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According to Kautiyla’s Arthashastra, which of the following are correct?

  1. A person could be a slave as a result of a judicial punishment.
  2. If a female slave bore her master a son, she was legally free.
  3. If a son born to a female slave was fathered by her master, the son was entitled to the legal status of the master’s son.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Explanation

Let’s analyse each statement.

  1. A person could be a slave as a result of a judicial punishment.
  • Incorrect. The Arthashastra states that a man could not be a slave either by birth, by voluntarily selling himself, by being captured in war, or as a result of judicial punishment.
  1. If a female slave bore her master a son, she was legally free.
  • Correct. The Arthashastra states that when a female slave gives birth to a child of her master, both the child and its mother shall be considered free.
  1. If a son born to a female slave was fathered by her master, the son was entitled to the legal status of the master’s son.
  • Correct. The Arthashastra states that if a son is born to a female slave by her master, the son is entitled to the legal status of the master’s son.

Therefore, the correct answer is: 2 and 3 only

Learn more

  • The Arthashastra written by Kautilya (also known as Chanakya) is an ancient Indian treatise on statecraft, economic policy and military strategy. It dates back to the period 321-296 BCE.
  • The Arthashastra recognizes slavery as an institution and defines the legal relationship between masters and slaves:
    • There were several ways a person could become a slave, like by birth, by selling oneself, by capture in war, but not as a result of judicial punishment.
    • The Arthashastra gave certain protections to slaves, especially female slaves. If a female slave bore her master’s child, she and the child would be freed.
    • Any child born to a female slave by her master would be entitled to the legal status of the master’s son.
  • The Arthashastra also specified punishments if someone unlawfully sold or mortgaged a slave who was not born a slave.
  • Slavery was an accepted institution in ancient India, but Kautilya’s Arthashastra did define protections for certain slaves.

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