Among the claims made by the Hindus for asserting their superiority over other nations the following two are mentioned. One is that there was no slavery in India among the Hindus and the other is that Untouchability is infinitely less harmful than slavery.
The first statement is of course untrue. Slavery is a very ancient institution of the Hindus. It is recognised by Manu, the law giver and has been elaborated and systematised by the other Smriti writers who followed Manu. Slavery among the Hindus was never merely ancient institution, which functioned, only in some hoary past. It was an institution which continued throughout all Indian history down to the year 1843 and, if it had not been abolished by the British Government bylaw in that year, it might have continued even today. While slavery lasted it applied to both the touchables as well as the untouchables.
The untouchables by reason of their poverty became subject to slavery oftener than did the touchables. So that up to 1843 the untouchables in India had to undergo the misfortune of being held in double bondage-the bondage of slavery and the bondage of untouchability. The lighter of the bonds has been cut and the untouchable is made free from it. But because the untouchables of today are not seen wearing the chains of slavery on them, it is not to be supposed that they never did. To do so would be to tear off whole pages of history.
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