G l o s s a r y o f S e l e ct T e r m s
acaras: ritual practices.
agrahayan: eighth month of the Bengali-Hindu calendar corresponding with mid-
November to mid-December.
alta: a red paint used to decorate the feet, symbolic of auspiciousness.
anchal: loose end of sari that is used to cover the head or is draped over the left
antarganik bibaha: inter-marriage among diﬀerent sub-groups within a caste.
antarikata: heartfelt sincerity.
anusthanic: Brahmos who performed religious rituals.
arasika: someone devoid of the capacity for enjoyment.
arghopradan: oﬀerings to the lord.
arya-samaji: of the Arya samaj, a late nineteenth-century reform movement within
Hinduism started by Dayanand Saraswati in 1875.
ashirbaad: to bless. Also the blessing ceremony in a Bengali wedding.
atma: soul or self.
ayurvedic: deriving from ayurveda (literally knowledge of life), a system of healthcare
native to the Indian subcontinent.
babu: an honoriﬁc for middle-class Bengali men. Used disparagingly by the British
from the second half of the nineteenth-century to refer to this class.