By Kamal Nissanka –
Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero was a learned prelate in damma but his dedication to the fulfillment of social justice through practical means and engaging in social engineering earned him a great respect among politically conscious Sri Lankans in the recent past.
In the early part of 2014 Ven. Sobitha invited the Liberal Party to join the movement in search of a common candidate to face the 2015 presidential election and as the secretary of the party, I readily and unhesitatingly accepted the invitation and participated in most of the meetings at Naga Viharaya and other venues. In the beginning of that movement the prevalent view was that the Ven. Sobitha would come forward as the common opposition candidate but he slowly moved the idea that the common candidate should be found from the political arena itself and understood his limitations in the field of politics showing maturity and broad mildness.
It is not controversial that the idea and the movement for common candidate was launched by civil society organizations and mainly by the National Movement for Social Justice headed by Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha. The movement was able to mould and cement the concept of “good governance” ( yahapalanaya) to the movement in search of a common candidate for 2015 presidential election.
Though Ven. Sobitha had displayed a brand of Buddhist nationalism in the late eighties in the new millennium he side lined himself from extremism and in the present decade appeared as a Buddhist humanist and preached on national harmony , national integration and equal rights of all people though he did not propose any specific model for state structure.
Ven. Sobitha was straight forward in criticizing corruption, family bandism and crony capitalism and gave inspirational and intellectual leadership to intelligentsia of the country against 18th amendment, control of judiciary by ruling regime and other evils.
Liberal party of Sri Lanka feels that the real and practical respect for Ven. Sobitha could be paid only by pushing his policies forward and no other way. It also feels that as Mahathma Gandhi of India who had given spiritual leadership against British rule, Ven. Sobitha gave spiritual leadership to the right thinking people of Sri Lanka by peaceful protests and agitations to overcome an authoritarian family administration that was installed in Sri Lanka after the war victory. Liberals also feel that a great vacuum is now created in the people’s movement with the passing away of the learned prelate as the aspirations of good governance in the January 8 victory are yet to be fulfilled.
Liberal Party of Sri Lanka wishes that Ven. Sobitha may attain nibbana in accordance with his beliefs based on the doctrine of Lord Buddha.
*Kamal Nissanka – Secretary General, Liberal Party of Sri Lanka