accumulations of 
capital in the hands of those who could with any prospect 
of success embark upon pioneer ventures in the indus- 
trial field. Private enterprise therefore is very weak, and 
those who would like to start work on a small scale are 
deterred by the initial difficulties they have to face, owing 
to the lack of independent experts in the various branches 
of industry to advise them how to proceed. We regard 
the provisions of such expert assistance, when practically 
possible, to be a legitimate undertaking on the part of the 
State. For some time past the Department of Industries 



A RETROSPECT 367 

has undertaken such work, and its staff will shortly be 
strengthened by specialists in weaving, dyeing, and tanning. 

The unsatisfactory state of the indigenous industries 
has been the subject of much enquiry, and not a little 
industrial experiment. In some cases important results 
have been obtained, and the way cleared for further 
work. Particular attention has been paid to the hand- 
loom weavers, as they are by far the most important class 
of artizans in the country, whether judged by their num- 
bers or by the value of their annual out-turn, and ( feel 
fairly confident in stating that the technical difficulties 
associated with improvements in their methods of 
manufacture have been overcome, and that it now 
remains to establish a suitable organisation among the 
weavers to enable them to more than double their rate of 
production. The control of that organisation will offer 
suitable employment to many of the educated classes, and 
help to bridge the gulf between the artizan and the intellect- 
ual castes. 

We regard it as certain that much can be done by en- 
couraging the use of modern machinery in place of manual 
labour, but it is necessary first to demonstrate on a practi- 
cal scale the advantages to be derived from the innovation, 
and to determine beyond doubt that the plant to be 
recommended is suited to the limited mechanical skill that 
is available. Our most notable success in this direction has 
been the introduction of oil engines and centrifugal pumps 
for lifting water for irrigation. Already more than 300 
pumping plants have been installed, and each is a centre 
for the diffusion of mechanical knowledge among the 
people, which in course of time will produce important 
results. The application of boring tools to the search for 
underground water supplies has proved equally successful, 
and to a lesser extent internal combustion engines have been 



368 INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION IN INDIA 

applied to driving sugar cane crushing mills, oil mills, and 
paddy htillers all tedious and troublesome operations 
when cattle power was all that could be brought to the 
assistance of the miller. Where labour is extremely cheap, 
as it still is in India, it is often undesirable, even if practi- 
cable, to displace it by modern factory methods ; and the 
study of indigenous processes has been taken up with a view 
to improving them and rendering themmore efficient, rather 
than with the object of displacing them altogether. It is 
fully recognised that the condition of the artizans and 
labouring classes can only be changed by rendering 
them more self-reliant and better workmen. Wages will 
only rise when the workers are capable of earning more, 
and we do not anticipate that any benefit will accrue to 
them from changes in the industrial methods unless they 
call for increased intelligence and skill. Industrial schools 
have not proved a great success, and better results have 
been obtained in demonstration factories where ordinary 
manufacturing conditions prevail, but such factories have 
been attacked as likely to interfere with private enterprise, 
and they may be regarded as still under trial. 

The pioneering of new industries by Government has 
been undertaken, and the results have been satisfactory, 
but rt has been bitterly attacked by the Chambers of -Com- 
merce and the local trades associations, as unsound in 
principle and an undue intervention of Government in 
commercial matters. The arguments adduced might be 
justly applied to countries where private enterprise is 
active, but in Madras they savour somewhat of a dog-in- 
the-manger policy that is not consonant with British 
traditions in the East. What the final outcome of 
the discussions will be rests with the Secretary of State for 
India, who alone can sanction the appointment of the 
technical experts necessary to carry out the policy I have 



A RETROSPECT 369 

just outlined. The laissez fairc policy of the Manchester 
school of economics, which was so widely accepted in the 
early Victorian era, has in these days of keen international 
competition fallen into disrepute, and the tendency of the 
times is to enlarge the functions of the State, through whose 
action much can be accomplished which is beyond the 
powers of private individuals or associations. In no direc- 
tion is it more generally recognised that the State can do 
useful work than in the development and conservation of 
its own resources. The Congested Districts Board in 
Ireland and the Conservation Commission in Canada are 
examples that may be cited of State action analogous to 
that proposed for the creation of a healthy industrial activity 
in the Madras Presidency. 

I have dwelt at some length upon our work in Madras, 
because it will to some extent influence the other provin- 
ces of India in dealing with their own special phase of the 
general problem, but I have no wish to convey an exag- 
gerated idea of its importance. Educated India recog- 
nises that in industrial matters it is in leading strings, and 
the Swadeshi movement is the visible expression of its 
resolve to be free from them as soon as possible. 
The welfare of Great Britain is intimately bound up with 
the prosperity of its great Indian Empire, and to put the 
matter on no higher ground than that of purely selfish 
considerations, it is of vital importance to the expansion 
of our trade with India that industries should be developed 
out there, that labour should be properly trained and 
efficiently employed, so that the low standard of living 
that now prevails may be gradually raised. 



$ 9140 




o 



BINDING SECT JUN 6 1973 



PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE 
CARDS OR SLIPS FROM THIS POCKET 

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO LIBRARY 



HC Chatterton, (Sir) Alfred 

435 Industrial evolution in 

India