Safeguarding Sri Lanka's heritage

by Walter DAYARATHNE, Lanka Daily News, Nov 12, 2007

Colombo, Sri Lanka -- "Safeguarding our archaeology, in effect is unearthing our buried history. Its trustees are none other than our Maha Sangha. It is our duty to entrust them with the responsibility of giving vision to the nation", said North Central Province Governor Karunaratna Divulgane.

The Governor was speaking at the ceremony held at Anuradhapura Buddha Shrawaka Bhikkhu University to award certificates to those who completed a six-month training course on preservation of archaeological heritage conducted by the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC) under the supervision of the Department of Archaeology, the Archaeologists’ Society organised the event.

Participants were administered Pansil by Anuradhapura Atamasthanadhpathi Ven. Dr. Pallegama Siriniwasa Thera.

Governor Divulgane said, “Excavation of artefacts covered by earth and their protection lay in the hands of the Maha Sangha who are also responsible for creating Buddhist religious worship centres islandwide.”

He said at that time there was a strong Bhikkhu force behind King Dutugemunu. During the SLFP leader SWRD Bandaranaike, thera were widely respected Buddhist prelates like Ven. Henpitagedara Gnanaseeha Thera.

The Governor said what lies buried under this soil is a prouder nation than that of the living today.

If excavation activities are properly carried out in the inner city of Anuradhapura, it would come to light that even in pre-Buddhist era, before 6th century B.C., there had been a proud civilisation and history in Sri Lanka. Shiran Deraniyagala’s Researcher had revealed this fact.

He said Ven. Wariyapola Sumangala Thera gave leadership to rebellion of 1818. President Mahinda Rajapaksa too faced the Presidential Election with a formidable force of Maha Sangha behind him.

Chairman ACBC, Jagath Sumathipala, Archaeological Director Prof. T.G. Kulathunga, Co-ordinating Secretary Tilak Serasinghe and Joint Secretary Sunil Sarath Kuregama also spoke.