Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


American Academy of Asian Studies

First Advisor



Ancient India was reported to produce excellent iron products that were prized in all parts of the world. Not only did she make swords, plow points, and other products necessary for the useful arts, but also ornaments such as ear and finger rings, and iron ornaments to beautify her buildings. India today, though to a lesser degree, is still carrying on the tradition of hand-made iron ornaments, by using the ancient method of smelting and processing. Indian wootz, a product similar to steel, was the best iron product made in olden times, and only India's failure to develop new and improved methods gave the West a chance. And so, during the nine-teenth century, India's iron industry began to decline and iron products were bought from the West.


So while India has many important advantages, it is almost counterbalanced by the problems that need to be solved. India has been able to produce pig iron profitably since about 1895. With the finding of better iron ore deposits by the Martin Company in 1910 and the construction of a modern iron and steel mill by Tata in 1908-11 steel has been produced profitably with the exception of the years 1920 and 1937. During those years the Government of India gave protection to the iron and steel industry in the form of protective tariffs and bounties. In the early years of development the iron and steel industry of India was able only to produce steel for the market in India at a price lower than other iron and steel companies of other nations could produce and sell it in India. Today, the iron and steel companies of India actually produce the lowest price steel as well as pig iron, in the world. This is not because the iron and steel industry of India has solved its problems, but due to India's natural advantages together with the adverse conditions in the other iron and steel centers of the world, high labor costs and depletion of local iron ore deposits. In all probability India's position in the iron and steel industry of the world will become still more favorable and profitable.





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