large number of commodities to the countries on the Persian Gulf and Red
Sea (West Asia), and also to South East Asian countries. Coastal and sea
trade was in the hands of the Jaina Marwaris and Gujaratis, and Muslim
Bohra merchants. Overland trade with Central and West Asia was in the
hands of the Multanis (mainly Hindus) and Khorasanis (Afghan Muslims).
Barani, a contemporary historian, gives an excellent account of their riches.
Efforts of Sultans to Increase Commerce Political unification of major
parts of India removed the political as well as economic barriers. Introduction
of the institution of dalals or brokers (dalal, meaning one who acts as an
intermediary, is Arabic in origin), facilitated commercial transactions on a
large scale. Construction of new roads and maintenance of old ones
facilitated easy and smooth transport and communications. Sarais or rest
houses were maintained on the roads for the convenience of traders and
merchants.
TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGES
Cotton Textile Industry Increase in its production was affected by the
introduction of several new techniques, such as spinning wheel, cotton-
carder’s bow and weaver’s treadles.
Silk Industry There was also an increase in the production of silk cloth due
to the introduction of sericulture (production of raw-silk by rearing
silkworms), which made India less dependent on Iran and Afghanistan for
raw silk.
Paper Industry Its production in India was started by the Turks and there
was an extensive use of paper from the 14th and 15th centuries.
Building Industry Introduction of new techniques, like the vaulted
(arched) roofing and the cementing lime, made possible large-roofed brick
structures.
Other Crafts Leather-making, metal-working, and carpet-weaving
increased in production due to the increased demand under the Sultans.
However, these crafts did not witness any significant technological changes.