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Islam and Slavery: India

Islam’s Indian slave trade (Part i) in Islam’s genocidal slavery: part I.

Indian Kingdoms ca 6th Century AD (Modern names added as a reference)

India has a deep, long cultural history.  Hinduism began there around 1,500 BC and Buddhism around the 6th century BC.   This culture had evolved impressive intellectual, religious and artistic pursuits. Pre and post the early days of Islam, Indian scholars took their works in science, maths (zero, algebra, geometry, the decimal system, so-called ‘Arabic’ numbers are actually Hindu ones!), medicine, philosophy etc to the courts of others (including Muslims eg Baghdad).

Others came to study in India’s established universities.  Indian children (boys and girls) were educated in the relatively widespread education system in a wide variety of subjects eg science, medicine and philosophy.  India’s  art and architecture was magnificent.  They were a prosperous people.  Then came Islam – slaughter, slavery, rape, violence, pillage; destruction of religious sites, art and architecture; poverty, exploitation, humiliation, famine, forced conversion, decline in intellectual pursuits, social destruction and a worsening of social ills.  To Islam, anything that is not Islamic is from a time of ignorance –Jahiliyya- and must be destroyed (or appropriated and called Islam’s!).  The onslaught created the Roma (gypsies), destroyed ‘Hindu’ Afghanistan and formed Pakistan (Kashmir) and Bangladesh .

The cost of the Muslim invasions is massive in lives, wealth and culture.   Estimates suggest that  60-80 MILLION died at the hands of Muslim invaders and rulers between 1000 and 1525 alone (ie over 500 years-the population FELL).  (Lal cited in Khan p 216)  Impossible you think?   In the war of Independence of Bangladesh, 1971, the Muslim Pakistani army killed 1.5-3 million people (mainly Muslims …) in just 9 MONTHS. (Khan p 216).  The world looked the other way—but don’t we always when it’s Muslims committing the violence!

Based on the figures that are available, the number of Indians enslaved is enormous!

Three articles cover India:  Part I concentrates on slavery while parts J and K examine the Islamic jihad against India not as a list of battles but as a record of the need by pious Muslims to exterminate idolatry and polytheism and make India ‘Muslim’ as expressed in their own memoirs and the writings of Muslim historians.

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The Muslim conquest of India was probably the bloodiest in history:

The Islamic historians and scholars have recorded with utmost glee and pride of the slaughters of Hindus, forced conversions, abduction of Hindu women and children to slave-markets, and the destruction of temples carried out by the warriors of Islam during 800AD to 1700 AD.  Millions of Hindus were converted to Islam by the sword in this period”  (historian Durant cited in Khan p 201)

And Rizwan Salim (1997) writes what the Arab invaders really did:

‘ savages at a very low level of civilisation and no culture worth the name, from Arabia and West Asia, began entering India from the early century onwards.   Islamic invaders demolished countless Hindu temples, shattered uncountable sculpture and idols, plundered innumerable forts and palaces of Hindu kings, killed vast numbers of Hindu men and carried off Hindu women.   ………but many Indians do not seem to recognize that the alien Muslim marauders destroyed the historical evolution of the earth’s most mentally advanced civilisation, the most richly imaginative culture, and the most vigorously creative society.” (cited in Khan p 179)

Of course Indians pre-Islam, fought, but it was NOT the practice to enslave or ravage, or massacre, or destroy religious sites, or damage crops and farmers.  Battles were usually conducted on open soil between military personnel. (Khan p 205-207)  There was no concept of ‘booty’ so Indians were unprepared for Islam’s onslaught.  Indigenous Indians were forced to flee to jungles and mountains, or face gruelling exploitation and taxes, slaughter or enslavement while their society was demeaned and destroyed.  Muslims constantly attacked the indigenous, idolatrous population and also fought against each other in ceaseless revolts by generals, chiefs and princes during the entire time of Islamic rule (Khan p 205).

Slavery:     Initially ‘India’ included part of today’s Pakistan (Sindh), Bangladesh/Bengal and Kashmir.   Hinduism and Buddhism flourished in Afghanistan pre the Islamic takeover (7th century).  In the 16th century Afghanistan was divided between the Muslim Mogul (Mughal) Empire of India and the Safavids of Persia.

The damaged armless image of the bodyguard of Shiva-Maheshwara as depicted at the Hoysaleshwara Temple complex at Halebid. Hindu temples and works of art built in the ancient were desecrated and destroyed by Muslims invaders.

Initially the godless Umayyads, allowed Hindus dhimmi status – possibly because of their large numbers, resistance to Islam and their value as a source of tax income.  This violates Islamic text and law which demands death or conversion for idolaters and polytheists.   When Sultan Iltutmish (d 1236) was asked why Hindus weren’t given the choice between death and Islam, he replied:

“but at the moment in India…the Muslims are so few that they are like salt (in a large dish) …however after a few years when in the capital and the regions and all the small towns, when the Muslims are well established and the troops are larger….it would be possible to give Hindus the choice of death or Islam” (cited in Lal [c] p 538) (Can we learn anything from this???)

Despite their supposed ‘dhimmi’ status, mass slaughter, mass forced conversion and mass enslavement with the resulting forced conversion to Islam were practised throughout Islamic rule and into the 20th century as many demanded the idolaters/polytheists convert or die.  Hindu fighters and males were slaughtered with women and children enslaved.   Eunuch slavery was practised on young boys.  

Often actual numbers aren’t given, just comments like ‘countless captives/slaves,’ or ‘all the women and children were taken.’  Where numbers are recorded, they are terrifying.   Along with people, the Muslims took everything they could—coins, jewels, cloths, clothes, furniture, idols, animals, grain etc or destroyed it.

Muslim rulers were foreigners. Until the 13th century, most slaves were sent out of India but following the Sultanate of Delhi (1206) they were retained to work for the sultanate, sold in India or sent elsewhere.  Slaves from elsewhere were imported and Muslim armies were composed of a wide array of foreign slave groups ‘converted’ to Islam and ‘Hindus’ and Indian ‘converts.’
Slaves were the promised booty from allah and obtaining them was a strong motivation for jihad.

