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Slavery: Role Of Christainity And Islam
This thread is to discuss the role of Xtianity and Islam in slavery. Does the Bible condone slavery? Does the Koran? Are today's black people -Xtian and Muslim- worshipping their tormentors?

Black people comprise a sizeable chunk of the US, and Baptists etc have cleverly deceived poor black people into singing praises of Jesus. The black "Nation of Islam", has chosen Islam as the "religion" through which it will express its anti-white feelings, which is misplaced, to say the least.

The Baptists etc. are able to make plans to harvest souls so freely in Asia partly because their own homes are safe in America. A black "insurgency" will put a spanner in the missionary works.
'History of Christianity: Africa and African Slavery'
- But it only very briefly mentions Islam's 'contribution' near the end, though, as you stated, Islam also has a vicious record when it comes to slavery of Africans and others.
- And there's book suggestions.

Modern Protestant Churches, Evangelical Churches and the like
- Like which major denominational churches split over slavery issue.
- Also about the bigots among the famous evangelicals in America
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->In the 1960s, the Southern Baptists supported segregation laws and opposed the black civil rights movement. In 1995, the Southern Baptist Convention issued an apology to all African-Americans and asked for their forgiveness.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->It's why I don't understand when people from the sunny regions think about becoming Baptist or whatever. 'Want to be untermensch all your life? Please sign up to christoislamism.'
(Or communism for that matter: where all are equal, except some are more equal than others. - George Orwell had the kind of grasp on communism that only people formerly on fire for it have.)
Mormons ('Church of jesus christ of the latter day saints') are a rather recently invented denomination of christians. These kooky people keep annoying everyone, just like the jehovah's witnesses, by knocking on your doors and 'witnessing'. Wish they had stayed in America instead of spreading.

Anyway, they believe a Jewish tribe travelled to the US long ago and settled there. Their racists beliefs are related to the mainstream christian 'hamitic curse' racism, but are weird in that they've specifically dragged in native Americans and Polynesians (peoples unknown to scribes who wrote the babble).

http://freetruth.50webs.org/C5.htm#Racism - this also has a part on discrimination against and slavery of Africans
Both the religions drew from Greek and Roman civilization which had a alrge slave component. The so called Greek Ideals apply only to the free people.
However Eastern civilizations also had slaves - dasas. The Mahabharat has great soliloquies against slavery by Arjuna addressing Uttara Kumara.
<!--QuoteBegin-ramana+Apr 17 2007, 10:28 PM-->QUOTE(ramana @ Apr 17 2007, 10:28 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->(1) Both the religions drew from Greek and Roman civilization which had a alrge slave component. The so called Greek Ideals apply only to the free people.
(2) However Eastern civilizations also had slaves - dasas. The Mahabharat has great soliloquies against slavery by Arjuna addressing Uttara Kumara.
[right][snapback]67267[/snapback][/right]<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->I've numbered the above to address them one by one.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Both the religions drew from Greek and Roman civilization which had a alrge slave component.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
(1) Christianity got its pro-slavery attitude from the OT and even NT. The early Fathers of the church were not referring to the Roman example in pushing for instituting slavery, but deferred to the OT and NT instead: the babble in other words. The same book provided the inspiration/motivation for slavery throughout the history of organised slavery in christianity.

Roman slavery has long been accused of being worse than that of Greece. Maybe this is because of the larger numbers involved, I'm not too sure. Although it has to be noted that Sparta was made up of mostly slaves with a few citizens. The slaves and citizen women could not vote. Not Greece at its best.

As to Roman slavery then, it was fundamentally different to Christian slavery in many respects.
<b>Christian apologetics: "the Ancients were worse"</b>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->...anyone who compares ancient slavery with modern negro slavery--a system that was actually instituted by Christians--will find it hard to point out in what direction the modern was an improvement on the ancient slavery, while it is easy to show that in some respects it was distinctly worse. And there is always the important distinction that, while ancient slavery represented a phase of social development, and tended to something better, <b>modern, or Christian, slavery stood for a deliberate retrogression in social life</b>.
In old Rome, as we have seen, encouragement was given to acts of manumission [giving slaves their freedom]. In Christian America the reverse policy was followed.
-- Christianity, Slavery and Labour, by Chapman Cohen (1931)<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>Greco-Roman slavery had nothing to do with skin-colour</b>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->...<b>there was no distinction of colour</b>. The Roman or the Greek, might consider himself superior to others, but his superiority was based on considerations that were personal, national, or cultural. When Rome conquered a people, absorption in the empire almost automatically brought a share in the empire's dignities and privileges. Inter-marriage took place...

