ReviewsThis is a fine study of the political role of Sinhala Buddhism, especially its monastic order, in Lanka’s post-independence experience of defining statehood and the place therein of minority cultures and religions. The focus is on the turbulent era between 1983-2009 marked by violent struggle (largely supported and encouraged by the Buddhist clergy) between the state and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The book makes a major contribution to an understanding of why the powerful Buddhist sangha (with some important exceptions) has such a visceral response to a proposed notion of Western-style federalism as an answer to Lanka’s political travails, and how the international community failed (and still does fail) to adequately understand this.
Bruce Matthews, Emeritus Professor of Comparative Religion, Acadia University, Nova Scotia
Dr Raghavan’s important book is the result of many years of research about the political problems in Sri Lanka, but it is also the result of his personal engagement with these issues. This is a critical and engaged scholarly book that should be read by all those interested in the role of Theravda Buddhism in politics.
Torkel Brekke, Deputy Director and Research Professor, Peace Research Institute Oslo