“slaves were so plentiful that they became very cheap;  men…were degraded….but this is the goodness of god, who bestows honours on his own religion and degrades infidelity”.  (Muslim chronicler Utbi on Sultan Subuktigin of Ghazni’s slave raid [942-997] in Sookdheo p166)

In Sindh (first area attacked successfully) the early ‘Muslim’ community was composed mainly of slaves forced into Islam and a small number of Arab masters (Khan p 299).  Initially slaves were forced out of India eg Qasim (Arab), the conquerer of Sindh sent by Hajjaj bin Yusuf Sakifi in the caliphate of  Walid I,  took 300,000 from a 3 year campaign in 712-715 (Khan p 299, Trifkovic p 109).   Muslim fighters came from everywhere to partake in this ‘jihad.’   Qasim was suddenly recalled and executed (possibly by being sown in an animal’s hide) for supposedly violating 2 Sindhi princesses destined for the caliph’s harem!!(Lal [c] p 439)

Many raids taking slaves were carried out under various caliphs in the 8th and 9th century.

The Ghaznivids-Turks from Ghazni, Afghanistan (997-1206) who subdued the Punjab.
From 17 raids (997-1030) Sultan Muhmud Ghazni (Turk from Afghanistan, 997-1030) sent hundreds of thousands of slaves to Ghanzi (Afghanistan) resulting in a loss of  about 2 million people via slaughter or enslavement and sale outside India (Khan p 315).  Chroniclers (eg Utbi, the sultan’s secretary) provide some numbers eg -from Thanesar, the Muslim army brought 200,000 captives back to Ghazni (Afghanistan). In 1019, 53,000 were taken.  At one time the caliph’s 1/5th share was 150,000 suggesting 750,000 captives.  500,000 were taken in one campaign (at Waihind)(Lal [c] p 551) Mahmud’s secretary al-Utbi records:

Mahmud of Ghazni Mahmud of Ghazni (971-1030) was the first sultan of the Ghaznavid dynasty in Afghanistan.

“Swords flashed like lightening amid the blackness of clouds, and fountains of blood flowed like the fall of setting star.   The friends of god defeated their opponents….the Musalmans wreaked their vengeance on the infidel enemies of god killing 15,000 of them…making them food of the beasts and birds of prey….god also bestowed on his friends such an amount of booty as was beyond all bounds and calculations, including 500,000 slaves beautiful men and women” (Khan p 191)

The Ghaznivid’s ruled in the ‘Islamic sultanate of the Punjab’ till 1186.  Attacks in Kashmir, Hansi, and districts of the Punjab resulted in mass slaughter and enslavement eg 100,000 in a 1079 attack in the Punjab (Tarik –i-Alfi in Khan p 276-7,  Lal [d] p 553).

The Gaurivid invasion:  The Delhi Sultanate 1206-1526)  Turks who conquered northwestern India, and the Gangetic valley. 
1)Under the Ghaurivid rulers (Turks) eg Muhammad Ghauri (Afghani) and his military commander then ruler, Qutbuddin Aibak (r1206-1210), the Delhi sultanate was set up.  Mass beheadings, enslavements, forced conversions, plunder and the destruction of temples continued.  Slaves were incredibly plentiful. In 1195, Aibak took 20,000 slaves from Raja Bhim and 50,000 at Kalinjar (1202) (Lal [c] p 536).

“even the poor (Muslim) householder became owner of numerous slaves.’ (Khan 103, Lal [c] p 537).

Muhammad Ghori,Mohammad Ghauri, etc., originally named Muizz-ad-din, b.1162 – d.1206, was a Ghurid emperor and the governor of Ghazni from 1173 to 1206.

Following the formation of the Delhi Sultanate (1206) slavery and attacks across India escalated from the Delhi base.   Slave trading centres operated in India selling slaves to merchants and ordinary Muslims. Slaves could be taken anywhere.  While 1/5 of the booty including slaves was nolonger automatically sent to the caliph, slaves were still sent at times to Caliphs and other prominent Muslims and as gifts eg to China.

2) Sultan Iltutmish (d 1236) continued to enslave and force Islam onto slaves (Lal [c] p 538).  The ‘slave’ commander Ulugh Khan Balban  (1250s-1260s) took so many captives they ‘couldn’t be counted.’ A chronicler records –

“all the infidel’s wives, sons and dependents…and children ..fell into the hands of the victors.”  (Chronicler in Lal [c] p 538)

At Katehar, Balban ordered a general massacre of the male population OVER 8 years of age and carried away women and children (Lal [c] p 539).

Throughout ‘Hindustan’ towns and villages were raided, people enslaved in droves.  Hindus returned to villages decimated by fire and sword but the Turkish Muslim armies returned (Lal [c] p 539).  Slaves were lost forever!

3) Rule by the Kiljis (1290-1320) and Tughlaqs (1320- 1413).
Through the 13/14th century ruled by the Khilji (Khaljis) and Tughlaq’s, slavery grew as Islam spread.  Thousands of slaves were sold at a low price everyday (Khan p 280).  Alauddin Khilji’s (r 1296-1316) capture of slaves was stupendous and he shackled, chained and humiliated slaves (Lal [c] p 540).  In the sack of Somnath alone he:

“took captive a great number of  handsome and elegant maidens, amounting to 20,000 and children of both sexes ..more than the pen can enumerate. The Mohammadan army brought the country to utter ruin, destroyed the lives of inhabitants, and plundered the cities and captured their offspring.” (historian cited in Bostom p 641,  Lal [c] p 540)

Many thousands were massacred.   Alauddin Khilji (r 1296-1316) had 50,000 slave BOYS in his personal service and 70,000 slaves worked continuously on his buildings.(Lal [c] p 541)

Women practised Jauhar (burning or killing oneself to avoid enslavement and rape) and sati.

The Sufi Amir Khusrau notes “the Turks, whenever they please, can seize, buy or sell any Hindu” (Lal [c] p 541)

ALA-UD-DIN-KHILJI extended the boundaries of the Delhi Sultanate and brought almost the whole of India under his rule.

