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Book: Buddhist Monks and the Politics of Lanka's Civil War

Chapter: Three Saṅgha Activists and their Politics

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.24504


The aim of this chapter is to trace the cross-fertilizing dynamics between Sinhala Buddhist ethnoreligious nationalism and the worldview of three selected Saṅgha activists as they affected the local politics between 1990 and 2010. The chapter will reconstruct their worldview and perception towards the minority political demands in Lanka and the “unitary” ideology they advanced. The three Saṅgha to be considered in this chapter and their periods of influence are as follows:

Venerable Walpola Rāhula 1995–1997

Venerable Gaṅgoḍawila Sōma 2000–2003

Venerable Athuraliyē Rathana 2004–2010

The analysis of their self-understanding in the selective biographies set out in this chapter will help us understand why federalism, instead of providing a solution, fuelled Saṅgha hostility and agitation

Chapter Contributors

  • Suren Raghavan ( - book-auth-755) 'University of Oxford'