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Dutta, also spelled Datta, Dutt and Datt, is an Indian family name and surname that is found primarily among Bengali and Punjabi Hindus, and is also present among Assamese, and Haryanvi Hindus. Datta means "given" or "granted" in Sanskrit, and is an alternative name for the Hindu deity Dattatreya.[1]



Main article: Bengali Kayastha

According to Indian historian Tej Ram Sharma, in Bengal the surname Dutta/Datta[2] is confined to the Kayastha caste.[3] The office of Kayastha (scribe) was instituted before the Gupta period[3] (c.320 to 550 CE). Originally, Kayastha was composed of people from different Varnas, including Brahmins[3][4] and Kshatriyas.[4] After the Gupta reign, the Kayasthas in Bengal developed into a caste,[5] and gained a higher status,[5] incorporating the Pala, Sena and Varman Kings and their descendants.[4] In the middle period of the history of Bengal, between 1500 and 1850 CE, the Kayasthas were regarded as one of the highest of Hindu castes in the region.[6]


Some members of the Baidya caste use Dutta/Datta as a surname, although they more often use compounded variations such as Duttagupta or Duttasharma instead.

Well-known Bengali Dattas/Duttas[edit]

Well-known Bengali Dattas/Duttas include:

Punjabis and Haryanvis[edit]

Punjabi and Haryanvi Duttas belong to either the Kayastha or Mohyal Brahmin community. According to the gotra system, Mohyal Duttas are the descendants of Rishi Bharadwaj. Some consider Gaj Bhavan, the grandson of Rishi Bharadwaj to be the real founder of their clan.

Famous Punjabis with the surname Dutta or Dutt include:


In Assam, Duttas/Dattas belong to general caste and are associated with Kalita community. Being Kalitas, they are more inclined towards Eksaran Naam Dharma and thus may not religiously follow idol worship unlike most of the traditional Hindus. Assamese Duttas' have made significant contribution to the society of Assam.

Famous Assamese with the surname Dutta or Datta include:

In popular culture[edit]

In 2012, a Bengali film Dutta vs Dutta was released, directed by Anjan Dutt, the film captured family drama of three generations of a Bengali Dutta family.[8]


  1. ^ Rigopoulos 1998, p. 27–28.
  2. ^ Clark 2014, p. 148.
  3. ^ a b c Sharma 1978, p. 115.
  4. ^ a b c Wink 1991, p. 269.
  5. ^ a b Sekhar 2004, p. 20.
  6. ^ Inden 1976, p. 1.
  7. ^ "Cultural Contours of North-East India". Oxford University Press. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  8. ^ "Datta vs Datta". Outlook. Retrieved 16 May 2014.