The slave markets had a continuous supply of slaves eg Delhi.  A Hindu chronicle of the end of the 13th/early 14th century notes violent campaigns across extensive areas which resulted in death or enslavement of perhaps millions of Hindus.  It reports instructions to Turkish Muslim invaders (ie to Gori Malik in the sack of Bhinmal) to spread terror, cut down the Brahmanas, and kill cows.  The Turks enslaved, ransacked and burnt (Bostom p 643-4)

Muhammad  Tughlaq’s (r 1325-1351) enslavement of others outstripped Alauddin Khilji.
Commentators write:

“The Sultan never ceases to show  the greatest zeal in making war upon infidels….everyday thousands of slaves are sold at a very low price, so great is the number of prisoners.” (Lal [c] p 541)

Sultan Firoz Shah Tughlaq (1351-1388) had 180,000 slaves (he collected young males) including 40,000 guards of his palace.  He told his fief-holders and officers to capture slaves whenever they were at war and send him the best.  (Sookdheo p165-167,  Lal [c] p 542)

Shams Siraj Afif, a contemporary historian notes: “slaves became too numerous.”  “The

Sultan Firuz Shah Tughlaq

institution took root in every centre of the land” and continued even when the sultanate fractured into kingdoms. (Lal [c] p 542)
Traveller throughout India, Ibn Battuta noted that villages after villages were deserted (Lal [c] p 544).

Slave trading centres for Indian slaves outside India were Khurasan, Ghazni, Samarkhand (Central Asia) and Kabul and Kandahar.    Caravans also arrived there from Istanbul, Iraq, and China..(Khan p 318).  Foreign slaves were also bought by ‘Indian’ Muslims as they were less likely to cause uprisings.  Even in Akbar’s court (1556-1605), where some Hindus were employed, most were foreign (Khan p 318).

Timur/Tamerlane 1398/99.  Destroyed the Delhi sultanate:
A raid by pious Timurlane (Amir Timur –a Turkic/Mogul from Central Asia) in 1398/99 saw 100,000 slaves slaughtered in cold-blood  before he attacked Delhi and possibly 200,000-250,000 (or more) plus craftsmen enslaved and taken out of  India (to Samarkand, Central Asia).(Khan p 282, Lal [c] p 544).  In his memoirs on the attack on Delhi, Timur claims his 15,000 Turks EACH “secured from 50 to 100 prisoners……there was no man with less than 20” and that was on just one day, the 17th!   “The other booty was immense”…”women were obtained in such quantities as to exceed all count.”  The areas of Delhi occupied by Muslims weren’t sacked.  The slaughter, mass enslavement and plunder continued as he headed towards his home Samarkand, Central Asia. (Timur’s memoirs, Bostom p 648).

The Sayyid  and Lodi dynasties (1400-1525)- returning the Delhi sultanate
Following Timur’s destruction of Turkish Muslim rule in Delhi, he installed others that paid tribute to him till 1506.

Sayyid sultans attacked, enslaved, killed and plundered in Katehar (1422), Malwa (1423) and Alwar (1425)(Khan p 282)
Then the Lodi Sultans  (1451-1526) restored the sultanate.    Nothing changed for the Hindus.  Enslavement and slaughter by Sultan Bahlul depopulated Nimsar.  Sikandar Lodi repeated this in Rewa and Gwaloir (Khan p 282).

Mughal rule 1526-1707.
1) Jahiruddin Shah Babur (1483-1530) defeated Lodi.     Babur, known for his quotes from the Koran, jihad  and piles of heads also enslaved women and children (Khan p 282-3,  Lal[b] p 438-459).  Leadership contests ensued.

2) Akbar the great (1556-1605) –Babur’s grandson
Raiding a village without reason and enslaving the inhabitants became common and, although Akbar (1556-1605) tried to stop this practice, it continued unabated.   Most parts of India came under Akbar’s control.  Illiterate Akbar is considered tolerant and many of his acts are contrary to Islam eg he rejected Islam, allowed others into his court and attempted to synthesize a new composite religion called Din-i-Ilahi –religion of god (Khan p 152).  He adopted Hindu and Zoroastrian festivals and practices (Trifkovic p 112).   He stopped the jizya though other taxes remained. Yet in many ways he remained ‘Islamic.’ While declaring independence from foreign Islamic overlordship he still sent ‘gifts’ to Mecca, Medina and elsewhere (Khan p 163).  He owned slaves including thousands of women.  He hated ‘paganism.’(Note in his memoirs –‘Barburnama- Sultan Babur [1483-1530] noted that most of Hindustan’s inhabitants were pagans; “they call a pagan a Hindu”!! Bostom p 80).   Thousands of peasants (30,000)(lower caste Hindus) in Chittor who took up arms alongside their Rajput rulers (8,000 Rajputs) were put to the sword or enslaved and their property taken. (Khan p 88, 113, Trifkovic p 112)

“the order was given for a general massacre of the infidels as punishment …by mid-day nearly 2000 had been slain….those of the fortress who escapes the sword, men and women were made prisoners, and their property  came into the hands of the Musulmans.  The place being cleared of the infidels, his majesty remained there three days”  (cited in Sookdheo  p 265).

Akbar’s sex slavery: Akbar had 5,000 females in his harem (Khan p 102)

While Akbar supposedly attempted to halt mass slavery in battle, it vigorously continued under his commanders. Chroniclers and reports record that raiding villages without justification and enslaving people was fashionable. (Khan p 283).  Children were stolen, kidnapped and purchased then males were castrated (Islam’s famous eunuch slavery), particularly in Bengal.    Abdullah Khan Uzbeg, one of Akbar’s generals boasted,

“I made prisoners of 5 lacs (500,000) of men and women and sold them.   They all became Muhammadans.  From their progeny, there will be crores (one crore=10 million) by the day of judgement.”(cited in Khan p 103)

Slave markets popped up all over India.  Slaves became very cheap—everyone (Muslim) had several! (Khan p 316).

A witness noted:

“in his reign, servants and slaves were so numerous and cheap that everybody, even of mean fortune, keeps a great family and is splendidly attended’  (cited in Khan p 283)

Akbar’s son and grandson retuned to orthodox Islam.

3) Jahangir (1605-27CE Akbar’s son) wrote that 500,000-600,000 people were slaughtered during the combined rule of his father –Akbar- and his own!!! (Lal [b] p 459, Khan p 200).   In 1619-20 alone he sent 200,000 Indian slaves to Iran for sale.  Children were castrated and given as slaves to pay tax collectors (Khan 285)

4) Shah Jahan (1628-58, Akbar’s grandson)  The condition of Hindu peasants became unbearable—adults and children were enslaved to pay taxes (Khan p 283-4).  Yet you will read of this as the Mughal period’s greatest prosperity—while non-Muslim Indians were reduced to destitution.  Shah Jahan’s religious violence; destruction of Hindu and Christian sites; offer of death or Islam to 4,000 at Agra while young females were sent to harems; slaughter of 10,000 at Hugh and INCEST with his daughters is reported in part K and Trifkovic p 112.  Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal to his 3rd wife who died bearing her 14th child in 19 years!  (What a romantic!!)

