Slavery and deception by Modern Hindus
Hindu sacred books used word "Dasa" for slavery. But modern Hindus deceive by claiming that "Dasa" does not mean slave, but it means "servant". But the laws associated with "Dasa" in Hindu sacred books, are the rules of clear slavery.


Slavery in Rigveda:

Rigveda shows that horde of female Dasis were given away like animals to the relatives.


Rigveda 8:19:36 (link): 

36 A gift of fifty female slaves hath Trasadasyu given me, Purukutsa's son,
Most liberal, kind, lord of the brave.


Damsels (young virgin girls) as gifts
Rig veda 6:27:8 Two wagon-teams, with damsels (young virgin girls), twenty oxen, O Agni, Abhydvartin Cayamdna,The liberal Sovran, giveth me.This guerdon of Prthu’s seed is hard to win from others.”


Rigveda Verse 1.92.8 (link): 

Dawn, may I gain that wealth, renowned and ample, in brave sons, troops of slaves, far-famed for horses.


Rigveda Verse 1.158.5 : 
5 The most maternal streams, wherein the Dāsas cast me securely bound, have not devoured me.
When Traitana would cleave my head asunder, the Dāsa wounded his own breast and shoulders.


Rigveda Verse 10.62.10 (link):
Yadu and Turva, too, have given two Dāsas, well-disposed, to serve, Together with great store of kine.


Slavery in Mahabharata:


Mahabharata (link): 

"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 (link):

"Virata said, 'My female slaves and kine, my gold and whatsoever other wealth I have, nothing of all this shall thou be able to protect today even if I do not gamble.'


1000 Young Virgin Girls for personal services
Mahabharata 1:CCXXII And he of eyes like lotus-petals also gave unto them a thousand damsels (young virgin girls) well-skilled in assisting at bathing and at drinking, young in years and virgins all before their first-season, well-attired and of excellent complexion, each wearing a hundred pieces of gold around her neck, of skins perfectly polished, decked with every ornament, and well-skilled in every kind of personal service.


Women can be won in a dice game & enslaved
Mahabharata 2:LXVI (p.128)…But Dussasana dragging Draupadi forcibly by her black locks while she was praying piteously unto Krishna and Vishnu who were Narayana and Nara (on earth), said unto her–‘Whether thy season hath come or not, whether thou art attired in one piece of cloth or entirely naked, when thou hast been won at dice and made our slave, thou art to live amongst our serving-women as thou pleasest.


 In fact, this whole chapter of Mahabharata has several more references to the slavery (Link): 


Slavery in Manusmriti:


Manusmriti, Verse 8.415:
There are seven kinds of slaves—(1) captured under a banner (war), (2) slave on food, (3) born in the house, (4) bought, (5) presented, (6) hereditary, and (7) slave by punishment.

Commentary of this verse by Medhātithi (link):

The term ‘Dhvajā’ ‘banner’ stands for the chariot; hence ‘Dhvajinī’ means the army; ho who is captured ‘under the banner’ is the captive of war, who is made a slave ...

Slave on food’—he who has accepted slavery for obtaining food.

Born in the house’—i.e., born of a slave-girl.

Bought’—from the former master, for a price.

Presented’—given to one, either through love, or for the purpose of acquiring spiritual merit.

Hereditary’—who has belonged to the family through a line of ancestors.

“What is the difference between this last and the slave born in the house?”

The latter is one born of a slave-girl that may have been acquired by the master himself, while the other is hereditary.

The "slave born in the house" is the worst type of slavery. In this master is raping his slave girl, and if child is born, then master makes his own child his slave. 


Manusmriti, Verse 8.416:

The wive, the son and the slave,—these three are declared to have no property; whatever they acquire is the property of him to whom they belong.—(416)


The deception by religious Hindus is unfortunately is this that they have been constantly trying to confuse people in the issue of translation of word Dasa. But the rulings in these texts are clear that whatever name you give to it, but these rules are associated with slavery.  


* You could never give servants as gifts like animals to the relatives

* You could never win female servants in a dice game, and ask them to serve you even in one cloth or naked.

* You could never ask female servants to provide you the service to your personal parts.

* You could never ask female servants to be only like damsels (young virgins) and with excellent complexion in order to provide you with the personal services


All these rules are associated with slaves and not with servants. 


