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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.
According to Indian historian Tej Ram Sharma, in Bengal the surname Dutta/Datta is confined to the Kayastha caste. The office of Kayastha (scribe) was instituted before the Gupta period (c.320 to 550 CE). Originally, Kayastha was composed of people from different Varnas, including Brahmins and Kshatriyas. After the Gupta reign, the Kayasthas in Bengal developed into a caste, and gained a higher status, incorporating the Pala, Sena and Varman Kings and their descendants. 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.
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
Well-known Bengali Dattas/Duttas include:
- Akshay Kumar Datta (1820–1886); writer
- Aloke Dutta; tabla player
- Amal Dutta; famous Indian footballer (retired) and football coach.
- Anik Dutta; Bengali film director
- Anjan Dutt; popular artist of the 1990s Bengali music scene defined by anyodharar gaan (alternative song)
- Aroti Dutt; noted social worker
- Aswini Kumar Dutta (1856–1923); nationalist leader and philanthropist
- Bhabatosh Datta (1911 – 1997), Indian economist and academic, Padma Vibhushan (1990)
- Bhupendranath Datta, Indian revolutionary and later a sociologist.
- Chitra Singh; born Chitra Dutta, singer and wife of Jagjit Singh.
- Dhirendranath Datta (1886–1971); Bengali lawyer and politician
- Gurusaday Dutt founder- Bratachari Movement,
- Indrani Dutta, Bengali television actress
- Jyotirmoy Datta; writer, journalist, poet and essayist
- Kalpana Joshi; born Kalpana Dutt, noted freedom fighter
- Mankumari Basu; born Mankumari Dutt, poet and short story writer
- Michael Madhusudan Dutt (1824–1873); poet and dramatist
- Hulasa Ram Dutta; businessman and social activist.
- Radha Raman Dutta; music composer
- Rajani Palme Dutt, British politician
- Roby Datta, Poet and Educator
- Romesh Chunder Dutt (1848–1909); writer, economist, historian, translator of Vedas
- Samadarshi Dutta; Bengali film actor
- Saroj Nalini Dutt; noted social worker
- Satyendranath Dutta: (1882-1922) Bengali poet.
- Sudhindranath Dutta, Bengali poet, essayist
- Swami Gambhirananda born Jatindranath Datta, Hindu religious teacher.
- Swami Vivekananda (1863–1902); born Narendranath Datta, spiritual leader of modern India
- Tanushree Dutta; Indian actress
- Tina Dutta; (actress)
- Toru Dutt (1856–1877); poet
- Utpal Dutt (1929–1993); author, dramatist, director, actor and activist
- Himangshu Dutta (1908–1944); music composer
- Arpita Singh; born Arpita Dutta, Padma Bhushan awarded Painter
Punjabis and Haryanvis
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:
- Divya Dutta (born 1977); Hindi and Punjabi film actress.
- Hulasa Ram Dutta; businessman and social activist.
- Lara Dutta; actress and former Miss Universe.
- Sanjay Dutt; actor
- Sunil Dutt (1929–2005); actor, politician
- Nargis (1 June 1929 – 3 May 1981); Actress
- Yogeshwar Dutt; Wrestler
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:
- Anandita Dutta Tamuly, record holder in Limca Book of Records
- Birendra Nath Datta, writer and a Padma Shri award recipient
- Monikangana Dutta, model and actress from Assam
- Utpal Dutta, a National Film Award-winning film critic
In popular culture
- Clark, Gregory (2014), The Son Also Rises: Surnames and the History of Social Mobility, Princeton University Press
- Inden, Ronald B. (1976), Marriage and Rank in Bengali Culture: A History of Caste and Clan in Middle Period Bengal, University of California Press, p. 1, ISBN 978-0-520-02569-1
- Rigopoulos, Antonio (1998), Dattatreya: The Immortal Guru, Yogin, and Avatara : A Study of the Tranformative and Inclusive Character of a Multi-Faceted Hindu Deity, State University of New York Press, pp. 27–28, ISBN 978-0791436950, retrieved 11 June 2012
- Bandyopadhyay, Sekhar (2004), Caste, Culture, and Hegemony: Social Dominance in Colonial Bengal, Sage Publications, p. 20, ISBN 81-7829-316-1
- Sharma, Tej Ram (1978), Personal and Geographical Names in the Gupta Inscriptions, New Delhi: Concept Publishing Company, p. 115
- Wink, Andre (1991), Al-Hind, the Making of the Indo-Islamic World, Volume 1, Brill Academic Publishers, p. 269, ISBN 978-90-04-09509-0, retrieved 3 September 2011
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