Sunday, January 28, 2018

1st National Scout Jamboree, Bullers Road, Colombo, 1952

1st National Scout Jamboree - 1952

After 5 years from the inception of Scouting in 1907 by St. Baden Powell, Mr. S. G. Stevens started the scouting in Sri Lanka from Christ Church College of Matale in the year 1912.

Bullers Road, Kumbikele in the heart of Colombo 7 is Way back in 1952 the first Boy Scouts National Jamboree after Independence was held there. That's where the BMICH stands today on Bauddhaloka Mawatha (then Bullers Road).

Ceylon continued to use the British national anthem as its official national anthem after independence. At the first independence day ceremony held on 4 February 1949 at the Independence Memorial Hall in Torrington Square both Namo Namo Matha and Sri Lanka Matha Pala Yasa Mahima were sung, in Sinhala. “Namo Namo Matha” was not written originally for the purpose of being a national anthem. Its genesis is interesting. Samarakoon used to pay frequent trips to India even after his academic pursuit at “Shanthiniketan” had ended. this is the only song ever song in Bullers Road 1st Jamboree in sri lanka.

Samarakoon wrote late into the night and the immortal “Namo Namo Matha” was born. He then took it to Mahinda College where he was teaching and taught it to Students after setting it to music. The song became popular and was included in a musical record in 1946. Being a fine singer himself Samarakoon recorded the song with his partner Swarna de Silva the sister of famous flautist Dunstan de Silva.

The song was also included in a book of poems published by him. It was called “Geetha Kumudini”. Sadly Samarakoon was unable to re-imburse the printing costs incurred to the printer RKW Siriwardena and handed over copyright to him.Samarakoon was to regret this later when his creation was acknowledged as national anthem.

When the Gandarva Sabha conducted the competition to select a national song Samarakoon was away from the Island in India but his wife and brother had submitted “Namo Namo Matha” for the competition. Though fully deserving it was overlooked and “Sri Lanka Matha ,Yasa Mahima” by the Illengesinghe-Edirisinghe duo was selected.

Despite “winning” the competition “Yasa Mahima” was spurned by most people because of the manner in which it was declared winner. “Namo Namo Matha” without any official status was enjoying wide exposure and popular acclaim. Its popularity among ordinary people was so great that public opinion favoured “Namo Namo Matha” over “Yasa Mahima”.

The song became famous after a 50 member choir from Museus College, Colombo sang it on a public occasion. It was also broadcast on Radio frequently. “Namo Namo Matha” though without official recognition was now becoming popular as a “de-facto” national anthem.

All Ceylon Rally
    1st All Ceylon Rally, Havelock Race Course, Colombo,1917
    2nd All Ceylon Rally, Barracks,Kandy,1918
    3rd All Ceylon Rally, Kandy,1919
    4th All Ceylon Rally, Havelock Race Course,Colombo,1921 (Lord & Lady BP Arrivals)
    5th All Ceylon Rally, Kandy,1922 (Eastern tour of the Prince of Wales 23 March 1922)
    6th All Ceylon Rally, Colombo,1924 (Farewell Ceremony of The British Governor William Manning)

National Scout Jamboree
    01. 1st National Scout Jamboree, Bullers Road,Colombo, 1952
    02. 2nd National Scout Jamboree, Havelock Race Course, Colombo,1962
    03. 3rd National Scout Jamboree, Harischandra Ground, Anuradhapura - 26 February to 4 March 1983
    04. 4th National Scout Jamboree, Welagedara Ground, Kurunegala,1992
    06. 6th National Scout Jamboree, Balapitiya, 2002
    07. 7th National Scout Jamboree, Nuwara Eliya, 2006
    08. 8th National Scout Jamboree, Angunakolapelessa, 2010
    09. 9th National Scout Jamboree, Jaffna, 20 to 26 February 2016 (
    10. 10th National Scout Jamboree Pending 2020 (Trincomalee or Batticaloa?)

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