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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2521

Stamp and First-day Cover to commemorate the late Dr. A.P. de Zoysa

Colombo, 05 March, ( The Philatelic The Philatelic Bureau of the Postal Department will issued First Day Cover and Stamp.The Philatelic Bureau of the Postal Department will issued First Day Cover and Stamp.Bureau of the Postal Department will issue a new stamp of Rs. 5.00 and a First-day Cover to commemorate the Social Reformer and Buddhist Scholar, the late Dr. A. P. de Zoysa today. (05th March).

The official issuing of the first day cover will take place at the Speaker’s Residence at 5.00 p.m. with the participation of Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara as Chief Guest. Post and Telecommunications Minister Mahinda Wijesekara, Tourism Minister Milinda Moragoda, Post and Telecommunications Deputy Minister M.S. Sellasamy and invitees including family members of the late Dr. A. P. de Zoysa will also attend the event. The stamp has been designed by Mr. Pulasthi Edireweera.

Dr. A. P. de Zoysa. (1890-1968) – was born on 5th April 1890 in Randombe, Ambalangoda. At the age of 11, after his parents died in an epidemic, he was brought up by his maternal grandmother with financial support from his uncles. De Zoysa had his first lessons at the historic temple Maha Samudraramaya in Randombe, as well as at the local Wesleyan school. He continued his secondary education at Mahinda College, Galle and at Wesley College, Colombo. He taught at several Colombo schools before going to Britain in 1921 with help from his uncles. In London, he supported himself by coaching overseas students. He did an external London degree and a Ph.D in Anthropology, being called to the Bar in 1927. During this time he was active in the Buddhist movement. He married Eleanor Hutton from Durham. They had one child, Visakha Kumari.

After returning to Sri Lanka in 1934, he began the struggle to earn a living at the Bar and became known as a poor man’s lawyer. He won the Colombo South election in 1936 and was in the State Council until 1947 during which time he took up many issues related to education, social reform and minority rights.

In 1939, de Zoysa bought a printing press (Dharmasamaya) and soon began work on his magnum opus, a translation of the Tripitaka, into simple Sinhala so that a larger public could read and understand Buddhist teachings. This ambitious project took over 20 years to complete and comprised 48 volumes. He also published several editions of Sinhala-English and English-Sinhala dictionaries, which were of immense value at a time when language policies were changing. Dr. A.P. de Zoysa, who died on 26th May 1968 at the age of 78, never joined any political party, but devoted his energies in support of progressive causes and spoke of Buddhism as a liberating, universal philosophy. After his death, Dr. G.P. Malalasekera wrote of de Zoysa’s "simplicity in life and dedication to work" and called him: "A man with rare integrity, great courage, perseverance and powers of endurance."

- Asian Tribune -

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