The Final Results of the Savage Attack of the Roman Catholics on the Buddhists at Colombo
Theosophist, September, 1883
What we said about the recent religious riots at Ceylon, in the May Theosophist [see: “Theosophy and Religious Riots”], has been fully verified now by the Report of the Commission appointed to investigate into its causes. The blame is fully due to the intolerance, bigotry and fanaticism of the Roman Catholic ruffianly mob, of the so-called converts (mostly Malabarians); a fanaticism stirred now, in the 19th century, in as masterly a way by those whose dark aims it serves the best, as it used to be during the dark ignorance of the Middle Ages. The Report speaks volumes; and we leave it to the unprejudiced reader to judge whether,—as many an inimical journal insisted upon at that time,—the inoffensive, quiet, orderly Buddhists who claim but their legitimate recognized rights of free worship in their own native island, were the instigators of the brutal scenes, or those who would willingly wipe out of this globe the very remembrance of every other religion but their own. We reprint the Report from the Indian Mirror, the complete copy furnished to Col. Olcott by H. E. the Governor of Ceylon not yet having reached our hands.
[Excerpts from the Report:]
“From what has been gathered during our inquiries, we are convinced that the Buddhist perahera started from Borella on Easter day without the least intention of offering insult to the Roman Catholics, and certainly without any anticipation of a fight, and also that they carried with them nothing of an objectionable character. Much stress is laid by the Roman Catholics on the fact that a figure of Mohabama (Brahma), carried in the Palm Sunday procession, was the cause of great offense to them, and an insult to their religion . . . After careful consideration we are of opinion that no such insult was intended by the Buddhists. This figure had been carried in several processions previously without the least imputation that it was intended as an insult to Christianity, and, we consider the complain of the Roman Catholics on this point groundless. We have no hesitation in stating that we believe the illegal assemblies, both on Good Friday and Easter day, were thoroughly organized and previously arranged by the Roman Catholics, with the express intention of attacking Buddhist processions. . . . [etc. etc.]
[Note: for further history on what followed, see the historical notes in The Collected Writings of H. P. Blavatsky, vol. 4, p. 287.]