Social Interaction among the Sinhalese (Buddhists) and the Muslims in Sri Lanka

Social Interaction among the Sinhalese ( Buddhists ) and the Muslims in Sri Lanka

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Although the island Sri Lanka is a preponderantly Buddhist state, the other faiths such as Islam, Hinduism, Christianity are practiced. The aim of this paper is to research the societal interaction through mensurating the assorted interaction and sharing free times together among the Sinhalese and the Muslims in one of the 25 electoral territories in Sri Lanka, Moneragala. The Moneragala territory consists of two major faiths, Buddhism and Islam, organizing two spiritual communities populating side by side in a few traditional small towns viz. Alupotha, Bakinigahawela, Godigamuwa, Kanulwela, and Medagama. It is an ethno-religious survey of Sinhalese and Muslims in footings of their interaction in the said location. In order to mensurate the quality of societal interaction, two indexs – assorted interaction and sharing free times together- that have been prepared to be applied on a sum of one hundred respondents that were drawn from Sinhala and Muslims. The samples together with the above mentioned indexs showed that the Sinhalese and the Muslims in Moneragala were holding positive assorted relationship even shared their free times together. Therefore, the significance of the survey lies chiefly demoing the degree of interaction between the Sinhalese and the Muslims in Moneragala.

Keywords: Moneragala, Relationship, Sinhalese, Muslims, Interaction.


Moneragala is one of the 25 electoral territories of Sri Lanka. This territory was besides called as Wellassa by its ancient occupants. It is located in the Uva Province in the South Eastern part of Sri Lanka. It has a terrain extension of 5639 sq KM. The geographical land infinite is 2neodymiumto the largest territory in Sri Lanka following to Anuradapura. In 2012 the entire population was 451058 in Moneragala. Of these people there are 97.7 % rural and 2.3 % estate and most of them in the estate countries are Tamil people ( Department of Census and Statistics Sri Lanka, 2012 ) . Population statistic of Moneragala territory has been individually maintained since 1963. In Moneragala, the Sinhalese ( Buddhists ) are the prevailing cultural group, dwelling 426762 of the entire population. They speak Sinhala an Indo-european linguistic communication. The Tamils are 2nd major cultural group in Moneragala, dwelling 11997 of the population including Sri Lankan Tamils and Indian Tamils ( about Hindus ) . The Muslims are the 2nd largest minority of the territory, dwelling 9809.

The Muslims settled down in Moneragala or Wellassa country during the clip of Lusitanian regulation ( 1505-1656 ) onward from Kandy and Southern state of Sri Lanka and increased their colonies bit by bit during the Dutch ( 1656-1796 ) and British governments ( 1796-1948 ) ( Razick, 2007 ) . At present they are spread out in 06 of entire 11 Divisional Secretariat ( D.S. ) divisions, viz. Medagam, Bibile, Badalkumbura, Wellawaya, Buttala and Moneragala, The bulk of the Muslims are populating in Medagama division. In Moneragala territory, there are 05 small towns holding Muslims in bulk. But there are many small towns where Muslims are populating as minorities. Besides there are a few crossroadss where the Muslims are besides found as minority. Very few Muslims live in other D.S. divisions viz. Katharagama, Thanamalvila, Madulla, and Siyamnbalanduwa. In Sewanagala D.S. division Muslim colonies are non to be seen ( Razick, 2007 ) . The Sinhalese are the bulk in all of above mentioned D.S. divisions in the territory.

The Sri Lanka history reveals that Moneragala ( Wellassa ) part was really popular in the ancient clip. The reaching of Aryans ( 06 B.C. ) , visits of king Dutugemunu ( B.C 161-137 ) ( Educational Publications Department, 1992 ) and the activities of Veddhas ( Huntsmen ) ( Nur Yalman, 1971 ) are the illustrations to back up this position. Therefore, the history of Sinhalese in Moneragala territory began with the reaching of Aryans who were the first to come to this country. The Veddhas are the primogenitors of the Sinhalese and Dutugemunu is a good known Sinhala male monarch in the history who visited to Wellassa in ancient clip. Hence, this paper is traveling to analyze the societal interaction through mensurating the assorted interaction and sharing free times together among the Sinhalese and the Muslims in one of the 25 electoral territories in Sri Lanka, Moneragala with giving emphasize to the current context of Sri Lanka.

