Nemsiri Mutukumara, a veteran Journalist of Sri Lanka and also of the Buddhist world was pioneering in showing the path to the Buddhist Youths. Nemsiri was the Founder President of the World Fellowship of Buddhist Youth (WFBY) which was initiated in 1972 at Colombo, Sri Lanka during the time of the WFB (World Fellowship of Buddhists) conference in Sri Lanka. Nemsiri was one of my best Buddhists friends of the world with whom I worked for a long time for world Buddhism.
I am extremely delighted to know that the 86th birth anniversary of this veteran Buddhist Journalist and Buddhist Leader falls on March 26 of this year. It is a great coincidence that March 26 is also the Independence Day of Bangladesh rather 50th birth anniversary or Golden Jubilee Independence Day of Bangladesh. Father of the Nation, the Greatest Bangalee of all ages Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declared independence of Bangladesh on March 26, 1971 at an early hour of the morning,
He was the Editor of the Buddhist Magazine World Buddhism which was later renamed as New World Buddhism and which was also published from Colombo. That was one of the Standard magazines in the Buddhist world. I have gone through its few issues.
My first appearance at the WFBY forum occurred in 1986 at Kathmandu conference in Nepal. That was the 6th General Conference of the WFBY where I lead a two-member delegation on behalf of Bangladesh Bouddha Kristi Prachar Sangha Youth ( BBKPSY). The other member of the delegation was Mr. Ratan Kumar Barua ( now late). I was at that time the President of BBKPSY, a Regional Centre of the WFBY in Bangladesh. I am also the Founder General Secretary of BBKPSY. In this conference, I was first elected as Chairman of the Standing Committee on Education and Culture of the WFBY. It was my first entry into the world Buddhist youth Forum rather the gate to world Buddhism started opening to me.
I am extremely delighted to know that the 86th birth anniversary of this veteran Buddhist Journalist and Buddhist Leader falls on March 26 of this year. It is a great coincidence that March 26 is also the Independence Day of Bangladesh
That world Buddhist youth conference was memorable to me as that was my first Buddhist Youth conference from where I gathered a lot of experiences. I met first my friend Nemsiri Mutukumara in Kathmandu and shared a lot of my experiences with him. He especially talked about how we can lead Buddhism more effectively in SAARC countries. I also agreed to his proposal to form Buddhist SAARC. The next day we met in the hotel lobby and Buddhist Leaders from SAARC countries gathered. We all came to an understanding that we can form Buddhist SAARC. Nemsiri Mutukumara was named as President of the Buddhist SAARC and I were nominated it's Vice President. We had some specific plan to proceed with the Buddhist SAARC but unfortunately, as the political situation was taking new shape day by day in Sri Lanka as a SAARC leader he could not proceed further. Later on, we had a lot of meetings regarding Buddhist SAARC and we exchanged our views at the Los Angeles Conference. I hope the Buddhist Leaders of Sri Lanka will think over the brain concept of Nemsiri Mutukumara on Buddhist SAARC so that Buddhism in SAARC: countries can take a consolidated and firm shape.
In Los Angeles Buddhist Youth Conference I was first elected Vice President of the WFBY from Bangladesh and subsequently in Seoul and Taiwan Conferences respectively I was elected Vice President of the WFBY in 1990 and in 1992 respectively. My election as Vice President of the WFBY consecutive three times was a world record for Bengali Buddhist Youths. No Bengali Buddhist Youth could still surpass my historic achievement. I am very happy to tell that I was Vice President of that WFBY which was initiated by then Buddhist Youth Leader of the world Nemsiri Mutukumara of Sri Lanka.