Slaves from foreign nations also flowed into India –eg Sultan Aurangzeb purchased Tatar and Uzbek women as harem guards  (war-like) and European women as sex–slaves .(Khan 317)

5) Aurangzeb (Akbar’s great grandson, r 1658-1707) aimed to conquer, enslave or convert all of India (Khan p 104).   He revived Islam.  Temples and schools were destroyed and infidels slaughtered.  Islam’s dhimmitude laws were applied with a vengence. (Khan p 98). Hindus revolted against paying the jizyah. In a campaign against the Rajputs, his generals

“employed themselves in laying waste to the country, destroying temples and buildings, cutting down fruit trees, and making prisoners of the women and children of the infidels ..”  (Sookdheo p 265 –complies with jihad laws eg Reliance of the Traveller; Laws o9.13 – enslave women and children and  o9.15 p 604 –OK to cut down trees and destroy buildings ).
A French Physician living in India noted that children “were carried away as slaves” to pay taxes (Khan p 284)

Slavery continued from within India and outside even though the British, who halted slavery, had begun to enter India in the 18th century:
In 1713-1719:  Mughal Furrukhsiyar, attacked the Sikh fortress of Gurdaspur in Punjab, killing thousands and sending others in collars and chains to the emperor (Sookdheo p 265)

In 1738, Nadir Shah of Iran invaded India, slaughtered 200,000, plundered and enslaved, returning home with thousands of slaves, including a few thousand beautiful girls and immense treasure (Khan p 104, p 199).

Reign of Terror – After his accession to the throne of Delhi, Farrukh-Siyar launched the sternest proceedings against the Sikhs, who had under Banda Singh Bahadur freed much of the Punjab from mughal rule.

The British captured Bengal in 1757 yet Muslim rulers continued their slave taking around India.
Afghani, Ahmad Shah Abdali attacked 3 times (1757, 1760, 1761) around Mattra, Delhi, Luni, winning the Third Battle of the Panipat against the resistant Marathas  in 1761.  He slaughtered hundreds of thousands, beheaded and burnt people alive and looted, all in accordance with Islam.  Massacres occurred in cold blood after the battle.  Severed heads were piled up and people enslaved -22,000 in one case.  Victims were humiliated, abused and suffered atrocities.  His prisoners were deprived of food and drink and paraded in long lines before being beheaded . (Khan p 104, Bostom p 657).

Islamic violence and enslavement of others continued to the end.  The last independent Muslim ruler Tipu Sultan (1750-1799), a nationalist hero for standing up to the British, killed 10,000 Hindus and Christians and enslaved 7000 in his wars against Travancore.  The enslaved were forced into Islam.   A Muslim chronicler notes 70,000 Coorgis were forced into Islam. (Khan p 200)

The East India company passed the  Indian slavery Act V banning slavery in 1843—at the time slavery existed in Bengal, Madras, Bombay  (Khan p 335)

In reality there were continued attacks, abductions and rapes by Muslims.  During the partition of India into India and Pakistan 1947, (a Muslim land grab), Muslims kidnapped hundreds of thousands of Hindu and Sikh women and married them to Muslims.  In November 1947, Muslim Pathan raiders enslaved Hindu and Sikh girls in Kashmir and sold them in Pakistan markets (Jhelum)  (Khan p 284).  Women committed Jauhar—jumping into fires, jumping into a well, or taking poison in preference to abduction, slavery and rape.  (Khan p 252).   Non-Muslims fled to ‘India’.  In an ‘ethnic/religious’ cleansing attempt, Muslims slaughtered, forcibly converted and enslaved particularly in the area that would become and became Pakistan in an effort to create a pure Islamic state free of polluting others.  Pakistan means ‘land of the pure’ and of course, only Muslims are pure! (see detail, part K)

Today in Pakistan and Bangladesh (separated from Pakistan in 1971, formerly East Pakistan/East Bengal), Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Christian girls etc are abducted, raped and forced into Islam.  Literally millions of non-Muslims have fled to India.

Hunting those that fled the Islamic conquest: Islam’s sadism:
Those resisting Islamic control, enslavement, rape and those whose entire property and family had been taken (rich or poor) or were unable to meet crushing taxes , had fled to the jungles.   Islam never had complete control and millions resisted –they were not subjects (Khan p 98-99).   People left the land resulting in famines killing thousands.   Some became robbers.
Several Muslim rulers hunted people referred to as bandits and rebels (Muwattis), slaughtering the males and enslaving their women and children or slaughtering them too as Islamic law allows if they ‘resist’ (Reliance of the Traveller, Law o9.10 p 603).

Sultan Tipu

Eg under Ghiyasuddin Balban (r 1265-85) as he cleared the jungles and areas around Delhi:

“the blood of the rioters ran in streams, heaps of slain were to be seen near every village and jungle and the stench of the dead reached as far as the Ganges” (Khan p 250)

Muslim traveller Ibn Buttuta(about 1345)  witnessed SADISM towards  Hindu prisoners and their wives and children  under Sultan Ghayasuddin (Ghiyath al-Din)

“All the infidels found in the jungle were taken prisoners;  they had stakes sharpened at both ends and made the prisoners’ carry them on their shoulders.  Each was accompanied by his wife and children and they were thus led into the camp……. In the morning, the Hindus who were made prisoners the day before, were divided into four groups, and each of these was led to one of the four gates of the main enclosure.  There they were impaled on the posts they had themselves carried.  Afterwards their wives were butchered and tied to the stakes by their hair.  The children were massacred on the bosoms of their mothers, and their corpses left there.  Then they struck camp and started cutting down trees in another forest, and all the Hindus who were made captive were treated in the same manner” (translation of Buttuta’s notes quoted in Bostom p644, also Sookdheo p 263, )

An 80 year old leader was apparently treated well until they had taken everything from him , then they killed him and stuffed his skin with straw and hung it on a wall!! (Sookdheo p 263)  (note this is during the ‘Turkish’ rule of India, a century BEFORE Vlad 111Dracula [1431-1476] spent his youth as a Turkish/Ottoman hostage see part G)
Sultan Muhammad Tughlaq (1325-51) hunted the jungle hideouts:

“the whole of that country was plundered and laid waste and the heads of the Hindus were brought in and hung upon the ramparts of the fort of Baran” (cited in Khan p 251)

Babur (1483-1540) noted the rebelliousness of the people who hid in the jungles. He wrote of his arrival in Agra:

“neither grain for ourselves or corn for our horses was to be had.  The villagers out of hostility and hatred to us, had taken to thieving and highway robbery; there was no moving on the roads….All the inhabitants had run away to jungles in terror.”(Khan p 95).

