KAUTILYA AND RIGHTS OF FREE CITIZENS
ARYABHAVA AND DASABHAVA
All Are Born Free (AS Bk,3 Ch.13)
Kautilya's famous declaration, Never shall an Arya be subjected to dasabhava (3-13-14) deserves more attention than it has received so far. It was a constitutional directive to the judges, to the Dharmasthas. It called on them to protect the rights of the Aryas, the citizens and domiciles of Aryavarta. Both Shama Sastri and Kangle erred seriously when like most Indologists, Indian as well as western they translated dasabhava as slavery.
Dasabhava meant bonded labour, labour which the master was entitled to extract from his employee in accordance with the provisions of the agreement between the two. Often the employee was a minor boy or girl and the agreement was with the guardian of that minor. This agreement, bond, set in abeyance some of the rights which every citizen (Arya) had but not any of the rights which one had as an assertive human being (Purusha). An Arya was a free citizen of Aryavarta. All the domiciles of Aryavarta (north India) were known as Aryas. [Aryas were not a race or a linguistic group or an ethnic group. The reader may note that we do not discuss the issue of nativity. Wherever that domicile had been born, he was an Arya by domicile.]
All these domiciles of Aryavarta irrespective of their social status or economic occupation, Shudra or Vaisya, Kshatriya or Brahmana were declared by the Kautilyan state as Aryas. Earlier only owners of property, that is, Vaisyas, were known asAryas. Kautilya dropped this requirement, making this status open, for all. It is not sound to trace master-slave relationship in the Arya-Dasa dichotomy. Most of the dasas were free citizens earlier. They had become bonded labourers under some rich creditors, not all of whom were vicious.
All men and women, whether domiciles of Aryavarta or aliens (whether Aryas or Mlechchas), are born free irrespective of the status of their parents or place of birth.Even a child born to a dasa is born free. So too, a child born to a prisoner (civil or criminal or political) is born free.Every man (and woman) has the right to remain and grow as a free citizen of Aryavarta. [During Kautilyas times and even by the time Manava Dharmasastra was adopted, most of the Indian subcontinent was known as Aryavarta. The lands beyond the seas around it were known as Kaivarta.]
Kangle tries to read 3-13-4 along with 3-13-3. He agrees that the dasabhava of a minor is declared invalid whether that minor (boy or girl) is an Arya or alien, Mlechcha. But he feels that 3-13-4 declares the dasabhava, the status of servitude of an Arya as illegal permits the servitude of the alien. The above statement does not warrant such an interpretation. Even the aliens were eligible for protection of their freedom.
The entire chapter discusses the issue when an Arya is deemed to have become a dasa and how a dasa can be redeemed and become an Arya once again. One is born free and may become a dasa on his personal volition. He may not be made a dasa against his will or without his consent. A childs consent is not valid. Hence no one may employ a child as a dasa. Child labour was debarred. Children cannot be mortgaged or sold by their parents or by others. An adult Arya could not be employed as a dasa without his specific consent, the statement (3-13-4) implies.
An Arya was a self-employed citizen or an employer or a labourer who was free to choose his master and stipulate the conditions of his service. The master had to pay the wages in accordance with the service rendered by his employee and the latter could leave the service whenever he wanted. He would be a Shudra or Vaisya or Kshatriya or Brahmana in accordance with his vocation.To whatever class (varna) he belonged, he was an Arya, provided as an employee he got his wages or payment for work done or service rendered and could leave the service at his option.
Where an employee was not free to choose his master or leave him or stipulate the conditions of his service, he was described a dasa, irrespective of his vocation or class (varna). Not all Shudras were dasas and not all dasas were Shudras. [The reader has to be on the alert against political propagandists masquerading as academics.]
Kautilya proclaims that no Arya child or adult may be sold or pledged by his (or her) family to serve a third person as a dasa (or dasi). The parents, especially the fathers used to claim that as they had procreated their sons and daughters (svajana), they were entitled to sell or pledge them. 3-13-1 declares this claim as untenable. The parents are not to treat their child as a commodity, which may be sold or pledged against loan taken. A child is a human being, born free and not an animal or property. [Manava Dharmasastra banned the feudal (asura) practice of giving away girls in marriage after receiving bridal money, sulka, for it was sale of girls.]
