21 May, 2019

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Buddha’s Bulldogs Vs. The Cloud Dweller: The Strange Case Of Shakthika Sathkumara’s Ardha

By Ruwan Laknath Jayakody

Ruwan Jayakody

Preface 

The hacked temple, in the flaccid sky, like a boil festers, uncircumcised

Underneath, the testes of the dagoba, the stupa of nuclear argot

The moonstone studded kotha like a conical spired necklace of pearls, juts out, its budding priapus of engorged veins, parts the innocuous and fluffy, grunting beef curtains, and ejaculates into the blooming vivisection of the sun’s glory-hole pate 

O future! Rid us of this rot.” – A description of the Sambodhi Chaithya in Colombo 01 by the poet Ruwan Laknath Jayakody

Introduction

By arresting a short story writer for publishing alleged religiously offensive content, and using domestic legislation enacted to enable the enforcement of an international human rights instrument belonging to the international bill of rights for the purpose, in order to appease the histrionic self-righteous dictates of holy cows and their theocratic orthodoxy of politically correct, anti-progressive, wholly regressive, infallible majoritarianism, Sri Lanka has taken a transitional step from libertarian democracy towards the conservative dystopia of Fahrenheit 451 and the extremism of medieval inquisitions, thereby reigniting the fires of that age old debate on two oft conflicting rights – the freedom of expression versus the freedom the religion. 

The facts of the case 

According to various news reports (electronic, online and print), Shakthika Sathkumara, a 33-year-old father of two and award winning short story writer, also employed as a Government servant (a Development Officer attached to the Nikaweratiya Divisional Secretariat), was arrested by the Polgahawela Police on 1 April after a group of Buddhist monks led by Ahungalle/Angulugalle Siri Jinananda attached to the Buddhist Information Centre, Deldeniye Rathanasara, Daluhenegedera Medankara, Pallewela Rathanasara, Udugama Premananda and the Young Buddhist Defence Front had complained to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) on 25 February over a work of fiction (short story) authored by Sathkumara titled Ardha (Half/Partial), which was posted online on social media (Facebook). The charge (trumped up?) brought against Sathkumara is allegedly committing the offence of propagating or advocating religious hatred that constituted an incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence. The Internet Media Action (IMA) organization in a press release issued in this regard claimed that the said Centre had also requested the IGP to ban, under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (the ICCPR is an international human rights instrument to which Sri Lanka is a State Party to) Act, No. 56 of 2007, a soon to be published short story collection by Sathkumara.

The complainant-plaintiffs claim, that the said story by the defendant respondent, to which they object to, which dealt with among others homosexuality among members of the Buddhist clergy, sexual abuse in temples and a young monk disrobing and leaving the monastic order of the Buddha Sasana following an act of apostasy and renunciation yet remains non-heretical, was derogatory and defamatory to Buddhism and therefore constituted an alleged insult to the Buddhist faith including the life of the Buddha and the Sangha, and had thus taken offence to such.

Upon being produced before the Polgahawela Magistrate’s Court on 1 April, Sathkumara was subsequently remanded until 9 April by Polgahawela Magistrate Nelum Priyadharshini under the ICCPR Act. On 9 April when the case was taken up for hearing again, Sathkumara was ordered to be placed further in remand custody till 23 April. 

Attorney Sarath Dassanayake had appeared for the complainant plaintiffs while President’s Counsel (PC) Singhanathage Tharapathi Jayanaga had as per a request by J.C. Weliamuna PC appeared for the defendant respondent. 

Dassanayake had on the date of trial claimed that Sathkumara through his story had insulted Buddhism, the Buddha Sasana and the Buddhist clergy, an allegation which Jayanaga PC had denied, claiming in turn that nothing of the sort as alleged by the prosecution (alleged insult to the Buddhist doctrine of beliefs) had occurred as a result of the said artistic creation/production and that the religion in question had not been insulted. The monks have submitted that the Facebook wall on which the said story was posted had allegedly contained a semi naked image which in turn was intended to offend the sentiments of Buddhists in relation to the Buddha’s life as Siddhartha, a layman.  

