Slavery in Hinduism

By Avijit Roy


I apologize for my late response to fatemolla's erudite article. Yes, definitely "SLAVERY IS MANKINDíS MOST CRUEL INSTITUTIONAL SYSTEM THIS PLANET HAS EVER SAW". No doubt about it. I fully agree. But I do not agree with the following statement of fatemolla -

"Among religions it is only Islam that legalized slavery so loudly and clearly."

No. I do not agree. Hinduism is more specific and louder in legalizing slavery, IMO. Hinduism is the one and only religion in this world which has a documented concept of "Occhut" (Untouchables). It is the only religion in this world which spread racism directly by scripture, and by preachers. Those 'untouchable Dalits' who has been considered as 'slaves' by Aryans, are, no doubt, the most pitiable victims of Hindu religion.

In ancient Rig-Veda, we find clear  mention of slaves. From Aryan scripture, we get three types of slaves [Ref. Pracheen Bharotey Dash-protha : Devraj Channa] -

1. Slaves because of incurring debts

2. Slaves because of loosing in gamble

3. Slaves because of loosing in war.

Since then the slaves are denoted as captivated purchasable product. It has been legalized to have intercourse with the women of defeated side after the war as the women were considered as the "spoil of war". There are numerous examples in ancient Hindu scriptures where royal sages made relationship with slave-girls. One example may be the birth of Kaksmibaan as depicted in Rig-Veda (1|116) who was born because of the relationship between Dirghotomaa and a slave-girl of Angamhishi. Kobosh-Oilush was also a child of a slave girl.

Hindu scriptures  intentionally described slaves as "black", "black-vagina", "inactive" or even "inhuman" etc. Aryans were different for the slaves and it is said that Indra, the soverign of the hindu gods, did this separation (Rig-Veda 2|20|7, 10|22|3, 86|19, Atharva veda 5|13|8). A Slave was considered nothing but as a property, and (s)he was even allowed to be destroyed for just the benefit of Aryans (Rig-Veda 1|19|8, 5|34|6, 6|25|2, 8|40|6). It was also an ancient tradition to provide a slave girl with a new bride just after the marriage for her convenience in new house. In Vedic literature of later ages, we get an incident of a paramount ruler who made presentation  about thousand slave-girls to his clergy [Oitoreyo Brahmmon  39|8]. Ramayan and mahabharat also mentioned about slaves. In an incident of Ramayana, we once found Raja Ram meeting with slave community (Dhibor Das) who lived by the bay of Ganges. They used to live their life by fishing, hunting and collecting fruits in near by jungles. It is quite interesting to note that there is a lot of evidence that slaves were being kept in the palace of Ram and Kaikeyi. (BUT SURPRISINGLY THERE WAS NOT A SINGLE EVIDENCE OF KEEPING SLAVES in the royal mansion of Ravan in Lanka.) We also find a very clear indication of a well-established slave-based Hindu society in Mahabharat .






  Replies Name/Email Yahoo! ID Date  
4092 SLAVERY-- Bible and Christianity Ernesto Guevara   Sun  1/13/2002  
4093 Re: SLAVERY IN HINDUISM paramanab   Sun  1/13/2002  
4096 Re: SLAVERY IN HINDUISM raman padma   Sun  1/13/2002  
4140 Re: SLAVERY IN HINDUISM paramanab   Wed  1/16/2002  
4183 Re: SLAVERY IN HINDUISM Kiran A.D.H.   Sun  1/20/2002  
4218 Re: SLAVERY IN HINDUISM raman padma   Tue  1/22/2002  
4269 Re: SLAVERY IN HINDUISM paramanab   Fri  1/25/2002  
4122 Re: SLAVERY IN HINDUISM Abul Kasem   Tue  1/15/2002  
4138 Re: SLAVERY IN HINDUISM raman padma   Wed  1/16/2002  

[Mukto-mona] [Articles] [Recent Debate] [Special Event ] [Moderators] [Forum]