Social Scientist. v 1, no. 11 (June 1973) p. 32.


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SHARAD PATIL

Problem of Slavery in Ancient India

^^Manusa manusan eva dasa-bhavena bhunjate;

vadha"bandha~nirodhena karayanti diva-nisam. Atmanas ca api janati yad duhkhani vadha-bandhane^

^Human beings, enslaved by human beings,

are exploited by them ;

Tortured, shackled, and incarcerated,

are forced to work day and night, Though they (who do this) themselves know,

the agony evoked by torture and chains \"

—Mahabharata, XII 262 38-39.

DASAS and Sudras were the first ever creators of wealth, in the sense of surplus product, in ancient India. The great Indian civilisation, which their ceaseless, back-breaking toil spread over nearly three millenniums has raised and nourished, had in return fashioned and perpetuated the shackles of their slavery and servitude. State power had terrorised them into smouldering submission, religion had preached to them the preordained birthright of servitude, and philosophy had revealed to them the evanescence and unreality of 'this9 world of travail and the eternality and reality of'that3 world of bliss.



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