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In the Devanāgarī script, the danda (Sanskrit daṇḍa "stick") is a punctuation character. The glyph consists of a single vertical stroke. The character can be found at code point U+0964 (।) in Unicode. The "double danda" is at U+0965 (॥). ISCII encodes danda at 0xEA.
The danda marks the end of a sentence or period, comparable to a full stop (period) as commonly used in the Latin alphabet. In metrical texts, a double danda is used to delimit verses, and a single danda to delimit a pada or semi-verse.
Use in other scripts
The danda (with the same Unicode encoding) has also been used as a full stop in the scripts of several other Indic languages, including Bengali, Gurmukhi, Gujarati, Oriya, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam. However, Western punctuation has largely replaced it in contemporary orthography.
The word daṇḍa literally means "stick, staff, rod, pole, cudgel, club", and is also used in the sense of "tusk", "trunk", "stalk, stem", or "handle".
As a unit of length, it corresponds to four hastas "hands". The term can also refer to a sceptre as a symbol of power and sovereignty, and expresses "power over" in compounds, also on the sense of judicial authority and punishment (chastisement, imprisonment, etc.) and also including the sense "control, restraint, arrest, cessation" as in vāg-daṇḍa, karma-daṇḍa, mano-daṇḍa, etc.
It is also a slang for penis: this usage came to prominence in the "competitive mothers" sketches in the comedy show Goodness Gracious Me.
- Monier-Williams (1899)
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