Slavery and AllahUddhin Khilji: a Horror to human rights?

Sep 4, 2021 - 00:10
Sep 4, 2021 - 00:14

Within Sultanate's capital city of Delhi, during Alauddin Khalji's reign, at least half of the population were slaves working as servants, concubines and guards for the Muslim nobles, amirs, court officials and commanders. Slavery in India during the Khalji dynasty, and later Islamic dynasties, included two groups of people - persons seized during military campaigns, and people who defaulted on their taxes. The institution of slavery and bondage labour became pervasive during the Khalji dynasty; male slaves were referred to as banda, qaid, Ghulam, or burdah, while female slaves were called bandi, kaniz or laundi.

Early sources suggest that slavery was likely to have been a widespread institution in ancient India by the lifetime of the Buddha (sixth century BCE), and perhaps even as far back as the Vedic period. However, its study in ancient times is problematic and contested because it depends on the translations of terms such as dasa and dasyu.

Slavery in India escalated during the Muslim domination of northern India after the 11th-century, after Muslim rulers re-introduced slavery to the Indian subcontinent. It became a predominant social institution with the enslavement of Hindus, along with the use of slaves in armies for conquest, a long-standing practice within Muslim kingdoms at the time.

According to Muslim historians of the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal Empire era, after the invasions of Hindu kingdoms, Indians were taken as slaves, with many exported to Central Asia and West Asia.

Many slaves from the Horn of Africa were also imported into the Indian subcontinent to serve in the households of the powerful or the Muslim armies of the Deccan Sultanates and the Mughal Empire.

Slavery in India continued through the 18th and 19th centuries. During the colonial era, Indians were taken into different parts of the world as slaves by various European merchant companies as part of the Indian Ocean slave trade.

Over a million indentured labourers (referred to as girmitiyas) from the Indian subcontinent were transported to various European colonies in Africa, Asia and the Americas to work on plantations and mines.

The Portuguese imported Africans into their Indian colonies on the Konkan coast between about 1530 and 1740. Slavery was abolished in the possessions of the East India Company by the Indian Slavery Act, 1843.

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