Sir Cyril De Zoysa

Sir Cyril De Zoysa

Sir Cyril De Zoysa was a Sri Lankan industrialist, Senator and a philanthropist and a well-known figure  among   the thousands  of Sri Lankans.    From time immemorial he had been in the hearts of the people for his profound, yeoman  service to the nation.
Once he held the post of   the Presidency of the Senate of Ceylon from  1960 to 1965,  he was a leader in the Buddhist revival movement in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in the 20th century.

He was distantly related to Sri Lanka tycoon Sri Ernest de Silva.

Early life

He was born on October 26, 1896 to Solomon and Harriet de Zoysa in Galle, and was their second son. He was educated at St. Thomas College in Galle for his primary studies and then moved on to Richmond College in Galle. His father was a notary public and for this reason de Zoysa moved many times during childhood. He completed his secondary education at the Royal College of Colombo. At the young age of twenty, he began pursuing his studies at Ceylon Law College. After graduating from Sri Lanka Law College, he began practicing law in 1921. He started at the police courts of Balapitiya. In 1926 he moved to Kalutara after five successful years of practice in Balapitiya. During the period of his practicing law he showed his remarkable fame as a lawyer, a facilitator and a great relief to the people   in the vicinity.

Kalutara activism

The famous ‘’Kalu Gaga’’ flows in to the sea at ‘’Kaluthota’’ now referred to as Kalutara. This is one of the most picturesque place. Just  because  a huge Botree was spreading its branches towards every direction. The branches hanging downwards to the river are adding colour   to   its beauty. The town of  Kalutara was a Centre of Buddhist learning and a pilgrimage site where people flocked in thousands to view the Kalutara Bodhi. In violation of colonial law, Sir Cyril De Zoysa began lighting lamps at the Kalutara Bodhi, drawing the attention of the Buddhists towards the Bosapling, which made the English Governor angrier. The Bodhisapling was one of 32, allegedly brought to Sri Lanka by King Devanampiyatissa, as a scion of the Sri Maha Bodhi of Anuradhapura. When the colonial authorities came, they attempted to corral devotees away from the tree. But it was not an easy task as De Zoysa   was on the hunt.  They accosted De Zoysa, and De Zoysa challenged them to arrest him. The effort was in vein. His endeavor was successful.  He invested much of his own devotion, strength & money into the project, and created pilgrimage facilities for worshippers who throng around the Botree   wishing the bless  of the triple gems. This paved the way to another form of shrine.  

Business ventures

De Zoysa was a successful Businessman having a diverse array of ventures. AMW was one of the leading companies chaired by him and under his experienced guidance.

Senatorial career

De Zoysa was the President of the Senate of Ceylon for eight years, prior to that he was the  vise-president of the Senate for six years. He was made a Knights Bachelor.