<b>The theory that the control of the world should rest with the white races is a modern theory</b>, and, as a consequence, colour has in modern times carried with it a badge of inferiority, or divinely ordained servitude. Roman religion was polytheistic, inclusive, and tolerant. Christianity was monotheistic, exclusive, and intolerant. And as the latter extended its sway over the world of politics it introduced the spirit of exclusiveness and intolerance into all departments of life. "Saved" and "lost" in theology were the equivalents of superior and inferior in sociology. And as the overwhelming bulk of the coloured people remained outside the Christian pale, the development of the colour bar was easy. Christianity gave just that religious sanction which slavery required for its ethical justification. Slavery applied to whites was revolting; slavery applied to blacks became part of the divinely appointed order.

It was the <b>Christian</b> who elaborated the <b>theory that black slavery was permissible because the whole of the dark-skinned people were suffering from the curse God pronounced on Ham, the son of Noah.</b> 
-- Christianity, Slavery and Labour, by Chapman Cohen (1931)<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->In a larger degree the slave in Rome, in addition to his employment in agriculture and in the household, engaged in all trades and trading. The whole field of trade and industry was open to the slave, and Professor Dill comes close to the facts when he says that
<!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>"the slave class of antiquity really corresponded to our free labouring class."</b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>It will not do, therefore, to identify Pagan with Christian slavery.</b> Slavery as an institution existed in both cases, but, as Professor Cairnes says,
"We look in vain in the records of antiquity for a traffic which in extent, in systematic character...can be regarded as the analogue of the modern slave trade."
<b>The Christian slave trade represents one of the most frightful and systematic brutalities the world has ever known.</b>
"<b>Christianity met the movement by turning freemen into slaves.</b> Under Paganism, bodies only were enslaved; minds were left free. <b>Christianity enslaved both body and mind."</b>
-- Christianity, Slavery and Labour, by Chapman Cohen (1931)<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Ramana, about slavery of African people under christianity see
- http://freetruth.50webs.org/A4b.htm#BibleAfricanSlavery <i>'Biblical justification'</i>
- http://freetruth.50webs.org/A4b.htm#ChurchesSlavery <i>'Churches and slavery'</i>
(especially the subsection 'Religious reasons used to institute and uphold slavery')
Still about point (1) of Ramana.
But before christian slavery of Africans, there was christian slavery of Europeans after the christian takeover-and-destruction of the Roman Empire. It too was different from Roman slavery and the evolution thereof, because the christian kind was motivated by the babble.

I'm pasting some select bits from here, can't be bothered plunking it all downSadEven the bits not in <quote> tags are from the page)