An adult may not be made a dasa, a servant, against his will. But he may become a dasa by his own volition. For, an Arya is born free and is free to renounce his (or her) freedom and become a dasa (or dasi) after attaining the age of consent (fifteen for girls and eighteen for boys). The judiciary had to bear in mind this right given to the Arya by the then constitution.
It was for the adult citizen to determine whether freedom was in his interest or dasa status was. [Champions of liberty and human rights may note that this stand was taken after following Samkhya dialectics and methods of reasoning accepted by the Nyaya system.] The presumption that the status of a free citizen is invariably a more advantageous one than that of bonded labourer is unwarranted. Of course no one prefers dishonourable starvation or rejects a honourable livelihood.
The judiciary has to first determine what has made one to be in dasa status before considering the issue of his redemption from it. Kautilyan constitution declares that no Arya boy (or girl) or man (or woman) may be deprived of his (or her) rights as a free citizen by any one including his (or her) father (or mother).
If the parent sells his (or her) son (or daughter), he was fined 12 or 24 or36 or48 panas depending on whether the victim was a Shudra or a Vaisya or a Kshatriya or a Brahmana. If the offender was one other than a parent of the victim, he was fined 48 to96 panas if the victim was a Shudra or 200 to 500 panas, in case of a Vaisya victim or 500 to 1000 panas in case of a Kshatriya victim. If the person sold was a Brahmana, the offender (who was not a parent of that victim) might be given even death penalty. The buyer or the pledgee of the bonded labourer, dasa, was similarly fined, it may be inferred. (3-13-2)
The defendant had to prove that the alleged victim was a major who had given his (or her) consent to be sold or mortgaged, that is, had voluntarily become a dasa (or dasi) to help his (or her) family out of its difficulties. If the defendant could not prove it, he was punished and the court set free the victim. [The reader is advised against getting diverted from the main issue by the apparent discrimination on the basis of varna stratification.]
Often senior members of the family, who had been compelled to borrow money to tide over its economic distress, pledged the lives and services of its younger members to its creditors. These dasas (many of whom were children) were bonded labourers and had to be redeemed by their parents and other elders. In some cases the day of redemption never dawned. The Aryafamily was asked to redeem such a person pledged at the earliest opportunity (3-13-5).
Kautilya tried to end this unsavoury practice of bonded labour without causing pecuniary loss to the honest among the creditors. Of course, no creditor could accept children as pledges. Only adults who gave their consent could be accepted as (usufructory) pledges.
But becoming a dasa was easy while getting out of that status was not. Many families found it difficult to raise the capital borrowed against the pledge. The pledged person was asked to patiently await redemption as he had given his consent to work for the creditor. He was a pledge whose services could be used by the creditor. If the pledged member ran away in the middle, he would forfeit the right to be redeemed he was warned(6).
The Kautilyan state was organizing redemption of bonded labour without putting the genuine creditors to loss. It was a slow process, however. If a dasa had been pledged by other members of his family but with his consent, the first attempt at escape was condoned but not the second. Any attempt to flee from the country resulted in forfeiture of the right to redemption (moksha), the dasa was warned. It is unjust and incorrect to say that the Kautilyan state thrived on slavery or on bonded labour. On the contrary it had undertaken a mission to end this practice, a byproduct of speculative economy. This chapter deals with the different aspects of this process of liberation of dasas.
The dasa was accorded protection by the state and the creditor-pledgee had to honour the rules governing the rights of the pledged person as a human being and as a free citizen, Arya. The dasa (or dasi) whether sold or pledged or self-pledged continued enjoy his (or her) rights as an Arya in accordance with his (or her) varnaand asrama. These could not be infringed by the buyer of the services of that dasa (or dasi) or by the pledgee.
[Human rights activists are expected to amend their notions about the Indian scenario and not apply to it the notions about slavery which have emerged after the end of the practice of slavery by the white imperialists. It was not only feudalism but also speculative market economy, which had promoted or resulted in debt bondage. Capitalism has everywhere flourished on the number of bonded labourers whether locally available or imported for exploitation by the few rich and mighty. It has not stood by the concept of rights of the individual as a human being.]
The dasa (so too, the dasi) was entitled to sex within the fold of marriage and to procreate as a grhastha as he or she was an adult and not a child. The bonded labourer if he or she was a Vaisya or a Kshatriya or a Brahmanawas entitled to retirement, the vanaprastha stage and had the right to perform sacrifices (yajnas) and pursue studies.