But he slaughtered making piles of bodies and heads (Babur’s memoirs in Bostom p 651-3)

Emperor Jahangir hunted such rebels, enslaving and sending 200,000 (1619-20) to slave markets in Iran on one occasion (Khan p 251).  A traveller in India (1612-14) noted Jahangir’s wealth and the extreme poverty of ordinary people.

Creating the Roma or Roma chave people:
Roma can mean man and  Roma chave means sons of the Indian god Rama.  Many people fled India to avoid enslavement or conversion –they are the Romanies or gypsies of today found throughout Europe (Hitler killed them too) and the US.  Gypsy legends give their origin as India.  ‘Researches based on their language, customs, rituals, and physiogonomy affirm that it is Hindus from India who form the bulk of these people in Europe.’ (Lal [a] p451).
Their 1st exodus seems to have occurred around the 7th century, coinciding with the Arab invasion of  Sind.   Mahmud Ghazni took them away in every campaign (997-1030) .  The biggest group exited across Afghanistan to Europe in the 12th and 13th centuries following the defeat of Prithviraj Chauhan by Muhammad Ghauri.   THEY ARE FREEDOM LOVING PEOPLE, and skilled craftspeople with a remarkable talent for music.  (Lal [a] p 451-2)

Slave uses:  forced to serve Islam while Indian culture was trashed.  What true Indian can tolerate this?
The slave armies of the Sultanate had Turks, Persians, Seljuks, Oghus (Iraqi Turkmen), Afghans and Khiljis and black slaves .  When the Khilji’s came to power (1290-1320), the first non-slave rulers of India, enslaved and forcibly converted Indians appeared in the army, despite objections, because they feared an attack from outside India.  They had just ousted the previous ‘Turkish’ rule and couldn’t trust the loyalty of any in the army! Sultan Firoz Tughlaq (r 1351-88) fearing attack by Islamized Mongols, allowed some Hindus into the army.

Indian soldiers, generally converted slaves with the lowest rank, cared for animals (elephants, horses) and performed personal service to higher ranks.  They cleared jungles, made roads, set up camp and were in the front line of attacks to absorb the initial blows. Escape was impossible.   Very few converted slaves rose to prominent position through valour and loyalty to the Muslim ruler (Khan p 304).  .

Particularly following the formation of the Delhi sultanate (1206) many slaves were retained in India, employed in every possible occupation –from cleaning up filth, labouring, cutting jungles to playing music and singing (Lal [d] p 553)   They were forced to build mosques, minarets and palaces using the materials from destroyed religious sites, libraries or monasteries etc of their own.  The ‘might of Islam’ mosque (Qwat-ul-islam) in Delhi is built over an idol temple and uses materials from 27 destroyed Hindu and Jain temples.  Likewise for Deli’s Qutb Minar minaret where the wonderful sculptured Hindu figures on the stones are defaced or upside down or concealed  (Khan p 299-300)

Slaves worked in royal karkhana (factories or workhouses) particularly in the Sultanate and Mogul periods.  They made everything from gifts, saddles, textiles, weapons…thousands were involved (Khan p 305)

Slaves served at court minded wives and concubines (Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan had 5,000-6,000 women each  in 1556-1658).  Slaves were guards and administrators. Slaves danced, sang, played musical instruments, cared for hunting and food animals and were physicians.  Sultan Muhammad Shah Tughlaq had 1,200 physicians and 10,000 falconers plus 1,000 slave musicians who taught music (Khan p 306).

As usual, females and young boys provided sexual services. A Dutchman visiting India in the 17th century noted the sexual indulgence of  Muslim rulers and noblemen who were pampered and entertained by concubines and wives and freely ‘enjoyed’ the concubines in the presence of the wife (Khan p310)
In the Sindh (Bahawalpur), before it was incorporated into Pakistan (1954), the last Nawab had over 390 women and needed a wide range of tools to satisfy them eg 600 dildos (Khan p 311)

Huge numbers of slaves were involved in building—eg 70,000 for Sultan Alauddin Khilji (1296-1316).  Building great monuments to themselves never stopped as when one ruler died or was removed, the successor built his own new monuments and palaces eg abandoning Iltutmish’s old city, Sultan Ghiysuddin Balban (r1265-85) built the Qasr-i-Lal (Red Fort) in Delhi.  Delhi was a series of cities built by different Muslim rulers.
Sultan Firoz Tughlaq (r1351-1388) had 180,000slaves.  Of these a contingent of masons and builders with 12,000 slaves may have been involved in stone cutting alone! (Khan p 301).  The buildings constructed during Islamic rule were designed and built by skilled Indian slave craftsmen, artisans and labourers at all levels, watched over by Muslim masters with whips (Korrah) (Khan p 301).

Suffering slaves:
Humiliation and cruelty:  When Sultan Mahmud (997-1030) brought Hindu King Jaipal of Kabul to Ghanzi and subjected him to extreme humiliation, Jaipal jumped into a fire. (Khan p 291).   Balban (about 1260) brought Hindu leading men and men of position, bound, shackled and chained to Delhi where Sultan Nasiruddin had the leading men executed –rendering others ‘tamed.’ (Lal [c] p 542)  As we have seen many times in this series, Islam does everything to strip others of their dignity, equality, honor and self-respect.  The excessive Jizya tax is paid in a public humiliation procedure.

