Buddhist Monks and the Politics of Lanka's Civil War - Suren Raghavan

Buddhist Monks and the Politics of Lanka's Civil War - Suren Raghavan

Three Saṅgha Activists and their Politics

Buddhist Monks and the Politics of Lanka's Civil War - Suren Raghavan

Suren Raghavan [+-]
University of Oxford
Suren Rāghavan Ph.D. is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Buddhist Studies – Wolfson College University of Oxford and a visiting professor at St Paul University Ottawa- Canada. He turned to academic research after extensive fieldwork in peacebuilding in Sri Lanka during its thirty years of civil war. His multilingual expertise, bi-ethnic background and lifelong studies of Sinhala Buddhist society have provided a rare position for an in-depth and unique analysis of the Sinhalas, the war and especially the historical role of the Mahā Saṅgha, – Buddhist Monks. Rāghavan won the first Asian award for Political Studies from James Madison Trust in 2005. He won the British Government Overseas Research Scholars Award in 2008 and the Swiss Federal Government Scholarship for Minority Studies in 2011. His current research includes the role of religions in post-conflicts democratization, critical religion analysis of Buddhism and textual deconstruction of the Mahāvaṃsa


The aim of this chapter is to trace the cross-fertilizing dynamics between Sinhala Buddhist ethnoreligious nationalism and the worldview of three selected Saṅgha activists as they affected the local politics between 1990 and 2010. The chapter will reconstruct their worldview and perception towards the minority political demands in Lanka and the “unitary” ideology they advanced. The three Saṅgha to be considered in this chapter and their periods of influence are as follows: Venerable Walpola Rāhula 1995–1997 Venerable Gaṅgoḍawila Sōma 2000–2003 Venerable Athuraliyē Rathana 2004–2010 The analysis of their self-understanding in the selective biographies set out in this chapter will help us understand why federalism, instead of providing a solution, fuelled Saṅgha hostility and agitation

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Raghavan, Suren . Three Saṅgha Activists and their Politics. Buddhist Monks and the Politics of Lanka's Civil War. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 133-181 Apr 2016. ISBN 9781781795743. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=24504. Date accessed: 25 Jul 2024 doi: 10.1558/equinox.24504. Apr 2016

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