26 October, 2020

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Sri Lanka After The War: Seeing Both Sides

The end of their bitter war, nearly five years ago, has done little to unite Sri Lanka’s divided communities. In their modest way, a photographer and an anthropologist are working together to try bridging the distance that separates the country’s two largest ethnic groups—by showing them how they worship the same goddess.

The majority, Sinhala-speaking Buddhists, call her Pattini while the minority Tamil Hindus name her Kannaki. For the most part, neither of the two communities knows that the other reveres her under a different name. But their beliefs are deeply syncretic, and point towards a shared history and traditions.

Sharni Jayawardena, the photographer, and Malathi de Alwis, the anthropologist, are using this shared background in an attempt to foster reconciliation. For more than two years they traversed the country photographing the worship of the goddess; her many temples, rituals and processions.

Read more in the Economist

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    Bound together in one Goddess, separated by claiming real estate ownership.

    “Democracy: The worship of jackals by jackasses.”
    — Henry L. Mencken (1880-1956) American Writer

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      This is the most realistic assessment on this article. The existence of a shared heritage almost guarantees that the two sides have fought, and will fight. The Jews and Arabs, the North and South Irish, the Europeans, have all done that.

      They fight for the same land, and same resources.

      In Sri Lanka it is even more interesting. The land in the North is owned by the rich Tamils in Colombo and outside the country. So we see that the Center for Policy Alternatives, the TNA, and the Diaspora putting a lot of emphasis for land rights.

      The rich Cinnamon Gardens types began the fight in the 1930s, when they realized that the ultimate effect of the Donoughmore commission would be to remove their political hold on the land. The same people, or their kids, have always been in power in the North. Until true sons of the North emerge as political leaders, no democratic solution or reconciliation will happen.

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        Kautiya:
        Rich Colombo Tamils own all the land in Jaffna? How do you know this? This is total garbage. What is the point of spreading this total nonsense on these sites.
        I have read other pieces by you on these forums essentially polluting the discourse.
        Do tell us how these lies will help you Sinhala nationalist cause?

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    King Gajabahu introduced Pathini worship in his Kingdom, after a visit to the Sera Nadu of old in South India. There is syncretism in language, culture and religion with reference to the Sinhalese and Tamils in Sri Lanka. In fact there us also much syncretism in culture between the Tamils and Tamil-speaking Muslims. This multifaceted syncretism is yet evolving at the ground level, despite the never ending communal conflict. In fact the Sinhalese and Tamils in Sri Lanka, are the two faces of the same coin. The fact that there cannot be a coin called Sri Lanka, without the two faces, should be recognised.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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      Dr Rajasingham (and your other names)

      I have one thing to say to you.
      You are a [Edited out].

      • 7
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        Uththare, morons like you are not welcome here. Contribute your gibberish at the Daily News.

      • 5
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        ????.
        Dr, RN

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      Sinhalese Buddhism is nothing but syncretism !!

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    Those old Kings knew a thing or two when they hijacked religion. People are simply the smartest animals in the kingdom but at heart they are just that – animals. Nothing gets the cuckoos going like a bit of bowing and scraping, sucking up and bending over. Kings love it and people love it. An indelible part of the rich 2500 year old history of our island of miracles.

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    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/

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    Great Article
    It is unfortunate that the Sinhala Budhist elite in Sri Lanka – in the process of creating a protestant Budhism will like to purge out such beautifull syncretic elements . So does much of Chrstianity too in Sri Lanka

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    Both physical constructions (such as roads, bridges, housing, airports, ports, depots etc) and society building should equally be there if once war torn nation seek prosper and sustainable peace in the country. Right at the moment, what is contrast is there are some kind of progress being made in physical developments but nothing is seen done leading to build up of the society. Latter is crucial than the former because the high crimes such as arbitory killings, illegal drug and alcohol trafficking are reported to be part of today´s society. Politicians are caught red handed to have approved illegal drug and alcohol imports.

    If only society building would be given the priority, one can keep hopes about a prosperous future – should be made clear to the politicians by senior professionals of the nation. University dons in sociology, psychology, political scientists/analysts and the other senior country men in the related areas should come forward to wake up the politicians is my hope.

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      Exactly for any physical constructions is to last and bring benefits the building of a morally strong society is absolutely necessary; otherwise nothing will last.

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    “What’s in a Name? That which we call a Rose, by any other Name would small as sweet”
    Shakespeare

    Whatever the Teacher of a Religion intended, a Believer would Practise it at His/Her Own level of understanding!

    We cannot create a Community of Clones, out of a vastly different mixture of People

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    The same can be said about Jews, Christians and the Muslims. They all worship, plead and ingratiate themselves to an invisible god. Yet they kill each other at the slightest imaginary slight.

    Humans have a long way to go before they could call themselves civilized or smart.

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    The Sinhalese and the Tamils know they pay reverence to the same gods and goddesses in different names,they have no problem with each other.

    The problem is the invaders, in the form of Catholics,Christians and the Evangelicals who wants to convert every one in to their fold.
    It is they who wants to divide the country in order to engage in their trade without any hindrance.
    Rayappu Joseph with 200 others from his clan has written to UNHRC asking for international investigation. No Hindu organisation has done such a thing and that’s proof enough.

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