Author Archive for Rohana R. Wasala

A local office to monitor Sinhala language FB content: Is it a wise move?

Thursday, May 3rd, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala Courtesy The Island It is reported that Sri Lanka is to ask Facebook to set up an office in Colombo to help monitor content posted in the Sinhalese language so that the medium is not used for nefarious purposes such as creating communal conflicts” (‘Lanka to ask Facebook to bar objectionable […]

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“JVP’s help to rightwing politics” – A clarification

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala Courtesy The Island Ref.  The opinion piece titled JVP’s help to rightwing politics” by attorney-at-law Nimal de Alwis (The Island/March 13, 2018). My sincere thanks to the writer for the illuminating comments that he’s made on my previous opinion piece under the heading JVP at a crossroads (March 7, 2018). However, […]

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Communal and religious reconciliation in the future

Monday, March 12th, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala I was prompted to write this short piece as a complimentary (and complementary, perhaps) comment on Shenai Waduge’s excellently informative article titled Power of institutional religions – Christianity and Islam against Buddhism and Buddhists” (12/03/2018). Religion usually involves absolute belief in and mandatory worship of/praying to some mysterious supermundane/supramundane power (that […]

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JVP at a crossroads

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala Courtesy The Island From the commonsense point of view of the average voter in Sri Lanka, there are four broad political groupings or blocs that contest elections with a view to taking part in democratic government. These  are: (1)the neoconservatives (or neoliberals) usually represented by the UNP that is committed to […]

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JVP delusions and nationalist victory

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala Courtesy The Island At the outset, I’d like to make it clear to the reader that the word ‘nationalism’ (and related forms) is used here in its basic meaning of ‘the love of one’s country, the principles, and efforts that the feeling characterizes’. But in Sri Lanka today, anti-nationalist agents, propagandists […]

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The just opening bud of hope

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala “Although voters gave a clear win for Mahinda’s SLPP, they deliberately avoided giving SLPP 50%. In fact, Mahinda’s party received 2% less votes than January 2015 when he was replaced by Sirisena. Put it differently, the Sirisena Alliance (DNA, Swan) retained its 6.2 million votes while Mahinda lost 700,000 votes from […]

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An unhappy prologue to the swelling act of the imperial theme

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala Courtesy The Island We must not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time. S. Eliot On February 4, 2018, Sri Lanka completed seventy years of independence from Britain. My inclination until that day […]

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The only royal in the country

Friday, January 26th, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala The Island editorial of Monday  January 15th 2018 paid a glowing tribute to  the incumbent Vaedda Chief Uruwarige  Wannialaeththo, describing him as the one true leader we still have, and further suggesting that he is perhaps ‘the last of the Mohicans’. Both descriptions are, no doubt, exaggerations prompted by the editor’s […]

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Propaganda as poetry

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala (Courtesy The Island) (This is The Mask of Anarchy continued from January 6, 2018) ‘Rise like Lions after slumber In unvanquishable number, Shake your chains to earth like dew Which in sleep had fallen on you — Ye are many — they are few.’ (lines 151-155) Shelley composed ‘The Mask of Anarchy’ […]

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The Mask of Anarchy

Saturday, January 6th, 2018

By Rohana R. Wasala Courtesy The Island THE MASK OF ANARCHY. WRITTEN ON THE OCCASION OF THE MASSACRE AT MANCHESTER” was composed by Percy Bysshe Shelley during his sojourn in Florence in Italy on hearing about an unprovoked attack by a group of militia cavalrymen on a peaceful and orderly protest rally attended by some […]

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Cockeyed Kumar David cues for suppression of democratic opposition

Sunday, December 17th, 2017

By Rohana R. Wasala This refers to the feature entitled Arrest Gota or not per the evidence: NO to fundamentalism, racial-extremism and neo-populism” (Sunday Island/December 10, 2017) by Kumar David. The title itself is extremely misleading because what it suggests is malicious fiction. No evidence has been found against Gota; given the fact that three […]

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About confusing ‘government’ with ‘state’

Friday, December 8th, 2017

By Rohana R. Wasala This refers to a minor but significant verbal inaccuracy in the feature article by senior economist Usvatte-aratchi under the elaborate title State and govt. not interchangeable: Same goes for revenue and income hoax of free education and free health services” posted in the Lankaweb of December 5, 2017. My focus here […]

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Culture shock

Friday, November 24th, 2017

By Rohana R. Wasala In my opinion, two visiting British women were made to experience different forms of culture shock in Sri Lanka recently.  Both were subjected to discrimination and harassment, though in the later or the second case described here, these elements were almost totally concealed by melodrama. The reference here is to tourist […]

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The darkest hour is just before the dawn – III

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

By Rohana R. Wasala Ven. Abhayatissa’s more recent utterances show that he has been somewhat reassured by the president. He sounds hopeful that after all this constitution making problem will soon be resolved. The monk believes that the president is the only person who can be expected to do this and save the country from […]

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The darkest hour is just before the dawn – II

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

By Rohana R. Wasala Something worth keeping in mind in this context is that the nationalism of the Sinhalese has always been territorial nationalism. (.) Sinhalese domiciled in a country other than Sri Lanka, will never ask to be recognized as a ‘nation’ in that second home country however large their numbers in that country […]

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The darkest hour is just before the dawn – Part I

Friday, November 10th, 2017

By Rohana R. Wasala Courtesy The Island Fiat justitia – ruat caelum! (Let justice be done though the skies fall!) In May 2009, we ordinary Sri Lankans suddenly had everything before us, whereas for the previous thirty years, we had nothing before us.  Most of us had been inured to believe that  the separatist militants were […]

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Alleged ‘noise’ pollution from Buddhist temples

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

By Rohana R. Wasala The opinion piece under the title Temples and noise pollution” (The Island/November 6, 2017) by a virtually anonymous writer who signs ‘HMNW’ makes some censorious remarks about Buddhist temples conducting traditional religious observances like pirith chanting and bana preaching, using amplifiers. He or she charges that pirith chanting and (by implication) […]

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Closure of the modern day Arahant case?

