Exhaustive and Systematic Study
Rajan Gurukkal
EARLY TAMIL EPIGRAPHY: FROM THE EARLIEST TIMES TO THE SIXTH CENTURY A.D. by Iravatham Mahadevan Cre-A , India & The Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, Harvard University, USA, Chenna, 2004, 719 pp., 1500.00
January 2004, volume 28, No 1

Iravatham Mahadevan, an administrator- turned scholar noted for his profound scholarship in multiple aspects of the science of ancient scripts in general and Harappan writing in particular, belongs to the galaxy of the leading epigraphists of the world and ranks foremost among the scholars in Brahmi script. The study under review, Early Tamil Epigraphy is his magnum opus, the fallout of four decades long dedication and sustained engagement with a set of hitherto obscure inscriptions in what he finally identified as Tamil-Brahmi characters and Old Tamil language. It is a landmark in the history of epigraphy, in terms of concepts, design and thoroughness. The book has three parts: Early Tamil Inscriptions, Studies in Early Tamil Epigraphy and the Corpus of Early Tamil Inscriptions. Part I is a general introduction to the subject matter of the book divided into four chapters describing discovery and decipherment of cave inscriptions and their language and contents.

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