Sunday, July 1, 2012

FWD by Sonia Gandhi - Glimpses of World History - Debate on Slavery - Intro - 4

May the peace and blessings of Almighty God be upon you.

"Generations of readers have been moved and, indeed, enthralled by the three classics, which reflect the power and lucidity of Jawaharlal Nehru's mind, the eloquence of this language, and the radiance of his spirit. I hope they will continue to educate, inspire and guide us for generations to come." -  Sonia Gandhi, New Delhi, 27-May-2004. From the FOREWORD TO THE 2004 EDITION of Glimpses of World History by Jawaharlal Nehru, The first Prime Minister of India.

"One New Year's Day, 1931, Jawaharlal Nehru began a remarkable series of letters on the history of the world to his daughter Indira, then thirteen years old. Over the next thirty months, Nehru wrote nearly two hundred letters in this series, which were later published as Glimpses of World History.- From the back cover of Glimpses of World History by Jawaharlal Nehru.

Nehru On World Slavery

Throughout the book, Nehru gives a solid and concise references to the existence and the practices of Slavery, worldwide. Nehru's account on slavery begins from the 200 BC Rome and it ends at the 18th century Unites States of America.

In other terms, Nehru's accounts on Slavery began from one super power and it ended at another superpower i.e. from Rome to USA.

The Necessity of Slavery

Slavery was necessitated by the greed of humans, as it was and as it is as ever.

"In the ancient world in the West slaves were always in great demand, and in order to fulfil this demand huge slave-markets arose, and expeditions went out to capture men and women, and even children,in distant land and sell them into slavery." - Glimpses of World History, Page 83.

- Slave-markets were there just as other commodity markets of 21st century.
- Expeditions went out to capture & enslave free people!

It Begins from Rome

The people of Rome were mainly divided in to two classes. They were the rich Aristocrats and the common Plebeians. But there was another disdained third group.

"But besides these two groups there was in the Roman State an enormous number of slaves who had no rights of any kind.

- They were not citizens;
- They had no vote;
- They were the private and the personal property of their master, like digs or cows.
- They could be sold or punished at the sweet will of the master." - Ibid, Page 83.

Once a person becomes a slave, his freedom is lost forever, unless and until a great miracle happens.

"They could be freed also under certain conditions, and when they became free they formed a special class called freed-men." - Ibid, Page 83.

India and China

Slavery was not a strange system for the Asian continent.

"Was this system of slavery equally prevalent then in India? Very probably it was not. Nor did China have it. This does not mean that there was no slavery in ancient India or China. But such slavery existed was more or less of the domestic kind."- Ibid, Page 83.


"The Carthaginians were the descendants of the Phoenicians and had the tradition of seamanship and of trade. Theirs was also a republic, but it was, even more than that of Rome, a republic of rich men. It was a city with huge slave population."- Ibid, Page 84.

- The city of Carthage was a North African country i.e the present day Tunisia.


Egypt was yet another country who had slaves as part of their population. Rome was the superpower of that time and Egypt was one of their backyards. Rome utilized Egypt for resources and other supplies. Precisely, Rome was kept in good humour at the expense of countries like Egypt.

"Thus they were kept in good humour, but this free distribution could only take place in a few places, and even this was done at the cost of misery and suffering to the slave populations in other countries like Egypt, who provided the free flour.- Ibid, Page 105.


With the 6th century Arabia being an exception, the slavery and the miseries of slaves continued throughout the world till the 18th century.

"Right through the eighteenth century the nations of Europe carried on a cruel and heartless slave trade." - Ibid, Page 399.

- Europe took the share.


"With the discovery of America, however, the old slave trade was revived in its most cruel form. The Spanish and Portuguese began it by capturing Negroes on the African coast and taking them to America to work on the land.- Ibid, Page 399.

- America took the share.


"The English took their full share in this abominable trade- Ibid, Page 399.

- England took the share.

The world took the full share of this lucrative business.

The Greatest Suffering of Mankind

"It is difficult for you or for any of us to have any idea of the terrible sufferings of the Africans as they were hundred and caught like wild beasts and then chained together, and so transported to America. Vast numbers died before they could even reach their journey's end. - Ibid, Page 399.

- These practices of slavery were the greatest suffering of mankind.

'Slaves' of 21st Century

"The millions of Negroes in the United States of America today are the descendants of these slaves. - Ibid, Page 399.

History goes on and on ... 

Understanding the slavery and its practices is a great deal. What you see is only some excerpts from the limited historical records.

The Only Exception

There came a man from the desert land of the 6th century Arabia. He was the only exception who transformed his people from being the slaves of puny humans to The True Slaves of Almighty God.  

"He lived a quiet life, liked and trusted by his fellow-citizens. Indeed, he was known as "Al-Amin" - The Trusty. -  Nehru, Glimpses of World History, Page 165.



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