Book launched to mark 100th death anniversary of Edward Henry Pedris

Tuesday, 21 July 2015 01:42 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

To commemorate the 100th death anniversary of Edward Henry Pedris, the book titled ‘Edward Henry Pedris – National Hero who awakened a nation’ was launched on 8 July at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute under the auspices of President Maithripala Sirisena, amidst a large gathering.

President Maithripala Sirisena garlanded the photograph of the national hero. Thereafter author of the book, veteran journalist and Media Advisor Charnika Imbulana, who was commissioned by the Edward Henry Pedris Commemoration Society, presented the first copy of the book to the President.


Chief Incumbent of the Kotte Naga Vihara Maduluwawe Ven. Sobitha, Ministers Patali Champika Ranawaka, Karu Jayasuriya and Southern Province Governor Hemakumara Nanayakkara, the guests of honour, were the key speakers at the event.  

Edward Henry Pedris, the only son of one of the richest families, perhaps the wealthiest in Ceylon, born with a sense of service to his country, joined as the then Ceylon Defence Force as a Town Guard. He was the only Sinhalese to be enlisted. He outshone most and was promoted to the rank of Captain within a year. This generated envy within the establishment and outside.

Communal riots that triggered off from the Gampola Perahera 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 at this time along with his two brothers-in-law. The British targeted young Pedris who was court martialed on trumped up charges and condemned him 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 that the country eventually gained 33 years later.

BUP_DFT_DFT-4-002Imbulana, who has three decades of experience in the media field, has lucidly related this important period of our history, targeting the current and future generations, and presented it simply for a wider readership.

The first edition of the book has been sold out, for which author Imbulana and the E.H. Pedris Society share the royalties, and the second edition will go into print soon.   

Veteran translator D.W. Wijewardena has already offered to translate Imbulana’s book into the Sinhala language.

A Board Director of both the Government and of private sector entities, she has next scheduled to launch her book on her uncle, ‘P.C. Imbulana and Gentleman Politics,’ the launch of which as one in a series of events now underway to mark the 100th birth anniversary of veteran politician, late P.C. Imbulana.

Through her book on the national hero, Edward Henry Pedris, she has awakened interest in a period of history which has thus far not been given the attention that it warranted in the school books provided to the current generation.  

BUP_DFT_DFT-4-005The Honorary E. H. Pedris Commemoration Committee initiative for this publication on Edward Henry Pedris is commendable. It would not only assist children with information of an important period in our history but also improve their knowledge of English.

The Edward Henry Pedris Committee, headed by former Parliamentarian Anura Bastian, also includes Gamini Pedris, Chandrani Pedris, Dr. Harendra Kulasinghe, Sanjani Kulasinghe, (late) Mani Karunatilaka, Wimela Bastian, Udeni Pedris (domiciled in Australia), Shavantha Pedris, P.H.K. Manisha, Nalini Ranasinghe and Bernard Ranasinghe.