chapter  8
13 Pages

State Support for Religion in Contemporary Sri Lanka: Some Ideological and Policy Issues

Recent writers on the subject of the state and religion in contemporary Sri Lanka have taken one of two ends in a continuum. Some of them have argued that Sri Lanka is essentially a sectarian state. Others have taken the position that active state support for all religions in Sri Lanka marks a unique experiment in an effort to create a multi-religious society. This paper seeks to examine these two arguments in the light of concrete measures taken by the state to support the four major religions in Sri Lanka. It will, therefore, analyse the specific ways in which this state support is operationalised. It will also argue that these concrete policies mask a contestation within the state apparatus itself regarding the very nature of the relationship between the state and religion.