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->...it is quite a mistake to suppose that all the work in Greece and Rome was done by slaves. ...To the Greeks and Romans it seemed that enslaving a man was a humane improvement upon the older practice of killing him when he was taken captive: whereas the Christian nations raided Africa for the express purpose of enslaving men. Finally, it is a sheer myth that the Christian Church abolished slavery, or made any protest whatever against it for many centuries; yet I have already quoted a Greek moralist, Alcidamas, condemning slavery in the fourth century B.C., and one Stoic moralist after another condemned it.
-- The Story Of Religious Controversy, by Joseph McCabe, historian and former Franciscan monk<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->There can be no doubt that, <b>if the Roman Empire had continued and developed normally, slavery would have been abolished.</b>
...the entire empire rested to a great extent upon slave-labor. The immense privileges even of the Roman working men were based upon the labor of slaves in the provinces.
<b>Yet public feeling was profoundly affected by the Stoic principle, and the "manumission" of slaves -- the grant or sale of freedom to them -- was a daily occurrence.</b> Even before Christ this liberation proceeded on so large a scale that the Emperor Augustus checked it for a time, on political grounds. The Stoics urged it and facilitated it, and the final term of the movement was certain.
-- The Story Of Religious Controversy, by Joseph McCabe<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>Now Compare:</b>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->It is an historical fact, supported by the most positive of evidence that slavery in the Roman Empire was mitigated by the noble philosophy of the Stoics and not by the teachings of the church fathers, who never thought of recommending the abolition of slavery.
-- History of Civilization, by historian Emil Reich<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>The first Christian Roman Emperor, Constantine (c274-337) actually undid most of the humane laws to alleviate the position of slaves laid down by his pagan predecessors.</b> He permitted parents to sell their children into slavery and allowed finders of abandoned children to bring them up as slaves. He also issued a decree which stipulates the death penalty for any Christian woman who had sexual intercourse with a slave; that the slave would also be put to death is a foregone conclusion. [The Social Record of Christianity, Joseph McCabe]
Link<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd--><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Constantine decreed that slaves owned by Jews were to be freed if they embraced Christianity, but that a free woman who gave herself to a pagan slave was to be burned, and the slave executed.
-- Faiths of Man Encyclopedia of Religions, J.G.R. Forlong<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Here is another historical truth to underline: For eight hundred years no Christian leader condemned slavery. And here is one for the Roman Catholic: No Pope ever condemned slavery. In Rome the Pope saw more slavery than in any other city in the world.
-- The Story Of Religious Controversy, by Joseph McCabe<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Throughout the Bible slavery is as cheerfully and leniently assumed as are war, poverty, and royalty. In the English Bible there is frequent mention, especially in the parables, of "servants." The Greek word is generally "slaves."</b>
Jesus talks about them as coolly as we talk about our housemaids or nurses. Naturally, he would say that we must love them: we must love all men (unless they reject our ideas). But there is not a syllable of condemnation of the institution of slavery. Fornication is a shuddering thing; but the slavery of fifty or sixty million human beings is not a matter for strong language. Paul approves the institution of slavery in just the same way. -- He is, in fact, worse than Jesus. He saw slaves all over the Greco-Roman world and he never said a word of protest.

As to the customary quibble, that these reforms were "implied" in the teaching of Jesus... It reminds me also of the great achievement of Pope Leo XIII, who at last (in the eighteenth century of Papal power) found the courage to declare that the worker was entitled to "a living wage." But when the clergy found that working men of the nineteenth century were not so easily duped by phrases, and wanted to know what was a living wage, the Pope refused to answer the questions privately submitted to him.  <!--emo&:o--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ohmy.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ohmy.gif' /><!--endemo-->
-- The Story Of Religious Controversy, by Joseph McCabe<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->See more: The Bible on Slavery

<b>History of Church and slavery</b>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Only in 867 did the Church concern itself with slaves' marriages; for the pious [5th century Christian Roman Emperor] Theodosius held that "slaves were too vile to be worthy of legal notice."
- Christian slaves were not permitted to partake of the Eucharist without their master's consent, as decided by the [4th century] Council of Laodicea; and
in 541 A.C. the Council of Orleans required that the descendants of slaves should be re-enslaved.
- The Council of Toledo in 633 A.C. forbade bishops to set free church slaves, or to sell Christian slaves to any but Christians, and
- other Councils made laws about slaves down to 1179 A.C.
- The Abbey of St Germain des Prés owned 80,000 slaves, and that of St. Martin de Tours 20,000.
-- Faiths of Man Encyclopedia of Religions, J.G.R. Forlong<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Its conscience was only shocked when a Jewish or Heathen master owned Christian slaves. <b>Nay, the Church not only held slaves itself, not only protected others who held slaves, but it thundered against all who should despoil its property by selling or liberating slaves belonging to the Church.</b>
- The Council of Agatho, 506, considered it unfair to enfranchise the slaves of monasteries, seeing that the monks themselves laboured.
- The Council of Toledo, 597, stigmatised as robbers those who set free the slaves of the Church without giving an equivalent.
- The Council of Epaona, 517, prohibited abbots from emancipating the slaves of their monasteries.
<b>Slaves were bequeathed to the Church by will, or given as an act of piety, and never was the gift refused.</b> The Church, too, held its slaves to the end. In France, in his day, Voltaire [18th century] estimated that the Church held between 50,000 and 60,000 slaves.
-- Christianity, Slavery and Labour, by Chapman Cohen<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

---- excerpting is over. I can't be bothered pasting anymore. Too much copy and paste, too tiring... Read the page http://freetruth.50webs.org/B3c.htm#AncientSlavery if you want more shocks.
<!--QuoteBegin-ramana+Apr 17 2007, 10:28 PM-->QUOTE(ramana @ Apr 17 2007, 10:28 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->(2) However Eastern civilizations also had slaves - dasas. The Mahabharat has great soliloquies against slavery by Arjuna addressing Uttara Kumara.
[right][snapback]67267[/snapback][/right]<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Ramana, I'd read in several Hindu sites that dasa does not mean slave, in spite of what western translators say.

