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The ‘Mad Monk’ Phenomenon: BBS as the underside of Sinhala-Buddhism

Photo courtesy Today The marauding Buddhist monks, who appear to be tied to a long political leash, have run out of control. They need to be stopped. But it is equally necessary to take a cold look at the complexity of the phenomenon that groups such as Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) have come to represent. […]

Rescuing Patriotism from the Extremists

Photo: Paula Bronstein for The Global Mail It is almost five years since the military victory of May 2009 brought an end to three decades of armed conflict. Yet, the prospects for securing a stable and inclusive peace in Sri Lanka appear bleak. The first victim of “peace” was the APRC. This long and important […]

CBK takes on religious intolerance in Sri Lanka

Photo courtesy Dinouk Colombage President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga has since her graceful retirement from office more than eight years ago after the completion of a constitutionally mandated two term limit, busied herself with an impressive portfolio of issues internationally, issues which are also crucial to our South Asia region. Her status as an elder stateswoman, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

Should a Muslim eat wedding cake? A note on interpellation and agency

Photo courtesy The Agenda A few days ago, at the wedding of two Sri Lankan Muslims, both of whose families hail from Mannar, families forcibly evicted from their homes by the LTTE in 1990, a married Sri Lankan Muslim woman, a doctor by profession, cut a slice from the wedding cake after the bride and […]

The rule of tyranny and the Reign of God: A Christmas Reflection

Image courtesy Riversoft Partnerships in tyranny Jesus was born under the rule of tyranny. Absolute power was held by the Roman Emperor who ruled conquered regions through local agents. Herod was one such agent. So long as he ensured that Roman supremacy and interests were not challenged in Judea and the Roman coffers were filled; […]

Buddhist Monk attacked by Bodu Bala Sena and Police inaction

Image courtesy News First History of threats Venerable Watareka Vijitha Thero is the Chief Incumbent of the Rotalawela Mahaweli  Maha Viharaya in Mahiyanganaya, in the Uva province. In July 2013, the Mahiyangana Pradeshiya Sabha of which Vijitha Thero is a member had discussed the destruction of a building above the shop in Mahiyanganaya, where Muslims […]

Is there the problem of Co-Existence in the Sri Lankan society?

Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP/Getty Images via The Guardian The sweeping rate of post war changes in Sri Lanka in its sociopolitical and economic domains are so severe that the normalcy that prevailed during the war is being disturbed. Before and during the war the majority community defined the Sri Lankan conflict not as an ethnic conflict but […]

A rejoinder to “Disarming the juggernaut of religious intolerance in Sri Lanka”

Image courtesy Huffington Post taken by Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images I recently read this article “Disarming the juggernaut of religious intolerance in Sri Lanka” on Groundviews by Dynalogue – who consider themselves a non partisan, apolitical youth discussion group who have organised themselves to discuss political, social and economic issues burgeoning in our country. It is a welcome sight […]

Disarming the juggernaut of religious intolerance in Sri Lanka

Photograph courtesy Vikalpa The youth of Sri Lanka express their dismay and alarm over the apparent surge in religious intolerance and communal discord that has permeated our society in the post-LTTE era and particularly in recent months. It is a pity that the  ‘infamous’  “Grandpass incident”, a subject of intense political drama a few weeks […]