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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2642

The Victory of the Buddhists Monks at the NWP and CP Provincial Elections

By C P Kuruppu

The most outstanding factor that led to the resounding victory of the United People Freedom Alliance (UPFA) at the Central and North Western Provincial elections was the infusing the minds of the voters for the need of protecting the nation and the religion by the Buddhist monks and the organizations. Although their activities were low key, unorganized disconnected and confined originally to the temple and office premises their impact was felt all over the provinces paving way for the massive election victories. The political pundits now predict that results will be repeated in the other provinces where the elections are to be held.

The Buddhists consider that the most precious treasures they are bound to protect are the country, the nation and the religion. The country is Sri Lanka, nation is Sinhala including Tamils and Muslims and the religion is the Buddhism not forgetting Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. The Buddhist monks assume the role of the protectors of these treasures. They consider it was their historical duty to look after them whenever external forces threaten them. Both the clergy and laymen realized that the country, the nation and the religion were threatened with the signing of the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) by the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakan in 2002 and believed that they wanted a new leader who can protect the beloved treasures. In the mean time presidential candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa pledged to up hold the Buddhist interests and national pride. Most of the Buddhists monks, the laymen and the organizations immediately jumped Mahinda’s bandwagon.

President Rajapaksa tried to settle the terrorist problem by peaceful means but failed. He had to start a humanitarian operation in 2006 to ensure the supply of water to the people living in the down streams of Mavi Aru. He did it despite strong local and foreign opposition.

Soldiers almost from every village had gone to the North and East to fight terrorism and their relations and friends started organizing pinkamas and Bodhi Poojas at the local temples to invoke blessings. The whole villages attended the pinkama and the bhikkus were too happy to conduct the proceedings. At the end of the pinkamas the bhikkus delivered sermons highlighting how the ancient Sinhala kings fought to protect the religion and the nation and the virtues of helping the President Rajapaksa to fight against terrorism and unifying the country.

The pinkamas were held almost daily, as separate events and there were no coordination among them. Then came the Vassana (rainy) season where the pinkamas at temples was a daily event. More pinkamas and Bodhi Poojas were held as the fighting intensified and the bhikkus continued to stress the need to protect Sri Lanka and Buddhism.

In the meantime some bhikkus started campaigns to collect donations to the war heroes. Some others went to the battlefront chanting the seth pirith. The rest of the bhikkus broke into other forms of campaigns to encourage the fighting forces. The net result of all these efforts was the un- intentional conditioning of the minds of the people to the goal of protecting the nation and the religion and up holding their national pride.

By the turn the year the people were expressing their sentiments by raising the Lion Flag. With the capture of Kilinochchi the Lion Flags were fluttering high all over the country. For the unsophisticated masses it was President Mahinda Rajapaksa trod the path of ancient Sinhala kings who unified the country. He is Diyasena, the future ruler.

On February 14th the voters of the backwoods of North Western and Central Provinces overwhelmingly endorsed the policies of Mahinda Rajapaksa. Soon there will be a repeat show in the Western Province. It will be followed island wide at the next General Elections.

This show was not started somewhere by some high ups but by the bhikkus and devotees at the foot of Bodhi trees at temples all over the island. The organizers would not have dreamt that the show would have gone to this far. But when time comes the Buddhist can do wonders in their little island.

- Asian Tribune -

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