Manchester of India: Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad is referred to as the 'Manchester of India' owing to its popular textile industry. The name was given to it by a textile centre in Manchester, Great Britain because of the similarities between the booming textile industries in Ahmedabad and Manchester.

Ahmedabad, capital of Gujarat, is known for its colourful culture, remarkable buildings, excellent museums, fine restaurants yet retaining an old-world charm in its old quarters. Ahmedabad, also called Amdavad, is a major industrial region of India,  located on river Sabarmati banks. It is also the home to the prominent freedom fighters namely Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel. he older part of the city is enclosed by a wall and that is the reason why Ahmedabad is also called the walled city. It is the fifth-largest city in the country with a top rank in education. It has also gained a reputation for housing the cotton textile industry that supplies finished goods within Indian and also exports overseas. 

Why is Ahmedabad Called 'The Manchester of India'?

1. Strategic Location

Ahmedabad is strategically located in a cotton-producing region. This means raw cotton is in abundance and is always available to the mills. In addition, there is the easy availability of skilled as well as unskilled labours from nearby areas. Finally, there are rich businessmen in Gujrat, who offered them money to set up the textile industry. As Ahmedabad is well connected to the country's major cities, it is easy to transport the finished goods to every other part of the globe. Ahmedabad is also backed by sufficient power supply. As a result, it developed as the major cotton-producing state in India as well as the world.

River Sabarmati, Ahmedabad

2. The First Mill Was Established in 1861

The first cotton textile mill, known as the Shahpur Mill, came into existence in 1861. After its huge success, other businessmen felt inspired to invest in textile mills in Ahmedabad. By the end of the 20th century, there were thirty-three mills set up in the city. Soon after, the city of Ahmedabad was supplying cotton textiles to different parts of the country. For the very first time, two of the leading Indian industrialists, Ambalal Sarabhai and Kasturbhai Lalbhai called Ahmedabad the 'Manchester of India'.

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So, when you are in the textile capital of the nation, a visit to the Calico Textile Museum is a must. It is also considered as one of the best textile museums across the globe. Calico Textile Museum displays textiles and clothes dating back to the 15th century and showcases the artistic skills of the Indian artists.

History of Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad has a lot of historical significance. The city has lots to offer, starting from the indigenous textiles to marvellous places. No wonder, this city will leave its visitors mesmerized. The history of Ahmedabad is dated back to the 11th century when the surrounding area was called 'Ashapalli' or 'Ashaval'.Several rulers of that era ruled the city. There was a king named Karna, who belonged to the Chalukya dynasty. He occupied the entire city, named it Karnavati and laid its foundation on the banks of Sabarmati River. The Chalukyas ruled the city for a brief period of time and finally, it went on to the hands of the 'Vaghela Dynasty'.

City Walls of Ahmedabad
In the year 1411, Karnavati was occupied by Sultan Ahmed Shah, grandson of Muzaffar Shah I. He established a new city as the capital on the Sabarmati River's eastern regions and named it Ahmedabad. Finally, Ahmedabad was captured by the Mughal King, Akbar in the year 1573. During the reign of Akbar, Ahmedabad became the hub of trade and commerce mainly textiles. It was overflowing with tranquil lakes, magnificent buildings and beautiful mosques that added to the charm of the city. Ahmedabad was also the provincial capital of the Mughal dynasty until 1758 when they lost to the Marathas.

After the Third Anglo Maratha War, the British took over Ahmedabad from the Marathas in the year 1818. During British rule, Ahmedabad gained a lot of importance. There was also a railway link established between Ahmedabad and Bombay. As a result, it became the home of the well-known cotton textile centre in the nation.

History of Ahmedabad, Gujrat
Various movements concerning Indian Independence grew the roots in Ahmedabad. As a result, two ashrams were established namely Sabarmati Ashram and Kochrab Ashram. Following partition and independence in the year 1947, Ahmedabad also faced several communal riots between the two communities, the Hindus and the Muslims. In the year 1960, after independence, Ahmedabad became the capital city of Gujrat with half a million population. It is also a major hub of education, textile and chemical.

Comparison Between the Two Cities, Manchester and Ahmedabad

The city of Manchester is well known for its cotton mills around the globe. The temperate climate of the region is ideal for cotton thread spinning. The city is also located on the River Mersey banks, making it easier to dry the cotton threads. Similarly, Sabarmati River helps in easy drying of the cotton threads in Ahmedabad. Also, the climate in Ahmedabad favours growing as well as spinning cotton threads.

In the current era, Ahmedabad is a leading manufacturer of cotton textiles. It also houses the oldest textile mill in the country that manufactures various kind of garments. Denim clothes that are manufactured here are often used by high-end brands across the globe. The high quality of the textiles manufactured in Ahmedabad has given it the reputation of 'Manchester of India'

This post was published by Atreyee Dutta

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