Few events have made a more profound impact on political developments in modern Ceylon than an outbreak of riots between Buddhists and Muslims in 1915 and the reaction of British colonial officials to the disorders. The Ceylonese view was that the authorities responded with unjustifiably harsh repression and executed or imprisoned persons who had no responsibility for the outbreak. To many ceylonese, the government's actions illustrated a basic failing of colonial rule and starkly demonstrated the need for self-government. The handling of the riots galvanized nationalist sentiment and led to the appearance of an organized national independence movement. Although few constitutional changes had occurred in the preceding eighty years, progress came rapidly after 1915, culminating in independence thirty-three years later. The three articles in this symposium constitute a major examination and reassessment of the 1915 riots and their causes and consequences.

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