The Ceylonese was an English-language newspaper in Ceylon founded by P. Ramanathan and other leading figures.[1][2] The newspaper started on 5 March 1913 with Americans H. H. Marcus as manager and Tom Wright as editor.[3] The paper was based at Tichborne Hall, Tichborne Avenue in Maradana, Colombo.[2] The paper's other directors included Hector Alfred Jayewardene and Francis de Zoysa.[4] The paper was editorially nationalistic and was run like an American newspaper, a contrast to other Ceylonese papers which were run according to the British model.[5][6]

The Ceylonese
Owner(s)The Ceylonese & Co. Limited
Founder(s)P. Ramanathan
Founded5 March 1913 (1913-03-05)
Ceased publication1917 (1917)
OCLC number41941263

Ramanthan used the paper to promote his candidature for the Educated Ceylonese seat in the Legislative Council of Ceylon.[7] During the 1911 election the de Soysa family had used their paper, The Morning Leader, to attack Ramanthan so that their relative Marcus Fernando would win the election.[8] This tactic failed with Ramanthan defeating Fernando by 1,645 votes to 981 votes.[9][10]

After some time differences arose between the paper's directors and Ramanathan resigned from the board of directors.[5] The remaining directors and shareholders continued to use the paper to promote their own interests.[11] World War I also impacted on the paper - there was war-time censorship and the cost of newsprint, ink, types and machinery soared.[11] The paper faced serious financial problems - it was making a loss and had large debts.[11] F. R. Senanayake issued a writ to auction the paper's assets in order to recover a Rs. 21,000 loan.[2][6] As a result, the paper ceased publication in late 1917.[4][12]

D. R. Wijewardena saw The Ceylonese's demise as an opportunity to grow his fledgling media empire.[13] The auction for the paper's assets took place in December 1917.[6] At the auction Senanayake and his brother D. S. Senanayake asked Wijewardena to make a bid of Rs. 21,000, the amount of the writ, but bidding was slow.[6] Wijewardena was able to buy the paper's plant and goodwill with a bid of Rs. 16,000.[6][13] He also paid off the remainder of mortgage held by F. R. Senanayake.[6] Wijewardena subsequently started the Ceylon Daily News on 3 January 1918 using The Ceylonese assets.[1][14]

Notes edit

  1. ^ a b Peebles 2015, p. 390.
  2. ^ a b c Edirisinghe, Padma (20 September 2010). "Ghostly beginnings of a famous newspaper". Daily News (Sri Lanka).
  3. ^ Vythilingam 1977, p. 88.
  4. ^ a b Wijewardena, D. R. (22 February 1998). "It was difficult and dangerous". The Sunday Times (Sri Lanka).
  5. ^ a b Vythilingam 1977, p. 89.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Wijewardena, D. R. (23 February 1997). "The birth of a Newspaper". The Sunday Times (Sri Lanka).
  7. ^ Gunaratne, Shelton A. (2 November 2015). "Prairie Awards To Wijewardene Clan For Fostering Lankan Journalism". Colombo Telegraph.
  8. ^ Vythilingam 1977, pp. 86–87.
  9. ^ Ramanathan, P. (2 January 2000). "One of the "greatest" Ceylonese". The Sunday Times (Sri Lanka).
  10. ^ Sabaratnam, T. "Chapter 16: The Arunachalam Factor". The Sri Lankan Tamil Struggle.
  11. ^ a b c Vythilingam 1977, p. 90.
  12. ^ Peebles 2015, p. 250.
  13. ^ a b Vythilingam 1977, p. 91.
  14. ^ Perera, Miran (23 February 2007). "Lake House and D. R. Wijewardene: The informative and the pragmatist". Daily News (Sri Lanka).

References edit