(a) Origin of word 'Dasa'
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->On the next page, however, Witzel does mention <b>the ethnonyms of the enemies of the Vedic Aryans, the Dasas (Iranian Daha, known to Greco-Roman authors as Daai, Dahae), Dasyus (Iranian Dahyu, “tribe”, esp. hostile nomadic tribe) and Panis (Greek Parnoi), as unmistakably the names of Iranian tribes</b>. <b>The identification of these tribes as Iranian has been elaborated by Asko Parpola (“The problem of the Aryans and the Soma”, in Erdosy: op.cit., p.367), and is now well- established</b>, a development which should at least <b>put an end to the talk of the Dasas being “the dark-skinned aboriginals <i>enslaved</i> by the Aryan invaders”.</b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

(b) How 'Dasa' is different from Welsh, Slave and Oryan
Next point. Merely because the Dasas (Dahas) were an Iranian enemy tribe of Vedic Hindus doesn't mean that they were regarded as slaves. This is certainly different from other cases:

- Been told that <b>'Welsh' means slave</b> in whatever (non-Welsh) British language came up with the term, I think it's English.
Welsh people in their own language, don't call themselves 'Welsh'. They call themselves Cymru or Cymry, Wales' real name is related to that.

Yes, here you go:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>The word Welsh is actually an Old English word meaning “foreigner; slave”</b> and at first was applied by the Anglo-Saxons to all the native peoples of Britain. As you might guess, the word Welsh is not used by the Welsh: they call their language Cymraeg, their country Cymru and themselves Cymry. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->The reason this is different from Dasa in India is because Daha is the Iranian tribe name for their own people, whereas Welsh is the English name for the Cymry.

- Another case: Slav. The word slave comes from this.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->[Origin: 1250–1300; ME sclave < ML sclāvus (masc.), sclāva (fem.) slave, special use of Sclāvus Slav, so called <b>because Slavs were commonly enslaved in the early Middle Ages;</b> see Slav]<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->http://www.brainyquote.com/words/sl/slave220459.html
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->slave in Afrikaans is slaaf (Afrikaans comes from Dutch, soSmile
slave in Dutch is slaaf
slave in French is esclave
Slave in German is Sklave
slave in Hungarian is rabszolga
slave in Italian is schiava, schiavo
<b>slave in Latin is famulus, servus</b>
slave in Portuguese is escravo
slave in Spanish is esclavo
slave in Swedish is slav<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->As you can see, Latin's word for slave is not related to Slav (Hungarian doesn't seem to be either), because, as stated, it was <b>in the Middle Ages that Slavs were enslaved leading to the word 'slave'</b>. That too is christian legacy.

- Finally there is the case of Orya = Uralic for slave. This has led some to think that people who designated themselves as Airya or Arya (Iranians?) were enslaved:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The Uralic term orya, “slave”, from either Iranian airya or Sanskrit Arya, <b><i>may indicate</i></b> that their position was not as dignified as that of the Mitannic horse trainers. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->As it indicates, it's not a certainty either that that's where Orya comes from.
So this - <b><i>if true</i></b> - would be the only case that might bear any similarity to Dasa having a negative connotation in India whereas it was originally a term in Iranian. And that too <b><i>only if</i></b> Dasa had a negative connotation in India. See (c ) below as to why I don't think even this holds.

(c ) Did Dasa ever mean slave?
- Hanuman is referred to Rama's dasa. It does <i><b>not at all</b></i> mean slave, as can be even understood from reading Ramayanam. Hanuman is devoted to Rama. At best we can then say Hanuman considers himself at Rama's eternal service, so we may say that dasa here is servant: Hanuman is Rama's servant.
- 'Kalidasa' - coming after Mahabharatam, Kalidasa is Kali's devotee so in that sense, we can translate it as Kali's servant again.