“In Court, whilst emphasizing that Sathkumara is neither a criminal nor a murderer, we produced his educational qualifications and the relevant portions of the books he has written and their contribution towards the development of Buddhism. We also cited case law such as the judgment given by Dr. R.B. Ranaraja when in a Kandy High Court case it was held that Courts must not be arbiters of morals and that Courts should not be rubberstamps to regulate unreasonable applications by the Police while in Mahanama Tilakaratne v. Bandula Wickramasinghe, Senior Superintendent of Police And Others, Justice Ranjith Dheeraratne held in relation to issuing a warrant that such must not be issued by a Magistrate to satisfy the sardonic pleasure of an opinionated investigator or prosecutor, and in Sebastian Fernando v. Katana Multi-Purpose Co-Operative Society Limited., And Others, Justice Mark Fernando in relation to cases where two statutes are involved, held that harsh laws must be narrowly interpreted and that the interpretation which avoids the penalty must be preferred. In such a context, Section 3(1) of the ICCPR Act is a harsher law when compared with Section 291B of the Penal Code,” Jayanaga PC added. The defence is presently pondering its next course of action in the form of filing an application for bail and/or a revision application in the relevant High Court. Dassanayake’s contact number could not be found by the author. 

Meanwhile, Co-Convener of the Purawesi Balaya (Citizen’s Power) civil society organization, Gamini Viyangoda announced that a Fundamental Rights (FR) petition especially naming the Officer-In-Charge of the Polgahawela Police Station as the first respondent will be filed by Sathkumara in the Supreme Court with the involvement of a PC upon the conclusion of the Court vacation period, which ends this week. 

Applicable Legal Regime and Critical Analysis 

Section 3(1) of the ICCPR Act states, among others, that no person shall propagate or advocate religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, and if found guilty of attempting to commit the said offence, the convict is liable to face a maximum term of rigourous imprisonment of 10 years. Under this Act, bail can only be granted by a High Court or a Court above the High Court level and that too under exceptional circumstances, the latter which remains undefined in the context of the Act, thus allowing for wide judicial discretion. 

Section 291A of the Penal Code holds that anyone who with the deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of anyone, utters any word, among others, commits an offence which if found guilty carries a maximum term of imprisonment of a year and/or a fine while Section 291B of the same deals with the deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of persons by words written, insults or attempts to insult the religion or religious beliefs of that class, and upon conviction carries a maximum term of imprisonment of two years and/or a fine.

It must be noted that Article 10 of the Constitution guarantees the freedom of thought and conscience (a short story is partly the product of both) while the freedom of speech and expression including publication (includes short stories) is enshrined in Article 14(1)(a). Further, Article 14(1)(f) provides for the freedom to enjoy and promote one’s own culture (short stories which fall within the realm of literature are an aspect of culture) and use one’s language (the medium in which the short story is written) while Article (14)(1)(g) allows one to engage in a lawful occupation and profession (short story writing and publishing falls within the scope of a lawful occupation and profession). 

Also, Article 14A(1) provides for the citizen’s right of access to information which in turn is required for the exercise or protection of a citizen’s right. As the author along with Faizer Shaheid previously noted in their review of a draft Right to Information (RTI) bill, the fact that every person shall have the right to hold opinions without interference or subject to restriction and the right to freedom of expression which shall include the freedom to express, seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of choice, must be recognized within the context of freedom of information.

Articles 14A(2) and 15 holds that the aforementioned rights may be lawfully restricted, among others, in the interests of religious harmony and the grounds of defamation and the reputation of others, incitement to an offence, national and public safety and security, public order, the prevention of disorder or crime, the protection of public health and morality, securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others, meeting the just requirements of the general welfare of a democratic society, privacy and the prevention of the disclosure of information communicated in confidence.

