Slavery: The past history of Bengal

in hive-145742 •  3 months ago 

For a long time in history, slavery was a socially and legally sanctioned social system. In this system, people were formally traded in the market and the purchaser was forced to act as the buyer's personal property.

The documents available on slavery provide evidence that the practice was directly related to the basic socio-political structure and rural production system.As it was difficult to find free labor in the market, the powerful class of society enslaved the socially and economically weaker classes to maintain their production and dominance.

The history of South Asia says that slavery was practiced here for a long time. It existed in almost all regimes of ancient and medieval times. Slavery has been recognized in Chanakya's Arthashastra and Dharmashastra and various provisions have been made to control this system.


Slavery has been practiced in Bengal since ancient times. Megasthenes mentions that the security of the king of Patalipatra was entrusted to the slaves. But some historians think that even though slavery was practiced in other parts of India outside Bengal, Bengal was never sold as a slave to the locals. Dr. Mohammad Mohar Ali writes:
*In Bengal, there was no precedent for enslaving the son of one's homeland to another person in the country.

Such historians think that only slaves brought from abroad were traded in Bengal. The locals were never sold as slaves. There is strong evidence against their assumptions!

In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the famous jurist Jimutabahan wrote the law of liability. The law contains detailed provisions on how slaves under the control of multiple owners should work. Ibn Battuta, a Moroccan traveler, traveled to Bangladesh in the 14th century. He writes:
*I have seen all the beautiful maids being sold for one gold dinar, which is two and a half dinars in Moroccan currency. I myself bought a maid named Ashura at almost the same price. She was also beautiful. One of my companions bought a young slave named Lu Lu for two gold dinars.

The Portuguese businessman Barbosa recorded the following statement about slavery in Bengal:

*Muslim merchants used to buy indigenous children (Hindus) from different parts of the country (Bengali) from their parents, whom they stole and made impotent. Many were killed in it. And those who survived were well raised to be sold. Then for a while they were sold for 20-30 dirhams. They were highly valued by the Persians.
The Persians employed these slaves for the security of their wives and homes.

Abul Fazl wrote in Ain-e-Akbari that eunuchs were traded in Ghoraghat and Sylhet government in Bengal. In this context, Emperor Jahangir wrote in his autobiography:

In Hindustan, especially in Sylhet province, which is a part of Bengal, it was the custom of the people to make some of their sons impotent and give them to the governor instead of revenue. This practice has been adopted in other provinces by decree. This habit has become common. At this point, I have issued an order that this practice should not be followed and that young transgender people should be punished.

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