A Frayed History: The Journey of Cotton in India

Menon, Meena
OUP India
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This book documents the history of cotton, its patterns of cultivation, the expanding use of hybrid varieties, and their consequences on the increasing distress of cotton growing farmers and weavers in India. It takes a look at the changing trends in how cotton has been perceived and used. A comprehensive study of cotton farming, this book explores the loss of local varieties of cotton and cotton-weaving traditions. The authors argue that cotton growing and weaving cannot be understood in isolation from the forces of rapid economic globalization, and underline the neglect faced by the agricultural sector in the last few decades. They explain in detail how post economic liberalization of the 1990s, Indian cotton farmers became part of an unequal global economy, and what it has meant for people engaged in economic activities hinged on this ancient fabric in India. The book concludes with some pertinent questions on the future of the fabric and its ever changing use. A study aimed at documenting the history and politics of this fabric in India, it works towards making the story of cotton relevant for the present and future generations.