Elsewhere, it must be noted that the Profane Publications Act, No. 41 of 1958, criminalizes the writing, production, printing, publication, sale, distribution and exhibition of a profane publication, which is defined under Section 5 of the Act concerning interpretation, as being among others, any book, picture or other visible representation containing (a) any insult to – (i) the founder of any religion, (ii) any deity, saint or person, whether alive or dead, venerated by the followers of any religion, or (iii) any religion or religious belief, or (b) any ridicule of any figure, picture, emblem, device or other thing associated with, or sacred to the followers of, any religion. The Act however allows for any fair comments on, or any fair criticism of, any religion or religious belief. Fair, in the context of the Act, remains undefined too. The author along with Shaheid in their aforementioned review recommended that this Act needs to be revisited in light of its applicability to the at the time proposed RTI Act and potential limitations it imposed on the right to information. 

As pointed out by writer Sarath de Alwis in his ‘Whole Truth Of A Half Truth’, the Vinya Pitaka which is a canonical Theravada Buddhist scripture on discipline and monastic rules, narrates an instance of homosexual infatuation and/or obsession (on the part of a monk named Wakkali towards the Buddha with the former reported as having joined the Sangha Sasana simply over the said attraction), pederasty (a novice monk masturbating an older monk), bestiality (between a monk and a female monkey), heterosexual and transsexual behaviour and conduct. Why then is Sathkumara’s work, regardless of its literary merits or demerits, being singled out for religious offence and holier-than-thou intolerance? Is it a case of the pot calling the kettle black? The kind of sense and sensibility that bred this act of intolerance defies all logic, rationality and reason. Let us also be mindful that fiction contains facts in disguise, and if so the monks being irate may be a case of putting the cap on since it fits. 

If the law enforcement authorities, in this instance the Police, adopt a heckler’s veto approach when faced with such an instance where there is a clear lack of “imminent lawless action (as set out in Brandenburg v. Ohio)”, whereby the Police seek to prevent possible adverse reactions from the people by restricting in prior certain actions of and by the people, what such a practice exhibits is the imposition of a pronounced chilling effect upon the domain of expressions which fall within the ambit of what late Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (US), Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. in his dissent in US v. Schwimmer, advocated for, which is “not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.”

It must be further noted that, elsewhere, writing on a central tenet of democracy, namely free speech, in the wake of the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy, late American jurist Professor Ronald Dworkin argued for a right to ridicule while opposing a right not to be insulted or offended. He railed against the “endorsement of the widely held opinion that freedom of speech has limits, that it must be balanced against the virtues of ‘multiculturalism’, and that Governments are right after all to propose that it be made a crime to publish anything ‘abusive or insulting’ to a religious group.” He pointed out that “religion must observe the principles of democracy, not the other way around. No religion can be permitted to legislate for everyone about what can or cannot be expressed. No one’s religious convictions can be thought to trump the freedom that makes democracy possible.”

Therefore, it is proposed that it is time that the Profane Publications Act be abolished.

Conclusion 

 The story of civilizations and their progress achieved via the effects of civilizing is the story of the clash of contentious ideas vying for supremacy in the people’s mindspace in the context of public discourse. The sovereignty of the world is the world of ideas, the terra firma and terra incognita of knowledge. Pivotal in the process of the passage of such civilizations is the smuggling and trafficking of information and the combustible and volatile world of cognition and cognitive endeavours, the latter including the literary arts and aligned forms of expression. The platform on which this exchange of ideas occurs is the marketplace of ideas where competitive trade of opinions should occur freely. One of the subjective purposes of art as a means of higher communication is to serve as a transgressive confession which shocks one into a consciousness, to challenge the status quo, to do violence to the politics of identity surrounding perceptions, and to break taboos and conventions, with the role of the artist being one of a provocateur, a purveyor of cognitive chaos and an agent of artistic and intellectual freedom. In this context, censorship by way of any form of suppression of dissent is anathema. Censorship is an unfair value judgment made on the basis of dogmatic beliefs, and norms. Thus, the only incitement in this case is the resultant associated phenomena of the emergence and promotion of a culture and climate of fear, fear mongering, opinion corridors, echo chambers, homophily, the spiral of silence, the heckler’s veto, a chilling effect, prior restraint, self censorship, and cultural hegemony.  

