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Two more Indian sources accessible only in parts in which I had to mine the full passages piece by piece.

  • I now found the earliest version of the Brits cutting the weavers' thumbs claim in The Modern Review - Google Books (1953). This version is still fitting the historical context by claiming that the measure was punishment for those not respecting the Company's monopoly:
    The East India Company can be accused not only for the negligence towards the promotion of the industries but also for imposing abominable hardships on the efficient craftsmen by levying even corporal penalties of which the most detested one was the cutting of the thumbs of the efficient muslin weavers of Dacca who were prohibited from weaving the muslin except for the Company and in the factories of the East India Company.

  • I also found older Indian books mentioning both thumbs claim(s) in a sceptical tone. The second from 1978 is an obvious plagiarism of the first, which is Economic transition in the Bengal presidency, 1793-1833 - Hari Ranjan Ghosal - Google Books (1966). This one says:
    ...The popular story about the weaver's thumbs suggests itself in this connection. There are two versions of the story. One is that the Company's servants with a view to force British manufactures into Bengal cut off the thumbs of the indigenous weavers, so that they might be permanently disabled for weaving. The other is that in order to be relieved from the obligation of working for the Company the weavers themselves cut off their thumbs. The first one may be forthwith rejected as incredible. The Company, instead of discouraging cotton manufacture in Bengal, rather forced advances on the manufacturers for piece-goods. Whether the second one, as Dr. J. C. Sinha supposes (op. cit. pp. 84-85), is based on the passage in Bolts's Considerations where it is said that winders of raw silk cut off their thumbs to escape compulsory winding, is a point on which opinions differ. But in the absence of any other contemporary reference to it, Sinha's contention may be accepted as right.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 3rd, 2013 at 12:24:59 PM EST
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