In this treatise, Ambedkar compares slavery to untouchability to see which one is worse. Slavery is broadly defined and the condition in which one person is the property of another. He offers two more detailed definitions of slavery.
Detailed Definition of Slavery 1
A person suffering from all three of the following conditions.
- A person can be sold, mortgaged, or leased
- A person can be killed with no repercussions
- Condition prescribed by law
Detailed Definition of Slavery 2
A person that is viewed as not having the capacity to acquire rights and bear duties. Rights are defined as:
- Right to unmolested pursuit of the occupation by which man chooses his livelihood
- Right to transport and free travel
- Right to protection from fraud
- Right to have the family one wants
Untouchables are not slaves by the first definition. Untouchables are not slaves by the second definition either. The law does recognize an untouchables rights to the four rights listed. However, the untouchable does not have these rights within society. The general population does not recognize the untouchables capacity for rights.
Ambedkar uses examples of how Rome and the USA gave slaves some ability to acquire unique skills. In both cultures, a slave with a skilled trade or profession would be sold and leased at a higher rate. He gives examples of Roman slaves that could quote Homer, and American slaves that were trained as doctors.
Also, a master had financial incentive to protect a slave. In Rome slaves never worked in areas infested with malaria. The wealthy slave owners would not damage their property. Frequently freedmen worked in locations inflicted with malaria.
The condition of the Jews in Europe was briefly discussed in this treatise. The Jews suffered many of the same indignities as an untouchable. However, a Jew could convert to Christianity and have legal protection. Jews chose solidarity in spite of oppression. Therefore their condition is better than the untouchables.
He also briefly mentions the British ended slavery in India in 1843.
A link to the original document can be found HERE