Both the views, that of the monks who complained and that of Sathkumara and his fictional protagonists, have currency. They should both be free. Yet, one is behind bars. In the person of Sathkumara, it is mother Lanka that stands persecuted. This is an unethical act of intolerance and blasphemy committed against all that is sacred and profane in democracy and a patently contemptuous affront to the nature of the gospel of truth. Let us then invoke that right which philosopher Karl Popper’s evocatively articulated thus: “in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant”.

(The headline is a play on Darwin’s Bulldog, a reference to scientist Thomas Henry Huxley known for his defence of fellow scientist Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and the Cloud Dweller reference being Soviet Russian dictator Joseph Stalin’s alleged description of Russian Nobel Literature Laureate Boris Pasternak).   

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Latest comments

  • 7
    2

    Bravo!
    Sri Lanka is a country where imbecility and ignorant intolerance has put down roots and taken hold of all institutions that are supposed to be the pillars of a modern democracy that an intelligent and fair-thinking populace would expect to live in.

    This country is going down a slippery slope, and unless we start fighting back soon against the enemy who are the tramplers of our freedoms, in their many forms (think the vast majority of politicians, the medieval minded Buddhist clergy et al), there will be hell to pay for a few generations to come.

  • 4
    6

    “Moonstone studded ,Uncircumcised, Beefy Spires ejaculating in to the Glory Holes”
    What a fantastic piece of writing . ,Isn’t it?.

    Did Sathyakumara write it.? Or is it a translation?.
    If Sathyakumra has so much talent and so cool English , he could have won a literary award in the West with a PR Permit as well as a decent lot of Cash……
    Instead of working in a Yahapalana Government Office waiting for Dr Ranil’s LKR 10,000 pay hike promised in the last Budget.

    One thing though, if this sort of derogatory statements are published about the Daities of other Religions , the Writer and the Translator would have been dead meat..

    Buddhism in our part of the Nation has made our people , not only placid and non aggressive but poor and ignorant as well in may ways for a long time.
    That is why the Invaders captured our Lands , Delegated the Sinhala Buddhists in to Cattle Class, and ripped the guts of their Nation.
    And made few families eternal Leaders by bestowing them with our Lands for free, and juicy jobs in Administration as well as in Politics.
    That is another story.

    To relieve the pain of the poor Sinhala Buddhists who have been called Buddha’s Bull Dogs,, I would change the Heading to Dr Ranil’s Dalmatians and the Slum Dwellers in Kollonnawa and even Wellala Gardens.

    • 6
      2

      Calm down Sumanasekara..the preface wasn’t penned by the writer whose rights have been violated by your pathetic countrymen…Sri Lanka should be a secular country and in an ideal world, people won’t be so insecure and touchy about these things..why don’t you ruminate on that?

      • 2
        0

        Take it easy, KAS. I share your pain, but I thought you were more into whisky than a stout defender of deities. Don’t tell me you approve of Ranil running to Tirupati ?

    • 0
      0

      Fucking Sinhala Buddhist go on a rampage bombing on Easter Sunday. Catholics don’t like hitting back but this has to be answered. Don’t let these a’holes celebrate Vesak.

      Without harming people destroy the fucking statues in street corners.

      • 1
        0

        This why dirt like you are called parademalas by some – once a terrorist, always a terrorist… you are sitting and polluting the safe western countries where you have taken your trash and settled down and calling for violence and destruction of the innocent Sinhalese! Somebody should alert western intelligence agencies that these Tamils are calling for terrorist attacks on Sinhalese. You come here and touch one statue of Lord Buddha and you will go with your head in your hands. Bloody disgusting worm. You people tried to kill off the Sinhalese so many times, last time for 30 years you all tried all the tricks in your terror minds – you made bombs out of humans and you made little children into terrorists and you begged the western countries to come to your aid when everything failed- at the end you all ended up in Nandikadal with your terror leader killing you. LMAO. Really Tamils are a joke.

