Read this article to learn about the necessity of Human labour in Industrialisation!
Mere changes in production were not what industrialisation achieved. There was far greater impact on the social lives of the people.
Factory production which is essentially the bulwark of industrialisation implies concentration of manufacture in smaller areas for it needs smaller space for producing goods than the traditional means of production.
For example, one textile mill can produce cloth that thousands of weavers can produce. These handloom weavers would be spread in different villages occupying large areas.
The factory on the other hand requires a smaller space, maybe ten or fifteen acres, for producing the same amount of goods. This also implies that factories come up in areas that are not necessarily near the villages where manual production was undertaken. A factory not only produces large quantities of goods but it also engages a large number of people working at different levels, from management to menial.
Such a large concentration of population within a few acres would imply that industrialisation leads to migration from rural areas to the industrial sectors. This is known as spatial juxtaposition, i.e., a large number of people from different regions being placed close together in a comparatively small area.
Concentration of people around the factory would imply that other services would have to develop including housing, roads and infrastructure, shops and supply of provisions. Hence industrialisation is coterminous with urbanisation. It is true that urban centres had existed long before the industrial revolution. In fact, the ancient civilisations of Rome, Greece and Egypt were all centred around cities.
In India, too, Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro were urban centres engaged in trade. There were other urban centres too in ancient times, such as Pataliputra (Patna), Indraprastha, Agra, etc., which came up as administrative hubs. These became the capitals of kingdoms during ancient and medieval times. The third type of cities included pilgrimage centres like Mathura, Haridwar, Nashik, Allahabad, Kashi, etc.
Urbanisation caused by industrialisation with towns or cities growing up around factories and other commercial activities was quite different from the pattern that existed in the pre-industrial era. Hence, the new urbanisation was industry-centred.
The new urban centres had a higher concentration of population because of the growth of industry and its need for human labour. Urban centres faced problems of infrastructure and communication. Besides, in the absence of proper roads there was no sewerage or waste disposal facility. Drinking water too was not freely available.
For example, the city of London, one of the largest urban centres during the early phase of industrialisation, was ill-equipped to cater to such a large population, especially the working poor. Around the mid-seventeenth century (1664-66), London was faced with a plague epidemic where thousands of the working poor died.
The plague was mainly due to the growing population of rats that thrived on the garbage which was thrown out and there was no system of waste disposal. It was after this that the city of London initiated a sewerage and waste disposal system.
In India, Mumbai was one of the early industrial cities, and it faced similar problems in the 1850s. A study by Farooqui (2006) shows that the chawls where the working people lived did not have proper toilets and even the night soil was collected in baskets which would frequently overflow.