ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Tale of a Monk and His Mercedes in Sri Lanka

In recent weeks, the story of a Buddhist monk member of parliament of Sri Lanka importing and selling a Mercedes Benz has provided much entertainment in a war-weary country. But beyond its spectacle value, the episode also tells us a lot about how politics and society are changing in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka: Back to Square One

Sri Lanka's conflict has now reached a stage beyond a settlement through power-sharing. The little interest that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has shown in negotiated regional autonomy a few years ago has now totally disappeared. The more-than-little interest that the reformist sections of the Sinhalese political class had earlier developed in a settlement of negotiated regional autonomy has also diminished.

Sri Lanka: Not Seeing the Writing

With the refusal of both the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE to relent on the question of allowing humanitarian aid to Jaffna, the civil war has reached a new and protracted stage. Despite the unabated civilian suffering, the intransigence on both sides is a political and military strategy, one that appears to leave no room for a negotiated peaceful solution to emerge.

Sri Lanka: Barbarism in War

With the war in Sri Lanka intensifying in recent weeks, political space has opened up for assassins to hit those described in military parlance as "soft targets". The assassination of intellectual activist Kethesh Loganathan demonstrates once again some tragic dimensions of the politics in Sri Lanka's Tamil society.

Dialogue among Ethnic-Nationalists?

The most effective way to manage the secessionist impulses in the Tamil polity is to reconstitute the state in such a way that the Tamils as well as other ethnic minorities share state power along with the majority Sinhalese community as political equals.

Predicament of Political Change

It appears that both Nepal and Sri Lanka are on the brink of reconstituting the existing state. The difficult task in both countries is to ensure that reconstitution of the state will facilitate an improvement in the quality of political life of all communities as well as citizens.

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