  • 8
    3

    99% of today’s monks given the Pali title “Sanga” do not fulfil the criteria set by the Sakyamuni to be one.

    First of all, they read a polluted version of the noble truths. As a result they cannot get on the path of renunciation as per the authentic Dhamma.

    All was fine until the year 2009. The correct path was unveiled afterwards.. Click on my name “Jambu” to get the info on where to get it from. Let all concerned know about it too.

    Sri Lanka will be a better place for all when these monk actors adopt the correct path.

  • 9
    5

    PLEASE Don’t insult the Buddha.
    The Buddha did not have bulldogs.
    Just get your language right.

    The Buddha is an incomparable person of compassion and peace.
    I am disgusted that this slipped throught the Editor of Colombo Telegraph, and such a headline which insults one of the Greatest World Religions, and a World Revered Spiritual Teacher, could be published on Good Friday which is a day of Good Thoughts and Peace. Total lack of sensitivity and crudeness has become the whole mark of Sri Lankan Journalism
    Please take down this Title.
    I have decided to NOT to read the article.

    • 4
      3

      Don’t confuse the Buddha or his teachings and the acts of veneration that people have been indulging in since..two completely different things. If his teachings help you, then good, use them for your benefit. Just don’t be offended about perceived insults and what not…this world doesn’t need any more idiots to gwt worked up over all these religious doctrines..we are not in the middle ages anymore..wake up

    • 2
      2

      I dare the poet to write in similar vein about the historic Red Mosque of Colombo and its domes..

    • 3
      2

      When you look at the writers photo, you can understand his mental state. He is yet to become human, it clearly shows.

    • 1
      0

      Totally agree. Its become a sport to insult the Buddha, the Sinhalese being the ultimate target of the insults. This is not the first “slip” at Colombo Telegraph. They are dedicated to the cause of insult, rumour mongering and defamation presented as journalism. If journalists in Srilanka are doing their job as intended we would have had a better country to live in. Many of our journalists like our politicians are corrupt liars. They are only interested in making money and personal glory, just like the politicians and worse in some the case of some journalists. These corrupt journalists and the corrupt politicians feed each other, as in a symbiotic parasitic existence, ultimately feeding off our country, people and society. When it comes to insulting Buddha and abusing his person and his teachings it is done from all all fronts and directions. The corrupt journalists, writers and scholars take some bad behaviour of a few Sinhalese and present it as an insult to Buddha/Buddhism – that is they are putting the religion of the Sinhalese people against the Sinhalese themselves; the there are monks who use Buddhism to justify their most unjust demands especially in regards to minorities and their violent attacks – these monks know very well that they are not practicing Buddhism but abusing Buddha and Buddhist teachings. Then the journalists/writers/scholars take the actions of these bad “monks” to present it as if that is what is meant by Buddhism. The circle goes on and on, just like the circle of rebirth and karma…. the ultimate victims of these vicious acts are the innocent Sinhalese people.
      All that said, exposing criminal activity of sexual abuse among the clergy is not criminal nor is it an insult to the Buddha.

      • 0
        0

        Punchi Point,
        If you don’t like outsiders criticizing Buddhist monks, then you Buddhists should do it yourselves. But you don’t, because you fear committing a “sin’. Even that monk who was jailed for molesting ainor in London is now respectable

        • 1
          0

          Criticizing and defamation and hate speech are very different things. Public criticism or washing dirty linen in public is not always the answer. What some people like yourself want is a show – a show to show the people in your asylum countries that this is what it is like in Srilanka. You make up stories. Tell lies about the Sinhalese, the Buddhist clergy and what not…. Buddhist monks are also humans, and they also have rights – for example privacy. What you people are calling for is hanging out individual monks or the Sinhalese people as a nation in the international arena in your quest to demonize the Sinhalese, and present yourselves as the eternal innocent victims. Buddhism the national religion of the Sinhalese is attacked and misused and our own religion is put against us.
          BTW – nobody considers criticizing a monk who has molested a minor a sin. Such monks were de-robed and kicked out of the clergy by the state with the king as the head of the state, in the old days when Buddhism was the state religion. But today Buddhism is not the state religion and the state cannot meddle in the matters of monasteries. What we have is a country with it ancient institutions running without proper guidance or rules due to colonial dismantling of the governing bodies. A religion like Buddhism cannot be practiced as a national religion without state patronage and control. Lack of state patronage is the main reason Buddhism vanished in India. When we got independence we all know how and why Buddhism was not re-installed as the state religion. The accusations and bullying the Sinhalese have had to suffer at the hands of the Tamils in regards to the issue of status of Buddhism is still ongoing….

