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Abstract

The leather and leather industry is one of the oldest manufacturing industries in India to have been on the international market since the middle of the nineteenth century, with demand for its goods both domestic and international from the outset. The industry is also one with strong ties to the social structure through caste and culture. Therefore, a large number of people engaged in the industry (entrepreneurs as well as workers) even today come from traditional leather-working castes (belonging to lower castes in the caste hierarchy) and the Muslim community. In this paper, an attempt is made to trace the growth of the leather craft from a study of this literature. The study concluded that, despite the strong taboos of both the Hindus and the Buddhists for leather and leather work, this industry not only expanded and gained in popularity but also in due course came to attain a high proficiency because of the economic policies introduced by the Muslim rules. Having strengthened itself in the Muslim period the industry made strides under British and went on to become the gross earner of foreign exchange for the country.

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