Mahabharatam lies between both Ramayanam and Kalidasa. So did 'dasa' get a new meaning during Mahabharatam times?
I think there could well be another explanation for this. Arjuna might merely be speaking of the plight of dasas as in the meaning in his time (servants? people in servitude? - no longer the Iranian term of course from Vedic times; but refers to Indian people, perhaps an entire Indian Hindu community's name by Mahabharatam's time?)
Attributing the meaning of 'slavery' to Dasa is where I think it went wrong. Though some translators might have given 'Slave' as the meaning of dasa - but this could just be dependent on the translators. Like the Bible originally uses slave and some later versions translated it as 'servant' to make it more friendly, British colonials could well have <b>done the opposite</b> to Hindu scripture - as indeed they had with the original occurrences of 'Dasa' in the Vedas: read these as references to some imagined 'Dark-skinned aboriginal Indian' instead of the actual (probably lighter-than-average-Indians) Iranian Dahae tribe.

Ramana, could you elaborate on what evidence (or strong indications) you have that Dasa conclusively meant slave? By the time of Mahabharatam, I mean.
Ignore that the meaning of slave has been given to 'dasa' - there is no mention of the occurrence of the events and behaviour associated with the meaning of slavery. Nothing comparable even to Roman or Greek slavery, or even Egyptian, let alone the christian kind. The Persian Empire had paid men, not slaves according to some Iranian sites.
But in old Indian writings there's no allusion to work done by slaves (that is, enforced work for no pay) or slave markets. Nothing I can find or have heard of. Unless someone here knows of examples.
(Indian islamis had slaves of course and instituted slave markets, but they are not of concern in this conversation.)
I dont have any thing other than the speech that Arjuna gives to Uttara Kumara after the Utaara Go grahana about the miserable existence of dasas and speeches in the Kaurava sabha after the Pandavas lose the dice game. You seem to have a better handle on it. The word might not mean slave but it definitely meant servant with no rights and in bondage to the owner as Karna describes. I take your word for it if you say it wasnt like the Western concept of slave.

From what you posted then William Wilberforce emancipation campaign in early nineteenth century was another getting out of Bible movement and it explains the great resentment in the US South which is the traditional Bible belt and some reasons for the US Civil War.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The word might not mean slave but it definitely meant servant with no rights and in bondage to the owner as Karna describes. I take your word for it if you say it wasnt like the Western concept of slave.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Sounds like a life of slavery to me: no rights, bonded labour (and no pay, I'm assuming).
Could you discuss this further? Maybe provide translations from the Mahabharatam of what was said? (I've only heard Mahabharatam narrated over many weeks and that too when I was much younger. I certainly don't know the exact details like you do.)

About Wilberforce:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The call for the abolition of black slavery came not from Christians but from freethinkers generally. Slavery was abolished in France in 1791, not by the church, but by the atheistic founders of the revolution. In the U.S. the early critics of slavery, Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), George Washington (1732-1799), Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) and John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), were all either freethinkers or Deists. Later the abolitionist cause was taken up by such people as Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), a Deist, Raplh Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), a Unitarian minister turned free-thinker, and William Lyold Garrison (1805-1879), an agnostic. In England, the battle for the abolition of slavery was fought mainly by free-thinkers such as Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) and John Stuart Mill (1806-1873).

While it cannot be denied that some Christians were involved in abolitionists movements, they were the exception rather than the rule. In some cases these Christians acquired their anti-slavery beliefs not from their religion. Take the example of the name most used by Christian apologists to show that Christians were opposed to slavery:<b> William Wilberforce</b> (1759-1833). [He was skeptical, an agnostic] the first thirty years of his life ... [when] h<b>e developed his sense of abhorrence towards slavery. He was, at that time a Deist, as were his closest associates.</b> [The Social Record of Christianity, Joseph McCabe] Furthermore, his chief allies in his battle for abolitionism were Quakers, dissenters and free-thinkers, not the mainstream Christians. The support from the established churches for his actions was described by Wilberforce himself as "disgracefully lukewarm." In fact, many conservative members of the clergy actively tried to suppress and obstruct his anti-slavery cause.

