Politics and parting of ways:
We are entering politics to bring value - Ven. Galagoda Aththe
The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) is preparing to enter the political fray
through the up coming General Elections. It’s General Secretary of the
Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera blamed the
current political mainstream parties for not protecting the identity of
ethnic groups and said, “They are hoodwinking voters to be in power
without promoting reconciliation or protecting identities of each
Q:Recently you announced that the BBS will enter active
What made the organisation to make such a decision?
A: We believe that the current political set up needs people
with a vision.. We intend to bring them to active politics to infuse
value to the political system which has now become futile. We believe
that its a duty of a bhikku, since ancient times, to build personalities
who can stand up to protect the country and the religion. We are
entering politics to bring value to the current political environment
with people with knowledge and vision.
Q: Have you decided who will be contesting? Have you planned
your election campaign?
A: We are discussing with several parties. Under the current
rules and regulations there is no room to to register as a political
party. That is why we are discussing with several registered parties at
the similar wave length. But we will not form a coalition with the
mainstream political parties, be it in power or in the opposition.
We will bring people with values and knowledge who could face the
intrusion of extremism of other religions. We want to establish a system
that will protect and value the Sinhala Buddhist culture.
There are political parties to represent the minorities of this
country and demanding their quota of representation in parliamnet. Even
the mainstream political parties with politicians from minorities are
thriving on their votes. They are playing a game.
We do not like to use the word ‘minorities’. As they we too have the
right to protect our identity. The society will be able to respect the
other religions and races only if they value their own culture and
Q: The pressing questions for the people are managing their
daily family needs, children and job demands. How practical is your
concept in this back ground -specially when the BBS hopes to obtain
votes from the people?
A : Even Buddha’s teachings primarily targets relieving people
We agree that food, shelter, clothing, education and other basic
necessities are important for everyone. Buddhism has to exist for 5000
years.We need to bring back that pride. When we cautioned the
authorities on religious extremism in the country, the previous
government swept it under the carpet.
Therefore we have to protect the Sinhala Buddhist from extremism
which will destroy the unity among all ethnic groups in this country.
Q: You mean to say you are against extremists. But there is an
allegation on BBS for promoting extremism and Buddhist militancy. What
are your views on this?
A : We are not against the Muslim people as shown by the
media. Sinhala people have been living with them peacefully for several
years. Religious conversions take place violating the freedom of
practicing one’s religion. We need to protect the Sinhala Buddhists.
We must protect the future generation.We are harsh because decision
makers turn a deaf ear to the problems of people. We do not resort to
weapons as the ISIS or any other militant group formed in the name of
Q: But there is an allegation against the BBS for involving
with former Defence Secretary and a Buddhist monk with a global
reputation of an extreme view. You invited this Buddhist monk to the
Sangha council last year. What is your response.
A: There was no involvement of the former defence secretary
with the BBS. We did not invite him for any of our events. It was an
opening of a cultural centre in the South built by a German that he
handed over to Kirama Wimalajothi Thera.
The the BBS has no office there. It still operates as a cultural
centre. As for Ven. Wiruthu thera from Myanmar he is a disciplined
Buddhist monk. He held a series of discussions and preachings on
injustices to to Buddhist monks and laymen in South Myanmar. He was
against killing of Buddhists and monks.
There is nothing wrong with that? During his visit to Sri Lanka he
did not preach to kill people of other religions. We did not impart such
a message. It was solely on a discussion on how to face the challenges
in the current world.
Q: Your answers show that you intend to bring change in
Do you really need to be in politics to do so?
A : The BBS bhikku members will not get in to politics. There
was a time when the media did interviews and unseen powers threatened
the media institutions blocking advertisements and financial assistance.
Therefore our version of the story was never carried – specially in the
English media.We need to voice our concerns in legislature.
Q: You mean no Bhikkus will enter politics?
A: Yes not a single Bhikku will contest elections for the
parliament or the local authorities.
There were venerable theras who entered parliamnet but they did not
protect Buddhism. It is not the duty of a Bhikku to enter
pollitics.Bhikkus have been guiding political leaders. We will follow
that path. We cannot change people by entering the legislature. We can
respect and protect the identity of another community by respecting