Buddhist Chauvinism

It is said that the Buddhist chauvinism is now threatening the democratic process in both Myanmar and Sri Lanka. Critically analyse the causes and its implications. Also examine if India can play any role in these countries to address this common issue. (200 Words)

The causes of Buddhist chauvinism impacting democracy in Myanmar and Sri Lanka are ethnic, political and economic
  1. Ethnic-In Myanmar Buddhists are confronting Rohingya Muslims leading to migration of thousands of Rohingya. Sri Lankan Sinhalese Buddhists are carrying on their vendetta against the Tamils of the northern provinces from the 2009 war against the LTTE.
  2. Political-Both Myanmar and Sri Lankan governments are helping the Buddhists continue their campaign against the respective minority  communities. The Myanmar junta is supporting the Buddhists to weaken Aung San Suu Kyi’s chances of coming to power.
  3. Economic-Buddhists in both Sri Lanka and Myanmar make up the middle to higher income classes. Thus they are able to continue their antagonism against Rohingya and Tamil minorities who are poor.
The consequences of Buddhist chauvinism are
  1. Human Rights violations-Rohingya have already been stripped of citizenship and government laws seek to restrict marriage and child birth for Rohingya. Sri Lankan Tamils have not been able to rebuild their lives since the 2009 War despite government help.
  2. Demographic pressure on India– The Buddhists are causing a spurt in Rohingya migrants who are coming to India via Bangladesh. Neither Bangladesh nor Myanmar is willing to recognise the Rohingya.
India can play an important role in alleviating this crisis
  1. Myanmar’s Rohingya-India can negotiate with Myanmar for resettlement of Rohingya or seek the intervention of UNHRC.
  2. Sri Lanka’s Tamils-India can ask Sri Lanka to bring out an alternative to the 13th Amendment which will give the Tamil dominated Northern province more powers.
India had taken a tough stand against Myanmar military junta government for not adopting democratic form of government. There are around 5500 Rohingya in India under refugee status and are deprived of basic rights like education health etc. India can assist them by enabling basic amenities. she can contribute to rescue operations of International Organisation for Migration(IOM)in Burma as it did in Nepal and Yemen. India can push for an inclusive constitution in Sri Lanka through bilateral meetings, Regional groupings and international organisations.



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