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Documentary on Newstalk

Laurence Carroll's Mindful Anarchy: U Dhammaloka, The Irish Buddhist of Rangoon

Documentary on Newstalk
Documentary on Newstalk

Documentary and Drama on Newstalk brings you the almost forgotten true tale of Laurence Carroll, a working-class Dubliner turned sailor, who embarked on a journey that traversed continents, identities, and cultures.  

This documentary, titled Laurence Carroll’s Mindful Anarchy: U Dhammaloka, The Irish Buddhist of Rangoon, tells the story of an Irishman, who, after ordaining as a Buddhist monk in the early 1900’s, under his monastic name U Dhammaloka, ascended to celebrity status throughout Burma and Asia, for his denouncing of Colonial Christian Missionaries and campaigning for the rights of Buddhists, while skirting colonial sedition and treason laws.              

Shedding light on the enigmatic life of a man who defied norms, embraced Buddhism, and faced down the British Empire, his remarkable odyssey is chronicled from his humble beginnings in Dublin to his tumultuous years as a sailor and hobo in the United States before his eventual arrival in Rangoon, Burma, circa 1880.  

With 25 years of his life prior to his arrival in Burma shrouded in mystery, Carroll's transformation into U Dhammaloka marked a turning point in the anti-colonial resistance in Burma and the Southeast Asia region. 

At the heart of this true tale lies U Dhammaloka's surely inevitable trial for sedition in 1911. The trial is a pivotal moment in Colonial Burma's history which drew international attention. Resonating with the masses, his defiance of colonialism garnered support from thousands, including multiethnic minorities across Burma and Southeast Asia, while at the trial, he is supported by Gandhi's esteemed associate Dr Pranjivan Metha.  

Through interviews with those at the forefront of resurrecting Carroll's odyssey; dramatic reenactments, and factual storytelling, this programme reasserts U Dhammaloka's rightful place within Irish history and reveals the true reasons why this remarkable tale became almost lost to the sands of time.  

The documentary is produced, edited, and presented by multimedia journalist and documentary maker Noel Sweeney. Funded by Coimisiún na Mean with the television licence fee.

Documentary on Newstalk
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