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A Hindu Devotee who Helped Buddhist Activities-An Appreciation

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Late Mr.S.T . Sinnadurai is a devout Hindu, whose services were not confined to his ethnic group or creed. He valued Buddhist customs while extending his patronage to Hindu institutions. He supported Buddhist activities and erected places of Buddhist religious worship.

He treated every one as a human being. He valued truly human qualities. He was   born in northern province, in Kankesanturai. He studied in a missionary school in Jaffna. He studied both Tamil and English in his youth.

He had an occasion occurred to come down to see a sick relative. On this visit it occurred to him to live in the South as a minor trader. It was in keeping with the intention that he later opened “ Leela Stores” in Pettah. In no time, it became a very famous place of business. Perhaps, one reason for this was that it was located at a spot very close to the Pettah central bus stand and the Famous Bo-Tree.

This Bo-Tree was a very much respected place but not very well provided for or looked after well. On rainy days the compound became a pool of muddy water. Every evening, the carters tied their bulls to this Bo tree. This pathetic sight hurt him. He was pained by this sight. He quickly erected an iron fence around the bo Tree for its Protection.

It was at this time that Mr. Sinnadurai’s attention was drawn to the sale of Sinhala puplications. In order to give a helping hand to Sinhala writers,  he helped them to publish their publication work. Popular poets and authors of that period including P.B Alwise Perera, John Rajadasa, Kapila, Seniviratne, Meemana Prematilaka, Sagara, Palansooriya, Hikkaduwe, Amarasena, Wilson Hogada and Makadure Gunawardana regularly visited Leela stores to get their work published. They turned out to be Mr. Sinnadurais very sincere friends. It occurred to Mr. Sinnadurai to start a printing Press from which he rendered a great service to the Sinhala people through local poets and writers.

Sinnadurai Preferred plain and simple dress. He was always wearing the local costume. He never abandoned the traditional costume of white verti and banyan. He always maintained a pleasant and disciplined appearance. He helped the needy very generously. He never sent back any empty handed. Even in crises situations, he acted very patiently. The strongest characteristic of his life was his strong moral posturing. He conducted his life on sound moral principles and encouraged others also to do so.

Mr.Sinnadurai, in his time, was associated with the Temperance Movement, Pitakotuwa Boddhiraja Samithiya, Veerasamajaya, Sacharitha, Viyaparaya and numberof such other societies. He served as the first Treasurer of the Bodhiraja Samithiya Pettah.

Mr Sinnadurai was closely associated with late Premadasa and assisted his social and religious activities. Later a chaithya came to be built at the Bodhi Raja Viharaya, Pettah under the guidance of Mr. Sinnadurai. His children later helped to develop the temple of enshrined in Pettah Bodhiraja Vihara Chaithya and Thibbtugoda Bohi Malu Vihara Mandiraya Pokunita Horana to conferment on late Mr.Sinnadurai.                                                                   

The  Panchanga Pictorial calendar that Mr. Sinnadurai introduced in 1950 marks an important Land mark in our culture. It was the first time such a calendar was produced embodying a wealth of historical and astrological knowledge and information.

On this 35th Death anniversary of late Mr. Sinnadurai, the prevailing peace unity and harmony should be considered as a homage to this life and work of Mr. Sinnadurai.

 Let us all commit ourselves to peace and harmony which Mr Sinnadurai stood for!

Vice Charman Sri S. Sucharicha Vidyaparaya

B.V .SugathapaJ.

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