Sunday, July 28, 2013

Buddhism and Nationalism in Ceylon

I stumbled upon a few articles from the 1950's and 1960's in The Tablet, a Catholic journal that make for some fascinating reading.

I came across these when trying to research the subject of the Nursing Sisters or the Service Nuns who used to nurse the sick in the hospitals.  My mother claims they were a selfless group, dedicated to care for the sick. They did not see nursing a profession, but a vocation.

Speaking to some people who are familiar with the operations of private hospitals today,  they try to recruit senior nurses who may have had experience working in the 1970's or before, to train new nurses. They believe that there were high standards of nursing in the past, which may possibly have been due to the influence of the nursing sisters.

The nursing sisters were asked to leave in the late 1950's, most had apparently left by 1964. Some articles that touch on this are available here and here.

The even more interesting links on Nationalism are posted below:

1. Buddhism and Nationalism in Ceylon. 
2. Two responses to the above article; here and here.
3.  Christianity in Ceylon: The Background to the Conflict over Education (about the takeover of the schools).
4. A personal column, (dealing with the writer's impressions of Buddhism).

A much more recent, but still very relevant article is here. It was only written in 2007, just about six years ago, yet the development was seen as surprising and the views of the group were considered marginal.

Now they seem to be mainstream. Surprising how far we have fallen, in such a short space of time. 


Sammy said...

Looks like the Christians had a bee in their bonnet didn't they. Shame not a word was spoken about the absolute oppression of the Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus and their religious rights when the Christians were in charge.

Jack Point said...

Even assuming that this was the case, that is no real justification, is it?

Idiotic policies like the schools takeover has resulted in a detrioration in quality which harms everyone. I dare say the same was true of the service nuns.

Sammy said...

There is no assuming. You need to go and learn about the absolute oppression that Christians wreaked on the Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims of Sri Lanka, not limited to the destruction of temples and mosques and the banning of non-Christian holy days. Of course the Sri Lankan church won't teach you about that sordid chapter of their history in the island.

Maybe if Christians didn't use education as a means of privilege and a tool to convert non-Christians there wouldn't have been a 'schools takeover.' It's the Christians who started schools on a religious basis and sectioned graves out on a religious basis in Sri Lanka.

That's why it's quite interesting to see what can only be described as caterwauling in the articles you posted. Especially the protest against the "proselytism" of Buddhism. Like Christians never used the might of the state to proselytise for close to 300 years in Sri Lanka? LOL!

Jack Point said...

So what was the end result of the schools takeoever? Greately inferior education and mushrooming tution classes.

Who benefited from the exercise?

Sam said...

"Greately (sic) inferior education and mushrooming tution classes."

Who said so? At least the Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims are getting an education now, unlike in the days when it was reserved for Christians and those who converted to Christianity.

So I would say the VAST MAJORITY of Sri Lankans of non-Christian background benefitted from the takeover.

It seems like some Sri Lankan Christians are still crying over the fact that they have lost their apartheid-like dominance in the island.