A Shudra (an independent worker) who had been reduced to the status of a bonded labourer (dasa or dasi) was entitled only to marry and procreate. Of course the bonded labourer was entitled to food, clothing and shelter as long as he (or she) served the master.Dasatva, a form of economic deprivation, was not allowed to adversely affect the practice of the non-economic obligations of the individual as an Arya.
Dasatva, servitude, did not mean extraction of work without payment. The work done by a bonded labourer was evaluated at the same rate as that by a free worker whose wages were governed by statutes as laid down in Bk.3 Ch.14. The dasa was not paid wages on the spot but they were placed in the charge of the master. The master or pledgee could not appropriate them to himself (3-13-7). It was not slave labour. There could be no forced labour or economic exploitation of the needy employees and of families in distress, as long as the Kautilyan constitution was in force.
The bonded labourer was normally assigned a job in tune with the vocations permitted for his (or her) varna, class. Care had to be taken that he was not given a work proscribed for his varna. It meant only the Brahmans who were intellectuals and had become dasas could not be made to do manual work or to render personal service to others.
A Kshatriya who had lost his freedom and become a prisoner-of-war could be assigned physical (hard) labour. A Vaisya who had lost his property and become a civil prisoner as a debtor could be assigned physical (mild) labour although he might have been an employer earlier. Hence no one would come forward to buy or accept as pledge, a Brahman child or adult. Either the Brahmanspoverty remained not alleviated, as he did not get a job even as a bonded labourer (dasa) or he took to beggary to meet his needs for subsistence. The concept of human rights cannot afford to overlook the fact of differential treatment on the basis of class affiliation.
We have to be wary of the pronouncements of demagogues and also of some ideologues who use the concepts, dasa and shudra interchangeably. A dasa was a domestic servant or an agricultural worker or an industrial worker under a written or unwritten bond where the employer had an upper hand and so too a dasi. She was not to be treated as a prostitute and sexually exploited. A shudra was a contract employee in these sectors and could walk out of the contract any time.
The dasa (or dasi) was given soft jobs or hard work, depending on his (or her) varna. He had to be treated as a free person, an Arya who was temporarily doing a job at the behest of another person and not on his own initiative and in accordance with his aptitude. His (or her) self-respect was not to be hurt.A dasa was rendering temporary service and was not in permanent servitude, it had to be remembered. He was a servant and not a slave. He had only temporarily lost or forgone the alternative to be self-employed or be an employer and if a worker he had lost the right to choose for himself another employer. Dasatva was a partial and temporary suspension of some of the rights of an Arya, a free citizen. It was certainly not slavery for eternity.
A dasa could not be asked to do a job, which was infra dig for an Arya, a free citizen (e.g. picking up an unclaimed corpse, removing others excreta or leavings of food). A Shudra too was an Arya, it has to be noted. Only those persons who had specifically consented to do these jobs for remuneration could be employed as a sweepers and scavengers. Those persons who could not afford to pay these workers had to do these jobs themselves. They could not employ their dasas on these jobs (8).
As far as other jobs were concerned, the dasa had no right to choose. He could refuse to do only that job which was prohibited for his varna. For instance a gopala, protector of cattle could not be engaged as a butcher. But the dasa could not ask only for a job that was prescribed specifically for his varna. A dasa who belonged to the class of Kshatriyas could not ask for a military assignment only. He might be employed as an artisan or a cowherd but not as an executor. It is necessary to recognize the implications of these aspects.
in the domestic sector
A dasi (female attendant) could not be asked to give bath to a naked man. Her dignity and modesty as a woman could not be violated. No dasa (or dasi) could be given corporal punishment by the master for any offence. The judiciary and the executive were expected to protect the human rights of these workers who were awaiting redemption from bondage. No dasicould be molested. Her chastity was not to be violated. The guilty master or pledgee was liable to forfeit the claim to the capital (mulya) advanced by him to buy or secure her services, Kautilya warned (9).
The master did not dare to take liberties with the female employees serving him whether as a nurse in his house or as a cook(paricharika) or as a errand-girl (upacharika)or on his lands as a sharecropper (ardhasitika). A female employee who was violated became immediately free. Similarly any violence against an errand-boy (upacharaka) by a highborn domicile or subject of the state (abhiprajata) entitled him to go away (10). The master lost his claim to the capital advanced and could not get a substitute pledge as dasa or dasi. These new rules introduced by Kautilyan Arthasastra forced the creditors and masters not to offend the dignity and chastity as a human being, of a bonded labourer or purchased employee.