Link <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Husky, your essay on origin and progression of 'slave' was very eye-opening. Thanks for sharing that. Also what about Egypt - more details?

Ramana and Husky, you both have opened here, a very interesting discussion. Bharatiya civilization (Mahabharata in particular) and 'Dasa'. I have been troubled and uncomfortable by this topic, and although I had thought about it a few times, and had seen some passing references of it, had not stopped to study, therefore uncomfortable.

Now, let me share some more thoughts.

Let us face it. There seems to be some sort of 'slavery'-like institution, which is referred to in Mahabharata. <i>How</i> bad it was, that will be a matter of study, but it did exist.

Let us read some passages from Ganguly's translation, which is mostly accurate enought on this point. If in doubt, we shall look at Sanskrit source.

1) Invitation to drut KrIdA:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->"And Yudhishthira said, 'How can, O Sakuni, a king like me, always
observant of the uses of his own order, refuse, when summoned to dice?
Therefore I play with thee."

"Sakuni answered,--'We have many kine and horses, and milch cows, and an
infinite number of goats and sheep; and elephants and treasures and gold
and slaves both male and female. All these were staked by us before but
now let this be our one stake, viz., exile into the woods,--being
defeated either ye or we will dwell in the woods (for twelve years) and
the thirteenth year, unrecognised, in some inhabited place. Ye bulls
among men, with this determination, will we play."

So, Shakuni is counting slaves as commodity, like cattle, treasures etc.

2) Context: After chIra-haraNa episode, Dhritrashtra is saddened and guilty. Asks Draupadi to ask for 2 boons. Notice Draupadi's first boon:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->"Draupadi said,--'O King of the Bharata, if thou will grant me a boon, I ask the handsome Yudhishthira, obedient to every duty, be freed from slavery. Let not unthinking children call my child as the son of a slave. Having been a prince, so superior to all men, and nurtured by kings it is not proper that he should be called the child of a slave.

Draupadi's first concern is freedom from slavery.

(There are several utterances, e.g. Karna addressing Draupadi as dAsi, and explaining how she should live as a slave etc.)

3) Shanti Parva, Pitamaha Bhishma explaining the policy for bankruptcy:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Having promised to pay, one becomes bound to fulfil his promise. Upon failure, let the self-appropriator be forcibly enslaved.

4) There is a story of Tuladhar Vaishya and Jajali Brahmana, where Jajali has gone to learn the principles of morality from Tuladhar. Amongst other things, Tuladhar certainly speaks against slavery. (He even lays down the morals and animal rights!)

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The subject of duties hath many secrets and mysteries. It is so subtile that it is not easy to understand it fully. Amongst diverse conflicting ordinances, some succeed
in comprehending duty by observing the acts of the good.  Why dost thou not consume them that emasculate bulls and bore their noses and cause them to bear heavy burthens and bind them and put them under diverse kinds of restraint, and that eat the flesh of living creatures after slaying them?

Men are seen to own men as slaves, and by beating, by binding, and by otherwise subjecting them to restraints, cause them to labour day and night. These people are not ignorant of the pain that results from beating and fastening in chains.  In every creature that is endued with the five senses live all the deities. Surya, Chandramas, the Maruts, Brahma, Prana, Kratu, and Yama, these dwell in living creatures. (Yet) there are men that live by trafficking in living creatures!

So, slavery must exist for Tuladhara to speak against it.

Husky, Ramana, these are just some unanalyzed references only. Please don't take these uncritically. All I say is, we must do honest analysis, even if it sounds uncomfortable.

Now, some concrete policies on slavery can be certainly found in Artha Shastra of Kautilya. I will try to post that later.

