19 June, 2024


Of Symbols & Political Parties

By Gitanjali Marcelline

Gitanjali Marcelline

Symbols! Why do we need signs and symbols? In society symbols provide a sense of belonging, authority and identity. Symbols of Political parties portray the party’s ideology or movement. 

In N. U. Gunarathna’s research regarding the ‘Symbolic Significance of the Elephant in Post Independent Political Context of Sri Lanka’, in the Abstract, it is said that “In the post independent Sri Lanka, the symbol of the ‘elephant’ more accurately the ‘Tusker’, has been directly associated with the Sri Lankan Political Party System. Scientifically known as ‘Elephas Maximus Maxmus, the Sri Lankan elephant has stood as a symbol of power and sovereignty for millenniums. Therefore, the elephant was chosen as the political party symbol of the United National Party (UNP). Emergence of the symbol of elephant as the UNP Party symbol occurred in 1956, with the recognition in the law of a political party system. Since then to date, the symbol of the symbol of the elephant was used in UNP propaganda, gradually becoming a synonym for UNP.” 

Two words stand out with regard to the elephant symbol – ‘Power’ and ‘Sovereignty’. Power! sure, the UNP in its heyday was powerful, held sway over the entire country and had the ability to convince people of its policies and did not ignore the strength of public opinion. As for sovereignty, the founder members believed in dominion status resulting in them fighting for and the people being granted independence to self-govern.

But today, the United National Party, has proved itself to be a weak and disunited party, with infighting for power and glory. The old guard does not want to give way to young, to prove themselves as being capable of leading the party and bringing in meaningful change. If at all, the leadership is more intent on safeguarding their own and their kith and kin’s interests. I am in no doubt the founder members (including my Great-Grandfather, Hon. Dr. T. B. Jayah), would roll over in their graves if they witnessed the turn of events where their beloved United National Party is concerned.

But considering the stubborn albeit selfish motives of the leadership, a change was imminent, and that change came in the form of ‘Samagi Jana Balavegaya’ (United Force), an alliance comprising the majority of UNP members, members of 5 political parties and 10 more organizations comprising civil society members and professionals – the alliance that young Sajith Premadasa will lead at the Parliamentary General Election to be held in April 2020.

Whatever symbol the Samagi Jana Balavegaya takes on, one fact is clear, it will be a force to be reckoned with. Woe to the UNP leadership for their selfishness and stupidity in wanting to go it alone at the next Parliamentary General Election without joining the United Force and bringing the party to its former honor and glory.

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Latest comments

  • 8

    Once upon time the party and people respected and revered Ranil but no any more for what he and his boot lickers are doing for the UNP. The majority of MPs and 98% gross roots of the party despise and want him to handover the affairs of the party to fresh bloods and reinvigorate it to its former glory, instead his doing the Rajapaksa’s agendas. This the only good thing he should do for the history to remember him as decent man, rather than a man who ruined the party and the country. So, Ranil use your head, be a man, and go away like a gentleman, instead of fool of a cry baby.

    • 2

      If Ranilbyo leave BP Mahindra too should leave.

  • 1

    I think JRJ laid the foundation for the destruction of UNP and Ranil completed it. Similarly, CBK laid the foundation to destroy THE HAND SYMBOL. Now, THE HAND is also history and now the politics means WEALTH, FLAMBOYANT LIFE STYLE and POWER at the expense of the country.

  • 0

    I thought Mr Jayah and his mates picked the Elephant because our UNP Dalits couldn’t read and write then ,
    I don’t think they are much different now .
    Because a lot came in Buses to Galle Face when I was in Wellala Gardens. for the new UNP Leader’s last Prez Rally .
    And they were cheering like crazy on hearing the issue of free Menstrual Pads and Free Bath Packets to our Dalits in the Village.

    I am glad this grand daughter has so much faith in the new UNP Leader from Keslwatta and his young Leadership Team , of Ranjan Ramanayaka, Sujeeva Senasinghe, Ajith Perera Harin Fernanado Chatura Senarathna, and Hirunicka Premachandra.

    This must be a really cool lot with oodles of talent to give these Elite , Anglican and Vellala UNP members a new lease of life and restore the UNP to its former glory, if they had one .

    Anyway good luck..

    But why are they trying to do Hara Kiri over a symbol , when the most important Election in Post Nanthikdal era is only or 9 weeks away?.

    I know the Vellala Faction would love to keep the Elepahant, which I belive has something to do with their Religion and bring them good fortunes. .

    But the whole Hog at Stikotha to take the knife to the UNP Leader from Keselwatta, just to slam the Elephant down his throat is a bit of a puzzle.

    If the UNP Dalits can read and write now, I am sure they would be able recognize the famous UNP good names like Karunanayaka, Ramanayaka, Premdasa , Senasinghe, Rajitha, , Ponseka, Bathudeen, Kabir Hashim, Mujibur Rahuman and the others who provided a yeoman service to us under Dr Rani’s Yahapalanaya.

  • 2

    According to the picture Ranil looks a very worried man . For some reason or the other he seems to have joined with the Rajapaksa clan and has lost the support and respect of his party and the diehard UNP supporters who have voted for him and the party since independence. He was given a clear mandate by the majority of voters in the country in the 2015 elections who voted for him to clean up all the corruption, re-claim the billions of lost money and send the Rajapaksa’s to jail for corruption and murder . Despite all the evidence and common knowledge among the people of the country about their past record he miserably failed to do so and instead seems to have joined with the enemy and is definitely trying to sabotage his party the UNP before the elections to help the Rajapaksa’s win with a two third majority to rule the country for years to come. He has not only let down his party but also lost all respect of the people of the country and at least at this last hour should gracefully resign from politics before any further damage to the party and the country. He will be remembered as a crook and a dirty politician who let down the people of the country very badly who relied on him heavily to herald the country to a new era of change and prosperity after the election victory in 2015 but failed miserably what was entrusted to do by the people of the country..

  • 0

    Ranil was once upon a time was a giant figure but now he is a wounded soldier and a sinking ship (stinking ship). I do not understand as to why a man who cherished democracy is now behaving in an anti democratic manner. He is well known to demand democracy from others but unfortunately when it comes to him he is an undemocratic person. It is time for him to go and hand over the leadership to someone else. (whether it is Premadasa or anyone else capable) He has been a proven failure in electoral yardstick and should understand this reality. By clinging on he is supporting and propagating the vicious family mafia of the Kurahan Satakaya and the clan.
    Please for heaven sake do not destroy UNP and it should remain intact and leave it now with your own goons and I further do not understand why you listen to Akila and Sagala and please all trio self isolate otherwise Corona will invade you to blow a killer death.

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