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Mitra, Rajendra Lala

MITRA, RAJENDRA LALA (1824-1891), Indian Orientalist, was born in a suburb of Calcutta on the 15th of February 1824, of a respectable family of the Kayasth or writer caste of Bengal. To a large extent he was self-educated, studying Sanskrit and Persian in the library of his father. In 1846 he was appointed librarian of the Asiatic Society, and to that society the remainder of his life was devoted as philological secretary, as vicepresident, and as the first native president in 1885. Apart from very numerous contributions to the society's journal, and to the series of Sanskrit texts entitled " Bibliotheca indica," he published three separate works: (i) The Antiquities of Orissa (2 vols., 1875 and 1880), illustrated with photographic plates, in which he traced back the image of Jagannath (Juggernaut) and also the car-festival to a Buddhistic origin; (2) a similarly illustrated work on Bodk Gaya (1878), the hermitage of Sakya Muni, and (3) Indo-Aryans (2 vols., 1881), a collection of essays dealing with the manners and customs of the people of India from Vedic times. He received the honorary degree of LL.D. from the university of Calcutta in 1875, the companionship of the Indian Empire when that order was founded in 1878, and the title of raja in 1888. He died at Calcutta on the 26th of July 1891.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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