Edmund Rowland Gooneratne

Edmund Rowland Jayathilake Gooneratne

Gate Mudaliyar E. R. Gooneratne
Born 6 May 1845
Galle, Ceylon
Died 1914
Galle, Ceylon
Nationality Ceylonese
Education St. Thomas' College, Mutwal
Occupation Administrator, Writer
Title Gate Mudaliyar
Religion Theravada Buddhism
Spouse(s) Lady Matilda Ilangakoon
Lady Corneliya Thilakaratne
Children Dr. Valantine Goonaratne
Mark Sigmund Goonaratne
Eva Tagora Goonaratne

Edmund Rowland Jayathilake Gooneratne, Gate Mudaliyar, JP, (Sinhala: එඩ්මන්ඩ් රෝලන්ඩ් ජයතිලක ගුණරත්න) was a Ceylonese British colonial-era administrator and a literary figure. He was also a scholar, intellectual, social worker and Buddhist revivalist.[1] A resident of Atapattu Walawwa in Galle, E. R. Gooneratne served as the Atapattu Mudaliyar of Galle and as the Mudaliyar of the Governor’s Gate[1] Later he was appointed as the acting Maha Mudaliyar.[2][3][4] E. R. Gooneratne was the most influential native official of Southern Ceylon during the British colonial rule in the country.[5]

Life and career

Edmund Rowland Gooneratne was born on 6 May 1845, as the second son of the family of Mudaliyar David Jayathilake Goonaratne and Catharina Cecilia Dias Bandaranaike. His father was the Mohotti Mudaliyar of Galle. Young E. R. Gooneratne had his education at S. Thomas' College, Mutwal, shortly after the institution was founded by Bishop Chapman. He was a Christian by birth, but later converted to Buddhism and became a Buddhist nationalist.

In 1865 E. R. Gooneratne joined the government service as a translator at the Galle Kachcheri.[6] Subsequently he became Land registrar of Galle and the police magistrate of Balapitiya. In 1883 in recognition of his service the governor appointed him as the Mudaliyar of the Governor's Gate and a justice of peace in 1896. He retired from the government service in 1897, after an unbroken service of 32 years.[6]

He married Matilda Ilangakoon, a daughter of Mudaliyar J. V. Ilangakoon of Weligam korale in 1873.[6] They had a son and a daughter. Their son Dr. Valantine David Goonaratne was the home Surgeon of the Galle Hospital.[6] E. R. Gooneratne later married Corneliya Thilakaratne as his second spouse. They had a son, Mark Sigmund Goonaratne and a daughter, Eva Tagora Goonaratne.

In 1897, E. R. Gooneratne proceeded to England as one of the representatives of the Ceylonese government to participate in that year's Jubilee Celebrations. During this visit he was awarded the Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Medal.[6] After visiting France, he returned to Ceylon and devoted his time for literature and planting. He owned several tea, coconut and cinnamon plantations in the Galle, Matara and Hambanthota districts.[6] He was a friend of Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thera, Rhys Davids, Maharaja Jyotindra Mohun Tagore, Ananda Coomaraswamy and Henry Steele Olcott. E. R. Gooneratne died in 1914 at the age of 69.

Social and religious services

E. R. Gooneratne representing Ceylon at the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria (4th from right)

E. R. Gooneratne sponsored education to both locals and foreigners and gave leadership to the revival of civilian and Buddhist education of the country. He was a co-founder of Bataduwe Ratanajothi Vidyalaya. He also started one of the first Pirivenas in the south in around the 1880s at the Gooneratne Mudalindaramaya in Matara. He is also the founder of Simbali Avasaya in Galle, now known as Gooneratne Mudalindaramaya.

A trustee of the Mahabodhi, he actively took part in the Buddhist revival and the social reform group of Ceylon in the 1890s. He repaired and reconstructed the Buddhuge (Shrine hall) and the Buddha Statue in Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura. He also took part in the restoration work of Dambulla cave temple and sponsored the reconstruction work of Buddha statues there. Mudaliyar Gooneratne played a major role in the post Olcott Buddhist revival and his efforts made Galle, a leading centre of Buddhist learning in Ceylon.[7] He did a great service for the Buddhist, educational and social revival of Ceylon.

Literary works

A committed editor and translator of Pali texts, E. R. Gooneratne wrote commentaries on classical Sri Lankan literary works such as Rasavahini, Sariputta and Rupamala.[8] He was the secretary of the Pali Text Society for Ceylon. He also served in the editorial Board of the magazine Serendipity, a successor to the abandoned magazine the Orientalis. Gooneratne was also a diarist par excellence.[9] Some of his literary works are;

See also


External links

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 10/16/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.