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A historic pandit's statue in a museum.

Pandit (Sanskrit: पण्डित, romanizedpaṇḍita; Hindi: पंडित;[1] also spelled pundit, pronounced /ˈpʌndɪt, ˈpændɪt/;[2] abbreviated as Pt. or Pdt.; Pandita or Panditain can refer to a female pandit or the wife of a pandit) is a person with specialised knowledge or a teacher of any field of knowledge in Hinduism,[1] particularly the Vedic scriptures, dharma, Hindu philosophy, or other subjects such as music.[3]

In Sanskrit, Pandit generally refers to any "wise, educated or learned man" with specialized knowledge.[4] The term is derived from paṇḍ (पण्ड्) which means "to collect, heap, pile up", and this root is used in the sense of knowledge.[5] The term is found in Vedic and post-Vedic texts, but without any sociological context.

In the literature of the colonial era, the term generally refers to Brahmins specialized in Hindu law.[6]

Pandit (music title)[edit]

Pandit (abbreviated as Pt. from Marathi /Hindi पंडित) is an honorific title for an expert man in classical singing and playing, used in India. It is used in various languages including Marathi, Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi and other languages which are there in India. An expert other than a Muslim musician is given the title Pandit.


As these title of Pandit (and even Ustad) are appended informally to the names of classical singers and players by their admirers, individuals or institutions, once they have reached eminence in their performing art, especially on public performances. As they are informal titles mentioning names of eminent singers without those appendages is ok unlike prefixes like Dr. awarded formally by educational institutions.[7]

But this title Pandit of a classical musician and the Pandit which is used as Priest (or a knowledgeable person) is different.

There are many Pandits in Hindustani classical music, for example, Pandit Jasraj, Pandit Nayan Ghosh, Pandit Anindo Chatterjee, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Nikhil Ghosh, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Pandit Suresh Talwalkar, Pandit Yogesh Samsi, Pandit Vyenkatesh Kumar, Pandit Birju Maharaj, Pandit Kishan Maharaj, Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar etc.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Pundit" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 22 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 649.
  2. ^ "pandit". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.
  3. ^ a b Axel Michaels; Barbara Harshav (2004). Hinduism: Past and Present. Princeton University Press. p. 190. ISBN 978-0-691-08952-2.
  4. ^ Monier Monier-Williams (1872). A Sanskrit-English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. p. 527.
  5. ^ Monier Monier-Williams (1872). A Sanskrit-English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. pp. 526–527.
  6. ^ Timothy Lubin; Donald R. Davis Jr; Jayanth K. Krishnan (2010). Hinduism and Law: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press. p. 8. ISBN 978-1-139-49358-1.
  7. ^ "Pandit title usage".

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Pandit at Wikimedia Commons