28 September, 2023


Aragala Bhumiya & Sri Lankan Mythological Consciousness

By Rehan Derrick Fernando –

Rehan Derrick Fernando


The public struggles due to various political, social, economic, cultural, and religious issues in the world. Mostly, any type of struggle begins to in their rights and solve any uprising problem. There is still to be clarified whether a struggle is a true revolution or someone can demonstrate ‘can a struggle leads to revolutionary consciousness.’ It is in such an ideological scenario that we begin to understand the essence of “Sri Lankan Aragala Bhumiya” which was originally started and initiated by a group of youth against Gotabaya’s chaotic regime. Wherefore, they called this whole movement #GotaGoHome#.

Primary genre of Aragala Bhumiya

It was not designed with any nationalism and racism, rather it was spontaneous with a true collective consciousness. In Sri Lanka, most of the movements or politically governing agendas began with nationalism or racism. Beginning from SWRD Bandaranaike to Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka was never on a path towards society-building with a true collective consciousness of peace and harmony but nation-building with hidden agendas of nationalism and racism. After almost fifty years, we experience a new genre toward unity and it showed the power of the public. So, the power of all political governing bodies is to be demolished and given to the public.

Aragala Bhumiya showed a radical gesture as I stepped into that area at the very beginning of this work as such. There is a library, an art gallery, a media unit, a healthcare center, free food for everyone, water supply, shade to rest, tents to stay in, and so forth. People initially flocked together to protest against Gotabaya’s chaotic regime. It was a landmark event in Sri Lankan history where the public decided to support this movement in many ways and means. Most of the citizens who live overseas supported without any restriction or hesitation. Eventually, it captured the whole international attention too. Hence, the whole area at Galle Face where Aragala Bhumiya is located was named #GotaGoGomeGama#.

The green light of a village-level effort

I’ve been eagerly awaiting to see a starting point for a village-level effort to build a Sri Lankan society. Sri Lankan political authorities and even scholars were worried about building a nation but not a society.[1] Unfortunately, it is so rare to encounter such an effort. As I am reading my doctoral studies in inter-religious dialogue, I found and discovered Prof. Michael Rodrigo OMI as a man who genuinely made efforts to build Sri Lankan society through village-level conscientization. However, I consider aragala bhumiya as a modern response to a society-building idea, especially with new technology. It is a better approach to the application of globalization too. The voice of this village is not artificial. It is a voice to demolish all useless and meaningless political regimes in Sri Lanka. Most of the political campaigns starting from 1956 onward led toward dehumanization, whereas, aragala bhumiya at Galle Face emphasized the power of true humanization, which is the best tool for universal human ethics.[2]

Did Sri Lankans understand this new gesture?

A question arises whether Sri Lankans could understand or read the sign of the time within the premises of aragala bhumiya. Generally, Sri Lankans live in a ghetto mentality. It is quite hard to read such signs and cooperate or to make a radical gesture, instead, for anything and everything, they are fond of using violence as the ultimate answer. That is why political acts of revenge are possible at any cost even today. It shows the mythological consciousness of the public.

Sri Lankans live in a deep sense of religiosity that has become opium. Their religiosity is to satisfy themselves to show off their religious morality. However, in reality, the same religiosity is being put forward to kill a person or harm a group of people. Considering most of the events of recent days, the Rajapaksha family is the classic instance of the above-mentioned idea. This family has shown a deep moral consciousness externally, but they have done so many illegal and harmful things internally. Thus, their mask to do these types of immoral acts is nothing but Buddhism and Sinhala majority concept.

Revolution of love

One can easily question whether ‘aragala bhumiya’ has shown any paths to a radical revolution. The answer is simple; no. However, it could be a revolution in the way people use it or apprehend it in practical formulas. A revolution appears not from heaven but ordinary and strong gestures and postures. I don’t think Sri Lanka has any historical record of a true Revolution as such. Anyhow, aragala bhumiya became a source of inspiration to begin a revolution. So, any village-level revolutionary act might be possible. Ernesto Che Guevara assets “let me say, with the risk of appearing ridiculous, that true revolutionary is guided by a strong feeling of love.”[3]

The most unbearable barrier we have is nothing but the mythical illusion of ordinary people and the professional hypocrisy of educated men and women in Sri Lanka. Such obstructive formulas never allow people to be free from conservativeness. Wherefore, the whole mechanism of aragalaya has become an effort of the minority while the majority hides from reality. So, a revolutionary act of love cannot just happen unless it is being willed by many both consciously and voluntarily.

