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Louis Dumont was an influential Indologist and social anthropologist who made a significant contribution to the global consciousness about religion and culture. Dumont was born in the Ottoman city of Salonika, Turkey, in 1911, where his French engineer father had served the interests of the Turkish government. Soon after the family moved back to France, young Louis won a place in the elite École Polytechnique in Paris to study mathematics. The career in science and technology envisioned for him by his parents, however, proved to be stifling. After only a short while in these studies, Dumont quit them in a brash spirit of youthful rebellion. Throughout much of his 20s, Dumont indulged in Bohemian pursuits in Oriental exotica and experimental modes of art. He was ...

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