As Vice President of the WFBY my duty was to look after the Buddhist Youth organisations in Bangladesh and India. I kept frequent connections with the WFBY Regional Centres in India. At that time there were five Buddhist Youth organisations in Bangladesh which were affiliated to the WFBY. I could bring those youth organisations under one umbrella named as 'National Federation of the WFBY Regional Centres in Bangladesh'. I could do it with the support of the WFBY President Mr. Phallop Thaiarry. Phallop Thaiarry came to Bangladesh at my invitation to form this Federation. Still, this Federation is working amongst the Buddhist Youths of Bangladesh. I am very happy to say that I am the Founding Convener of this esteemed federation. WFBY is popular in Bangladesh.
Buddhist Youths are very much interested to participate in the youth conferences held in different countries. Credit goes to Nemsiri Mutukumara who lead this youth organisation as its Founder President. In the context of appreciation to Nemsiri Mutukumara, I must pay my humble tribute to Prof. Dr. G.P. Malalasekara who was the Founder President of the World Fellowship of Buddhists' (WFB). The WFB was established on May 25, 1950, in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He was the pioneer in uniting the Buddhists of the world under one banner. We the Buddhists are still enjoying the fruits of his contributions. Nowadays a lot of Buddhist organisations have been formed but the contributions of the WFB are still unparalleled. We are also working with UNDV ( United Nations Vesak Day). I had the opportunity to participate in 13 Vesak Day Celebration in different countries out of 17 celebrations. Even the UNDV has been formed with initiative of Sri Lanka Foreign Minister in 1998. The Buddhist organisations are the products of the WFB as activities on Buddhism has enormously increased. Sri Lanka Buddhist leaders have always played a pioneering role in world Buddhism. World Buddhist Foundation has also come out from Sri Lanka.
WFB has been extensively supported by His Highness the King of Thailand Bhumibol Adulyadej. By his magnanimous, the WFB Headquarters have been established in Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok, Thailand. The whole Buddhist world is very much grateful to the esteemed King of Thailand. I also hope that his Son His Royal Highness King Bajiralongkorn of Thailand will extend his sincere support to world Buddhism like his father. The whole Buddhist world must appreciate the far-sighted vision of Prof. Dr. G.P. Malalasekara who has dedicated his whole life for the cause of Buddhism.
It is through the WFB and WFBY that the world Buddhism has turned into a new phase in the twenty-first century of science and technology. In this age, Tripitaka has been digitalised in various countries. Scholars of western countries are profusely studying Buddhism to develop their talent.
I must mention here that the WFB and the WFBY are the non-governmental Buddhist Organisations in world Buddhism. But I always emphasised the role of Buddhist Governments to come forward to protect Buddhism from any disaster in the days to come. As such I proposed to form OBC (Organisations of the Buddhist Countries) in different Buddhist forums for the safety and security of Buddhism in any part of the world. I handed over my proposal to the Sri Lankan Religious Minister in 2017 while I attended Vesak Day Celebration at Bandaranaike Auditorium at Colombo. The Minister assured me that he will take action and try to go with the proposal for the betterment of Buddhism. I still hope that primarily the Governments of Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Bhutan can take initiatives to form OBC.
1 am very happy that his younger brother Rathnasiri Mutukumara is continuing with activities of his elder brother. By the invitation and initiative of Rathnasiri I_ have been able to go to Colombo to receive the prestigious award from Anagarika Dharmapala Humanitarian Foundation . The appreciation -award was "BishwakirtiSriSaddharmagabeshi" from Sri Lanka which was a boon to me as a Bangladeshi Buddhist. Thanks to Rathnasiri Mutukumara for his brilliant job. Still, have lovely relation with him and working jointly for world Buddhism.
The writer is an educationist, physicist, world-renowned Buddhist leader, awarded with the Second Highest State Award (EKUSHE PADAK" for education by the Govt. of Bangladesh, Valiant Freedom Fighter, Rotarian, Paul Harris Fellow, writer, orator, organiser, Senior Vice President of Bangladesh Bouddha Kristi Prachar Sangha, and founder of many organisations. At present Chairman of the Standing Committee on Publication, Publicity, Education, Culture and Art of the WFFB ( consecutive four times), recipient of many awards and titles from home and abroad.