Nurses and governesses working in the houses of the rich creditors were not secure from molestation by their employers and others. (If the master approached a nurse (dasi) against her will, he was liable to be fined 48 to 96 panas, the lowest penalty for assault, sahasa. If a third person approached her, the master was fined 200 to 500 panas, the middle amercement (11). Kautilya held the master responsible for protection of the life and dignity of the nurses and other female attendants employed by him.
If a virgin (kanya) working under him was violated against her will the master lost his claim to the sum loaned by him to buy her services as a usufructory pledge. Besides he had to pay her compensation as fixed by the judge,dharmastha. He had to also pay a fine double that amount to the state (12). This rule must have been introduced to enable her to get married and gain protection. The Kautilyan state took care to protect the dignity of the women employees, especially the virgins, even those bought or pledged.
Redemption of Dasas
An Arya to whichever social class he belonged was free to pursue the four values of life, dharma, artha, kama and moksha and go through all the four stages of life, brahmacharya, grhastha, vanaprastha and sanyasa. During his student days (brahmacharya), he not only gathered the skills and knowledge required for earning his livelihood but also developed the socio-cultural traits expected of a civilized person and responsible free citizen. During his married life (grhastha), he pursued material interests and got his sex needs fulfilled. His period of retirement to his austere forest abode (vanaprastha), he was slowly cutting himself off from artha and kama and preparing himself for the final liberation (moksha) from bonds of birth. This last stage is referred to as sanyasa.
The Kautilyan state granted the right to the members of all the four socio-economic classes (varnas) to pursue all the four values of life (purusharthas) and to go through all the four stages of life (asramas). Hence an Arya was free to renounce all economic interests. He was free to renounce his freedom. He was free to sell himself and agree to work under another person as a dasa. He would have used the money he got as wages to pay off his debts or to discharge his duty to his family.
An Arya who had become a dasa could marry. (The status of his wife was to be determined with reference to his status.) But though he himself was a dasa (and hence his wife a dasi), his offspring had to be brought up as a free person, as an Arya (3-13-13). [These Kautilyan dictums are not to be ignored while discussing the enigmas that shroud the careers of the Pandavas and that of Harischandra. Vide Hindu Social Dynamics] There could be no born dasa, though one might be born to a dasa. It is unsound to interpret the term, dasa as implying a slave.
This provision however did not apply to a child born to a person sold by another person (including his father) as a dasa. The father of the child should not have been sold without his consent. If he had been sold without his consent, it was a purely power equation. The father had failed to assert himself and resist being led away, whoever might have received the price from the master. It was slave trade. Abolition of slave trade did not come under the normal rules governing the liberation of bonded labourers, dasas. It was not the judiciary but the king himself who was then expected to get such a slave rescued.
A free citizen, an Arya, who had voluntarily sold himself as a dasa was entitled to his other earnings provided they had been obtained without detriment to his work for his master. The master was not entitled to all the work of his dasa, bonded labourer. He could not bar the latter from serving others as a free worker during his leisure hours. The dasa was also eligible to inherit his share as a kinsman, dayada (14).
The dasa far from being a slave was a partially free person, if he had sold himself for any reason. The state did not discriminate between such a dasa and a free worker (shudra). Modern critics have overlooked the legal niceties introduced and acted upon by Kautilya to ensure speedy redemption of the dasas. They have proceeded under the assumption that the Kautilyan economic state was a totalitarian entity paying no respect to dharma and dharmasastra. Many of these critics have also distorted and decried dharma.
The use of the term, svami in the above statement (14) is significant. The dasa who had sold his services was an employee of the ruler, the svami (a charismatic leader who had risen from the masses). He had secured a grant or loan from the svami to meet his obligations to his family or to discharge his debts. (The traditional ruler who had the status of a raja was not entitled to engage such volunteers as his servants. The svami did not ordinarily belong to the class of rajanyas or kshatriyas.)
The recipient was expected to return the same by rendering service to the ruler (svami) for an indefinite period. The additional earnings and inheritances could be used for returning the capital and regaining the status as a free citizen, Arya (15). Kautilya made this rule mandatory with respect to the landlord who approached the ruler for financial assistance in lieu of service rendered or promised, and recommended the same to other liberal donors (16). He did not permit permanent servitude of the landlord (an Arya) to the powerful charismatic ruler (svami).
