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THE SRI LANKAN REPUBLIC AT FORTY: REFLECTIONS ON THE CONSTITUTIONAL PAST AND PRESENT

Image courtesy Daily News Forty years ago this week, at the auspicious time of 12:34 p.m. at the Navarangahala on 22nd May 1972, a new constitution was signed into law, creating the Republic of Sri Lanka. This was the first time in the history of the island that the republican form of state was established, […]

Transcript of first one-to-one interview with Sarath Fonseka after release from prison

Image courtesy the Economist GV editors note: In the transcript below and the video of it available on the BBC online, the BBC correspondent in Sri Lanka Charles Haviland asks “Are the terms of your release unconditional – will you be allowed to go  back to politics?” Sarath Fonseka responds by noting that “As yet […]

Truth and Dialogue as Theatre: Some Reflections on the Frontline Club Panel on Sri Lanka

I watched the Frontline Club panel on Sri Lanka, belatedly and reluctantly. I am skeptical about such public enquiries and debates into complex matters, which threaten to reduce the dialogue and truth into performance. In my view, the problem with these ‘events’, for that is what they are, is that the truth is reduced to […]

3 years after the end of war: Official statements vs. reality

Sri Lankan Army soldiers march during a Victory Day parade rehearsal in Colombo on May 16, 2012. Sri Lanka celebrates War Heroes Week with a military parade scheduled for May 19. PHOTO/ AFP, text courtesy Haveeru Online “There is no State of Emergency today.” – President Rajapaksa’s Address to the Nation, 19 May 2012 vs. […]

Three years after the war in Sri Lanka: To celebrate or mourn?

Photo courtesy Vikalpa For the 3rd successive year, the Sri Lankan government has made elaborate arrangements to celebrate the end of the war in Colombo. This year, May was declared as “war hero’s commemoration month”. For the last few days, roads were closed in Colombo causing great inconvenience, as preparations were being made for celebrating the […]

A different take from the Sangha: The dhamma and religious co-existence in Sri Lanka (UPDATED)

[Editors note: Sanjay Senanayake in a comment below raises a number of concerns regarding inflammatory statements made by Rev. Dambara Amila Thero in the past, which invariably inform the appreciation of the interview below. Sanjay also alleges that the thero had in the past assaulted journalists from Young Asia Television, which produced this video. We […]

Samhara: An interweaving of the Nrityagram Dance Ensemble and the Chitrasena Dance Company

Photo provided by Nrityagram Dance Ensemble. All copyrights reserved. Audiences in Colombo were over the weekend treated to Samhara, a collaboration between India’s Nrityagram Dance Ensemble and Sri Lanka’s Chitrasena Dance Company. Groundviews caught up with Nrityagram’s lead dancer Bijayini Satpathy, the artistic director and choreographer of Nrityagram, Surupa and Chitrasena Dance Company’s choreographer, Heshma […]

Mobs, Monks and the Problems of Political-Buddhism

  Original photograph REUTERS/Damir Sagolj It is always a curious and odd little matter, to witness how even Buddhists become so obsessively attached to ‘sacred’ lands and in protecting them, commit acts seemingly prompted by hatred, delusion and ill-will. Ideally, lands should not become ‘sacred’ for simple reasons. The Buddha, in attacking the rigid and unethical […]

Not In Our Name: Campaign update and video

After the email update reproduced below was sent on 2nd May, less than a week after the Not In Our Name initiative was launched, Deshabandhu Jezima Ismail, senior lawyer and HR activist JC Weliamuna, two-time Secretary to Presidential Commissions of Inquiry into Disappearances MCM Iqbal, well-known economist Muttukrishna Sarvananthan, Prof. Michael Roberts and Ranjini Obeyesekere, both […]

The Mind of Compassion: Buddhism and Violence

A lion carries a dead wild boar in his mouth. He is walking through the grasslands, victorious after the hunt. On the dead boar is a crudely imprinted crescent moon and star.  This is an image found in a Sinhala Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/මාගේ-හෘද-සාක්ෂිය/351343628228268) that among other things compares Sri Lankan Muslims to wild boar, puppies […]

The State and Religion in South Asia

Photo by Massimiliano Clausi, courtesy SAJA Secularism implies the relationship between Religion and Politics, more specifically between Religion and the State. The concept of secularism has drawn its sources from the philosophy that Humans can order their lives and their societies without recourse to transcendant or supra natural powers, and hence they could also organize and […]

Cluster bombs in Sri Lanka: From denial to discovery

Ravi Nessman from Associated Press has broken what’s perhaps the most important story on the war, since it ended three years ago. In a story published by AP a few hours ago, he notes, The Associated Press obtained a copy Thursday of an email written by a U.N. land mine expert that said unexploded cluster […]

Not In Our Name: Against religious extremism in Sri Lanka

A week ago, a violent a mob of about 2,000 Sinhalese, including a group of Buddhist monks led by the Mahanayaka of the Rangiri Dambulu chapter Inamaluwe Sumangala thero, stormed and vandalised a mosque in Dambulla. The mosque was declared an illegal structure, but it is unclear how this far this is accurate. The shameful […]

Bigoted monks and militant mobs: Is this Buddhism in Sri Lanka today?

Frame grab from News 1st TV broadcast As noted by Raashid Riza, the Multimedia Editor of The Platform, Last Friday a mob of about 2,000 Sinhalese, led by a group of Buddhist monks, stormed into a mosque in the historical city of Dambulla. They caused disturbances so severe that Friday prayers had to be cancelled. […]