In middle ages though, especially in Sant/Bhakta literature, dasa got an alogether different meaning. As Husky you pointed, Hanuman is dasa of a different kind. So are Kabirdas, Surdas, Tulasidas. In whole of Kabirdasji's literature, Dasa is a very very respectable term. e.g.:

guru samartha sar par khade, kahi kamee tohi 'daas'
riddhi siddhi seva kare, mukti na chhodai paas

(Able Guru's hand is on your head, what more you need O 'daas'
riddhi & siddhi are your servents, and moksha itself is not leaving you alone)
Thanks for the info Bodhi.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Also what about Egypt - more details?<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Don't really know much about this. The Great Pyramids and other monuments of Ancient Egypt are generally attributed to the labours of numerous enslaved people. Also, saw some pictures posted on-line of wall paintings showing Ancient Egyptians having enslaved what looked particularly like depictions of Africans. Quite sad and painful.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The Mahabharat has great soliloquies against slavery by Arjuna addressing Uttara Kumara.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->the speech that Arjuna gives to Uttara Kumara after the Utaara Go grahana about the miserable existence of dasas<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Amongst other things, Tuladhar certainly speaks against slavery. (He even lays down the morals and animal rights!)<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Interesting that in India, like in Rome in later times, there were people in power or people with an audience who made it a point to speak out against slavery. (Something the christian churches never attempted even when the abolition was enforced on their world.)

See Rome:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->By the first century the Stoics openly condemned slavery. Other Greek moralists besides the Stoics condemned it. Plutarch condemned it. Epicurus had come near to condemning it three centuries earlier when he had defined the slave as "a friend in an inferior condition"; and the Epicurean Hegesias had maintained that slaves were the equals of free men. Florentinus and Ulpian, the two famous Stoic jurists, declared that the enslavement of a man was against the law of nature, the supreme standard of the Stoic. Seneca insisted that the slaves were our "lowly friends," and he pleaded repeatedly and nobly for them. Pliny shows us in his letters that by the second century the slaves were very humanely treated even on provincial estates. Juvenal fiercely attacked inhumanity to slaves.
-- The Story Of Religious Controversy, by Joseph McCabe<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->ABOUT the year 100 A.D. two remarkable lectures on slavery were delivered in Rome.
...the eloquent Greek Stoic, Dion Chrysostom, or "Dion of the Golden Mouth" ...an intimate friend [of] the great emperor, Trajan. The idol of the thoughtful section of the Roman nobility.
And for the two days -- the subject was too large for one day -- Dion had announced as his subject "Slavery": a delicate topic, one would imagine, if pagan Rome were quite the slave-driving city it is commonly supposed to have been, unless the aristocratic orator intended to justify the institution for his aristocratic audience, every member of which owned many slaves.
But Dion, as we read in the extant lectures, denounced slavery as unjust.

About the same time there was in Rome a very democratic poet named Juvenal who was putting in fiery verse, or satire, certain statements about the brutality of the Roman aristocrats to their slaves. Every religious writer in the world knows those "Satires" of Juvenal; although every classical authority in the world will warn you not to take their statements seriously. But no religious writer in the world seems ever to have heard of Dion Chyrsostom and his denunciation of slavery.
It is quite formal, explicit and lengthy. It fills two lectures. Here is an express and honorable condemnation of slavery, by a well-known friend of the emperor, in the most public and effective circumstances, at a time when the Christians were a mere handful of obscure folk, mumbling a Greek liturgy and debating whether the end of the world was not at hand.
-- The Story Of Religious Controversy, by Joseph McCabe<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->This is what I admire about the Greeks and Romans. They evolved as a society and showed promise of becoming much better (if christianity hadn't come along). There were among them people who were not going to let the petty characteristics of humanity stop them, and continued to fight against these even when they were in power and could afford to forget about others. Rather than continue to ignore it, they chose to insist that mankind become more noble and improve the lives of fellow humans. <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->
So too in ancient India. Arjuna could have forgotten about the plight of the Dasas, but he didn't. Thumbs up for Tuladhara for speaking on animal rights too.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Husky, Ramana, these are just some unanalyzed references only. Please don't take these uncritically. All I say is, we must do honest analysis, even if it sounds uncomfortable.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->No problem for me. Constant striving for improvement should be any human's aim, so too that of Hindus as a collective community. Best to know of and face the worst that there is/was, so we can at least make things better in the present and future. Because it is far worse to remain in ignorance of miserable things and in that way do nothing about them.
If Arjuna and Tuladhara, Dion Chrysostom and those other Greco-Romans, and the Deist Thomas Paine spoke against slavery, at least we can try to ensure their visions are forever implemented. Modern slavery includes what's happening to the Sudanese this very moment, child labour, trafficking of women and children - the list is endless.
And of course kidnapped mistreated animals, like bears made to 'dance'.
When one doesn't even like to see a bird or mouse in a cage, how can any approve of owning another person (let alone tormenting them)?

