Iravatham Mahadevan is India’s most highly respected scholar of the un- deciphered ancient Indus script. Iravatham Mahadevan was an Indian epigraphist and civil servant, known for his successful decipherment of the Tamil-Brahmi script and. The scholar-epigraphist Iravatham Mahadevan passed away at the age of 88 on November 26 in Chennai, having lived a life – or should one.

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He also mapped, among other things, the geographical spread of the signs. The readings explore vast areas of Mythology and are very suggestive of various historical continuities, even if I do not agree with every reading. My first acquaintance with Epigraphy was in the early months ofwhen as student of ancient Indian History at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, I mahaddvan introduced to the Maurya and Satavahana Brahmi scripts in a course that Brajadulal Chattopadhyaya had offered.

This also resulted in a friendship between him and his wife and my mother and myself. His belief about how scholars must conduct themselves remains, beyond question, the one aspect of his persona that I will remember — and miss — the most. Vestiges of Indus Civilisation in Old Tamil Iravatham Mahadevan was an Indian epigraphist and civil servant, known for his successful decipherment of the Tamil-Brahmi script and expertise in Indus Valley inscriptions.

He felt that his tracing of the Harappan influence on later cultures remained true. He received the Padma Shri award from the Government of India in for arts.

Serious scholars question if the symbols and the scripts are not just totem signs, or brand marks of traders, or at best rudimentary hieroglyphs that do not add up to a comprehensive language. I could say it because Iravatham Mahadevan said so. There was nothing in his education in that part of Tamil Nadu which showed any inclination towards a career in ancient writings.

Once he turned 50, he took voluntary retirement: For any linguist, for any epigraphist, this was essential to understand a language and a script.

This work is now a classic in Harappan studies. It is a pity, though, that it is only a rare bureaucrat, as Mahadevan was, who excels in what begins as a hobby.


Remembering Iravatham Mahadevan – The Hindu

This has been at the back of everything I have done since then. Ramanujam Reading Room is available to scholars searching for information and also for printing. This advice and a great deal else came from Mahadevan through a series of emails from till The first was relatively easier once the language of the inscriptions was recognised as Tamil. Retrieved 10 October The future of this collection is in good hands.

Deciphering the Indus script The work on deciphering the Indus script was a far more complicated study on which he spent half a century. The cult object on unicorn seals: Study of the Indus script. I am very happy to see your research library. Romila Thapar is a distinguished historian of early India.

When the Roja Muthiah Library was set up, with a special Indus Research centre, Iravatham Mahadevan gave them all his papers and research on the Indus, thus allowing me — with an internet connection — to spend hours reading and understanding.

His was not a hit-or-miss reading of what the symbols might represent. He spoke at length about communities, about giving people a deep connection to the land and the place they lived in, and a deeper connection to the past.

He proved with statistics and analysis that the symbols have relationships to each other, follow specific patterns and have spatial significance, and that they are not — and cannot be — random symbols placed at the whim of an illiterate hand, but the careful and skilled markings of a literate, thinking human.

Subrahmanya Aiyar says they are in Tamil. Mahadevan first published his study of Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions at Pugalur in Kerala in following those of Mangulamthe next year. A New Interpretation Related Topics Opinion Comment.

Texts, Concordance and Tables. Papers on the Indus Script by Dr. Subrahmanya Aiyer that the writings found in the caves of Tamil Nadu in a script similar to Brahmi are a variant of Brahmi, which Mahadevan calls Tamil Brahmi, and in ascertaining that the language of the script is indeed Tamil.

Iravatham Mahadevan – Wikipedia

And he did it long before I could pronounce archaeology, before I could put into words what my love of history meant. This is an amazing place so little is known of the fantastic work being done here. The use of extremely sophisticated equipment to preserve and archive the riches of a nation and make available to researchers of the world, using also the new information highwayhistorical records and information, is most enriching.


But for me, the tables did more. Mahadevan, or Jani as his friends called him, was a special person of extraordinary talent and iravathqm much-respected scholar despite his having worked in administration for most of jravatham professional life.

Remembering Iravatham Mahadevan

Mahadevan successfully passed the Indian Administrative Service examinations held in and was allotted to the Tamil Nadu cadre. A bureaucrat who took early retirement to focus on his hobby in epigraphy, he wrote two magisterial books, “The Indus Script” and “Early Tamil Epigraphy”.

Skip to main content. This page was last edited on 13 Decemberat From this Mahadevan moved to examining individual symbols and testing readings in possible languages. The second was the decipherment of the pictograms from the Indus Civilisation, based on the seals in the main, and found in large numbers at Indus sites — what is often called the Indus script.

I was now trying to expand and consolidate my familiarity with South Indian Epigraphy. I have been inspired by the commitment of the staff of this institution to pursue excellence and make these marvelous collections available to researchers and the public, both now and in the future.

The Mahaxevan Minute newsletter Sign up to get handpicked news and features sent to your inbox. Printable version Dec 31, I had received a small book from Asko Parpola of the University of Helsinki: This has been a historical and intellectual treat. It has guided my actions, helped me understand and explain.