Gods & Deities
Deities have always shaped Sri Lanka. Deities defined by basic heroism, acts of bravado and incredulous promises… above and beyond pedestrian lives. A simple people where, the majority profess to Buddhism and Hinduism, seem to have resorted to deification to fill the improbable gaps left by these incorporeal, sophisticated philosophies. This shapes a society that is a contradiction and yet a familiar conformation.
Deities and gods are actors, mostly gleaned from the high visibility political firmament. In the lives of the common people they swirl in ever-evolving forms, appearing for varying terms and then surely disappearing. Some of these deities have succeeded in achieving the pinnacle of the island peoples’ aspirations as demi-gods, before their demise.
Lesser deities and demons occupy spaces and create perspectives that influence and shape the form of societies. Society reacts differently in different cities; reactions seem to be directed by the current demi- gods, demons and deities and their relevance to the majority society and community of the city.
In the majority of the time during the past three decades, the pilot of Sri Lanka’s destiny was Prabakaran, Supreme Leader of the Separatist Terror Group, the LTTE. A demi- God to his people and a demon to all other races on the island.
By the end of 2008 with the LTTE in retreat, President Mahinda Rajapakse, emerged as potential deity and with the death of Prabakaran in May 2009, and was ensconced at the pinnacle directing the nations destiny.
Jaffna, Galle & Colombo are the cities that have shown the greatest response to the events of the past decades; Jaffna as the seat of the separatist Tamil groups, Galle as the seat of the southern Sinhala Buddhists and Colombo as the central nerve of governance. In the last 3 decades, they have been influenced and transformed by these events, directed by their demi-gods, deities, demons and greater gods, like Nature.