          • 0
            0

            Punchi Point,
            Yes the errant monks were expelled and even executed by the Sinhala kings. But now they consider themselves kings and are worshipped by you the laity. Whose fault is it?
            And for your info, I live near Colombo, just like you.

            • 0
              0

              I do not know about kings executing monks, but they were de-robed and expelled from the monasteries. You are completely ignorant about the Sinhalese and the Buddhist society, that you are bound to be living in, if you are living near Colombo, unless you are living in some exclusively Tamil area and don’t interact with Sinhalese. You should stop reading Tamil propaganda sites and start interacting with the Sinhalese. Go to temples and try to learn about the society you live in. No monks consider themselves as kings nor are the monks worshipped by the lay. Kings were never worshipped anyways, so that argument of yours simply falls. Some monks might think that they are leaders of some kind (eg. Gnasara) but those monks are not accepted as good monks or even good people by the vast majourity of Sinhalese. What you mean by worship maybe that you have seen pictures of Buddhists bowing down before monks – that is not worshiping. That’s a way of showing respect – even parents and elders are shown respect that way. So, the situation you described simply does not exist and as such the question you ask and the accusation (fault) you try to place is not justified.

              Just for the record – you first said that the Sinhalese consider it a sin to criticize monks, and then you said that the monks consider themselves kings and the lay worship the monks and asked whose fault it is. If you follow your own line of thought and arguments honestly you can see as any sane person can see that you have a preconceived idea and maybe an agenda and that you are trying to construct an issue where there is no issue.

    • 1
      0

      For some truth is insult. The truth is after the Buddhist clergy entered into politics Sri Lanka lost its pride, unit etc.
      If the Buddhist clergy strictly practice and preach Lord Buddha’s teachings and lived a simple life as Lord Buddah Sri Lanka would be a better country to all. .
      Now Sri Lanka is full of hated, enmity, corrupt politicians etc.

  • 3
    2

    Laknath,
    That’s an interesting poem you have written about the Sambodhi Chaitya. I used to pass by it with a yawn, as just another mundane pile of holy concrete. But now I feel a stir in my loins when I see it
    You better write a few more while you can . Until Maru Sira finds out.

  • 8
    2

    “Buddha’s Bulldogs”
    That’s insulting the Bulldogs.

    Buddhism as practiced in Sri Lanka is a cruel joke on actual Buddhism.

    Check the web on monks attack on Church, Temples, Catholics and Muslims. This is as big a F king curse for the country asits politics.

    • 9
      2

      Burt

      “Buddhism as practiced in Sri Lanka is a cruel joke on actual Buddhism.”

      Isn’t why its known as Sinhala/Buddhism (whatever that may be) since the 1940s?

      • 3
        2

        You think your are an expert on Buddhism, Lansi Veddah?

        Keep the f–k out of our respected religion/philosophy. We don’t need lessons on Buddhism from left over colonial discards like you.

        We will take the land back soon.

        • 1
          0

          Yeah take it back from the Chinese… but wait, they got SHAOLIN MONKS and NUKES

        • 0
          0

          Original Owner:
          No disrespect to real Buddhists but if your are the original owner of the crap you call “Sinhala Buddhism” please keep it to your self because there is only so much crap a human being could take. Sri Lankans are getting enough from their politicians.

          I don’t think Native Vedda will waste his time trying to give lessons to a bunch of losers who are dumb than a door knob and call themselves the Sinhala Buddhists.