Sinhalese-Muslim Relationship in Moneragala

Interaction is a basic societal procedure represented in a common relationship between two or more persons or groups. In the spiritual position, by and large the interaction is a outstanding function dramas by all faiths in order to be sort to the fellow existences ( Engku Alwi and Mohd Rashid, 2011 ) . All faiths promote peace and harmonious life. One manner to accomplish it is through interaction among the trusters and non-believers of their specific attachment. With respects to Buddhism and Islam, both have their ain positions of societal interaction and their attitude towards other faiths.

Therefore, the major construct of the survey is societal interaction. There are assorted elements to be indexs of mensurating societal interaction. Therefore, the indexs of societal interaction in this survey are ; assorted interaction among the Muslims and Buddhists in Moneragala and sharing free times together. Based on responses of the questionnaire, there are 100 respondents, 74 % were Sinhala and 26 % were Muslims. The survey shows that the Sinhalese male respondents were the bulk with 55 % followed by Muslim males 18 % , Sinhala females19 % and in conclusion Muslim females constitute the smallest figure, 8 % . The frequence for each sex group showed males were 73 % followed by the females 27 % . The item accounts of these two are as follows:

Assorted Interaction

The assorted interaction defines to a state of affairs whereby the Sinhalese and the Muslims socialize in the community, either interacting with their fellow spiritual disciples or disciples of other faiths. Therefore, assorted interaction includes the frequence of their engagement. The survey examine this by sing how frequent and active the respondents take part in corporate activities like sing each other, observing events together, traveling out together like traveling to eating topographic points and teahouses and assisting each other.

There are six points are constructed in mensurating assorted interaction among the community of Moneragala territory. All these six seek to analyze whether the respondents engaged in assorted interaction with their other spiritual neighbours. These points yielded an affirmatory response from 84 % of the respondents out of 100 interacting with their opposition spiritual trusters. Sixty four per centum did often interact with each other, 59 % sing one another, 89 % confronting no jobs in their interaction while, 97 % insisted that their neighbors did non insulate themselves from the community of Moneragala.

Item five discovered the per centum of those who faced jobs in covering with their neighbors of different spiritual religion. Specifically, 9 % of the Sinhalese were holding jobs compared to 2 % Muslims. It can be assumed that the Sinhalese as the bulk of the society are superior so the minority Muslims in Moneragala. The Sinhala, on certain occasions might be making jobs to the Muslims who are the minority. While, the minority is any group that is assigned an inferior position in society, that is, any group that has less of those. However, because of the immense figure of Sinhalese in the location, 9 % who faced jobs in covering with the Muslims is considered as little Numberss and possibly could be labelled as rare instances as opposed to the bulk.

Based on the above consequences, it shows that the bulk of the community interacts good among each other regardless of their spiritual differences. Even though the Sinhalese and the Muslims differ in term of civilization and norm, yet they live rather peacefully. An of import possibility is that, the Muslims of Moneragala territory are alone and from other Muslims in other territories of Sri Lanka. This is because, the Muslims of Moneragala by and large have a good capableness of talking Sinhala linguistic communication and slightly similar cultural patterns ( based on the observation of research worker ) . These similarities make the procedure of interaction between the Sinhalese and the Muslims in Moneragala run swimmingly.

Sharing Leisure Times Together

Under this index it is mensurating the frequence of assemblage of the respondents during the free times. It includes disbursement clip together, sing neighbors of other cultural group, take parting in corporate activities together, minority Muslims feel a sense of belonging, and credence by bulk Sinhalese every bit good as the accessibility of the two groups. This section by and large seek the positions of respondents on degree of satisfaction when interacting with the occupants of other spiritual beliefs in Moneragala for illustration, acquiring along really good with one another, being comfy in the thick of one another and so on. This is an effort to happen the Sinhala perceptual experience and interaction with Muslims in Moneragala and frailty versa. Item one, the program is to happen the extent to which the respondents are comfy in traffics with their Moslems or Sinhala neighbors. The consequences showed a bulk of 88 % stressed out that they were comfy with their neighbors. Meanwhile, 12 % said that they were non comfy in traffics with their neighbors. Once once more, the Sinhalese constitute a large figure, 10 % were uncomfortable with the Muslim neighbors, than the Sinhalese, 2 % who expressed that they were besides uncomfortable with Sinhala neighbors. As been explained earlier, one possible ground of dissatisfaction of Muslims toward Sinhalese neighbors was that, they might see unjust interventions from other Sinhalese.

