I had a comment on my Facebook by a friend who noted that as part of our political activities, wherever we go there is some sort of religious connotation. He lives in America, and there is STRICT separation of Church and State there, and there is NO religious involvement in everyday politics. There are a few notable exceptions such as the National Prayer Breakfast at which the President of the USA officiates, so I can understand his dismay.
In Sri Lanka on the other hand we received religious blessings no matter what religion we happen to practice, usually the majority religion in the location we visit as a guest, we partake in whatever function, like a prayer or pancha seela or whatever other religious practice. On Sunday I was first at a temple and soon after at a Devale. There were two different types of ceremony. We from time to time have to go to Mosques to give chairs for a Muslim Daham Pasala or a Christian Church for a function, and accordingly the local traditions of the area, namely of the congregation gathered at the event is observed.
I would like to point out that the Provincial Counselor at the event on Sunday, a Muslim, had a pirith noola tied on his hand by the Chief Priest of the Temple. So in a multi religious country, we must respect all religions and be flexible in how we handle religious observances. The Cricket grounds the tournament that we participated in on Sunday was next to a temple. Accordingly the Chief Priest of the Temple was invited to the podium, and stayed throughout the tournament, in the most important position in the order of preferences.
I personally do not find it a distraction, as it is accepted as part of Sri Lankan custom even in politics. So there are a few items we stand up for, namely any religious observance, then the singing of the National Anthem, and the Party Song, and also to remember the Political Party people who have sacrificed their lives in the interests of democracy. Further when we observe a moment of silence for those who died in the Insurgency, we also stand and observe a minutes silence.
I write this to give my readers, and some of my friends who now see numerous photos of my with many people I meet in my daily activities in Facebook, and see me with different religious clergy at different functions. One must also remember that many religious places of worship also double as community halls in villages, and therefore it is intertwined with the fabric of village life.
Any observations by my readers in this regard will be welcome.