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HISTORICAL FACTS REGARDING BILIMORIA- BANBURY BUILDINGS

  • These two buildings are named after two great pioneering Principals of Daharmaraja College who were responsible for the construction of these two buildings between 1910 and 1930 for the Buddhist Theosophical Society..
  • The first of these two buildings were put up with the contribution of one cent each from the poor Buddhist Public of the Central Province, Uva-Wellassa, and Thamankanduwa regions. The students and teachers also contributed by staging dramas all over the country.
  • The first one cent was contributed by a poor basket woman when Col. Olcott started a hat collection to start the building fund, after a public meeting held in this connection.
  • The Bilimoria hall was ceremonially opened by   Sir Ponnamabalam Arunachalam in 192?
  • These buildings are intertwined with the movement of Buddhist revival  that began & gathered momentum in the first half of the 20th century in which Dharmaraja College was inextricably involved.
  • The Temperance Movement which was the pre-curser to the National Movement of this time headed by Sir D.B. Jayatillake, F. R. and D.S. Senanayake brothers and other patriots of the time, were held in the Bilimoria Hall. Later National Leaders like A.E. Gunasinghe and A. Ratnayake, Sir Bennet Soyza who were Old Boys of the College started their political careers by joining this temperance Movement and the Non-smokers’ Club initially as school boys.
  • All Kandy meetings of National Leaders at that time were held in the Bilimoria Hall.  A significant event within our memory was that the opening session of the first Buddhist Commission, which led to the silent revolution of 1956,which changed history of this country held its opening sessions in the Bilimoria Hall in 1955. Fittingly the finsreport of the Commission was presented at the Ananda College hall in 1956.

 

      Also, the first meetings of the National Language Movement which led finally to the declaration of Sinhala as the Official Language of this country commenced, in this hall. Further, the first meetings of agitation for the take over of private schools in Sri Lanka were held in the Bilimoria Hall.

  • Banbury building was the place where William Gopallawa, the first President of the Republic of Sri Lanka had his education as did many other eminent men and it was on the stage of the Bilimoria Hall that Mr. Gopallawa acted in a drama playing the role of a king.
  • This is the place where eminent national figures such as Sir D. B. Jayathilake, T.B. Jayah, N.E. Weerasuriya and D.T. Devendra taught and inspired the poor Buddhist children.
  • Besides our own national leaders, the Bilimoria Hall had been graced by the visits of world leaders such as Mahathma Gandhi, Rabindranath, Tagore, J. Krishnamurthi, Lord  Baden Powell.
  • In later times it had been visited by Intellectuals such as Prof. Cyril Ponnamperuma, Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera, Prof. E.R. Sarachchandra, and Dr. S.N. Goenka, the renowned meditation teacher from the Myanmar.
  • Thus, this building complex was the hotbed of the contemporary history of the times and Dharmaraja College, its students, the teachers and well wishers were all part and parcel of the history this momentous era. Hence, this building complex is the embodiment of all that went to make Dharmaraja and is todate its symbol that gives its special identity as a unique educational institutiton in this country. The history embedded in this premises is the heritage of  all Rajans past and present, and of the future too.      
 
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