In point two, respondents were asked whether they are comfy of being in the houses of their Moslems or Sinhala neighbors. 71 % of the respondents answered negatively saying that they were uncomfortable of being in the houses of other spiritual trusters. Specifically, with 24 % of Sinhalese said that they were comfy being in the place of the Muslims. While, 47 % of the Muslims stressed that they were uncomfortable being in the place of Sinhalese. On the other manus, the Sinhalese responded that 24 % of them were non comfy in the house of Muslims, merely 5 % were non holding that job. Item three seeks to happen out whether the respondents think that their neighbors are good neighbors or otherwise bad. About all 88 % of the respondents’ responses positively while 12 % responses negatively that their neighbors were non good neighbors. Out of these figures, 28 % of the Sinhalese who said that Muslims were the good neighbors while the Muslims constitutes 60 % of those who insisted that the Buddhists were the good neighbors, Merely 10 % of Sinhalese said negatively that the Muslims were non good neighbors, while merely 2 % of Muslim responses. This might be due to past experiences that had such as been treated severely or even engaged in several wrangles with the Muslims or Sinhalese.

Item four, so, requested the respondents to verify whether they think that Muslim or Sinhala neighbors are proud of their professed faith. The consequences revealed the same figure as point three. Majority of the responses noted that their Muslim neighbors look upon their faith as superior to Buddhism and frailty versa. Precisely 60 % of the Muslims said ‘yes’ , and 40 % said ‘no. The last point is ‘sharing leisure times together’ . It attempts to happen out the extent to which the respondents feel being threatened by the opposite spiritual trusters. It is observed that, 80 % of the respondents which Muslims constitutes of 60 % and Buddhists 20 % expressed that they were non threaten by them. Merely 20 % of them responded that they did experience threatened with the other spiritual followings environing them. Out of the 20 % , Sinhala constitutes of 14 % while, Muslims merely 6 % .


In the above treatment, the two indexs of societal interaction are used they are assorted interaction and sharing free times together, Those two points are briefly explained below:

Based on old treatments, it can be said that the Sinhalese and the Muslims in Moneragala were holding positive assorted relationship. This is due to several possible grounds. First, they had no communicating job. As mentioned earlier, the Muslims are fluid in talking Sinhala linguistic communication including some sort of cultural similarities. By so making, they are easy accepted by the Sinhala and this scenario could do the procedure of communicating smooth and effectual. Besides they freely interact with each other because their spiritual religions promote them to make so. Therefore, if they tightly adhere to the faith, peaceable co-existence among them would heighten.

Based on the information collected, the consequence yielded that the respondents were holding assorted interaction and even shared their free times together. Majority of them responded that they enjoyed the companies of other spiritual trusters. They besides participated in similar corporate activities run by the societies. They have no jobs eating together and shopping at the same teahouses, eating topographic points, hebdomadal markets and store retail merchants. All of these determine that the occupants of Moneragala territory were holding positive interaction and they portion their free times together. It is notable, that there is no struggle or hit instance reported by the history of Sri Lanka ( Razick, 2007 ) . It shows that they were holding good interaction with each other.


  1. Department of Census and Statistics-Sri Lanka, 2011. Statistical Abstract of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. Available from: hypertext transfer protocol: // usecase=indicator & A ; action=DSMap & A ; indId=10 & A ; district=Moneragala & A ; Legend=3 # [ Accessed 4 April 2015 ] .
  2. Educational Publications Department, 1992. History ( Text Book ) , Colombo: Educational Publications Department.
  3. Mallikai Publication, 1962. Maka Wamsam – Ilankai Theewin Purathana Waralaru, Chennai: Mallikai Publication.
  4. Razick, A.S. , 2007. Moneragalai Mawatta Muslimkalin Waralaru, Bachelor Thesis, Oluvil: South Eastern University of Sri Lanka.
  5. Nur Yalman, 1971. Under the Bo Tree – Surveies in Caste, Kinship and Marriage in the Interior of Ceylon, London: University of California Press.
  6. Engku Alwi, E.A. and Zaki & A ; Z.B. Mohd Rashid, 2011. Cross Religious and Social Interaction: A Case Study of Muslims and Buddhists in Kampung Tendong, Pasir Mas, Kelantan, Asian Social Science, 1:112-128. Department of the interior: 10.5539/ass.v7n8p112

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