- What are cottage industries?
- Do they exist now? What is their value?
- What is the difference between the products of the factories and those of cottage industries?
- Would it be possible to return to this system?
In the olden days, men used to work in their own simple houses or cottages, as they are called in England. A man might weave cloth, make garments, carve wood into articles, hammer metal into vessels of beauty and use. With the coming of machinery, factories sprang up and industry was organized on a large scale. The same articles were obtained by mass production, being standardized according to a particular pattern or style. Instead of being a craftsman, and expressing his own ideas and personality in his work, a man became a factory laborer attending to a machine or attending to only and processor stage in the manufacture. This particularly noticeable in the weaving of cloth.
So the cottage industries of the past came to an end and the laborers became factory “hands.” Since machines can produce far more than men cán, many became unemployed. Moreover, there was no longer a scope for the ideas and personality of the individual, but the. market became flooded with cheap factory-made goods. In some cases this helped export trade, but it created a nation of unskilled laborers, poorly paid, with a large number of unemployed.
In olden days, Pakistan and India produced beautiful cloths on the hand-looms of Dacca and Surat. Every house in some villages had its little charka or handloom, on which good cloth was woven. If factories have been good for the great towns, the home industries are better for the villagers. That is why many reformers, thought it would be better to return to the old days of cottage industries. Thereby helping the agriculturist to earn something in the long idle period after he has harvested his crops.
It is a difficult problem. Some of our greatest leaders think that our future depends on further industrialization and on the extension of the factory system. On the whole, it is perhaps possible to push on with the expansion of factories, and at the same time, give encouragement to the old manufacture of home articles, which made some districts famous for their beautiful work.