India’s name has always been synonymous with its Cotton Textile Industry. But few know about the deep roots of a thriving Woolen Industry way back from the era of Indian Royalty and Mugal Emperors who have been patrons of Exquisite work of arts ,from finely embroidered, breathtaking jamavar shawls, to pure wool product, garments and carpets.
Traditionally, home run handlooms and skilled artisans have Formed the basic back bone of Textiles Industry in India. Manufacture of fine woolen textile products in India has been forte of artisan skills of handloom weaver’s right from Kashmir in the North to various manufacturing centers in Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh for centuries. Various kinds of animal hair obtained from hilly terrain were processed and used to make fine products like shawls, carpets, rugs etc.
During the British regime in second half of the 17th century, large amounts of cotton goods were exported regularly from India. Soon the modern structure of mechanized Manufacturing of Cotton Textile Industry was followed by the Woolen Textile Industry consecutively.
However, establishment of mechanized mill in Woollen Sector was relatively late and perhaps the first mill was ‘Lallmli’ of British India Corporation set up in Kanpur.
The modern industry followed growth in centers like Thane, Mumbai, Jamnagar, Vadodara in West and Dhariwal, Amritsar, Panipat, Ludhiana in the North.
In the later part of the 20th Century saw creation of new facilities in Mysore, Raipur and Nagpur. Other than that new investment in green field large projects remained insignificant. Instead the investment in this sector was more focused on existing sites to modernize and expand.
Inthe early stage of development, production was confined for coarse to medium qualities mostly for the requirement of defence department. Requirement for fine variety of woll and worsted fabrics were met through imports chiefly from U.K.
Post independence, economics policies led to rapid growth of woollen textile manufacture in the organized sector and mushroming of small to medium sized units all over India producing all kinds of wool products, knitwear, hosiery and woollen blazer fabrics followed by blankets.
The middle of 20th century, eventually saw imports being virtually stopped and domestic production keeping pace with local demand followed by product innovation and instroduction of latest technology for processing of greasy wool from Australia to finished products.
Today in this new century the woollen sector of the Indian Textile Indutry has many big brands names on its horizon. The woollen industry deserves a special mention for creating the concept of brand marketing on the national scale in the textile field. Some of the brands have been successful to create a mark even outside Indian boundary.
The industry aquired a distinct status with creation of 'Indian Woollen Mils Federation' in Mumbai, nearly 50 years ago, to serve the interest of the Industry.