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(4,932 words)

Author(s): Brian A. Hatcher
Pandit (or pundit) is an Anglicized form of the Sanskrit word paṇḍita, an adjective meaning “wise” or “learned.” When used as a noun, paṇḍita refers to a learned or wise man (fem. paṇḍitā). This basic meaning has held true at least from the time of the ancient Upaniṣads (c. 500 BCE; see MuU. 1.2.9) down to the present day, when noted intellectuals and performing artists often bear the title (e.g. Pandit Ravi Shankar, the sitar virtuoso). The term was even applied as early as 1856 to an Englishman (see Yule & Burnell, 1989, 741).  In the Sanskrit grammatical tradition, the word paṇḍita…

Brahmo Samaj and Keshub Chandra Sen

(5,524 words)

Author(s): Brian A. Hatcher
The Brahmo Samaj is a socioreligious reform organization founded in Calcutta (Kolkata) in 1828 that went on to become a pan-Indian movement with a far-reaching global impact that always outweighed the actual number of its adherents. The Brahmo Samaj (Society of Worshippers of the One True God; Shastri, 1911, 1) is often taken to be the earliest modern Indian movement dedicated to rational and open-minded reflection on religion as well as to the promotion of progressive reform in everything from …