In this hundred and thirty-seventh archive story by Kristian Bertel, we take a look at the garments and the garment industry in India.
Read the background story of this archive photo by the photographer.
Different types of garment fibers are produced in India, among which cotton, jute, silk and wool are the major ones. Both skilled laborers and unskilled officials are needed to run this business smoothly. Thus, the garment industry serves as the platform offering a huge number of employment opportunities to eligible people in India.
Different types of garment fibers are produced in India, among which cotton, jute, silk and wool are the major ones. Both skilled laborers and unskilled officials are needed to run this business smoothly. Thus, the garment industry serves as the platform offering a huge number of employment opportunities to eligible people in India.

Garments of India

The garment and apparel industry in India is the second largest employer in the country providing direct employment to 45 million people and 100 million people in allied industries.


Which fabric is most exported from India?

Ready-made garments made of cotton accounted for the largest value in Indian textile exports in fiscal year 2021. On average that year, textiles from cotton and man-made fibers had a higher export value compared to jute and silk, as well as raw materials from the country.


How many garment industry are there in India?
Over ten years ago, there were 2,500 textile weaving factories and 4,135 textile finishing factories in all of India. The garment industry in India traditionally, after agriculture, is the only industry that has generated huge employment for both skilled and unskilled labour and the garment industry continues to be the second-largest employment generating sector in the India. It offers direct employment to 45 million in the country Kristian Bertel | Photography learned.

First in global jute production
India is first in global jute production and shares 63 percent of the global textile and garment market. Jute is a long, soft, shiny bast fiber that can be spun into coarse, strong threads. Jute is one of the most affordable natural fibers and second only to cotton in the amount produced and variety of uses. Jute fibers are composed primarily of the plant materials cellulose and lignin. Jute fiber falls into the bast fiber category. The industrial term for jute fiber is 'Raw jute'. The fibers are off-white to brown and 1 to 4 meters long. Jute is also called the 'Golden fiber' for its color and high cash value.

India is second in global textile manufacturing and also second in silk and cotton production. In the early years, the cotton textile industry was concentrated in the cotton growing belt of Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Availability of raw materials, market, transport, labour, moist climate and other factors contributed to localisation. In the early twentieth century, this industry played a huge role in Bombay's economy but soon declined after independence. While spinning continues to be centralised in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, weaving is highly decentralised. Over ten years ago, there are 1,946 cotton textile mills in India, of which about 80 percent are in the private sector and the rest in the public and cooperative sector. Apart from these, there are several thousand small factories with three to ten looms. There is a committee established in India that sets the quality standards for textiles manufactured for sale in the internal market as well as for export.




"India is the second largest producer of fibre in the world and the major fibre produced is cotton. 60 percent of the Indian garment industry is cotton-based. Other fibres produced in India include silk, jute, wool and man-made fibres"




Which city is known as textile capital of India?
Bhilwara has emerged as Indias largest manufacturer of fabrics. Also known as 'Textile City of India', it is a famous industrial town in Rajasthan. Bhilwara is renowned in the world for its textile industry and is the major industry is textiles, with more than 850 manufacturing units in the town and the main textile product is synthetic fabric used in trousers. It began with a spinning and knitting company named 'Mewar Textile Mills', owned by industrialist Shri Sampatmal Lodha, started in 1938. Thereafter Shri Laxmi Niwas Jhunjhunwala started his first unit for synthetic textile in 1961 at Bhilwara. Today the fabric manufactured in Bhilwara is exported to many countries around the world.




"India is the largest producer of raw jute and jute goods and the third largest exporter after Bangladesh. There were about 80 jute mills in India at the same time, most of which are located in West Bengal, mainly along the banks of the Hooghly River, in a narrow belt"




What is traditional Hindu clothing?
Clothing in India is dependent upon the different ethnicities, geography, climate, and cultural traditions of the people of each region of India. Historically, male and female clothing has evolved from simple garments like 'Kaupina', 'Langota', 'Achkan', 'Lungi', 'Sari', well as rituals and dance performances. In urban areas, western clothing is common and uniformly worn by people of all social levels. India also has a great diversity in terms of weaves, fibers, colors and material of clothing. Sometimes, color codes are followed in clothing based on the religion and ritual concerned. The clothing in India also encompasses the wide variety of Indian embroidery, prints, handwork, embellishment, styles of wearing clothes. A wide mix of Indian traditional clothing and western styles can be seen in India. Hindu men frequently wear short coats the so-called 'Aangarkha' and the women wear a long scarf or robe 'Sari', whereas typical Muslim attire for men and women is a long white cotton shirt 'Kurtah' and trousers 'Paijamah'.

