Why Jailing of Gnanasara Did Not Become News in This Part of Asia
“Ordered disorder, planned caprice, And dehumanised humanity…”
– Bertolt Brecht in The Exception and the Rule (quoted in The Sunday Leader)
“I have done my duty towards the country,” Gnanasara told reporters as he boarded the bus taking him to prison. Why should I regret?”
Rarely does Sri Lanka convict Buddhist monks.
But few days back a court in Sri Lanka made history when it convicted Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara, the controversial leader of Bodu Bala Sena (Buddhist Power Force) who is referred to as ‘Thero’, The Venerable, and sent him to jail. Scores of his followers, mainly Buddhist monks, were reciting Buddhist prayers when he was being arrested and packed in to the police vehicle.
Reports tell us that Sri Lanka is still facing mini-turmoil over this conviction.
Marches were organised in different cities of Sri Lanka demanding that President pardons him using his special powers. Protesters have also asked that this revered monk should not be forced to wear jail uniform and be allowed to wear saffron robes only.
For people outside Sri Lanka, it would be rather difficult to understand why a Buddhist monk has suddenly become such a polarising figure in the society there.
( Read the full article here : https://newsclick.in/monks-who-spew-hate)
I feel honoured to be here to be part of the sixth conference of Human Rights Forum*. Many thanks are due to the organisers to invite a left activist like me to this deliberations and giving me an opportunity to share my ideas.
For me it was a belated realisation that the conference is taking place around sixth death anniversary of the legendary activist for human rights and for justice late K Balgopal, who played a key role in the formation of the Forum. It does not need underlining that late K Balagopal was a rare combination of a scholar – mathematician by passion and lawyer by commitment – and activist who not only broke new grounds in the discourse around civil liberties and human rights but did not hesitate to raise uncomfortable questions when the time came. One can still imagine the loss you all must have felt when he suddenly left six years ago. As rightly mentioned by the late K G Kannabiran in his obituary then, how he was ‘one in a century rights activist’ who brought on agenda ‘jurisprudence of insurgence’. Continue reading Neoliberalism, Hindutva Supremacism and Challenges before Revolutionary Movement
On Minority Rights and State Violence
Each one has his reasons: for one, art is a flight; for another, a means of conquering. But one can flee into a hermitage, into madness, into death. One can conquer by arms. Why does it have to be writing, why does one have to manage his escapes and conquests by writing? Because, behind the various aims of authors, there is a deeper and more immediate choice which is common to all of us.
What is Literature? Jean Paul Sartre
It is difficult to start when you are among an august gathering of masters and students of a subject you are not much aware of and are asked to say something to them. Today I find myself in that unenviable situation.
Let me admit here that when I received the information of the seminar I was really very excited to learn that scholars of literature would be focusing themselves on human rights, an issue which demands urgent attention from every thinking and concerned human being. But when the question of joining the debate arose, I was really in two minds. In fact, I was bit reluctant to come here for two simple reasons.
Firstly, being a left activist for larger part of my social life, I have been more accustomed to address public meetings on specific issues or share my ideas on a particular theme among activist circles. There have not been very many occasions when I had the opportunity to come to such gatherings. Continue reading Where Are The Emile Zolas of Our Times !