• 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.

Caste Hierarchy
Caste hierarchy

Why should any one cling to a so-called ancestral calling? Must we do so out of compulsion even if that work is unsuited to our capacities, preferences, and interests? Must we do so even if that work is unethical? Should we, on the premise of transmitting intergenerational skills, promote and perpetuate caste based artificial social division of labor?

In India, Dr Bheemrao Ambedkar, chief architect of the Indian Constitution, excoriated the Indian caste system and the damage to the Indian society from caste practices. According to Ambedkar, “Caste is not based on division of labor. It is a division of laborers, i.e., persons who render labor (Education Department, 1979).” Since human beings are endowed with reason and analytical capacity, there should be volition, ...

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