Former Secretary, Ministry of Welfare, P. S. Krishnan on Friday lamented that caste system was so deeply entrenched in Indian society that its signs were visible even in the economy and linguistics.

Speaking at a panel discussion on Lakshmidhar Mishra's book Human bondage: Tracing its roots in India here, Mr. Krishnan said unlike the United States where people were segregated into blacks and whites, in India the caste system was all encompassing. “So much so that it has become degrading. There has been systematic slavery of Scheduled Castes. Over the years, the SCs have been prohibited from owning land. The measures taken in this regard have only been half-hearted.”

Noting that the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes have not been provided land as promised, Mr. Krishnan said the fact was that even when bonded labourers were retiring, fresh recruitment was taking place. “Bonded labour has entered new areas like fishing.”

He added that the book authored by Mr. Mishra must be handed over to the Union and State Governments to tackle the root cause of bonded labour. “Besides being an efficient IAS officer, Mr. Mishra is also a sensitive human being.”

Speaking on “Child labour, Trafficking and Bondage”, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights Chairperson Shantha Sinha said poverty alone was not forcing people towards bondage labour. “Other cultural factors are also responsible.”

She deplored the fact that children were working for long hours in national companies and MNCs manufacturing bindis, hawai chappals and footballs.

Council for Social Development president Prof. Muchkund Dubey said every paragraph of the book has a human dimension. “The book is remarkably simple in style and will be a source of reference for policymakers in the years to come.”

It took Mr. Mishra five years to write this book. “Justice M. N. Venkatachaliah took a year to write the foreword. And Sage Publications took another three years to publish it,” added Mr. Mishra.

Social thinker B. D. Sharma spoke on “Tribal Land Alienation and Bondage” and educationist Anil Bordia talked about “Illiteracy and Bondage”.

Former Planning Commission Member B. N. Yugandhar spoke on Land Tenurial System and Bondage

Published by Sage Publications, Human bondage: Tracing its roots in India is an in-depth study of bonded labour with special focus on how the system exists in the country.

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