ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 05
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A respected English newspaper

Armand de Souza, Editor 'Ceylon Morning Leader'

The early years of the 20th century saw new newspapers being published. The earliest among them was the, 'Ceylon Morning Leader,' which commenced publication on July 1, 1907. Armand de Souza (1874-1921), then an Assistant Editor of the 'Times of Ceylon,' became editor of the 'Morning Leader,' which post he held until his death in 1921.

The newspaper campaigned for democratic reforms of the Legislative Council to make it more representative of the people. Editor de Souza encouraged support for indigenous arts and culture at a time English language newspapers ignored them. The newspaper was described as, "a power in the land."

Editor de Souzsa's editorials angered the authorities so much that he was once sentenced to a month in jail but was released in six days due to public protests. After the communal riots in 1915, he wrote 'Hundred Days in Ceylon under Martial Law,' which criticized the colonial government's actions.

The 'Morning Leader' was one of four well-established English newspapers at the time the 'Daily News' was started in January 1918. 'Ceylon Observer,' was the oldest of the four and was popular among the older British residents and the missionaries. The 'Times of Ceylon,' was read by British merchants, planters and public servants as well as by a large section of the more well-to-do Ceylonese. With a circulation of about 4000 copies, it was considered the paper of the business man and was secure financially. The 'Ceylon Independent,' was supported by the Burgher and many old Sinhalese families. It had able contributors.

The 'Morning Leader' was considered the best of the newspapers at the time. Calling Armand de Souza a "brilliant editor," doyen of journalism H. A. J. Hulugalle wrote that the 'Daily News' could not succeed without ousting de Souza's ' Morning Leader' from the position it held. "During the ensuing years, the energies of the staff of the 'Daily News' were mainly directed to the task of producing a better newspaper than its chief rival," he wrote.

One of de Souza's sons, Tory became the editor of the 'Times of Ceylon' and the other was the university don, Doric.


University of Ceylon is established

Stamp issued to mark the 50th anniversary of the University of Ceylon. But the name has changed to University of Colombo

The date that the Ceylon University College got fully fledged university status and was named the 'University of Ceylon' is recorded as July 1, 1942. The debate on whether the location of the university should be Kandy or Colombo took a considerable length of time and a decision was delayed also by World War II.

Professor Robert Marrs was the first Principal of University College, which was established in 1921 affiliated to the University of London. He was succeeded by Dr. Ivor Jennings who became the first Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ceylon.

A Medical College had been established in 1870 initially to train medical assistants. In 1888, it started to produce graduates with a medical qualification recognized by the General Medical Council in Britain. A Law College was formed in 1874. A Technical School was opened in 1894. But there were no facilities to obtain degrees. Students had to go abroad either to Britain or India (university education started in India in 1857) or study privately for external degrees from London University.

The establishment of a university was the result of agitation by eminent personalities like
Dr. Ananda Coomaraswamy and Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam who got the support from governors like Sir Robert Chalmers.

The dream of a residential university at Peradeniya was achieved in 1952 when the University of Ceylon was shifted to one of the most picturesque campuses in the world.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.