People were caught via lassos or ropes dragged around groups.  They were tied, sometimes with iron shackles on the feet, sometimes around the neck and chained –until their spirit was broken and they were forcibly converted but they remained slaves.  People capable of bearing arms were beheaded (Lal [d] p 552) .  They were hit around the neck (no doubt reminding them they could be beheaded as they do when kafirs pay the jizya), forced on brutally long marches, exposed to the burning sun during the day and freezing cold at night, starved and given little water.  Children were separated from parents.  People writhed in agony and wailed (15th century report in Lal [c] p 543, Khan p 292)

Eunuchs:  All over the Islamic world, the conquered were castrated, including in India.  This was done so men could guard harems, provide carnal indulgence for rulers, give devotion to the ruler as they had no hope of a family of their own and of course, this quickly reduced the breeding stock of the conquered.   Castration was a common practice throughout Muslim rule possibly contributing to the DECLINE in India’s population from 200 million in 1000 CE to 170 million in 1500 CE (Khan p 314)

Once Sultan Bakhtiyar Khilji conquered Bengal in 1205, it became a leading supplier of castrated slaves.  This remained the case into the Mogul period (1526-1857).
Akbar the Great (1556-1605) owned eunuchs.  Said Khan Chaghtai owned 1,200 eunuchs  (an official of Akbar’s son Jahangir)!  In Aurangzeb’s reign, in 1659 at Golkunda (Hyderabad), 22, 000 boys were emasculated and given to Muslim rulers and governors or sold. (Khan 313).

Sultan Alauddin Khilji (r 1296-1316)  had 50,000 boys in his personal service;  Sultan Muhammad Tughlaq (r1325-51) had 20,000 and Sultan Firoz Tughlaq (r 1351-1388) had 40,000 (Firoz Tulghlaq liked to collect boys in any way  and had 180,000 slaves in total (Lal [c] p 542).  Several commanders under various sultans were eunuchs.   Muslim  historians record the ‘infatuation’ of sultans Mahmud Ghazni, Qutbuddin Aibak, and Sikandar Lodi –for handsome young boys!  Sultan Mahmud was infatuated by his Hindu commander  Tilak (Khan p 314)

Islam’s impact:
1)  Worsening of social ills:
In an effort to avoid enslavement and rape certain social ills increased and new ones developed.
a) Sati:   where a wife throws herself on the funeral pyre was commendable but not compulsory in Indian society.  This possibly increased during Muslim invasions when many men were killed and women left vulnerable.

b) Child marriage:   Girls were betrothed to young Hindu boys to protect the girls from Muslim predators…The British also attempted to stop this practice (Khan p 253)

c) Caste system:  Egalitarian Islam is a lie—the low caste who converted were still despised by upper ranks of Muslims and couldn’t enter mosques etc and this continues today  eg ‘Bengal’ (Khan p 249-250).    Many lower caste Indians were the strongest fighters against Islam which is a very white Arab supremacist, apartheid system.

Nehru notes Islam: “made its caste system, which still had an element of flexibility in it, more rigid and fixed’ (Khan p 250)
Under Islam the lower castes increased as people were stripped of their wealth and position right down to farmers whose property was taken while people were subjected to crushing taxes –hence many were pushed to the lowest level.

These began under Islam, but stopped under British rule.
d) Jauhar:–unknown in pre-Islamic India. The earliest record occurs in the Chachnama by Muslim chronicler al-Kufi (Bostom p 81).  Hindu women committed suicide by jumping into the fire (or other acts) to avoid enslavement and sexual violation by Muslims.   When Qasim conquered Sindh, palace women set themselves on fire (Fort at Raor) (Lal [a] p 438). In Chittor jauhar occurred 3 times at least eg 1303 under attack by Alauddin Khilji, again in 1535 under attack by Bahadur Shah of Gujarat and in 1568 under attack by Akbar (possibly 8,000 women)    Even in the time of partition into India and Pakistan (1947), it occurred again as non-Muslims eg Hindus were attacked (Khan p 252).

e) Thuggee cult  (Thags):  these were a religio-cultural cult of the goddess Kali who engaged in night-time robbery and murder.  The British eradicated them through selective assassination, infiltration, police work and offering clemency for those who surrendered and cooperated.
In the reign of Feroz Shah Khilji (1290-96) reports record him capturing 1000 Thags —the cult seems to have developed following the Islamic invasion and devastation.
Reports from others pre-Islam eg visitors from China, suggest that such crime was not the case pre-Islam. (Khan p 255)

While the British removed or attempted to remove these social ills and stopped enslavement, Muslims not only failed to stop social ills but worsened them.  Indeed slavery and rape; child marriage; violence to women and to children who don’t pray, violence to non-Muslims; taking the property of non-Muslims;  and an apartheid system of Muslim/non-Muslim, Male/female, white Arab/black Indian and many other ‘delights’ are part of Islam’s text, laws and ‘culture.’

2)  Cultural, artistic and religious destruction; Backwardness and destruction of learning.
Even Nehru who gives a rosy picture of Islam noted:

“The Moslems who came to India from outside brought no new technique or political or economic structure.  In spite of a religious belief in the brotherhood of Islam, they were class bound and feudal in outlook.  In technique and in the methods of production and industrial organisation, they were inferior to what prevailed in India..”  (cited in Khan p 185)

Nehru noted the Muslims didn’t build one good college in 8 centuries!  (Khan p 248)

Despite being a creative and learned population initially, India made no notable contribution to science, philosophy and literature during Islamic rule (Khan p 249).  Pre-Islamic control, India had significant achievements in science, mathematics (zero, algebra, geometry, decimal system), literature, philosophy, medicine, astronomy, architecture and music. Pre-Islam’s arrival eg in 630-650s a Chinese pilgrim describes Indian boys and girls from age 7 studying grammar, science of arts and crafts, medicine, logic, and philosophy and that primary education was relatively widespread.   Muslim Caliphs hired Indian mathematicians and physicians who set up hospitals and medical schools in Baghdad.  (Khan p 201-204).   Muslims from Baghdad came to Taxila (Takshashila)  University to study medicine. Muslim students and others came to India to learn science, mathematics, medicine, pharmacology, toxicology and more. The large number of  reputed universities were eventually all destroyed by Muslims.   At times Hindus rebuilt temples and returned to teaching only to have them repeatedly destroyed.   Muslims set up madrassas for Muslims.

