Rice, cotton, & reform
The spinning-wheel and the paddy field.
A consideration of the problems of our food and clothing. Colombo J.D. Fernando, printed at the Granthaprakasa Press 1933
First edition. 8vo (21.5 x 14 cm), pp.[x], 92, frontispiece portrait and 9 plates. A very good copy in original cloth-backed boards, edges lightly worn.
We locate no other copies.
One of the earliest political publications by S.W.R.D. Bandarnaike, edited and revised from his articles on Mahatma Gandhi's Charka Movement published in the Daily News and Silumina. Bandaranaike provides a scathing polemical sketch history of capitalism and industrialisation in Europe and its inevitable decline. "Capitalism, at its last gasp has evolved a remedy that will in the end only quicken the descent into the pit," he writes, identifying the trap of increasing efficiency through mechanisation, cheapening and eliminating labour, and increasing unemployment. Not even ever cheaper power will redeem this system, and socialism is too great a conceptual leap. For Bandaranaike, the Charka Movement bridged the gap between capitalist collapse and socialist ideal. He outlines the present state of cotton cultivation and weaving on the island, and describes the handful of weaving centres active by 1933, the first founded at Kittampahuwa in 1928. These centres trained weavers, mainly local women, and encouraged the collective cultivation of cotton. The final section deals with the poor state of the island's rice paddies, superseded under colonial administration by rubber, coffee, and tea cultivation, and calls for a renewal of self-sufficiency, to insulate Sri Lanka from the wild fluctuations in market prices for cash crops. The frontispiece depicts the author in traditional dress with a spinning wheel, while the illustrations depict Mahatma Gandhi, women working at the weaving centres, cotton cultivation, and paddy fields. S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike (1899-1959) was a lawyer and leading political figure in Ceylon's National Congress, founder of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, and the fourth prime minister of Ceylon. His term was tragically ended with his assassination by a Buddhist monk.