Online book upon Slavery in India:


Title:  Slavery in early medieval India
Researcher:  Singh, Yasvir

Kumar, Vijay 2.pdf


In the Rig-Veda also there are numerous references which talk of the
struggle between the dasas and the Aryans. The non Aryans who were
subjugated in tribal warfares were most probably reduced to slaves.
The same references throw light that slaves were given as gift like 
animals and were presented to relatives
2 3. With the continuation of this
tradition in the later Vedic period also, one may get information that
some persons who could not clear their debts or those who could not
maintain their livelihood at their own, offered themselves to work as
slave. From the early Buddhist works we know that slavery was
prevalent from c.600-300 B.C in India as Vinayapitaka mentions three
kinds of slaves were available in the then society namely- children
born of female slaves, persons imprisoned in wars, persons purchased
by payment of money. The Dirghanikaya adds fourth kind of slaves to
the list namely those who at their own accord got transferred to slaves
in order to maintain their livelihood . In the Mauryan period the types
of slaves increased as testified in Arthasastra of Kautilaya along with the following eight categories of slaves4:


(1) Born of a female slave (grhajata)
(2) Inherited from father (dayagava)
(3) Presented by some other person (labdha)
(4) Purchased by paying a sum of money (krita)
(5) Imprisoned in war (dhvajahrta)
(6) One who sales himself as a slave (atmavikraya)
(7) Mortgaged for loan (ahitaka)
(8) Reduced to slavery as punishment for some grave offence


The Mahabharata and the early Buddihist literature mention the following four categories of slaves5.

1. Imprisoned in war (dhvajhrta)
2. After losing in gambling
3. Given as gifts (datrim or labdha)
4. Purchased (krit)


The Manu Smrti (C. 200 B.C to 200 A.D) mentions following seven categories of slaves6:

1. Won in a stake or won in war (dhawajahrita)
2. One who sold himself for the sake of food in famine
3. Born of a female slave (grhaja)
4. Purchased (krit)
5. Given by relatives as a present (datrim)
6. Inherited from father (daya)
7. Reduced to slavery in lieu of punishment (danda-dasa)


The Narada Smrti (100 AD to 500 AD) describes the following fifteen categories ofslaves7:

1. Born of a female slave {grhaja)
2. Acquiredby purchase {krit)
3. Obtained through inheritance {daya)
4. Won in a stake {partyajit)
5. Captured in war
6. given on pledge
7. Those who failed to reply debts
8. Those who were maintained during famines,
9. Those who served for a stipulated period
10. Those who sold themselves
11. Those who lapsed from monastic life
12. Those who accepted voluntary slavery
13. Those who offered themselves either owing to the love of
a female slave.
14. For the sake of maintenance.
15. Received through gift


The increasing number in the categories of slaves mentioned by Vijaneshvara’s commentary on Yajnavalkaya in 12th A,D. wherein a
list of following fifteen kinds of slaves finds place9, perhaps leaves no iota of doubt that the institution of slavery not only gained momentum but also expended its area during the period under study.

1. Born of a female slave (garhajat)
2. Purchased (krit)
3. One obtained by acceptance of gift (labdha)
4. Inherited (daya dupagat)
5. One who accepted slavery during famines
6. One who has pledged himself against the loans (ahit)
7. Given in repayment of debt (rina dasa)
8. War prisoners (yudhaprapta)
9. One who won in gamble (panejit)
10. One who has come forward declaring “I am Slave”
11. An apostle from ascepticism (parvarjyavatis)
12. One who is enslaved for a stipulated period (kart)
13. One who accepted slavery for maintenance (bhakta
14. One who has married with a female slave and thus
reduced to the status of a slave (vadavahart)




Regarding slavery in India, a very interesting issue is related to a Greek Diplomat Megasthenes who visited India around 300 BCE.  He wrote in his book Indika:

" 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."


Therefore, some believed in Megasthenes that there existed no slavery in India. 


But interesting thing is this at the same time there are others who considered Megasthenes a total lair. Let us see criticism upon him. 


