ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Many Lives of Cotton

A Political History of Cotton in India

A Frayed History: The Journey of Cotton in India by Meena Menon and Uzramma, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2017; pp xxxiv + 384, ₹ 750.


The history of cotton in India spanning five millennia is, in many ways, the story of Indian civilisation itself. Each distinct phase of Indian history, seen through the lens of cotton, is rich, insightful and indeed a representative story of our past. Cotton also occupies a significant place in our economy today, and millions of producers—farmers, handloom weavers and textile workers—are dependent on it for their livelihood. It is, thus, a fascinating and important topic of study for an understanding of today’s realities, which is also informed by the commodity’s complex history.

Meena Menon and Uzramma, the authors of A Frayed History: The Journey of Cotton in India, have worked on cotton in India in different capacities for years. While Uzramma has devoted many decades to the cause of the cotton handloom industry, Menon has written extensively on sociopolitical issues, including the cotton-farming scenario. Their combined efforts are reflected in this book on the history of and the contemporary issues involved in the Indian cotton economy. Extensive in scope, across themes and time, Menon and Uzramma’s volume is an important addition to the contemporary literature on Indian cotton.

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Updated On : 28th Sep, 2018
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