      • 1
        0

        But Tamil Buddhism is worse? It was wiped out by the Upper castes because the lower castes who became Buddhists tunred into Uppity people. So they are crushed, and the Chandalas comes come back? Saivite Hunduism or Abrahamic Christianity are the best for the Tamil leadership as they provide the means for exploting the under class
        The Holy Prophet taught that all people are equal

        • 0
          0

          Bodin:

          So you say Tamils cleaned their mess and its the Sinhalese that have left the crap behind for all Si Lankans to suffer.

  • 1
    1

    Any religion is a Code of Behaviour.
    Any rational man knows what is best for himself.
    Let anyone interpret “Buddhism” and other religions.
    It is best to disregard these interpretations, and live as one thinks fit without judging them.
    Always, “Be Good and, Do Good”.
    Most wars and killings are/were fought over “religion”.
    Let us be in peace with others, disregarding their religious “codes of behaviour”.
    Jayakody has a right to/for his imagination – his thinking may be distorted, but he is entitled to it.
    The laws of the land are/were formulated by persons who are/were captives of their own interpretation/imagination, and, citizens, lawyers and judges are subservient to them.
    This is true in many regimes.

  • 0
    0

    There is a goddess temple in far north: Valvettithurai Muthumariamman. They still hold some of their cultures can be interpreted as coming from LTTE time, but not exclusively promotes LTTE. In their 10 days festival temple Nathasuram musicians re-played some Maveerar songs on Nathasuram. This is what the instrument created clash between Hindu and Buddhist students in Vavuniya Campus by playing on the reception day. The songs were not played vocally. But in the LG election, Angajan, current SLFP minister, played them in his election parades vocally- the original LTTE’s recording. Playing a son in one instrument is one thing playing it on Nathasuram is different. Nathasuram is strictly for Carnatic music only. Carnatic music is about ragas and ragas just only framework of nodes. So, a raga may have 100s songs, conventional (deeply) composed in that Raga or even lightly based on that. Reasonable qualities of Tamil Cinema songs or LTTE songs are light Carnatic category rather than light music (Ordinary film track). Because Nathasuram Musicians are Carnatic Musicians, when they replay songs, they play the song’s raga framework only, not rally the song’s lyric- words. So, many times, these musicians, even without knowing to sing half of the lyrics, can replay entire songs. The other instrumentalists are not like that; they need the lyrics to replay.

    There is no way one can argue that these musicians had intention to promote LTTE’s philosophies. Now the Musicians are arrested as they played LTTE songs.

  • 2
    0

    What a waste of state funds while a portion of the population is living below poverty line.

    “The State Vesak Day Festival will be held from May 15-21 at the Thotagamuwa Ranpath Rajamaha Viharaya, Thelwatta in the Galle District.Two hundred temples and Dhamma schools will be developed concurrent to this programme with a minimum of Rs.200,000 allocated for each temple to develop sanitary facilities, buildings and Dhamma schools, District Buddhist Affairs Unit sources said.”

    Last time around it was “Sil Readdy”

  • 0
    0

    Fascinating discussion for me as an “outsider” [from the House of the North…] – but am glad that SL has the space, yet, to hold this discussion. As someone pointed out, religion and politics do not mix…just look to the “North”…what divisions they create…

    Freedom and varieties of expressions are on the attack everywhere…

    By the way, Laknath – powerful stuff – will try to read more of you works…you remind me of Namdeo Dhasal or even Ranjit Hoskote, from our corner of the world…

  • 0
    0

    It seems that society is made of night-people and light-people. Night people see all projections as erections. These night ones cannot make the distinction between the abstract story behind words such as ‘stars’ and ‘shit’. I think this is all because they have got too used to seeing the world through their loins. If you know what I mean. When you become used to the night-people and become one, you will be bored by everything that does not relate to what humanity believe as humane. So for the night ones a religion cannot be understood or respected unless it is described through the pelvis. Thankfully, there are more light- people than night- people. Let it be so on this earth!

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