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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Like many who have made a career out of the study of ancient India, I will fondly remember him as a man who made a large contribution to a key foundation stone in this edifice — through the study of 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. He tried to locate Dravidian elements in the signs and argued that several of these elements found their way into Vedic hymns.

Papers on the Indus Script by Dr. Iravatham Mahadevan

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. Journal of the American Oriental Society.

Embassy — New Delhi It was a privilege to visit the Roja Mahadeavn Research Library and to admire the dedication and commitment of the staff who have produced a Jewel without any of the resources better endowed places take for granted. So, he would amble down Janpath to the National Museum, where C. Can you give it a shot???


After obtaining an undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Vivekananda College in Chennai and a law degree from Madras Law College, mahadevam joined the IAS in and remained in service for twenty-seven years, before taking voluntary retirement in He passed away in Chennai on November 26, at the age of 88, leaving behind a formidable legacy of irvaatham.

Gregory Possehl called Mahadevan a “careful, methodical worker, taking care to spell out his assumptions and methods. 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.

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Iravatham Mahadevan – Wikipedia

Well into his bureaucratic life, when he was posted to Delhi as an IAS officer, Mahadevan began to seriously look at artefacts with writing. As in all his work, his essentially rational approach was impressive.

Views expressed are the author’s own. And he did it long before I could pronounce archaeology, before I could put into words what my love of history meant. He gave away his research to others to build upon. 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 was introduced to the Maurya and Satavahana Brahmi scripts in a course that Brajadulal Chattopadhyaya maharevan offered.


The young Mahadevan studied science and law. And here was an officer writing the most enviable of books in a discipline that demanded profound methodological rigour!

The Legacy of Iravatham Mahadevan

The type of work requires much dedication and commitment. Vestiges of Indus Civilisation in Old Tamil A tribute to Iravatham Mahadevan, the man who first argued that Indus script was Tamil. The dedication and passion to create a archiving, retrieval and restoration is very inspirational. Towards a grammar of the Indus texts: Sivaramamurti, then a curator at the National Museum in New Delhi. He saw himself, as he once put it, in a long tradition of such men in India.

He also mapped, among other things, the geographical spread of the signs. Born on the banks of the Kaveri river ina couple of hundred kilometres from Chennai, Mahadevan was educated at Tiruchirapalli. Skip to main content. I also hoped, as I told him, that he would not misunderstand what I wrote.

Interpreting the Indus Script: He patiently explained the many ways in which one could read a language, and why the Indus was a language.