Unsung Heroes | History Corner | Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, Ministry of Culture, Government of India

Unsung Heroes Detail

Unsung Heroes Detail

Iyothee Thass

Madras, Tamil Nadu

November 21, 2022 to November 21, 2023

Iyothee Thass was born on 20 May 1845 in Thousand Lights, Madras. He was a prominent Tamil anti-caste activist and a practitioner of Siddha medicine. In the 1870s, Iyothee Thass organized the Todas and other tribes of the Nilgiri Hills into a formidable force for the freedom movement. In 1876, Thass established the Advaidananda Sabha and launched a magazine called Dravida Pandian in collaboration with Rev. John Rathina. In 1886, Thass issued a revolutionary declaration that Scheduled caste people (Dalits) were not Hindus. Following this declaration, he established the “Dravida Mahajana Sabha '' in 1891 along with Rettamalai Srinivasan. During the 1891 census, he urged the members of Scheduled castes to register themselves as “ Casteless Dravidians ” instead of identifying themselves as Hindus. His activities served as an inspiration to Sri Lanka’s Buddhist revivalist Anagarika Dharmapala. He passed away on 5 May 1914.