100 years of publishing
The continuous publication of a newspaper for a
hundred years is indeed a proud achievement and a cause for celebration.
May 7, 2006 (Sunday) marked the completion of
100 years since the Mahabodhi Society publication of the 'Sinhala
Bauddhaya', the Sinhala weekly started by Anagarika Dharmapala who
was also the founder editor.
The establishment of the Mahabodhi Press and the
release of the 'Sinhala Bauddhaya' took place in May 1906. Anagarika
Dharmapala used the newspaper as a vehicle to strengthen his campaign
to awaken the Sinhalese masses who were in the clutches of Christian
missionaries. He focused attention, through the newspaper, of the
rights and responsibilities of the Buddhists. It was not restricted
to discuss religious and moral issues but was effectively used to
talk about economic, social and educational matters as well. The
Anagarika was a firm believer that a solid foundation in education
and a base for a strong economy and development activity were prerequisites
for the national revivalist movement.
The 'Sinhala Bauddhaya' was started as a weekly
with eight pages but soon expanded into 16 pages and became a popular
publication among the readers. Following the riots of 1915, the
newspaper was suspended on the orders of the Colonial Ceylon Government
but was restarted in July 1922.
The early days saw the Anagarika burning the midnight
oil to produce the newspaper. He wrote most of the articles himself
and used pseudonyms too. He tried hard to get the 'samanera' monks
at Saranath to contribute weekly columns.
A commemorative stamp carrying the portrait of
Anagarika Dharmapala and an early issue of the newspaper was issued
to mark the centenary of the 'Sinhala Bauddhaya'.