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Glossary
Adivasis
Original inhabitants of the country
Ahimsa
Non-violence; love
Ashram, Ashrama
A place of spiritual retirement; hermitage; one of the four stages of life according to Hinduism
Avatar
Incarnation of God
Babul
A tree, a twig of which is used as a tooth brush
Bania
Member of the trader caste of Hindus.
Bhangi
Scavenger
Bhogabhumi
Land of enjoyment
Bigha
3,025 square yards of land
Brahmachari
A celibate; one who leads a life of self-restraint
Brahmacharya
Celibacy; life of self-restraint
Brahmana
Member of the priestly caste among Hindus
Chaitanya
Bengali religious reformer of the 15th century who preached devotion to God
Chakki
Grinding wheel
Chapati
Thin, flat, unleavened bread
Charkha
Spinning wheel
Dada
Hindu religious reformer of the 16th century A.D. who rejected the claim of both the Vedas and koran to be revealed scriptures. He had a large following in Northern India, his followers being known as Dadupanthis
Damayanti
Princess of Vidarbha and wife of prince Nala of Naishadha, the constancy of whose devetion to each other forms the theme of a well-known episode in the Pranas
Daridranarayana
God in the form of the poor
Dayananda
Swami Dayananda Sarasvati, founder of Arya Samaj
Dharma
Religion; duty; law of one’s way
Draupadi
Wife of Pandava brothers, heroes of the epic Mahabharata
Duragraha
Obstinately sticking to a wrong resolve; the opposite of Satyagraha
Duryodhan
Evil-minded Kaurava prince whose refusal to yield to his cousins, the Pandavas, their just share in the kingdom led to the Mahabharata war
Fakir
A Muslim ascetic
Ganja
Flower of Indian hemp which has an intoxicating effect when smoked with tobacco
Ghanchi
Oil-presser
Ghani
Oil press of indigenous type
Gopal
Cowherd; one of the names of Krishna
Goonda
Hooligan
Goondasim
Hooliganism
Goseva Sangh
Association for the welfare of cattle
Gur
Jaggery; molasses derived from palm or sugar-cane juice
Guru
Teacher; preceptor; religious leader
Guru Govind Singh
The tenth Guru of the Sikhs
Harijan
lit. a man of God; a name which Gandhiji gave to the ‘untouchable’
Harijan
English weekly journal conducted by Gandhiji
Hartal
Temporary suspension of business by a large number of people as a mark of protest or mourning
Himsa
Violence
Ishopanishad
One of the major Upanishads which inculcates renunciation of the desire for the fruits of one’s action
Janaka
An ancient king of Videha who was a great philosopher
Jaggery
Molasses produced from palm or sugarcane juice
Kabir
Poet-saint of northern India who lived in the 15th century A. D. and who preached the essential unity of the Godhead and the harmony or religions.
Kachrapatti
Municipal scavenging department
Kama
Carnal love
Karmabhumi
Land of duty
Khaddar, Khadi
Hand-spun and hand-woven cloth
Khuda-I Khidmatgar
lit. servant of God; one who works in the spirit of unselfish service of fellowmen; an Association of workers founded by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, the “Frontier Gandhi”
Kisan
A peasant
Koran
Book of Revelation of Islam
Krishna
Central figure of the epic, Mahabharata, who is venerated by Hindus as God incarnate
Kshatriya
Member of warrior caste among Hindus
Kumbha Mela
A Hindu fair held every twelfth year at the time of a certain planetary conjunction when the pious take a purificatory bath in some sacred rivers
Lakh
1,00,000
Mahabharata
Hindu epic of about 1,00,000 verses, the central theme of which is the great war between the Pandavas and their cousins the Kauravas, who were rival claimants to the throne of Hastinapur (ancient Delhi)
Mahatma
A high souled person
Mantra
A sacred text or formula
Nanak- Guru Nanak
Founder of Sikhism, who was born in 1469 and died in 1538 or 1539 A. D.
Nai Talim
lit. new education i.e. Pre-Basic, Basic and Post-Basic
Nira
Freshly drawn unfermented juice of the palm tree
Panch
lit. five
Panchayat
A village council of five or more elders
Pariah
An ‘untouchable’
Pinjrapole
An institution for sheltering aged and crippled animals, including cows
Poorna
Full
Pratap
Mahatma Pratapsinha, ruler of Udaipur in Rajputana who valiantly fought against the Moghul Emperor Akbar in defence of his kingdom
Raj
Kingdom
Rama
Hero of the epic, Ramayana, who is regarded as an incarnation of God by Hindus
Ramakrishna
Bengali saint (1836-86 A. D.) who taught the oneness of the Godhead and the basic harmony of all religions. The Ramakrishna Mission is named after him.
Ramanama
lit. name of Rama, or God
Ramarajya
lit. Kingdom of Rama; ideal social order
Ramayana
Hindu epic which relates the story of the abduction of Sita, wife of Ram, prince of Ayodhya, by Ravana, demon king of Lanka, and her rescue by rama after the destruction of the demon
Rashtrabhasha
National language
Ravana
Demon-king of lanka who was destroyed by Rama, prince of Ayodhya, for abduction Sita, his wife
Rishi
Seer
Roti
Flat, unleavened bread
Ryot
A peasant
Sadavarta
Place where alms or food is distributed free to the poor
Sama Veda
One of the four Vedas
Samurai
Feudal barons of Japan
Sangh
Association
Sarvodaya
Welfare of all
Satyagraha
lit. clinging to truth; civil or non-violent resistance
Satyagrahi
Civil or non-violent resister
Shankara
Hindu philosopher of the 8th century A. D. who was an exponent of Advaita or absolute Nondualsim
Shanti dal
Peace brigade
Shastra
Scripture
Shuddhi
lit. purification; conversion, especially reconversion, to Hindu religion
Shudra
Member of the menial caste among Hindus
Sipahee
A soldier of the lowest rank in the Indian army during the British regime
Sita
Wife of Rama, the hero of the epic, Ramayana
Smritis
Ancient Hindu law books
Sudama
An extremely poor class-mate of Krishna
Swaraj
Self-government
Swadeshi
lit. of indigenous make; principle of using only articles of indigenous make
Tabligh
Propaganda and conversion to Islam
Tadgud
Jaggery prepared from palm juice
Tadi
See toddy
Tapasya
Penance; religious austerity
Tilak
A mark of auspiciousness on the forehead with consecrate paste or powder
Tiruwallwar
Author of Kural, one of the earliest Tamil classic which is generally assigned to the 2nd century A. D.
Toddy
Juice of the palm tree which becomes intoxicating when it has fermented
Tukaram
Poet saint of Maharashtra who lived in the 17th century A. D.
Tulsidas
Hindi poet-saint of northern India, who lived in the 16th century A. D. and whose work, Ramacharitamansa, is held in the highest veneration by all Hindus
Upanishads
Ancient philosophical treatises which are believed by Hindus to contain revealed truth
Vaid, Vaidya
A practitioner of indigenous medicine
Vaishya
Member of the cultivator and mercantile caste among Hindus
Varna
A class; a caste
Varnashram
Ancient Hindu social order based on the four Ashramas or stages in life, (Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprashtha and Sanyas) and the four occupational divisions (Brhmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra)
Vedas
Oldest scriptures of Hindus which are believed to embody revealed truth and which are divided into four books, Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda
Vidura
Righteous minded uncle of the Kaurava and Pandava princes of the epic, Mahabharata
Yajna
Sacrifice
Zamindar
Landlord
Zamindari
Landlordism