In Memory of Walisinghe Harischandra,
Social activist who played a major role in the preservation of anuradahapura and making it a sacred city …taken into custody by the british rulers on 13 june 1903
Walisinghe Harischandra was born to the family of Walisinghe Hendrick de Silva and Pehandi Marthnanda de Silva Gunasekera in Negombo on 9 July 1876.[ His birth name was Edward de Silva. After the school education, he attended the Law College.
Edward developed a keen interest in Buddhism and gradually began working as a true nationalist, while he was a law student. He changed his name to E.de S. Walisinghe and started teaching at the Sunday Dhamma school at Ananda College, Colombo. Sri Lanka was then a British colony known as Ceylon. Young E.de S. Walisinghe gave up his legal career and adopted the name Walisinghe Harischandra. He decided to be a Brahmacharya, which meant he would remain a bachelor, devoting his time to religious and national work. He believed that he would be able to serve his motherland in a more meaningful manner by getting involved in nationalist and religious activities.
Brahmachari After taken Into the Police Custody By the Britishers In 1903.MWalisinghe Harischandra joined the Mahabodhi Society, which had been established by Anagarika Dharmapala, a prominent figure of Sri Lankan (Sinhala) Buddhist nationalist movement. He worked first as the assistant secretary and later as the Secretary of Mahabodhi Society. In 1899 he went across to India and was involved in the construction of the Maha Bodhi Vihara in Sanchi. He spent some time in India and participated in the campaign ‘Save Buddhagaya’.
Walisinghe Harischandra was also interested in Temperance Work and addressed many meetings of the Sri Lankan temperance society. By constantly addressing various meetings, he soon became a powerful orator. He wrote many books in the areas of Sri Lankan history and Buddhism and was also the editor of the magazine ‘Mahabodhi’. He was the prominent figure of making the ancient city of Anuradhapura, a sacred city and was the founder of the Ruvanveli Dagoba Improvement Society. He did a great service for the restoration of ancient Buddhist shrines in Anuradhapura and Mihintale.
He was moved by the sordid condition of Anuradhapura, the ancient capital of Lanka. Among the business premises that had come up, there were meat stalls and liquor bars in close proximity to the Buddhist shrines. He made up his mind to stop this desecration and published a booklet named, the Sacred City of Anuradhapura and sent a copy to King George V. In this book he pointed out that the Crown representatives despoiled Buddhist Holy places and appealed to him to protect their sanctity. Before he died, he was able to hear that his request had been granted.