An Indian headscarf
A 'Ghoonghat' can be named many ways 'Ghunghat', 'Ghunghta', 'Ghuma', 'Odhni', 'Laaj', 'Chunari' and 'Jhund' are all names of a veil or headscarf worn by some married Hindu, Jain and Sikh women to cover their head and often their face. Generally 'Aanchal' or 'Pallu', the loose end of a sari is pulled over the head and face to act as a 'Ghunghat'.

A 'Dupatta' which is a long scarf is also commonly used as a 'Ghungat'. Today, facial veiling by Hindu women as part of everyday attire is now mostly limited to the Hindi-speaking areas of India. Facial veiling is not sanctioned in Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism but some sections of the society who advocated the use of the veil for married women, which came to be known as 'Ghoonghat'. It has been both romanticized and criticized in religious and folk literature.

History of the Ghoonghat
Earliest attested word 'Laaj' in context of veiling is found in Valmiki's Ramayana describing 'Mandodari'. However, it is unclear whether it refers to facial veiling. During a marriage ceremony, the bride wears a veil given by her parents. Later, during the ceremony the bride's mother-in-law covers her face with 'Ghoonghat'. She therefore simultaneously wears the veil given by her parents and that from her in-laws, symbolizing her passing from the protection of one's household to another. During a marriage ceremony, the bride wears a veil given by her parents.

Later, during the ceremony the bride's mother-in-law covers her face with 'Ghoonghat'. She therefore simultaneously wears the veil given by her parents and that from her in-laws, symbolizing her passing from the protection of one's household to another. 'Muh Dikhai' which means the first gaze is a post-wedding ceremony, where the bride is formally introduced to the groom's relatives and extended family. The ceremony takes place once the bride arrives in her new home, each family member lifts her veil, looks at the bride and gives her a welcoming gift. She receives 'Shagun' from her mother-in-law, which is typically jewelry, clothing and silverware. After this ceremony the bride observes full veiling for the next few months or until her parents-in-law advise her to unveil. During the early 1900s, women of royal and aristocratic class were first to abandon strict veiling in public. However, the head was loosely veiled due to sensitivity towards the custom during changing times. The other classes soon followed and it lingered on in some parts of India until well after the 1940s. Facial veiling has gradually declined, and is mostly limited to parts of Hindi-speaking areas today. In 'Ghungat', a woman will veil her face from all men to whom she's related by marriage and who are senior to her husband. This would include, for instance, her husband's father, elder brother and uncles. The effect of 'Ghungat' is to limit a young woman's interaction with older men.

It has been found that fiftyfive percent of women in India practice some form of 'Ghoonghat', majority of them in Hindi-speaking states. The survey found that some women may cover their face fully but for others, partial covering of the face is more a nod to propriety than a large impediment.

Read also:  Radha Krishna




Read also:  Radha Krishna

More archive stories

India is a land full of stories. On every street, on every corner and in the many places in India, life is rushing by you as a photographer with millions of stories to be told. In the archive story above, you hopefully had a readable insight in the story that was behind the photo of garments in Rajasthan. On this website of Kristian Bertel | Photography you can find numerous travel pictures from the photographer. Stories and moments that tell the travel stories of how the photographer captured the specific scene that you see in the picture. The photographer's images have a story behind them, images that all are taken from around India throughout his photo journeys. The archive stories delve into Kristian's personal archive to reveal never-before-seen, including portraits and landscapes beautifully produced snapshots from various travel assignments. The archive is so-far organized into photo stories, this one included, each brought to life by narrative text and full-color photos. Together, these fascinating stories tell a story about the life in India. India, the motherland to many people around the world, a land of unforgetable travel moments. The archive takes viewers on a spectacular visual journey through some of the most stunning photographs to be found in the photographer's archive collection. The photographer culled the images to reflect the many variations on the universal theme of beauty and everyday life in India. By adding these back stories the photographer's work might immensely enhanced the understanding of the photographs.