"Parthasaranthi's study of cotton textile weavers of South India during the eighteenth century comprises an important addition to the extensive historical literature on early modern South Asia--particularly the period that witnessed the transition to the early colonial state of the English East India Company. Journal of Interdisciplinary History
"...crisply written, deeply researched, and analytically powerful study of South India....An important contribution of Parthasarathi's book is that it makes politics and political norms central to our understanding of social and economic change..."
--Robert Travers, Cornell University
In a challenge to the widespread belief that poverty and poor living standards have been characteristic of India for centuries, Prasannan Parthasarathi demonstrates that, until the late eighteenth century, labouring groups in South India were in a powerful position, receiving incomes well above subsistence. It was with the rise of colonial rule, the author maintains, that the decline in their economic fortunes was initiated. This is a powerful revisionist statement on the role of Britain in India which will interest students of the region, and economic and colonial historians.