Established on February 07, 1845

Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka will celebrate its 175th year anniversary in 2020

The Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka (RASSL) will celebrate 175 years of fruitful existence starting 7th February 2020. As you are aware the RASSL commenced activities prior to the establishment of any formal university education in the country and has been the foremost participant in the intellectual debate.

The objects of the RASSL covers, history, culture, archaeology, technology; indigenous knowledge, sociology and anthropology and has over the years focused its activities on conducting research and dissemination of findings through different modes of publicity such as public forums, seminars, conferences and in publishing the famous RASSL journal.

The RASSL is incorporated by an act of parliament; Act No. 06 of 1992 and the Society has its own constitution for its governance. The Society’s activities are directed and monitored by the Council of Members who are reputed academics and professionals who meet each month purely on a voluntary basis to support and carry forward the objects of the Society.

The RASSL is celebrating its 175th Anniversary in 2020 and wishes to showcase the 175th year of its existence by commemorating a series of events throughout 2020 into 2021. Creating greater public awareness in Sri Lanka and incorporating other international Asiatic brother societies into the program as well. The 175th anniversary celebration plan has been developed and the initial work has commenced mobilizing the meagre resources available.

The RASSL 175th Anniversary Committee has met a couple of times and worked out a program for 2020/2021 to showcase the RASSL and Sri Lanka to the world. A load of work needs to be accomplished and this will be possible only if all members work together, with one focussed ideal, towards a single goal to produce the best the RASSL could offer. There is a need to create and leave behind something of real value.

Part Memorial lecture series, to be finally brought out as an RASSL volume. Twelve personalities who have contributed to the advancement of the RASSL have been identified to be appreciated in the lecture series. Suitable researchers invited to write about the personalities and make the presentations.

The inauguration of the 175th Anniversary celebrations at 10am, Board Room of the RASSL.
A simple traditional ceremony with the lighting of the oil lamp, and partaking of milk rice, oil cakes (kevum ) and other delicacies.

13th Annual RASSL Research Conference.
As in the years past, this conference will be open to younger academics and scholars in an attempt to help develop the necessary confidence to research write and publish their findings. (March 2020)
Dr. Chandana Jayawardena has it under control. The posters, with the titles and the submission schedules have been circulated. Key note speakers have been identified. And some abstracts secured.

History of Technology and Science series.
Over a period of four years a group has collected information from the Buddhist texts and other important writings on indigenous traditional science and technology. The material collected will be published in three volumes.(07/02/ 2020- 07/02/2021)

The History of the RASSL.
A documentation that brings the history of the RASSL up to date up to the 175th year of its existence. The task on hand would be to bring this history up to the 175th year. As in the case of the 150th Sesquicentennial Commemorative Volume, it could include five of six important scholarly papers as well.

The issue of a Commemorative Coin.
A Commemorative Coin celebrating the 175thAnniversary with the concurrence of the Central Bank. The Central Bank has been addressed on the subject. Meetings held and the estimates have been submitted.

Reprinting of important articles.
Over the years some outstanding articles have been printed in the RASSL Journals. It is hoped that a selection of about ten to fifteen articles may be included in a special volume.

An Extension to the Index of papers. To update of the Index of papers already published in journals. (July 2020)

Pali Journal.
To engage senior Pali scholars to contribute to the journal and eventually to coordinate the work of the Pali Text Society, UK with the intention of getting involved in their work in the future.

Commemorative Plaque in boxes.
A commemorative plaque to be presented to the Asiatic Societies, the participating Embassies, Institutions, special invitees participating in the conference. The plaque will feature a 3D medal with the name of the society, the emblem, the years being celebrated and the years of existence.

Commemorative medals.
A 75mm commemorative medal in small cotton bags, will be available to be sold to members and well wishes. The medal will feature the name of the society, the emblem, the number of years being celebrated and the years of existence.

Main conferences commencing in July 2020.Three other International Conferences follow in September, October and November 2020. The final dates for the conferences to be identified. Secretariat to be activated, Hotel and venue bookings to be completed.
Main International Conference “Role of the Asiatic Society in the Geopolitics of Today”.
An International conference on the “Role of the Asiatic Society in the Geopolitics of Today”. This conference will bring together all the different Asiatic Societies from around the world.

Second International Conference, “Sri Lanka Sino relations past and present”, On “Sri Lanka Sino relations past and present”, identifying and show casing the early relations between Sri Lanka and Chaina and the Silk Route. It will require involving the Chinese Embassy in Colombo.

The RASSL should in addition explore the possibility of setting up of a research cell at the RASSL that would bring together scholars from both China and Sri Lanka. It should in the process identify all the manuscripts presently in China and explore the possibility of getting copies.

Third International Conference “Sri Lanka Persian relations in the historic period”, It is recognised that the Persians were the earliest sea farers in the Ocean. This prompted the ocean to be referred to as the Persian sea. This was long before the discovery of the use of the monsoon winds by the Greeks, the Persians were sailing the ocean using the monsoons and the astrolabe.
The conference will highlight this interaction that connected Persia and Chaina with Sri Lanka. “Sri Lanka Persian relations in the historic period”, and will bring together scholars from Iran and Sri Lanka in an exchange of the latest research on the subject.

Fourth International Conference, “Sri Lanka and the Sub-continent” On “Sri Lanka and relations with the sub-continent in the historic past”, involving the Indian, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan scholars, to be held in Colombo.