Of course, there were some harsh usurers and taskmasters. The benefit of this facility of self-redemption was extended to those who weredasas since birth and also to those who were pledged by their parents or by others. Where the pledger failed to redeem the person pledged, the latter had to be enabled to redeem himself (or herself).
But it was noticed that the pledgee was not prepared to lose his capital.The redemption amount was equal to the amount paid as price or as loan to secure the services of a dasa (17). The creditor could not demand interest on it as the dasa was working under him as usufructory pledge. The value of what the bonded labourer produced was more than three times the wages a free servant was entitled to. Only the wages were to be adjusted against the redemption amount payable. The rest of the value of the produce could be treated as profit in lieu of interest.
Hence the creditor need not be paid more than the capital advanced by him. Bonded labour, dasatva, became an acute problem because some codes permitted in addition to these services, compound interest on the loan. This made redemption of the pledge almost impossible. Kautilya prescribed limits on interest and banned cumulative interest (in all economic transactions) and thus enabled the debtor to redeem the pledge. In the case of a human pledge, interest was not allowed. [Most of the creditors were authoritarian feudal lords or shrewd moneylenders or operators of remote industrial units. It is unjust to blame the Brahman scholars who edited the codes and exonerate the real culprits, the rich and the mighty.]
Categories of Dasas:
Civil prisoner and Prisoner-of-war
A person who had been imprisoned (for non-payment of loan or court fines) had to work in the civil jail and pay the amount from the wages earned there. The wages due for the work done were computed and adjusted against the fine (18). An Arya prisoner-of-war was to be freed after assigning him suitable work for a specified period or on payment of half the ransom (mulyam) amount for his life. If his ruler did not redeem him, he could redeem himself (19). Extracting labour from a prisoner-of-war was not easy. [Kautilya did not want to fill the jails with civil debtors and prisoners-of-war. The jails were meant to house anti-social elements and criminals.] Both categories came under the genre, dasas.
In this context, we may note the seven categories of dasas listed in Manusmrti 8-415: (a) prisoner-of-war; (b) he who serves to earn his livelihood; (c) one born in his masters house; (d) one who is bought; (e) one who is given as a dasa; (f) one inherited from the ancestors as a dasa and (g) one enslaved by way of punishment. The Brahman scholars do not seem to have objected to the emancipation of any of these seven types of dasas, though they protested against the withdrawal of the services of the dasas assigned to them by the stateto help them. [The services of dasas were available only to some Brahmans and not to allBrahmans.] (8-413)
Prevention of Child Labour
Kautilya approaches the issue of redemption of dasasfrom different angles. They have to be redeemed by their families and if the latter failed, they had to redeem themselves. In this the state placed a significant role by transferring to itself the custody of the dasas as civil debtors. It may be remarked here that both western and Indian Indologists have totally failed in presenting this social reform movement in the proper light. Instead they have propagated the view that Kautilya was a crooked and cruel statesman who gave undue importance to material gains and worked against the social and spiritual values upheld by dharmasastras.
The Kautilyan state banned child labour and selling and mortgaging of children. Still there were some types of child dasas working in private homes. Most of them were under eight years of age. Such a child might have been born in the masters house or been obtained by him in inheritance or been received by him as a marriage gift or been actually purchased by him. Purchase and sale of children was illegal. But the officials who had to enforce law were being hoodwinked by many masters. Besides, who would look after these children after they were freed from the custody of the masters?
The judiciary and the executive had to ensure that these children who were supposed to be in the protective care of their masters were not treated cruelly. The master should not be allowed to employ an orphan child in low work or in jobs outside the country to evade the long arms of the law. He would be proceeded against, as he was a domicile though the victim child was not (20). [Criminologists may note.]
Sometimes the masters sold off the women working under them as dasis when they became pregnant. The masters had to accept as their own the children born to them by these women employees. If they failed to arrange for the nourishment of the child in the womb they were held to be guilty and awarded the lowest amercement (48 to 96 panas). The purchasers and witnesses to this deal were also punished. [It was presumed that the woman employee had not been impregnated by her master or by his kinsman or by his guest.]
Of course, the woman employee, dasi, who had become pregnant, would become free if she had been forcibly violated by the master and impregnated.[We purposely refrain from using the term, rape in this context. Only if violence had been resorted to, this term should be used.]
