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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2370

New stamp and a First day cover to commemorate late Dr. A. P. de Zoysa

Colombo, 06 March, (Asiantribune.com): The Philatelic Bureau of the Postal Department issued a new stamp of Rs. 5.00 and a First day Cover to commemorate the Social Reformer and Buddhist Scholar late Dr. A. P. de Zoysa.

The official first day covers cancelation of this stamp was take place at Speakers residence of the Parliament with the participation of at Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara as Chief Guest.

The first copy of the official first day cover was handed over by Minister Mahinda Wijesekara to the Most Venerable Kotugoda DammawasaThero, Chairman of the Amarapur Chapter Maha Sanga Sabawa, and copies of the stamp were handed over to Representatives from the Maha SanghaThe first copy of the official first day cover was handed over by Minister Mahinda Wijesekara to the Most Venerable Kotugoda DammawasaThero, Chairman of the Amarapur Chapter Maha Sanga Sabawa, and copies of the stamp were handed over to Representatives from the Maha Sangha

Post and telecommunication Minister Mahinda Wijesekara, The first copy of the official first day cover was handed over by Minister Mahinda Wijesekara to the Most Venerable Kotugoda DammawasaThero, Chairman of the Amarapur Chapter Maha Sanga Sabawa, and copies of the stamp were handed over to Representatives from the Maha Sangha including the Ittapane Dhamamalankara Anunayake Thero, Brahmanawatte Siwalee Anunayake Thero, Thirikunamale Annanda Anunayake Thero, Kollupitiye Mahindasangarakkitha Thero, Akureteye Nanda Thero, Kirama Wimalajoothi Thero and Goonadoowe Gunananda Thero.

Tourism Minister Milinda Moragoda, Mass Media Minister Laxman Yapa Abewardena, Post and telecommunication Deputy Minister M S Sellasamy and invitees including family members of the Dr. A. P. de Zoysa also attended the event. This 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 supportfrom his uncles.

De Zoysa had his first lessons at the 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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