6 February, 2023


Sobitha Thero Left Us When The Country Needed Him Most

By Latheef Farook

Latheef Farook

Latheef Farook

Around 6 in the morning on Sunday 8 November 2015, I received an SMS message informing that Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero passed away in Singapore though he looked okay and walking on TV few days ago.

That was the most depressing news I got for some time.

Popularly called Sobitha Thero, Ven. Maduluwawe, is one person whom I always respected for his brave and historic role in bringing about the political change in the country though the mood within months today is one of dissolutionment among the people.

Thus one cannot say he died a contented person. Instead he may have been deeply disappointed as the performance of those whom he fought to bring to power to clean up the political system and administration were themselves accused of inaction and protecting those accused of crime, corruption and plundering nations’ wealth.

In the not so distant past under former President Mahinda there was an atmosphere of fear in the country. People were afraid to speak out due to fear of being kidnapped, tortured, and killed and what not.

SobithaIt was under such a frightening atmosphere that Ven Sobitha Thero came out and spoke against the crime, corruption and injustice of the ruthless government despite threats to his life.
In fact at the early stage his was the sole struggle against injustice, crime, corruption and mismanagement of the country. His leadership was given a much needed shot in the arm when President

Maithripala Sirisena crossed over from the government and began his campaign for” good governance” which is in turmoil today.

Thus the tide was turned and the unexpected, defeat of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, took place paving the way over night for the change of political environment where jubilant people began breathing fresh air of freedom with great expectation from good governance.

However numerous controversies in the government which Ven Sobitha helped to bring to power certainly would have disappointed him as he had indicated by many of his statements and his silence during the past few months.

In him I found great human qualities to emulate.

In this corrupt, criminalized and communalized political and social environment Ven Sobitha has been a ray of hope and a rare source of inspiration, irrespective of race and religion, to all those who cherish family, religious and cultural values and firmly believe and dream of a decent government, corruption free administration and a peaceful country where all could live in harmony.

He left the scene and orphaned the country at a time when there is the need for not one but hundreds of Ven Sobithas to uplift the country from the morass into which the two main political parties-United National Party and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party- brought with their short sighted racist politics.

He was respected by the island’s Muslim community in view his liberal policies genuinely representing the true teachings of Lord Buddha.

If history is written in its proper perspective he will remain a legend in the hearts and minds of all those who long for a decent country where civilization could flourish.

This is the very reason I always compare Ven Sobitha to the role played by Iran’s religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini. Ayatollah guided the people to remove the American-Israeli backed oppressive

Pahlavi Monarchy in Iran while here in Sri Lanka Ven Sobitha Thero played the lead role to defeat the corrupt autocratic Rajapaksa family regime.

With his death the light and flame have gone and the country is engulfed in darkness.

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Latest comments

  • 4

    inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rajioon – From Him we come and to Him we return.

    The late Venerable Maduluwawe Sobitha had the courage to restore Buddhist values of Sri Lanka at a crucial time specially at the risk of an absolute dictator’s madness. Every Sri Lanka should be grateful and his memory / legacy will remain for a long time.

  • 0

    minorities seem to like him…LOL

    • 7


      “minorities seem to like him…LOL”

      Everybody likes him except a few balu’s like you. What is your point, LOSER?

    • 4

      The late Ven Sobitha Thero played a lead role to defeat the corrupt, autocratic and racist Rajapaksa family regime, and for that reason, those of us who belong to the Muslim minority community in this country express our gratitude for his bold stand to expose their agenda, and for speaking fearlessly against their racist policies. Another such monk loved by the minority community is Dambara Amila Thero who won our hearts for speaking against racism even though it went against the grain with his own kind. It also becomes relevant to make special mention of Venerable Athureliye Rathana Thero who blunted the barbs of the racist cabal, by educating the masses on political stages to unite the country to be a secular state with multi cultural values. Thus we owe much to them, although first is our gratitude to our Creator Allah, for making these changes in our favor, and for making it all possible through our steadfastness, belief and dependence on HIM.

    • 1

      you have demonstrated that you are the minority

  • 6

    You are right Mr Farouk.He restored real Buddhist values in the country, respecting the rights of every citizen.That is why he is seen as an enemy in the eyes of some extremist rabid sections of his own ( mine as well) community.
    That is the world we are living.We have to keep going following their footsteps.Jesus was crucified and Buddha was attempted to murder three times.

    • 0

      History is always the story of the winner and his wants.

  • 3


    You said it all, “If history is written in its proper perspective he will remain a legend”
    Great piece of writing,

    All the govt / civil leaders should uphold ideals Ven. Sobtha stood for , that is the greatest tribute they can pay to the legend.

  • 3

    As a tribute to him all Buddhist parliamentarians should kickstart a vow to adopt GoodGoverance as their basic goal and hopefully the rest will follow suit.

  • 1

    The most venerable Sobitha Thero was like a special light that shone all over the country and even inspired people of all religious beliefs. If the government is sincere, it should continue without hesitation to fulfill the vision and wishes of this great Thero. Sadly , we now see the dark stain of crime, bribery and corruption still appearing on the social fabric of the country. Too numerous utterances and splashy shows still go on, with shameful displays of deceit and deception.

  • 2

    “People were afraid to speak out due to fear of being kidnapped, tortured, and killed and what not.”

    Farook, tell me when a Muslim spoke a word of truth?

    I am puzzled as to why you avoided to mention the fact that

    6000 Muslim men were killed by the army, 5000 Muslim women were raped by Rajapaksha family members and 4000 Mosques were flattened to ground by Gota’ hooligans.

    Let us have it recorded that the entire Muslim community took a stand against the majority of Sinhala Buddhists in the year 2015.

    Time is not very far away when you have to turn your thoppi again.

  • 3

    Muslims and Muslim Organizations are falling over each other in expressing their sorrow at the demise of the most Venerable Sobitha Thero. This would be appreciated by the Buddhist Community.
    But how many Mosques have hoisted or will be hoisting yellow flags until Jummah Prayers on Friday, the day after the funeral ?

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