If a master did not accept the ransom amount (fixed by the court) for an Arya working under him as a dasa, he was fined 12 panas and sent to jail and kept there till he consented to release that person (21). The state had to resort to coercion to make the master-creditor fall in line with the state policy. Kautilya was keen that dasatva, the system of bonded labour, should be totally eradicated but it was not easy to implement this policy.
The Kautilyan state far from thriving on slave labour was engaged in a mass campaign against the feudal forces who flourished on enslavement of man to man and of man by man. The ransom was paid by the state agencies where parents and kinsmen had failed to redeem the members of their families sold off or pledged to the rich and mighty as dasas. It was a major social welfare step.
A dasa was entitled to own property.On his death, his kinsmen inherited his share of the joint property of the family, as dayadas (22). If there were no dayadas, his property would be taken over by the state, by the charismatic ruler, svami (23). [In a society afflicted by anarchy, the masters who were landlords became rulers and annexed the properties of their dasas.] In this rule,svami does not mean the creditor-master who employed the dasa concerned.
This rule was intended to protect the dasas who had the right to property even as Aryas had, from being secretly killed by the greedy and cruel masters with intent to appropriate their wealth. The state stepped in to protect the dasas against the machinations of their employers.But was the ruler dependable? Hence the insistence that he should be a dharmapravartaka,.upholder of dharma
A purely economic state tends to deny the individuals the right to personal property. It enriches itself at the expense of the citizens. Kautilyan state was a social welfare state though it gave primacy to economy, artha.
Kings and nobles maintained several women employees, dasis. These dasis could not refuse to have intercourse with their benefactors. Kautilya declares that a dasi who gave birth to the child of the svami became free from the dasi status (23). [It is presumed that she was allowed to take away the child.] Her child also was declared to be free. This rule was applicable to dasisworking under any master and to dasis of all categories,But this rule of liberation did not automatically extend to the mother and the child the much-needed economic security. bought, gifted, pledged, born, inherited etc.
Often entire families had become subordinate to the masters or creditors on the death of the parents. All the children became dasas. When one of the girls yielded to the master and gave birth to a child, she had the option to go away as a free person or stay back to serve the family of the master in the interests of her own family. If she stayed back, the svami had to discharge her brothers and sisters from the dasa status (24).
But she was not entitled to the status of a wife. The relationship between a husband and a wife ensured the conjugal rights of both. But the relationship between svami, a master or owner and a dasi was different from that. It was expedient for the latter to yield to the advances of her owner. [A dasi was not necessarily a courtesan.]
She could after giving birth to her masters child continue to be in her masters service but as a free servant. In addition, she could get her brothers and sisters freed from the debt bondage that their parents had thrust her and them into. It was an act of sacrifice on her part.
Of course, she could not marry any one else nor did the master marry her. She had to remain his concubine.The patriciate was not austere. It was given to enjoyments. Their employees were known as Devadasas (Dhiodasas) and Devadasis. [Vide Hindu Social Dynamics Vol.2. for an analysis of the different statuses of serfs, Devadasa, Sudasa and Saudasa.] Instead of viewing this situation as despicable exploitation of women employees by rich and powerful masters, one has to visualize the scene of a liberal patriciate extending patronage to the needy which was different from the one where feudal lords held men and women in bondage and were cruel taskmasters.
Kangle notes that Katyayanasmrti has a rule closely parallel to 23 and 24 above. Katyayana was a senior contemporary of Kautilya. This economist was a consultant of Dasaratha and Rama of Ayodhya. He was a contemporary of Kanika Bharadvaja (finance minister of Dhrtarashtra) and Pisuna (finance minister of Dushyanta). The later smrtis must have abandoned this rule. Kautilya noticed a tendency among some parents to sell or pledge the child again after it had been rescued from the dasa status. [The court had paid the redemption money.] Such an attempt was penalized. The guilty parent was fined 12 panas (25).
Of course, any Arya (even one redeemed from dasa status)had the right to renounce his freedom to tide over economic difficulties or for any other purpose. Freedom has to be economically advantageous. Freedom to starve is not a happy state to live in. [Breolers notes are not to be followed. The western scholars were unduly eager to create and spread the impression that slavery was practised on a large scale in ancient India and that most of the population who were Shudra workers were bonded labourers and were required to serve under the three higher classes.] Krshna, Kashyapa, Katyayana, Kautilya and other scholars were social activists committed to the creation of an egalitarian society.