Father Constantino Giuseppe Beschi, SJ
(1680 - 1747)
Father of Tamil Prose



special cancel for the 3rd centenary of Beschi's birth
ITALY, 1980, special cancel for the tercentenary of Beschi's birth

Born at Castiglione in the Venetian Republic, Beschi entered the Society of Jesus in 1698, sailed for the Mandura mission in May 1710, arrived in Goa four or five months later, and left immediately to begin his study of Tamil. The Madura mission was begun by Robert de Nobili in 1606 with the special missionary technique of conforming to the way of life of the Brahmins and avoiding any dependence on Portuguese influence. In May of the following year, probably on the night of the 8th, Beschi cast off his European dress, walked to his new mission and assumed his new habit and way of life. He spent nearly forty years as a missionary, but he is better known as one of the classical writers of Tamil literature. He composed grammars of high and low Tamil, as well as several Tamil dictionaries, a Tamil-Latin and Latin-Tamil-Portuguese dictionary. His Tamil books include ascetical writings, doctrinal instructions, controversial tracts, and extensive poetry. His Thembavani (The Unfading Garland) containing 3,615 stanzas is one of the Tamil classics. More - More