The Origins of Industrial Capitalism in India

Business Strategies and the Working Classes in Bombay, 1900–1940

The Origins of Industrial Capitalism in India

In this book, Rajnarayan Chandavarkar presents the first major study of the relationship between labor and capital in India's economic development in the early twentieth century. He explores the emergence of capitalism in the region, the development of the cotton textile industry, its particular problems in the 1920s and 1930s and the mill owners' and the states' responses to them. The author also investigates how a labor force was formed in Bombay, its rural roots, urban networks, industrial organization and the way in which it shaped capitalist strategies.


"It is a rich, complex, interactive, and fearsomely variable world of labor through which the author skillfully leads us....What makes this an excellent history is the degree of detail incorporated into his story which so enriches its telling....One can almost feel the heat and pulse of living human beings. Such anchoring in life makes history more than theories and analyses which appear to 'manage' the past and protect us from 'over' generalization. At the same time, the author has drawn sound conclusions from analyses based on an impressive foundation of primary source materials....a superb study of an example of industrial development during the first half of this century. Chandavarkar has written a masterful history." George E. Moore, The Historian

"Rajnarayan Chandavarkar's book furthers our understanding of the evolution of Bombay from an insignificant settlement on swampy, inhospitable islands to its current position as the financial capital of India." American Historical Review

"This is a work of great erudition." Reviews of Books