|Died||26 November 2018 88) (aged|
|Influences|| K. A. Nilakanta Sastri,|
K. V. Subrahmanya Aiyar,
G. R. Hunter
Iravatham Mahadevan (2 October 1930 – 26 November 2018)was an Indian epigraphist and civil servant, known for his decipherment of Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions and for his expertise on the epigraphy of the Indus Valley Civilisation.
Iravatham Mahadevan was born on 2 October 1930 in a Tamil Brahmin family of Thanjavur district.Mahadevan had his schooling in the town of Tiruchirapalli and graduated in Chemistry from the Vivekananda College, Chennai and law from the Madras Law College. During his childhood and adolescence, Mahadevan was associated with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Mahadevan successfully passed the Indian Administrative Service examinations held in 1953 and was allotted to the Tamil Nadu cadre.
Mahadevan worked as an Assistant Collector in Coimbatore district and Sub-Collector at Pollachi.In 1958, Mahadevan was transferred to Delhi as Assistant Financial Adviser in India's Ministry of Commerce and Industry serving from 1958 to 1961. In 1961, Mahadevan was posted to Madras as Deputy Secretary in Government of Tamil Nadu's Industries Department and served as Director of Handlooms and Textiles Department from 1962 to 1966. Mahadevan voluntarily retired from the civil service in 1980.
According to an interview given to an e-journal Varalaaru, Mahadevan revealed that he started researching the Tamil-Brahmi script following a casual suggestion by Indian historian K. A. Nilakanta Sastri during a meeting in 1961.
There are several caves in Tamil Nadu with inscriptions in the Brahmi script. K. V. Subrahmanya Aiyar says they are in Tamil. It is an unsolved problem. Can you give it a shot?
Earlier, during his stint in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in Delhi in 1958–61, Mahadevan had become acquainted with the noted epigraphist and art historian C. Sivaramamurti who was then working as a curator at the Indian Museum next block. Sivaramamurti initiated him into the basics of South Indian epigraphy.
Mahadevan first published his study of Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions at Pugalur in Kerala in 1965 following those of Mangulam, the next year.In the same year, Mahadevan presented his paper on Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions in Madras which was later published as the book Corpus of the Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions. After a brief period of research with the Indus script, Mahadevan resumed his work on Tamil-Brahmi in 1992 with active support from the Tamil Nadu Archaeological Department. In 2003, he published a revised edition of the 1966 book which has since acquired the status of a classic.
Mahadevan started his research on the Indus script following a brush with W. W. Hunter's book on the Indus Script at India's Central Secretariat Library in Delhi.In 1970, Mahadevan was offered the Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship to do his doctoral research on the Indus Script. Mahadevan continued his research even after his fellowship ended and published his first book Indus Script: Concordance and Tables in 1977. Following a break from 1991 to 2003 to complete his research on Tamil epigraphy, Mahadevan resumed his studies again in 2003.
Gregory Possehl called Mahadevan a "careful, methodical worker, taking care to spell out his assumptions and methods. ... 'Tentative conclusions' and 'working hypotheses' are more his style than set ideas and fait accompli".
Iravatham Mahadevan's The Indus Script: Texts, Concordance and Tables (1977) is the only openly available corpus of the Indus Script. He wrote over 40 papers to further the Dravidian hypothesis of the Indus Script and argues for a continuity between the written records of Indus and the oral transmissions from the Rig Veda. He was instrumental in firmly establishing the view of K.V. 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.Mahadevan went on to read the names and titles of several generations of Pandiya and Chera kings in Tamil Brahmi writings, all corroborated in early Tamil literature.
Iravatham Mahadevan was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship in 1970 for his research in Indus script and the National Fellowship of the Indian Council of Historical Research in 1992 for his work on Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions.
In 1998, he was elected the president of the Annual Congress of the Epigraphical Society of India and in 2001 he became the general president of the Indian History Congress. He received the Padma Shri award from the Government of India in 2009 for arts.He was conferred the Tolkappiyar award for lifetime achievement in classical Tamil by the Government of India for the year 2009–2010.
He was conferred the Campbell Medal by the Asiatic Society of Mumbai, formerly the Royal Asiatic Society, in November 2014.[ citation needed ]
A bronze bust of Mahadevan was created by artist G. Chandrasekaran and placed at the Roja Muthiah Research Library.
Tolkāppiyam is the most ancient extant Tamil grammar text and the oldest extant long work of Tamil literature. The surviving manuscripts of the Tolkappiyam consists of three books (atikaram), each with nine chapters (iyal), with a cumulative total of 1,612 sutras in the nūṛpā meter. It is a comprehensive text on grammar, and includes sutras on orthography, phonology, etymology, morphology, semantics, prosody, sentence structure and the significance of context in language.
The Indus script is a corpus of symbols produced by the Indus Valley Civilization. Most inscriptions containing these symbols are extremely short, making it difficult to judge whether or not these symbols constituted a script used to record a language, or even symbolise a writing system. In spite of many attempts, the 'script' has not yet been deciphered, but efforts are ongoing. There is no known bilingual inscription to help decipher the script, and the script shows no significant changes over time. However, some of the syntax varies depending upon location.
Asko Parpola is a Finnish Indologist and Sindhologist, current professor emeritus of Indology and South Asian Studies at the University of Helsinki. He specializes in the Indus script.
