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Pandita Ramabai

1858-1922. Indian Christian reformer. Daughter of a Brahman who had a remote hilltop ashram, she was born near Mangalore, lost both her parents during pilgrimage in South India in 1874, and with her brother wandered on, making a living by reciting the Hindu scriptures. In Calcutta Ramabai's prowess in Sanskrit so impressed pandits that she was designated “Pandita,” a name retained even after she was a Christian. Her drift from orthodoxy was seen in her association with a reform movement, by her speeches in favor of female emancipation, and then by her breaking caste in marrying a man of lower caste who died two years later (1882).