Jayadeva Uyangoda: Modern Buddhisms and Democracy

Rajni Kothari Lectures are instituted in honour of the CSDS Founder Director Professor Rajni Kothari. Earlier speakers in the series include Professors Charles Douglas Lummis, Ramin Jahanbegloo, Sudipta Kaviraj, Gananath Obeyesekere, Rounaq Jahan, Abdellah Hammoudi, Charles Taylor, Arif Dirlik, Shahid Amin, Alfred Stepan and Arindam Chakrabarti.

The lecture mapped the contrasting trajectories in which Buddhism in India and Sri Lanka have engaged with modern democracy. While the later 19th and 20th century Buddhism-inspired political movements in India have centre-staged the social question of equality in the struggle against caste oppression, the Sri Lankan Buddhist political movements have focused entirely on the themes of nation and the state. The Indian and Sri Lankan processes of Buddhist modernity have produced two strands of Buddhist engagement with politics which may described as ‘political Buddhism’ (Sri Lanka) and ‘Buddhist politics’ (India), producing contrasting consequences for citizenship, equality, justice, nationhood, and the state.

Jayadeva Uyangoda is currently Rajni Kothari Chair in Democracy at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi. He was a Senior Professor of Political Science at University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. His research and publications have been mainly on Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict, minority rights, conflict and peace processes, democratization and state reform in Sri Lanka.

He is currently working on a book on Buddhist Politics and Democratization in India and Sri Lanka. Since 2004, he has been the Sri Lanka Coordinator of Lokniti’s ‘State of Democracy in South Asia’ research project.

Peter Ronald deSouza is Professor at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

Friday, 7 April 2017
6 pm, CSDS Seminar Hall
29 Rajpur Road, Delhi