The sudden death of the popular Buddhist preacher, the Venerable Gangodawila Soma Thera, in St Petersburg in Russia, has plunged Sri Lanka into unprecedented grief. On hearing the news, Sinhala-Buddhist women wailed inconsolably. Crestfallen men put up little ochre flags atop their houses and vehicles as a sign of mourning.
Soma Thera’s was the second Sinhala-Buddhist revivalist movement in recent Sri Lankan history. The first was led by Anagarika Dharmapala in the early part of the 20th century.