For his work on Dravidian hypothesis in interpreting Indus script

Asko Parpola, leading authority on the Indus script and Professor Emeritus of Indology in the University of Helsinki, Finland, has been chosen for the Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi Classical Tamil Award for 2009.

He was selected for his work on the Dravidian hypothesis in interpreting the Indus script because the Dravidian, as described by him, was very close to Old Tamil, an official release issued on Saturday said.

Professor Parpola will receive a cash prize of Rs. 10 lakh, a citation and a memento during the World Classical Tamil Conference to be held in Coimbatore in June.

His selection was made at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, who is also chairman of the Central Institute of Classical Tamil. Two hundred and thirty nominations were received from different countries, including Australia, U.S., the United Kingdom, Sri Lanka and Finland besides India.

Administered by the Institute, the award was established out of a donation of Rs.1 crore made by Mr. Karunanidhi in July 2008. The amount is being deposited in the name of Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi Classical Language Trust.

Born in July 1941, Professor Parpola has devoted his life to the task of solving the Indus script. Since 1968, he has been stressing that the Indus civilisation and its writing are Dravidian. His research and teaching interests include Indus Civilisation, Samaveda, Vedic rituals, South Asian religions and pre-historic archaeology of South and Central Asia. His magnum opus “Deciphering the Indus Script” proposing Dravidian as the language of the Indus script has been hailed a classic in the field. His ‘Concordance to the Indus Texts' has been serving as a valuable source for researchers. The two volumes of ‘The Corpus of Indus Seals and Inscriptions,' reproduced the original seals and their impressions.