What I mean by a revolution is in fact a ‘change of attitude.’ Some leftist parties might interpret it as “another face of Karl Marx or Che Guevara.” Aragala Bhumiya at Gall Face is only a sign or symbolic location to process the truly revolutionary act of love in Sri Lanka. If the public realizes this ideology well, there is a possibility of a village-level revolutionary act.

Beyond aragala bhumiya

As I insisted above, any citizen who can get rid of mythological consciousness could easily contribute to making village-level efforts. We only have to follow the essence of this movement. It is necessary to establish a permanent tent at Gall Face, which is a wrong turn taken by some youths. There is a massive responsibility to be fulfilled at village levels in this country. Among such activities, education for elders/children, environmental programs, community activities, religious pluralism, inter-faith dialogue, development of job opportunities, and so forth are a few categories. It is hard to do all these in one single location, whereas these things are to be done in every rural place in this country. Therefore, those who wish to be involved in such activities have a massive duty to open new paths in villages. It must happen beyond this aragala bhumiya.


People in this country suffer due to various issues. Thus, some men and women go through so many trials and tribulations in daily life thinking that it was their fate. On the other hand, some others willingly go through such suffering in ignoring their physical capabilities. I call it “mythological consciousness.” It is absolutely a myth that people have created unnecessary barriers. Aragala Bhumiya is a creative possibility to overcome such mythical formulas in our lives and be open to creative methods. Revolution is a result of such creative methods. Gotabhya and all other politicians made use of peoples’ mythological consciousness to mislead through nationalism and racism. However, a group of youngers now have realized their recent mistakes and are now moving toward creative methods to build a society with peace and harmony. I hope, this dream might come true from powerful hands of the public.

[1] https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/building-of-society-instead-of-building-a-nation/, check this link, where I have ddiscussed and given enough ideological points to insist upon society building. The article was published by the Colombo Telegraph.

[2] Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom: Ethics, Democrasy, and Civil Courage (New York: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers , 2001) p. 20-27.

[3] The Speeches and Wrintings of Erneesto Che Guevara, ed. John Gerassi (New York: The Macmillian Compaany, 1968) p. 398.

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Latest comments

  • 2

    It would have been much easier to establish a stable govt if Gota resigned as a loser than been chased away as a POOR LOOSER that he was.

  • 0

    “…but nation-building with hidden agendas of nationalism and racism.”
    Repeating the same BS!

  • 1

    Rehan Derrick Fernando,
    “This family has shown a deep moral consciousness externally, but they have done so many illegal and harmful things internally. Thus, their mask to do these types of immoral acts is nothing but Buddhism and Sinhala majority concept.”
    It is very easy to make this kind of sweeping statements but giving proof is difficult. Can you please tell us few illegal and harmful things done by Rajapakshe family using Buddhism and Sinhala majority concepts as the mask?
    In 2015, the ‘Regime Change’ mafia came out with sweeping statements about corruption of Rajapakshe family. Ranil Wickramasinghe came to power promising to investigate those charges and punish Rajapakshes but he and his cohorts could not prove a single case.

  • 0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

    For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 0

    How can you see the truth, because you are still wearing a mask through which you could only Rajapaksha’s killing regime? Remove your mask, then you will see the other side of the truth.

    • 0

      You could only see*

  • 1

    Rehan Derrick Fernando,
    “Most of the political campaigns starting from 1956 onward led toward dehumanization,…”
    Can you please tell how most of the political campaigns starting from 1956 onwards led towards dehumanization. Who were the people who got dehumanized as a result of the political campaigns starting from 1956 onwards?
    As the author of the article you should take the responsibility for the statements you make.

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