In 770, an Indian scholar brought two highly important mathematical works to Baghdad eg Brahmasiddhanta  (Sindhind to Arabs)  by the great 7th century Indian mathematician Brahmagupta –a mathematician and astronomer –which contained early ideas of algebra.  The second manuscript contained a revolutionary system of denoting number and the concept of zero.  In the 9th century, Muslim Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi took this work, combined it with Greek geometry (The Greek contribution in science, medicine, philosophy is huge), to become what we call today as algebra.   Indian numerals were used by al-Khwarizmi in algorithms (a Latinized version of his name) to solve certain mathematical problems.  Hence Muslims may have contributed but they certainly did not discover either zero or algebra and our so-called ‘Arabic Numerals’ are actually Indian (Hindu) Numerals.(Khan p 202)  In Brahmagupta’s Khandakhadyaka (Arkanda), Arabs first became acquainted with a scientific system of astronomy in the 8th century.  Books of medicine, toxicology, philosophy, chemistry and more were also taken into the Islamic world and translated.  Indian mathematics became wide spread.   Even a Spanish Muslim (11th century) praised the Indians for their superior knowledge in astronomy, mathematics, medicine, pharmacology, chemistry… .(Khan p 203-4).  (Note Mayans also developed zero long before Islam entered the world!)

India’s greatest mathematical system, the decimal system used today was the work of 3 great mathematicians—Bhashkaracharya and his daughter, Lilavati, and Brahmagupta.
Marco polo noted the praiseworthy female Rudramani Devi who ruled Telugu for 40 years (Khan p 255).

Islam drove women into their homes and under the veil (Nehru in Khan p 255).

As Islam spread Indian culture was debased and degraded.  Centres of learning and libraries were destroyed.  To Islam, everything else is jahiliyya (ignorance).   Brahmans were accused of teaching ‘wicked sciences’ so schools and temples were constantly destroyed (Khan p 199)

Alberuni (973-1050), a Persian scholar captured by Sultan Mahmud Ghazni (r 997-1030) was brought to India and travelled for 20 years studying Indian mathematics, philosophy, civil and religious law, geography, religion, astronomy (knowledge of the distance to planets, solar and lunar eclipses), physics and metaphysics and also India’s geography (cities etc) and  customs.  He wrote detailed books about these which informed invaders and facilitated their attacks and subjugation of India (Lal [a] p 448).  He recorded the Muslim conquests of India, noting:

“Mahmud utterly ruined the prosperity of the country …..Hindu sciences have retired far away from those parts of the country conquered by us, and have fled to places which our hands cannot yet reach (recorded in his book 1030-cited in Khan p 89, p 191, Bostom p 83, Trifkovic p 110, full quote part J)

As for art, architecture, and religion – Muslim historians record with great delight the massive destruction of the religious sites of Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs etc on a scale with few parallels.  The destruction of the temple that took 200 years to build in Mathura is utterly distressing (Trifkovic  p 110).  Ever heard of Angkor Wat and Angkor Tom and the whole complex built in Cambodia?  Angkor Wat was built around the 12century to honour the Hindu god Vishnu—while in India, equally magnificent temple areas with their magnificent ‘human’ decoration (so offensive to Islam) were being destroyed!  Despite being a UNESCO area, I fear for these and similar areas in Asia as Islam penetrates and takes control!

Tragically Indian builders and artists were forced into the service of Islam with its endless restrictions on representations of human s and other animals—but some evidence of India’s fabulous art with its wonderful representations of people (vigorous and sensual, Trifkovic p 110) etc still exists and hopefully will fully revive.   It’s too distressing to think of what was destroyed!

What Islam has, it stole from others as the Arabian Peninsula tribes lagged well behind the social, political and civilisational development of India, Persia, Egypt and Syria (Khan p 175)(and look what happened when Islam arrived!!)  Bringing in a watermelon doesn’t require or excuse the utter destruction and abuse carried out under the text and laws of Islam.

3)  Dhimmitude, destitution and decline of native, non-Muslim Indians:  Indians became dhimmis subjected to extreme degradation, exploitation and humiliation in their own country. (see articles this site on dhimmitude in general and its economic, social, political and religious aspects –see Bat Ye’Or’s work.). Islamic text, the Pact of Umar and Islamic laws defining dhimmitude remain till the day of Judgement.  The humiliating payment of the substantial jizya with its accompanying threat of death is only one of a mass of taxes, threats and abuses non-Muslims were subjected to.  When scholar Qazi Mughisuddin advised Sultan Alauddin Khilji (r 1296-1316) on collection of the Kharaj (land tax causing extreme economic deprivation)  he also suggested a humiliating procedure including:

“should the collector choose to spit into his mouth, he opens it. The purpose of this extreme humility on his part and the collector’s spitting into his mouth, is to show the extreme subservience incumbent on his class, the glory of Islam and the orthodox faith, and the degradation of the false religion (Hinduism).” (cited in Khan p 107-108).

Exploitative taxes were used to enrich the treasury and force people into Islam outside mass conversion by the sword.
Hindus became ‘serfs’ in their own land, forced to pay taxes and customs which considerably exceeded those required under Hindu law (Khan p 160).  Conquests were for exploitation.

From Qasim on, extracting jizya was a political and religious duty exacted:

“with  vigour and punctuality, and frequently with insult..”   “The native population had to feed every Muslim traveller for 3 days and nights and had to submit to many other humiliations which are mentioned by Muslim historians” (Lal [a] p 439)

Sultan Alauddin Khilji (reigned1296-1316) took 50-75% of the peasants produce in taxes (mainly the Kharaj) reducing peasants to bonded government slaves subjected to humiliation and destitution.  Many sold their family to pay taxes or fled to the jungle (Khan p 108, 172).   “The Hindu women and children went out begging at the doors of the Musalmans” (Sufi saint Shamsuddin Turk commenting on Alauddin in Khan p 191)

During Aurangzeb reign (Akbar’s great grandson, r1658-1707), a European courtier, Niccolao Manucci, living in India noted  Hindus converted to avoid taxes  (Khan p 109-110).

Eyewitnesses report in the 17th and 18th century that destitute peasants, their wives and children (males were castrated)  were taken and sold by tax collectors to pay taxes.  The people had become beggars in their own country (Khan p 88, 94, 283-4).

Also removal of livelihood, position and false charges were used to force others into Islam.  The council of Surat noted in 1668:

“The Muhammadan would lodge a complaint to the Kazi (judge) that he had called the Prophet names or spoken contumaciously of their religion, produce a false witness or two and the poor man was forced to circumcision and made to embrace Islam.” (cited in Khan p 110)

Mass slaughter, enslavement, forced conversion, castration of young boys and the use of females as sex/reproductive slaves producing Muslims, plus the entry of Muslims from elsewhere caused a fast increase in Muslims plus a decline in others.  Violence and exploitation forced people to ‘convert.’  Villages were deserted.  The loss of people, property, farm animals and grain (all booty) caused poverty and famine, killing thousands of ordinary Hindus.

