Gordon T. Stewart
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The rise of jute, 1838–1928
in Jute and empire
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Jute had been grown, spun and woven in West Bengal for centuries before it made its appearance as a factory-manufactured product in world markets in the late 1830s. As the Government of India yearbook confidently affirmed in 1919, 'India enjoys a practical monopoly of the world's supply of jute.' The humid climate and the rich delta lands of the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers provided a unique climate for the widespread cultivation of the jute plant. The problem was that Dundee and Calcutta had different views of what an imperial jute policy might entail. Once the commercial feasibility of factory production was proved in Dundee, the demand for raw jute from Bengal took off. The attitude of the Calcutta mill-owners towards their peasant suppliers was brought out during hearings held in Bengal by the Royal Commission on Agriculture in 1927-1928.

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Jute and empire

The Calcutta Jute Wallahs and the Landscapes of Empire


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