From the vantage of epigraphs from the Indian subcontinent, ‘slavery’ as an abstract noun is itself a problem. The epigraphs particularize the (first-generation) slave as well as the freedman by attaching him or her to specific masters, whether merchants, Sufi teachers or military Sultans. Furthermore, these epigraphs highlight the second-generation status of slaves as those with families and allow us a glimpse of the status of female slaves who had borne children to their masters as umm-i-walad. Finally, these epigraphs also enable us to look at a more expansive world of Islamic piety in which men of Afroasian and Central Asian origins were accommodated. The expansive possibilities offered by the deployment of slaves in the early modern Indian subcontinent suggested by these epigraphs in turn makes it necessary for us to question the association of all slaves with permanent dishonor and social death. Especially since there is evidence that non-Muslims and non-slaves in such societies also participated in the same administrative systems without conversion and also embraced the status of ‘slave-of-the-dargah’ (shrine or court) to describe themselves in relation to a higher being. It became a mark of cultivated manners to present oneself thus. It is therefore necessary to put the study of degradation of slaves in the historicized context of racialized capitalism in the Northern Atlantic, rather than as a global and universal form.