The languages of India are divided into various language families, of which the Indo-Aryan and the Dravidian languages are the most widely spoken. There are also many languages belonging to unrelated language families such as Austroasiatic and Sino-Tibetan, spoken by smaller groups. Linguistic records begin with the appearance of the Brāhmī script from about the 3rd century BCE.
Tamilakam refers to the geographical region inhabited by the ancient Tamil people. Tamilakam covered today's Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry, Lakshadweep and southern parts of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Traditional accounts and Tolkāppiyam referred these territories as a single cultural area, where Tamil was the natural language and culture of all people. The ancient Tamil country was divided into kingdoms. The best known among them were the Cheras, Cholas, Pandyans and Pallavas. During the Sangam period, Tamil culture began to spread outside Tamilakam. Ancient Tamil settlements were also found in Sri Lanka and the Maldives (Giravarus).
Vatteluttu, popularly romanised as Vattezhuthu, was a syllabic alphabet of south India and Sri Lanka used for writing the Tamil and Malayalam languages.
Tamil-Brahmi also known as Tamili or Damili is a variant of the Brahmi script used to write inscriptions in the early form of the Old Tamil language. The Tamil-Brahmi script has been paleographically and stratigraphically dated between the 3rd century BCE and the 1st century CE, and it constitutes the earliest known writing system evidenced in many parts of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Sri Lanka. Tamil Brahmi inscriptions have been found on cave entrances, stone beds, potsherds, jar burials, coins, seals, and rings.
The Pallava script or Pallava Grantha, is a Brahmic script, named after the Pallava dynasty of South India, attested since the 4th century AD. In India, Pallava script evolved into the Grantha script. Pallava spread to Southeast Asia and evolved into local scripts such as Balinese, Baybayin, Burmese, Javanese, Kawi, Khmer, Lanna, Lao, Mon, New Tai Lue alphabet, Sundanese, and the Thai
The Bronze Age in the Indian subcontinent begins around 3000 BCE, and in the end gives rise to the Indus Valley Civilization, which had its (mature) period between 2600 BCE and 1900 BCE. It continues into the Rigvedic period, the early part of the Vedic period. It is succeeded by the Iron Age in India, beginning in around 1000 BCE.
The earliest undisputed undeciphered epigraphy found in India are the Edicts of Ashoka of the 3rd century BCE, written in very early forms of middle-Indo-Aryan languages in the Brahmi script. Samanam inscriptions in South India written in Bhattiprolu alphabet, Tamil-Brahmi and the Kadamba alphabet are also of relatively early date. Some Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions discovered at Keeladi, Palani, Erode, and Adichanallur, have been claimed to be as ancient as 6th century BCE, but so far only the claimed pre-Ashokan inscriptions at Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka have been published in an internationally recognised academic journal.
Indian copper plate inscriptions are historical legal records engraved on copper plates in India.
Sembiyankandiyur is an archaeological site in Nagapattinam district in Tamil Nadu, India.
The World Classical Tamil Conference 2010 was an international gathering of scholars, poets, political leaders and celebrities with an interest in Tamil people, the Tamil language and Tamil literature. It was held in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu between 23 June and 27 June 2010 with an expenditure of more than 500 Crores.
Tissamaharama inscription No. 53 refers to a fragment of black and red ware flat dish inscribed in Brahmi script excavated at the earliest layer in southern town of Tissamaharama in Sri Lanka. It is dated to approximately 200 BC by German scholars who undertook the excavation.
Kanthadai Vaidya Subrahmanya Aiyar was a Tamil epigraphist and historian. He is considered to be the first person to conclusively decipher the cave inscriptions of Tamil Nadu as a form of Tamil-Brahmi.
Old Tamil is the period of the Tamil language spanning the 3rd century BCE to the 7th century CE. Prior to Old Tamil, the period of Tamil linguistic development is termed as Pre Tamil or Ancient Tamil. Post Old Tamil, Tamil becomes Middle Tamil. The earliest records in Old Tamil are inscriptions from between the 3rd and 1st century BCE in caves and on pottery. These inscriptions are written in a variant of the Brahmi script called Tamil Brahmi. The earliest long text in Old Tamil is the Tolkāppiyam, an early work on Tamil grammar and poetics, whose oldest layers could be as old as the mid 2nd century BCE. Old Tamil preserved many features of Proto-Dravidian, the earliest reconstructed form of the Dravidian including inventory of consonants, the syllable structure, and various grammatical features.
Mahadevan may refer to:
Megalithic markings, Megalithic graffiti marks, Megalithic symbols or Non-Brahmi symbols are terms used to describe markings found on mostly potsherds found in Central India, South India and Sri Lanka during the Megalithic Iron Age period. They are usually found in burial sites but are also found in habitation sites as well. They are tentatively dated from 1000 BCE to 300 CE marking the transition of the proto-historic period into the historic period of South Asia. A number of scholars have tried to decipher the symbols since 1878, and currently there is no consensus as to whether they constitute un-deciphered writing or graffiti or symbols without any syllabic or alphabetic meaning.
Mangulam or Mankulam is a village in Madurai district, Tamil Nadu, India. It is located 25 kilometres (16 mi) from Madurai. The inscriptions discovered in the region are the earliest Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions.
This is a list of archaeological artefacts and epigraphs which have Tamil inscriptions. Of the approximately 100,000 inscriptions found by the Archaeological Survey of India in India, about 60,000 were in Tamil Nadu