Cotton was the primary commodity of the first days of an Industrial production system that changed the world.

With the arrival of the British East India Company in India and their overlordship on the cotton manufacturing (among other things) on the Indian Subcontinent, the ever so romantic and prosperous Story of cotton and cotton farmers that I discussed in my earlier post came to an erratic end. 

SEED SELECTION AND GROUND PREPARATION FROM HISTORY OF SUSTAINABLE COTTON

READ MORE ON OUR COTTON SERIES

I will talk more about the India story at the end of this article. Let us first look at the Story of cotton in America. (more…)

Sustainable Cotton: As I turn through the pages of the book ‘A Frayed History. The Journey of Cotton in India‘. I find nuggets of great information, which I plan to compile and share succinctly in a series of articles starting with this one. 

Cotton, the wonder fiber, was at the start of history, found in two parts of the world—India, and Peru, as has been inferred from the study of old inscriptions and arts. Sir George Watt, a Scottish Botanist who worked in India as a reporter on botany, has shared very early research that says cotton was considered sacred in India. In those times, the word used for cotton was ‘karpasi.’ The sacred threads of a Brahman were made of ‘karpasi’ to put on over his head in three strings. (more…)

THE STORY OF INDIAN COTTON
Two women spinning white threads. 1780-1858. Watercolor gouache on mica, 97 x 149 mm. New York Public Library Digital Collections NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b13976376. Click on image to enlarge it.
The Story of Indian Cotton: As we enter the sixth month of the pandemic I sit in disbelief, bewildered at the might of the virus- something that has incredible power but molecularly so small. This destructive virus almost feels like prescience as I consecutively write about how mankind has manipulated the existence of indigenous cottonseed, another ‘small’ yet ‘mighty’ being of nature. 

The Discovery of Indian Cotton (more…)

Traditional Block Printing Technique
Marasim
Sustainable Cotton. In 2012, when I was doing my research on traditional wisdom of food in India. I learnt about the scholar and environmental activist Vandana Shiva. I appreciate the knowledge she shared on biodiversity conservation, organic farming, the rights of farmers, and the process of seed saving. It is a good sign that the food environmentalists have started to understand the harm the food ‘industry’ has done to the soil by replacing the traditional wisdom of nurturing and growing food on farms with the modern invention of  lab made, chemically manipulated foods and agricultural practices.

The fashion industry should also adopt the concept of returning to “Earth Citizenship” and becoming a part of the Earth’s life cycles. The issue is that the fashion industry, with its long supply chains and numerous processes between idea generation and product development, lacks the time to develop an understanding of something as ancient and essential as cotton farming methods. The fashion industry generally places price above practices when it comes to most steps in the product development process.

COTTON- A CASH CROP

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