Writing Violence and Buddhism in Sri Lanka : Of Hungry Ghosts and Homecomings book cover
1st Edition

Writing Violence and Buddhism in Sri Lanka
Of Hungry Ghosts and Homecomings

ISBN 9780367481803
Published April 19, 2022 by Routledge India
156 Pages

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Book Description

This book examines the idea of violence in the context of religion and literature. It addresses the question of freedom and peace, and violence, with reference to the Buddhist nationalist discourse in Sri Lanka, against the backdrop of Shyam Selvadurai’s novel, The Hungry Ghosts. The book discusses love, compassion, emancipation, ethics and responsibility through the concepts of identity, deconstruction and decolonization to view religion as language or writing. With a blend of philosophical insights from Emmanuel Levinas, Jacques Derrida, Maurice Blanchot, and Mahatma Gandhi on ideas of being and the other, differences, nonviolence and forgiveness, it insists on the ethical exigency of reinventing Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Delving into some the central motifs of Selvadurai’s novel, suffering, desire, hate, and vengeance, it questions popular Sinhala Buddhist readings to argue for the promise of inclusive and diverse approaches towards various groups, linguistic communities, women, and homosexuality. 

This book will be useful for scholars and researchers of literature and languages, South Asian literature, literary criticism and theory, linguistics, cultural studies, philosophy, religion, Buddhist studies, diaspora studies, and Sri Lankan literature and sociology.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Promise to Remember

Chapter 2: Violence: Love and Hospitality

Chapter 3: Love that B(l)inds

Chapter 4: Future (Free) from Hate


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Nimmi N. Menike is Senior Lecturer, Department of Language Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, The Open University of Sri Lanka. She was Fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, India for two years, and completed her PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her research informs language and literature in addressing violence in the context of constructing identities. She also volunteers at Daham Pahana, a charitable trust in Sri Lanka.