Your email address will not be published. General Knowledge Articles. June 15 , days 0. Iyothee Thass tried to construct a unique political identity for the untouchables — such as Adi-Tamilar, Tamilan, Buddhist and so on.

Author:Shakticage Kigashicage
Language:English (Spanish)
Genre:Personal Growth
Published (Last):16 October 2019
PDF File Size:12.23 Mb
ePub File Size:7.97 Mb
Price:Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]

The last few decades, especially since the time of B. Ambedkar's birth centenary, have seen active interest in recovering Dalit history. Scholars and activists have shown alacrity in seeking the origins of a modern Dalit identity. An outcome of this search has been the discovery of Iyothee Thass Pandithar , the radical Dalit thinker who has now become a household name, at least in Tamil Nadu.

A native doctor by profession, he was an intellectual and activist, who anticipated Ambedkar by two generations. In the s, Iyothee Thass forged a radical identity for Dalits arguing that they were the original Buddhists who were stigmatized as 'Untouchables' by Brahminism for resisting the caste system.

At a time when Buddhism was in practical oblivion in India and what little was known of it was mediated by Orientalist antiquarians, he reinterpreted Indian and Tamil history through Buddhism. The weekly Oru Paisa Tamilan later Tamilan that he edited between and until his death in was the primary vehicle of his ideas.

His movement, to revive Buddhism, radicalized significant numbers of Dalits, especially among the working classes in the Kolar Gold Fields. Iyothee Thass is now an inspiration for a new generation of Dalit activists and thinkers in Tamil Nadu. The recent rediscovery of Dharmanand Kosambi is of a different order. Although a major figure in the Marathi cultural world, Dharmanand was known to the outside world primarily as the father of the distinguished historian and mathematician among other things, D.

Some years ago, Meera Kosambi, the daughter of D. Kosambi and granddaughter of Dharmanand Kosambi, translated and put together the various writings of her grandfather into a volume. A pioneering feminist scholar and sociologist in her own right, her editions of the senior Kosambi's writings opened up a new chapter in the intellectual history of modern India.

In her own words, "To Dharmanand goes the credit for reviving Buddhism as a living religion in twentieth-century India, long after it disappeared from the country, living behind only magnificent ruins as a mute testimony to its glorious existence.

In reviving Buddhism, he not only reintroduced the doctrine and practice of the religion but also established its relevance to contemporary social and political ideologies. His critical edition of the Visuddhi-magga , a Pali text that distils the essence of the Buddhist Tripitaka, for the Harvard Oriental Classics series remains a gold standard.

In the s, he was inspired by Gandhi, taught at his Gujarat Vidyapeeth, and in , in spite of Gandhi's exhortations, fasted to death following the Jain tradition of sallekhanaa at Gandhi's ashram in Wardha. What fate drew these two diverse figures, one a Gaud Saraswath Brahmin born in Goa, and another a Dalit born in the hills of Nilgiris, together? From the autobiography of Dharmanand Kosambi, Nivedan , we now know the two had met, and on more than one occasion.

In , he spent over six months in Chennai where he encountered three important figures in the revival of Buddhism in south India: M. Singaravelu Chettiar , also known as the first communist of south India; P.

This Sabha did nothing other than celebrate Vaishakh Purnima Their leader was Pandit Ayodhidas. But he and the members of the Mahabodhi Sabha did not get along. About two months after I came to Madras, all these Buddhists united. They rented a small house in Rayapet [Royapettah], named it Bauddhashram, and installed me there.

After six months in Chennai Kosambi was tired and felt like an exile, and decided to proceed to Burma. I left for Burma. Pandit Ayodhidas and others came to the harbour to see me off. A Madrasi acquaintance of theirs was to go by the same steamer. Pandit Ayodhidas introduced me to him and told me that he would look after me during the voyage. Brief as these two references are, they are nevertheless valuable. At this time, the future Harvard professor did not know enough English to even get by.

What language the two used to communicate is not clear but evidently they did. Who would have imagined that a Maharashtrian Buddhist scholar would meet Iyothee Thass and much less write about him, little known as he was at that time? Nivedan , in its original Marathi, was serialized intermittently during , and published in book form in Therefore, at the time of its writing, and publication, in all probability Dharmanand Kosambi was unaware of Iyothee Thass's death - much less of his posthumous recognition and importance.

One can only hope that more such information will turn up in the coming years, throwing shafts of light on the obscure but nevertheless important nooks of our intellectual past. The author is a historian and Tamil writer based in Chennai. Chorus from abroad on Bhima-Koregaon charge. On release-eve, death amid neglect charges.

Lessons from ratings blow. MLA diktat on school fees triggers query over power. Hot-spot coal mining notice. Sport Horse Racing Football Cricket. My Profile Logout. Published Download TT App. More from Opinion. Great risk Opinion. Weight of sin: Racial discrimination in the US Opinion. Human rights now in India Opinion. Useful lessons in prioritising education Opinion.


Iyothee Thass

The last few decades, especially since the time of B. Ambedkar's birth centenary, have seen active interest in recovering Dalit history. Scholars and activists have shown alacrity in seeking the origins of a modern Dalit identity. An outcome of this search has been the discovery of Iyothee Thass Pandithar , the radical Dalit thinker who has now become a household name, at least in Tamil Nadu.


Close encounters of the Buddhist kind

We may say that great minds think alike when two scholars who lived in two different times and places reach a similar conclusion on the same problem. The traditionally educated nineteenth century Tamil scholar, Pandit Iyothee Thass as well as the twentieth century western educated intellectual from Maharashtra, Babasaheb Ambedkar, embraced Buddhism to show that it was the only way to annihilate the caste system. Both of them identified that the caste system had originated with the fall of Buddhism; therefore, believed the revival of Buddhism could perhaps liberate the people from the evil system of caste. He was a Siddha practitioner and a well-versed Tamil scholar having scholarly expertise in the traditional knowledge on astrology and palm-leaf manuscript reading. In , Iyothee Thass founded Adhvaidhananda Sabha considered to be the first institution-building activity in his life , in Uthagamandalam, where he was brought up. In , he established an organization called the Dravida Mahajana Sabha , and on 1st December , he organised the First Conference on behalf of the Sabha at Ooty in Nilgiris district.


Iyothee Thass was a forerunner to Ambedkar in conversion to Buddhism

Abstract This dissertation is about an anti-caste movement among Dalits the oppressed as untouchable in South India, the Parayar. Since the late 19th century, members of this caste, and a few others from Tamil-speaking areas, have been choosing to convert to Buddhism based on conscience and conviction. This phenomenon of religious conversion-social transformation is this study's focus. By combining archival research of Parayar's writings among Tamil Buddhists, as these Parayar, settled in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, are called, I have attempted to understand this movement ethno-historically.


Iyothee Thass: The man who gave Tamils a new identity

Amidst the trying times of Covid , the Dalits of Tamil Nadu are gearing up to celebrate the th birth anniversary of Pandit Iyothee Thass on May Thass is a legendary figure in classical Tamil literature and philosophy, and practitioner of the Siddha system of medicine who could also easily work in English, Sanskrit and Pali. After organising the tribals of Nilgris in s, he established Advaidananda Sabha in In , Thass issued a statement, almost half-a-century before Ambedkar, saying that the so-called untouchables were not Hindus. Thass was against sub-caste identifications.

Related Articles