Chapter

Artisans

Tirthankar Roy

in Company of Kinsmen

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780198063780
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080144 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198063780.003.0005
Artisans

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In pre-colonial India, artisans engaged in large-scale operation typically worked in groups that provided only crude labour collectively rather than the regulatory services associated with guilds. Guilds were common among the skilled urban artisans. In the seventeenth century, the karkhanas sponsored by courtiers were the most well-developed business organization among the artisans of north Indian towns. On the other hand, the endogamous guild was the more common form in pre-colonial south India. In imperial cities, the court provided substantial protection, both direct and indirect, to collectives. In all regions, community and masterhood were primarily dedicated to training of labour and quality control. However, even this engagement was changing. The community gave rise to more or less formal caste associations that shifted the emphasis of collective effort from narrowly artisanal industrial training to general education in the twentieth century.

Keywords: India; artisans; training; karkhanas; endogamous guild; collectives; caste associations; quality control; labour; community

Chapter.  8360 words.  Illustrated.

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