Megasthenes wanted to present India as an Utopian Land to his people:


After reading whole account which Megasthenes wrote about India (link to the book), it seems he fabricated stories about India, in order to present it as an Utopia land to his people. For example:


1. Megasthenes claimed that  food has been in so much abundance, that there had never been any famine in India. 

2. Indian Elephants are special and they live up to 200 years of age.  Indian elephants are much bigger in Size and Strength than African elephants. 
3. Indian Tigers are double the size of lions.
4. Indian Monkeys are larger than the largest dogs. Their tails are more than 2 cubits in length. They are so tame that they never attack man nor steal. 
5. Stones are dug up which are of the colour of frankincenso and sweeter than figs or honey. 
6. There are serpents two cubits long which have membranous wings like bats. They fly about in night, when they let fall drops of urine or sweat, which blister the skin of persons not on their guard, with putrid sores. 
7. There are also winged scorpions of an extra ordinary size .
8. Indian dogs are greatest in strength. The bull was seized by the muzzle, and died before the dog could be taken off. 

9. He also wrote fantasy stories, such as those about tribes of people with no mouths, unicorns and other mythical animals, and gold-digging ants


Fantasy story of Greek god Dionysus and Herakles:

Megasthenes wrote (link):

The most learned Indian scholars say that Dionysus invaded India, and conquered it. When his army was unable to bear the excessive heat, he led his soldiers to the mountains called Meros for recovery; this led to the Greek legend about Dionysus being bred in his father's thigh (meros in Greek).[a] Dionysus taught Indians several things including how to grow plants, make wine and worship. He founded several large cities, introduced laws and established courts. For this reason, he was regarded as a deity by the Indians. He ruled entire India for 52 years, before dying of old age. His descendants ruled India for several generations, before being dethroned and replaced by democratic city-states.[16]

The Indians who inhabit the hill country also claim that Herakles was one of them. Like the Greeks, they characterize him with the club and the lion's skin. According to them, Herakles was a powerful man who subjugated evil beasts. He had several sons and one daughter, who became rulers in different parts of his dominion. He founded several cities, the greatest of which was Palibothra (Pataliputra). Herakles built several places in this city, fortified it with water-filled trenches and settled a number of people in the city. His descendants ruled India for several generations, but never launched an expedition beyond India. After several years, the royal rule was replaced by democratic city states, although there existed a few kings when Alexander invaded India.[17]


Off course no one could believe that India got democratic states and Indians worshipped Greece gods.  


Therefore, from all these fantasy stories, it becomes evident that Megasthenes was presenting India as an Utopian land to his people. At that time, there was a movement in Greece about the Democracy, and as well as against the slavery. The Stoics in Greece had condemned slavery in the 3rd BC century. Therefore, it seems due to this temptation, Megasthenes fabricated the lie that there existed no slavery in India. 


In order to make India an utopian land, Megasthenes mentioned seven castes in India, but omitted presence of shudras and untouchables.


Here is criticism upon Megasthenes by historians:


The first century Greek writer Strabo called both Megasthenes and his succeeding ambassador Deimachus liars, and stated that "no faith whatever" could be placed in their writings.[26] The Indika contained numerous fantastical stories, such as those about tribes of people with no mouths, unicorns and other mythical animals, and gold-digging ants.[27] Strabo directly contradicted these descriptions, assuring his readers that Megasthenes' stories, along with his recounting of India’s founding by Hercules and Dionysus, were mythical with little to no basis in reality.[28]  (link).


According to Paul J. Kosmin, Indica depicts contemporary India as an unconquerable territory, in order to justify Seleucus's retreat from India. Megasthenes tries to argue that Dionysus was able to conquer India, because before his invasion, India was a primitive rural society. Dionysus' urbanization of India makes India a powerful, impregnable nation. The later ruler — the Indian Herakles — is presented as a native of India, despite similarities with the Greek Heracles. This, according to Kosmin, is because now India is shown as unconquerable.[29] Megasthenes emphasizes that no foreign army had been able to conquer India (since Dionysus) and Indians had not invaded a foreign country either. This representation of India as an isolated, invincible country is an attempt to vindicate Seleucus' peace treaty with the Indian emperor.[30]

Megasthenes states that there were no slaves in India, but the Arthashastra attests to the existence of slavery in contemporary India;[31] Strabo also counters Megasthenes's claim based on a report from Onesicritus


Faxian and Xuanzang

Faxian was a monk (d. 422 CE) who visited India.  Xuanzang was also a monk (d. 664 CE) who visited India. 

Both of them also stated that they didn't see slave markets in India. It was due to the reason that  when Ashoka (the follower of Buddha) became the King of India, he banned the slave trade in whole India. It stayed as such till the time Muslims invaded India and once again started the slave trade in India.