Our ‘National Flag’ itself discriminates against minority communities by giving prominence to a particular Ethno-Religious group and allocating a much smaller space to others. It gives the Sinhalese a feeling of superiority over other two groups; the people belonging to minority races are obligatory to acquire a sense of subordination as second-class inhabitants. An animal wielding a weapon (dagger/sword) in a Bo leaf-decorated frame, (for protection I suppose) is a degradation of the ‘Sinhala Buddhists’.   The sword/dagger symbolizes the destructive power applied against humanity.  Are Singhalese people warmongers?

It is high time we appoint a team of experts to design a new National Flag sans any ethno-religious based colours, idols, symbols or stripes.  In the case of national bird or national flower, it is just one bird and one flower selected purely on one basic criterion of its uniqueness or indigenous nature.   If you are to impose the same criteria as in the Flag; in the case of the national bird, one would end up by creating a monster or a mythical creature like the three-headed ‘cerberus’ depicting the three main ethnic groups or a mysterious dragon if all other ‘minority’ communities like Malays, Burghers, Chetties etc, are to be considered as well.

Doesn’t it sound ridiculous and stupid? Why divide? We need to be identified as one nation, one people living in harmony under one common banner; a banner which does not discriminate any ethnic group by small and big allocation of space and symbols for specific identification. There are 19 nations with an animal symbol on its National Flag. There are 14 nations with pictures of weapons on its National Flag.

The national flag as we know it today was accepted in the 1978 Constitution of Sri Lanka. The lion being acknowledged as the national icon of Sri Lanka dates to 544 BC, to the time of arrival of Prince Vijaya. It is believed that the Prince on landing called this country ‘Thambapanni’ and hoisted a flag illustrating a lion. The details of this landing are inscribed on a stone in Sanchi, India.

There is also a belief that King Dutugemunu used a lion flag; and the practice sustained until the Kandyan Convention of 1815. Ola inscriptions found in the Malwatte temple, Kandy say that the last king used four flags; three of them had the lion image while the other, specifically used during wars was called the Davunda flag.

Since Ceylon came under British rule, the Union Jack became the colony’s national flag until 1948, when the nation reclaimed independence.

A lion flag similar to that of the King Rajasinghe was raised on 4th February, 1948 by country’s first Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake.-Ref: Ancient Flags of Sri Lanka – T.M.G.S. Silva.

The Australians are agitating for a national flag sans the Union Jack on it at the top left corner..

In the USA— the original flag with the circle of thirteen stars have been changed several times over the past two centuries. While the red and white stripes remained intact, the number of stars had been added to make the current flag that has 50 stars.
K K S Perera