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

By Rohana R. Wasala 16-10-2017 The media reported today (October 16, 2017) that Ven. Pitiduwe Siridhamma Thera  (self-styled  Arahant Siri Samanthabhadra)  called on the Ven. Mahanayake Thera of the Malwatte Chapter and formally apologized to him over his recent offensive conduct, and insulting remarks attacking the Dalada and criticizing the Mahanayake Theras. He said he […]

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Constitutional reform committee report at a glance

Friday, October 13th, 2017

By Rohana R. Wasala (This was first published on June 24, 2016 as part of a longer article under the title A glance at PRCR report in the context of drive for federalism”, which was featured in The Island on June 22 & 24, 2016. That article was posted on June 23, 2016 in toto […]

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Case of a modern day Arahant – II

Monday, October 2nd, 2017

By Rohana R. Wasala September 16, 2017 (What was published in The Island of September 18, 2017 under same title was an edited version of the concluding part of my article. The following re-revised text is closer to the original.) Continued Incidentally, disparagement or what appears to be attempted desacralization of the Tooth Relic by […]

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Case of a modern day Arahant – I

Saturday, September 30th, 2017

By Rohana R. Wasala September 14, 2017 There is no doubt that Buddhists were shocked and pained  and gravely upset by what Ven. Samanthabhadra  Thera recently said about two of the most venerated objects of Buddhist worship in the country: the Dantha Dhatu or the Sacred Tooth Relic and the Lalata Dhatu or the Sacred […]

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Nila Maha Yodaya praised

Thursday, September 7th, 2017

By Rohana R. Wasala Excellent! Thank you, you anonymous scholar  writing under the pen name Nila Maha Yodaya  (Lankaweb/September 6, 2017) සිල්වාගේ ප්‍රශ්නය – කතෝලික බැතිමතුන්ට ආගමේ අය යයි කියන්නේ ඇයි? පිලිතුර– වචනයේ පරිසමාර්ත අර්ථයෙන්ම  කතෝලික ආගම ආගමකි. කතෝලික අය බෞද්ධගම් කාරයින්ට කියන්නේ අන්‍යාආගම් කාරයින් කියායි Yes, I for one, agree with your answer to […]

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Freedom of religion in Sri Lanka

Saturday, September 2nd, 2017

By Rohana R. Wasala The United States State Department’s 2016 International Religious Freedom Report on Sri Lanka is replete with distortions of the factual situation in the country regarding religious freedom. This is my personal view as an ordinary Sri Lankan for what it is worth. Genuine reconciliation through religious harmony among other things cannot […]

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Coupling Malala and Olcott

Monday, August 28th, 2017

By Rohana R. Wasala Waruna Chandrakirthi’s interesting article under the curious title මලාලා ගේ පාඩම සහ ඕල්කොට්තුමා Malala’s lesson and Olcott (Lankaweb/August 28, 2017) prompted me to write this.  Chandrakirthi says: ඕලකොට්තුමා මුල්වෙලා ආරම්භ කරපු බෞද්ධ ඉස්කෝලවල උගන්වන්නෙත් මලාලා කියලා දෙන්න හදන පාඩම් ම තමයි කියලා කියන එක හොඳ නිරීක්‍ෂණයක්. (That what is taught in […]

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Another perspective to the Jesus-lived-in-India controversy

Saturday, August 26th, 2017

By Rohana R. Wasala (The Island published in two installments an essay by Bhante S. Dhammika of Australia under the title ‘Did Jesus live in India?’ on Saturday 2nd  and Wednesday 6th January, 2016. He dismissed the idea as baseless fiction. Though his arguments were unconvincing to me, I felt his intentions were laudable. The […]

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Grapes of wrath and the elixir of compassion

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

By Rohana R. Wasala Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:  He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;  He hath loosed the fatal lightning of his terrible swift sword:  His truth is marching on. -From ‘The Battle-hymn of the Republic’ by Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910) […]

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Asgiriya Statement: Harbinger of a force for genuine reconciliation

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

By Rohana R. Wasala Sri Lankans call the coconut tree a kapruka (kalpavriksha)  – wish fulfilling divine tree- because every part of this tropical palm is so very useful to human life. The process of latent Maha Sangha unity becoming manifest can be likened to a coconut (seed-nut) germinating slowly as it normally does. The […]

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Bhikkhus on the brink of desperation

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017

By Rohana R. Wasala (This article was written on December 25, 2016, but remained unpublished. I am offering it to the Lankaweb community in view of its topicality in the current context.) What’s wrong with Ven Gnanasara being among the religious leaders who met with the president? Latheef Farook’s opinion piece under the title ‘Pampering […]

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BBS bashing

Friday, June 23rd, 2017

By Rohana R. Wasala Although we do not in any way approve of Bhikkhu Gnanasara’s agitated behavior and style of expressing his views, we do not dismiss his ideas. We strongly condemn the vilification of the whole Sangha community based on those incidents instead of investigating the truth or otherwise of the matters raised by […]

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Barking up the wrong tree

Saturday, June 17th, 2017

By Rohana R. Wasala A writer by the name of Dr M. Harris Z Deen (Attacks on Islamic places of worship and properties go unabated despite assurances/The Island Features/May 22, 2017) begins his feature article with these words: The patience of the Sri Lankan Muslims is at a breaking point and can certainly boil over […]

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