Legacy of a Wikipedia Luminary: Remembering Ulo Senthamizh Kodai’s Impact on Tamil Science and Wikipedia

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In Memoriam: Ulo Senthamizh Kodai உலோ. செந்தமிழ்க்கோதை

December 22, 1945 – February 1, 2024

It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing of Ulo Senthamizh Kodai, a distinguished technocrat, author, academician, and prolific contributor to the Tamil Wikipedia community. Ulo Senthamizh Kodai, born on December 22, 1945, in the village of Puducherrypalli in Thiruvallur district, devoted his life to the fields of engineering, science, and the promotion of scientific knowledge in the Tamil language.

Ulo Senthamizh Kodai earned his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Guindy Engineering College and a Master’s degree from PSG College of Technology in Coimbatore. His illustrious career spanned 33 years of dedicated service in the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board, during which he also obtained a Ph.D. degree.

Passionate about the history of science and technology in Tamil Nadu, Senthamizh Kodai authored the acclaimed book “Makkal Ariviyal Ilakkiyam: Nokkum Pokkum” (People’s Science Literature: Trends and Directions), earning him the Tamil Nadu Government’s Tamil Development Department award for the best book in the engineering and technology category in 2007.

His commitment to fostering scientific vocabulary in Tamil was evident in his extensive writings on engineering, science, popular science, history of science, philosophy, and sociology. Senthamizh Kodai served on the editorial board of the Bharathidasan University Journal of Science and Technology and contributed significantly to the 14-volume glossary of technical terms published by the Tamil Virtual Academy.

Apart from his contributions in the field of academia, Ulo Senthamizh Kodai was a luminary within the Tamil Wikipedia community. Starting his contributions in 2014, he created over 2000 articles, and edit count of 28513 in ta.wiki leaving an indelible mark on the platform. He mainly wrote scientific articles in Tamil wikipedia. He learnt wikidata and has done decent contribution in wikidata too. His dedication to the cause was evident in his active participation until the final days of his life, participating in discussions and editing articles, as recently as January 29, 2024. Even a day before he was he was helping a fellow wikipedian for a mathematical translation in wikipedia whatsapp group.

He leaves behind a legacy of knowledge, with his son Vanchi continuing his contributions. Ulo Senthamizh Kodai’s impact on the Tamil scientific world and the Wikipedia community is immeasurable. His tireless efforts in various projects, including the Wiki 100 Days project and the Tamil Teachers’ Article Cleanup Drive, in the recent time will be remembered fondly.

Several members of the Tamil Wikipedia community have expressed their grief and shared memories of Ulo Senthamizh Kodai. Mahalingam, a fellow Wikipedian, noted, “The passing away of Ulo Senthamizh Kodai is a great loss to all of us. He was a valuable personality in the Tamil Wikipedia community. We offer our tearful tributes to him.”

Jambulingam, a former colleague from Tamil University and fellow wikipedian, remembered him “I first met Mr. Ulo. Senthamizhkkothai in the mid-1980s… I was impressed by his gentle speech, deliberate actions, and dedication to his work. His contributions to Tamil Wikipedia are immeasurable. His encouragement to young researchers is commendable.”

K. Murthy, a longtime tamil wikipedia contributor, shared a poignant moment, recalling Ulo Senthamizh Kodai’s words about finding solace in writing on Wikipedia despite physical challenges. He also remembered recent discussion with him as Ulo Senthamizh Kodai was telling how Tamil wikipedia is missing a lot of scientific and military articles and his interest in contributing in that space.

Ulo Senthamizh Kodai’s contributions have been recognized with various accolades, including being featured on the front page of Tamil Wikipedia in 2016 and receiving numerous barnstars and medals from fellow Wikipedians.

As we bid farewell to Ulo Senthamizh Kodai, we remember him not only for his significant contributions to Tamil science and Wikipedia but also for his unwavering dedication to knowledge, education, and the Tamil language. His passing leaves a void in our community, and he will be dearly missed.

May his soul rest in peace.

For more information, one can visit his Wikipedia page and user page. Additionally, his edit count on Tamil Wikipedia can be found here.

Image credit: Sailesh Patnaik Image rights CCBYSA4.0

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