8th Class Social Science Sample Paper Social Science Sample Paper - 10

  • question_answer                   Why did the Indian iron smelting industry decline in the nineteenth century?                                                           


    (i) The iron smelting declined in the later years because the swords and armours making industry died with the conquest of India by the British and imports of iron and steel from England displaced the iron and steel produced by craftpersons in India.
    (ii) Secondly, production of Wootz steel required a highly specialized technique of refining iron. But iron smelting in India was extremely common till the end of the 19th century.
    (iii) In most villages, furnaces fell into disuse and the amount of iron produced came down.
    (iv) One more reason was the new forest laws imposed when the colonial government prevented people from entering the reserved forests, the iron smelters could not find wood for charcoal, and they also could not get iron ore.
    (v) Defying forest laws, they often entered the forests secretly and collected wood, but they could not sustain their occupation on this basis for long.
    (vi) Many gave up their crafts and looked for other means of livelihood.
    (vii) In some areas, the government granted access to the forest. But the iron smelters had to pay a very high tax to the forest department for every furnace they used. This reduced their income. By the late 19th century, iron and steel was being imported from Britain. Ironsmiths in India began using imported iron to manufacture utensils and equipments. This inevitably lowered the demand for iron produced by local smelters.             


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