• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Human Bondage: Tracing its Roots in India is an in-depth study of bonded labor with special focus on how the system exists in India. The book provides us with a detailed analysis of the historical, social and cultural context in which bondage has developed.

The author discusses the socio-economic characteristics that accompany bondage: caste, illiteracy, landlessness and land tenure issues, alienation of land, lack of skills, poor employment and wage conditions, indebtedness, migration, and globalization.

Extreme forms of bondage, including child labor, trafficking in women and children, and social forms like devadasis and yoginis have also been covered.

The book explores important factors like the legal framework, policy interventions, solutions and the role of the various stakeholders—media, government, trade unions and NGOs—in tackling this issue.

The book is essentially about human freedom and dignity—the quintessence of human existence—and the forces that rob them, the dispossessed victims, consequences of dispossession, and ways and means of restoration.

Introduction
Introduction

It was Durga Puja time, the month of October 2002. My daughter persuaded me to see a film, Amistad, directed by Steven Spielberg. My daughter knew of my interest in forced and bonded labor. Thus, when she told me that the theme of the film was slavery, I was immediately eager to watch it. Amistad is a somewhat fictionalized treatment of an actual episode in the history of slavery in the Americas. The Amistad incident had important consequences for the eventual abolition of slavery in the United States.

On July 2, 1839, the Spanish ship La Amistad was sailing from Havana to Puerto Principe, Cuba with a cargo of 53 slaves recently kidnapped from Africa. In a rebellion led by a Mende tribesman called Cinqué ...

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