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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Behind every symbol Iravatham Mahadevan presented, and the many he deciphered and interpreted, I could imagine a story — an existence, a way of life, a truth.

The collection is truly precious, and I hope more people learn of your wonderful work. 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.

Iravatham Mahadevan did the academic equivalent of this in the s and held his ground against the gale of academic, political, and public opinion. Well into his bureaucratic life, when he was posted to Delhi as an IAS officer, Mahadevan began to seriously look at artefacts with writing.

Events Showcasing Tamil heritage through lectures, exhibitions,seminars. Mahadevan started his research on the Indus script following a brush with W. Thank you for showing me this great example of iravathxm, dedication and sensitivity.

Spanning a period of years, the collection of more than 3,00, items comprising of books, journals, newspapers, printed ephemera and audio records. They reflect a measure of adventure that a subject expert may shy away from risking. I was a masters student, pursuing a mix of archaeology and film production — a course specifically designed by British Archaeologist and Broadcaster Mick Aston to train professionals who could take archaeology out of the academic ivory tower to the communities and people to whom it mattered most.


When I met him in January in Chennai, he recounted that in Delhi, his official work in the ministry that he was attached to used to get over iravatuam quickly and by late morning, he had nothing to do.

Papers on the Indus Script by Dr. Iravatham Mahadevan

Romila Thapar November 27, RMRL has a vast collection that reflects Tamil print heritage and culture. It was only much later that he became an epigraphist. Gregory Possehl called Mahadevan a “careful, methodical idavatham, taking care to spell out his assumptions and methods.

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. I could say it because Iravatham Mahadevan said so.

Sivaramamurti, the director of the museum, took him under his wing and encouraged him to begin working on all kinds of ancient epigraphs.

I heard the news on Monday morning of the passing of Iravatham Mahadevan and was deeply saddened. The discussions will help me to improve the Jaffna library service. Interpreting the Indus Script: That is not an interpretation I would agree with, but I write this piece not to remember those publications but to draw attention to some lesser-known aspects of his life and the choices he made.

Views Read Edit View history. I am very happy to see your research library. The dedication and passion to create a archiving, retrieval and restoration is very inspirational. I am much impressed and delighted by the work that is going on under the guidance of my old friend Iravatham Mahadevan and the direction of Professor G.

Gradually he arrived at an interesting linguistic relationship where he argued that the Harappans were Dravidian speakers with their own distinctive culture and religion.

He passed away in Chennai on November 26, at the age of 88, leaving behind a formidable legacy of scholarship. Texts, Concordance, and Tables”. He applied the rules of linguistics and determined by positional analysis what might have been grammatical forms.

Today I had the great pleasure of acquainting myself with the Indus script study centre at the Roja Muthiah Research Library.


I hope we in the Indian Institute of Science can benefit from the collective experience of the people work here. The type of work requires much dedication and commitment. One was the study of the adaptation of the Brahmi script to Tamil, what came to be called Tamil Brahmi, which was available in large numbers of short inscriptions scattered in south India.

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. Related Articles Tributes pour in for late Iravatham Mahadevan. Iravatham Mahadevan 2 October — 26 November [1] was an Indian epigraphist and civil servant, known for his successful decipherment of Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions and for his expertise on the epigraphy of the Indus Valley Civilisation.

Nilakanta SastriK.

The Legacy of Iravatham Mahadevan

Born on the banks of the Kaveri river ina couple of hundred kilometres from Chennai, Mahadevan was educated at Tiruchirapalli. The cult object on unicorn seals: Kosambi to Classical Tamil. On a personal note, he was appalled when I became a babu at the University of Delhi for a few years and urged me to get back to my academic work as soon as possible.

Subrahmanya Aiyar says they are in Tamil. The only concession available was to write mahadrvan, which a few officers, such as Malayattoor Ramakrishnan, Upamanyu Chatterjee and N. Concordance and Tables in It required a few small adjustments which Mahadevan recognised and that he worked out and that enabled him to read them.