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Husky, your essay on origin and progression of 'slave' was very eye-opening. Thanks for sharing that.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Actually, as indicated, it was entirely an excercise in copy-paste from that site. But if you're thanking me for my diligent copy 'n paste efforts, you're very welcome <!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->
It might be useful to find out how does one become a dasa and dasi and how does one get out of it.

The logic being that one should die on the battle field and attain swarga and not haivng done that the captive becomes the possesor's property.

In the Jaydratha capture in the forest, Yudhisthira sets him free. I guess war prisoners were one form of dasas. Next is those born to already dasas. Another is due to failure to discharge debts. This is the origin of indentured people and bonded labor.

The logic was that one could pldege oneself to become a dasa as shown in the dice episode.

I think speaking out against slavery is the first awareness of human rights and enlightenment.

One thing I recall is that there was no slave markets in ancient India. This practice came with the Islamic horde to India. The Brits East India Company allowed them to continue till 1857 even after such practise were outlawed in England due to Wilberforce's efforts.
One very important aspect of spread of Christianism in India and Srilanka, worth exploring is slavery! The Portugese and Dutch, used to have slave christianization schemes. (Accept the lord and get freed in X years). Of course such offers would be made to unproductive or sick slaves. I had read this in a translated from dutch book, a diary of dutch governer of Ceylon, will try to see if I can find it.
Dutch Slavery and Slave Trade in the Indian Ocean in the Seventeenth Century
There were some chinese visitor statements that slavery was non-existent in ancient India, but these are usually cavalierly dismissed. It was more on the order of falling in debt, etc. This debt could be carried on over generations as in Raja Harishchand story. Das is seen in the name of Sudas and Divodasa where it means servant or man. Mleccha desa is usually applied to those regions where only master and slave relations exist, ie the extreme northwest.
Link given by Viren above is very important!

side question to dhu: do you know of a reliable online source of Huen-Tsang's travelog (and that of other Chinese travelers to India)?
Nothing off hand. will post it if I find it.
From Arrian's indica...

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>This also is remarkable in India, that all Indians are free, and no Indian at all is a slave. In this the Indians agree with the Lacedaemonians. Yet the Lacedaemonians have Helots for slaves, who perform the duties of slaves; but the Indians have no slaves at all, much less is any Indian a slave.</b>"<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

From Megasthenes indika...

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Of several remarkable customs existing among the Indians, there is one prescribed by their ancient philosophers which one may regard as truly admirable: for the law ordains that no one among them shall, under any circumstances, be a slave, but that, enjoying freedom, they shall respect the equal right to it which all possess: for those, they thought, who have learned neither to domineer over nor to cringe to others will attain the life best adapted for all vicissitudes of lot: for it is but fair and reasonable to institute laws which bind all equally, but allow property to be unevenly distributed.</b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->4.8.1. Dasa

Though not a pandit or philologist, Dalit leader Dr. Ambedkar took the trouble of verifying the meaning and context, in every single instance, of the Vedic terms which Western scholars often mentioned as proof of a conflict between white Aryan invaders and dark non-Aryan aboriginals.65 His line of argument has been elaborated further by V.S. Pathak and Shrikant Talageri.66

Among the Vedic terms figuring prominently in the AIT reading of the Vedas, the most important one is probably dAsa.  DAsa, known to mean “slave, servant” in classical Sanskrit, but in the Rg-Veda the name of an enemy tribe, along with the apparently related word dasyu, is interpreted in AIT parlance as “aboriginal”.  More probably these words designate the Vedic people’s white-skinned n cousins, who at one point became their enemies, for both terms exist in Iranian, dahae being one of the Iranian tribes, and dahyu meaning “tribe, nation”.  The original meaning of dAsa, long preserved in the Khotanese dialect of Iranian, is “man”; it is used in this sense in the Vedic names DivodAs, “divine man” and SudAs, “good man”.67 In Iranian, it always preserved its neutral or positive meaning, it is only in late-Vedic that it acquired a hostile and ultimately a degrading connotation.  Strangely a similar evolution has taken place in Greek, where doulos, “slave”, is an evolute of *doselos, from *dos-, the IE root of dAsa.

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