100th death anniversary of Edward Henry Pedris:
Book launched to commemorate National Hero
The 100th death anniversary of Edward Henry Pedris was commemorated
with the launch of 'Edward Henry Pedris - National Hero who awakened a
nation' at the Sri Lankan Foundation Institute on July 8, 2015. The
launch was held under the auspices of President Maithripala Sirisena who
garlanded the photograph of the National Hero. Thereafter, author of the
book, veteran journalist and Media Advisor, Ms. Charnika Imbulana, who
was commissioned by the Edward Henry Pedris Commemoration Society,
presented the 1st copy of the book to the President.
Incumbent of the Kotte Naga Vihara, Maduluwawe Ven. Sobitha, Ministers
Patali Champike Ranawena, Karu Jayasuriya and Governor Southern Province
Hemakumara Nanayakkara, were the key speakers at the event.
Edward Henry Pedris, the only son of one of the richest families,
perhaps the wealthiest in Ceylon, joined as a Town Guard of the then
Ceylon Defence Force. The only Sinhalese to be enlisted, he outshone
most and was promoted to the rank of Captain within a year.
Communal riots that triggered off from the Gampola Perehare in 1915
eventually engulfed almost the entire nation. Either deliberately or due
to suspicion assuming it is a revolt against British rule, the British
overreacted and arrested offspring of eminent families on false charges,
identifying them as being a threat to the British. Edward Henry Pedris
was arrested along with his two brothers-in-law. Pedris was court
martialed on trumped up charges and condemned to death by firing.
His killing and the blood soaked chair shown to the imprisoned
freedom fighters to instill fear in them in fact fired up their
determination even further to free the country from the subjugation of
the imperialists. The Ceylonese fought many battles for over a century
against the British, unsuccessfully. After the brutal killing of Pedris
it awakened the country and the freedom fighters to regroup themselves
into unleashing a peaceful rebellion that saw through to the freedom the
country eventually gained thirty three years later.
Ms. Imbulana, who has three decades of experience in the media field,
lucidly relates this important period of history. The 1st edition of the
book is already sold out, for which author Ms. Imbulana and the
E.H.Pedris Society share the royalties. The second edition will go into
print soon. Veteran translator, D.W. Wijewardena has offered to
translate the book into the Sinhala language.
The Edward Henry Pedris Committeee headed by former parliamentarian
Anura Bastian, comprises. Gamini Pedris, Mrs. Chandrani Pedris, Dr.
Harendra Kulasinghe, Mrs. Sanjani Kulasinghe, (late) Mani Karunatilaka,
Mrs. Wimela Bastian, Mrs. Udeni Pedris (Domiciled in Australia).
Shavantha Pedris, Mrs. P.H.K. Manisha Nalini Ranasinghe and Bernard
President Maithripala Sirisena
garlanding the photograph of Edward Henry Pedris. On right
is Anura Bastian, Governor Southern Province, Hemakumara
Nanayakkara and author of the book Charnika Imbulana.