4)  Plunder of India’s wealth.
India’s wealth in its people or its resources and products were taken by Muslims and sent to markets or Islamic centres of power eg Ghazni (Afghanistan) or Samarkand (Central Asia).  Wealth was also sent as tribute, gifts and slaves for caliphs in Damascus, Baghdad, Cairo or Tashkent until Akbar (Mughal) and also to Islam’s holy cities of  Mecca and Medina, Rum (Constantinople), Persia and others even in the Mughal period.  India’s wealth was transferred to the wider Islamic world while India was depleted and reduced to misery.  From Mohammad, Islamic conquests were to plunder and loot the wealth of the conquered and to enslave and ‘convert’ and to impose heavy taxes on the remaining non-Muslims to keep the treasuries going.  Because Islam also aims to spread Islam over all, it destroys the culture, religions, sacred and precious objects, and history of others.

Muslim rulers:

“founded its luxury on India’s general poverty’ and India, under Muslim rule, experienced a series of famines, a fabulous death rate, …(Khan p 262)

A nearly contemporary account of Mahmud Ghazni’s attacks in India reveals the incredible wealth taken.  At one stage Mahmud had a throne of gold and silver built (see the historians account Bostom p 632-639) and he rebuilt Ghazni costing 7 million gold coins (Lal [a] p 447)

Endless accounts from the beginning to the end describe the slaves, gold and silver idols and other objects, coins, precious stones, jewellery, furniture, clothes, cloths, indigo, Indian steel, equipment, grain, livestock (for food or used in battle, farming or transport), indeed everything was taken and usually what was left was burnt.  Dead bodies were stripped of decent clothes, and pockets searched for coins, jewels etc (see Lal, Bostom, Khan).

The loss of bullion (gold, silver) destabilised and devalued Indian currency so Indian merchants lost credit with foreign merchants.   India’s balance of trade was also adversely affected.  India was nolonger a seller of raw and finished goods. Indian merchants couldn’t continue their trade.  Some had to do deals with externally based Muslim rulers eg Mahmud of Ghazni (around 1012) to facilitate trade and allow caravans to travel unmolested! (Lal [a] p 444)
Why would people be creative, innovative or work hard when a Muslim could take it all?

5) White Arab supremacy:
Indians are dark skinned and hence subjected to Islam’s hatred of black/dark skinned people (see Mohammad’s and Islam’s antiBlack racism.  Part D  in  Islam’s genocidal slavery:.).  Also, non-Arab converts to Islam are always second class.  Islam is a white Arab supremacist ideology where converts must turn on their own history and culture and obliterate them, then they must revere Arab culture, the Arab language etc. For legitimacy, rulers tried to claim a relationship to the Arabs particularly to Mohammad’s tribe (Quraysh).  ‘Well into the 20th century, the dark-skinned Nawab of Bahawalpur (Sindh) who had an obsession for white women for producing brighter children, fanatically claimed his ancestry to the Abbasid family of the Quraysh clan’ (Khan p 181)   This same absurdity is found amongst non-Arab Muslim leaders in many areas over time (eg Africa).

Hatred of black people is revealed in comments by Muslim conquerors of India in parts J, K which examine the jihad against India from comments made by the conquerors themselves or their chroniclers.

Conclusion:  The inhuman behaviour applied to the whole population by Muslims was the same whether the Muslims were Sufis, Arabs, Afghanis, Turks, or Mogul as all followed Islam’s laws, text and the fine example of Mohammad.   It should also be noted that the violence and enslavement continued even after they had virtual control over India because the aim was not merely to conquer but to force all into Islam.  Muslims did not come to join Indian society, they came to wipe it out and replace it with Islam—which tells them that they own everything because it’s the booty promised by allah.  The pagans/idolaters, polytheists had to convert or die and only then could there be (Islamic) peace!  Slaves were the just reward for Islam’s fighters–part of the booty promised by allah.


1)  Bostom, A. G.  ‘The Legacy of Jihad:  Islamic holy war and the fate of the non-Muslims.’  Prometheus Books.  New York.   2005.
2)  Khan, M. A.  ‘Islamic Jihad:  A legacy of forced conversion, imperialism and slavery.’ iUniverse, Bloomington, IN.  2009.  (An Indian ex-Muslim)
3)  Lal [a], K.S. Muslims invade India p 433-455 in Bostom (1) above.
4)  Lal [b], K.S. Jihad under the Turks and jihad under the Mughals p 456-461 in Bostom (1) above.
5)  Lal [c], K.S. Slave-taking during Muslim rule p535-548 in Bostom (1) above.
6)  Lal [d], K.S. Enslavement of Hindus by Arab and Turkish invaders  p 549-554 in bostom  (1) above.
7)  Lal [e], K.S.  The Origins of Muslim slave system p 529-534 in bostom (1) above.
8)  Reliance of the Traveller:  A classic manual of Islamic sacred law.   In Arabic with facing English Text, commentary and appendices edited and translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller  Al-Misri, Ahmad ibn Naqib;  Amana publications  Maryland USA 1994.
9)  Sookhdeo, P.  ‘Global Jihad:  The future in the face of  Militant Islam.’  Isaac Publishing.  2007.
10)  Trifkovic, S. ‘The sword of the prophet.’   Regina Orthodox Press, Inc.  2002.
11)   Ye’or, Bat.  ‘Islam and Dhimmitude: Where civilisations collide’  translated from the French by Miriam Kochan and David Littman.  Fairleigh Dickinson University Press 2002, reprint 2005.

8 thoughts on “Islam and Slavery: India

  1. obviously like your website but you have to test the spelling on quite a few of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling issues and I in finding it very bothersome to inform the reality however I’ll surely come back again.


  2. Very nice detailed ruthless culture of muslims.Musilms were inhuman since their begining and they continue to do so till today every part of world.They must be wiped out of earth.They deserve nothing.


  3. Very nice detailed ruthless culture of muslims.Musilms were inhuman since their begining and they continue to do so till today every part of world.They must wiped out of earth.They deserve nothing.


  4. Pingback: Arabs and Slave Trade | Truth About Slavery

  5. Pingback: Islam and Slavery: India « Boeddhisme : Jampa 's Mandala

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