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Buddhists challenged to respect their religion

Photo by Dinouk Colombage, via Groundviews The third resolution on Sri Lanka to be taken up for vote at the 25th Sessions of the UNHRC now in progress, saw even Galaboda Gnanissara Thera, the “Gangarama podi hamuduruwo” as some call him, getting on the street in ugly protests. Gangarama Podi Hamuduruwo was not considered the […]

The National and International Significance of the 13th Amendment

Image courtesy DBS Jeyaraj It appears to be widely believed in our country that Indian foreign policy, particularly in relation to Sri Lanka, is shaped by the ethnic politics of Sri Lanka. Disseminating such a belief may serve the interests of various political leaders in diverse ways. It may help to sustain the morale of […]

Time Out: Breaking the Cycle for a New Conversation, a New Vision

Image courtesy Reuters It was 2007, at the height of the war, when one hundred youth (Tamil, Muslim and Sinhala) from every part of the country except the north gathered in Thanamalvila in the south of Sri Lanka for a leadership retreat sponsored by Sarvodaya and the British Council.   At the end of the second […]

The ‘Post-colonial Grip’ and ‘Class Domination’: Sinhalese Upper and Middle Classes

Image courtesy Thuppahi’s blog At a time where there is much discussion on how the Western powers are dominating the world, in particular the global South including countries such as Sri Lanka, it is important to examine how other forms of domination in the post-colonial era have replaced the domination created by such powers during […]

Hearings of the Commission to Inquire into the Complaints regarding Missing Persons

Image courtesy Sri Lanka: One Island, Two Nations. The following letter was sent to Groundviews by a reader with the following covering note: The letter I send you is from a Collective of Families of Disappeared Persons who engaged in the Sri Lankan government’s disappearences commission. It highlights a number of problems in the commission process. The […]

Reception of Buddhism in Lanka: An entanglement with worldly sovereignty?

Image courtesy The Star [Constitutional amendments at Anuradhapura were signified by the erection of a new stupa; or as in the case of King Kasyapa, by moving the capital to another place. The ideological changes they symbolized wrought modifications to the tri-partite consensus of king-sangha-village as this ancient kingdom rolled on for over 1300 years. […]

Making Provincial Administration Work in the North

Photo courtesy Sri Lanka Guardian These days media often speak of conflicts between the center and provincial administration, especially between the Northern Provincial Council’s (NPC’s) Chief Minister (CM) / Members and the Governor of the Province. The CM had been known to me for some time as a gentle neighbor, Judge and the Governor as […]

From Canada to Colombo, can’t stereotype my thing yo

I need a cigarette. In another impulsive moment, I had made the irresponsible decision a few months ago to become a social smoker. I do not particularly know what that means but I figure it would be a good way to force myself to have conversations with strangers on this trip. I also romanticize that […]

“The law, this violent thing”: Dissident memory and democratic futures

Image courtesy Lanka Standard Full text of the address by Dr. Vasuki Nesiah, Associate Professor of Practice, New York University, at the 14th Neelan Tiruchelvam memorial lecture on 28 July 2013 at the BMICH. Excerpts published in Ceylon Today. ### In 1999, the year Neelan was assassinated, I was a graduate student in the United […]

Sinhalese and their fear of freedom

Anagarika Dharmapala, A.E. Goonesinha and C.W.W. Kannangara, three of the radical champions of the early 20th century who were ‘managed’ by the conservative leaders who eventually negotiated ‘freedom’ from the British. With the displacement from Rajarata, the heart, soul and body of their ancient culture in the 13th century the Sinhalese settled for safety over […]

Complexities of Sinhalese Ethnicity and Community: Caste, Kinship and Religion

Image courtesy Karava of Sri Lanka Due to the war with Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam for over three decades in Sri Lanka, the attention of many including academics, journalists, foreign observers and leaders was focused on Ethnicity –majority and minority.  There was an upsurge of literature –both popular and academic- using ethnicity as the […]

The Lalith Weeratunga Presentation

Image courtesy ITU video Though I cannot say the same of his companions on the voyage, my friend Lalith Weeratunga embodies a rare combination of intelligence, ability, affability and civility. He made a valuable presentation of the government’s case, in Geneva and the USA. Mr Weeratunga has made some very valid points on the dangers […]

Religion and Politics in South Asia

Photo courtesy London Cosmopolitan Text of speech delivered on the 7th of January at the BMICH.  Let me that I have to thank my friends and colleagues who discussed and challenged me throughout the process of preparing this presentation. They may not be satisfied with the final result but I must sincerely thank them for […]

Inter-Religious Harmony through the Convergence of Light: An Epiphany Reflection

Photo courtesy Colombo Gazette Religion and politics-expedient tensions The continuing violence against minority religions is unacceptable and must stop. The most recent incidents against two vulnerable Christian communities in Hikkaduwa, currently receiving wide video coverage, contradicts the noble teachings of Buddhism and exposes our repeated claim to national integration. The only encouraging sign in this […]