22 October, 2021

Blog

“Waving The Flag”: A Reading Of National Flags

By Charles Ponnuthurai Sarvan

Prof. Charles Sarvan

Preface. The meaning of the name parents give their child at birth often expresses their feelings, hopes and wishes for the infant. So it is with nations and their flags, particularly at independence. However, some flags have evolved through history, such as Britain’s ‘Union Jack’ (1801), representing England, Scotland and Ireland. The phrase “waving the flag” is variously defined, among others as: “arouse intense nationalist feelings by a deliberate appeal to the emotions”; “expression of feelings for a country in a loud or exaggerated way” and “the strong expression of support for a country, sometimes with military intention”. (End of Preface)

I have a recently-published book showing the world’s national flags: ‘national’ as formally recognised by the UN. Admittedly, the exact number of flags can be disputed. For example, does one include that of ‘the Holy See’? This particular book lists 196 flags of which almost one-fourth are made up simply of different colours: the flags of Austria, Belgium, Columbia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, Russia, Thailand and others. The Indian flag consists of three colours – saffron, white and green – but has the Ashoka Chakra (the eternal wheel of law) with twenty-four spokes, in its centre. There are other, similar flags which, while being simply made up of colours, have in addition a design or object.  Canada’s flag consists of two red bands with a white square at its centre in the ratio of 1:2:1. In the middle of this white band is a stylized, red, 11-pointed maple leaf. The Japanese flag is white with a red ball in its centre: the Land of the Rising Sun. The Israeli flag is white with two blue horizontal lines that recall the Tallit, the Jewish prayer shawl, separated by a hexagram, the Star of David. The flag of Argentina is a tricolour – blue, white and blue – but with the sun (of freedom?) in the middle.

Some Christian-majority countries have a cross on their flag as, for example, Denmark (white horizontal cross on a red background); Finland (as with Denmark but here a blue flag on a white background), Greece, Iceland and Switzerland. Of course, the cross resembles a sword and can be read as signifying the readiness to fight for Christianity.

Muslim-majority countries often have green on their flag, the colour most linked to Islam, together with the crescent moon. Green is associated with Paradise, and was also the favourite colour of the Prophet who often wore clothes of that colour. Indonesia with the largest Muslim population is an exception, its flag being made up of two broad, horizontal bands of red and white.  Egypt’s flag too lacks green. It’s a tricolour consisting of the three equal horizontal bands: red, white and black. It also bears the Egyptian eagle of Salah ud Din (1138 – 1193), better known as Saladin. The flag of Iraq too doesn’t have green, being made up of three horizontal bands of red, white and black. The white band in the middle carries the ‘Takbir’ in Kufic script: “Allah is the greatest”. (If I am not mistaken, the “greatest” in Allahu Akbar should not to be seen as a superlative because Allah is beyond any comparative scheme.) But the flags of other Moslem-majority countries such as Algeria and Pakistan have green. The flag of Saudi Arabia, ‘Custodian of the Two Holy Place of Islam’, is green, with the ‘Shahada’, and below it a sword. (The ‘Shahada’ or ‘Confession of Faith’, one of the Five Pillars of Islam, declares belief in Allah, and the acceptance of Muhammad as Allah’s Prophet.) The sword is not vertical but lies horizontal beneath the Shahada. 

However, there are other flags which resist grouping: of course, every flag is unique. The flag of Mozambique includes an AK-47 with fixed bayonet, crossed by a farming mattock, reminiscent of the Marxist ‘Hammer and sickle’. Bhutan has a dragon on its flag, a white dragon to signify purity. (Dragons have long been drained of ferocity and fear because no one now believes they exist – except in the wonderful world of the imagination – raging about, breathing fire.) The Mexican flag depicts an eagle carrying away (removing) a snake.

The Albanian flag has a double-headed eagle because of the myth that the ancestor of the Albanians was an eagle. One recalls the myth that Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome, were suckled by a wolf. Similarly, a cherished myth of Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese Buddhist majority is that they are the descendants of bestiality; specifically, the sexual union of a lion and a princess (“There are few things stranger or more repulsive than bestiality”.) Compounding bestiality is patricide: the lion is later killed by his own son. (The first arrow shot by the son doesn’t harm the lion because the animal has only love for his son. The second arrow angers the beast, and then he becomes fatally vulnerable. I ‘read’ this episode as a moral and philosophic parable about the self-harm of anger.)

The Sri Lankan flag is not simple. It has been described as consisting of a gold lion holding a  sword in its right fore-paw in a maroon background with four gold “bo leaves in each corner. (“Bodhi” means enlightenment.) This is bordered by gold, and to its left are two vertical stripes of equal size in green and orange. The lion and the maroon background are meant to represent the Sinhalese, while the saffron border and four bo leaves represent Buddhism and its Four Noble Truths. The orange band represents the Tamils; the green represents Sri Lankan Muslims.

It’s most important that we make a clear distinction between ‘religious doctrine’ and ‘religion’ as practised and expressed in real life with its rituals, paraphernalia, hierarchy, myths and superstitions. Religious doctrine has a divine or semi-divine origin or is from an exalted, exceptional, individual. Simplifying, one could say: While religious doctrine is ‘divine’; religion is a human construct. Indeed, religion can be quite the opposite of its religious doctrine. Sri Lankan Buddhists declare the country to be the ‘Dhamma Deepa’, the Island where the doctrine of the Buddha is preserved in its purity. But how does Buddhism manifest itself as a religion? Is it by force and domination? Is it by the building of Buddhist structures; by chanting, praying and processions? If so, isn’t the Buddhist religion violating Buddhist doctrine?

To the world in general, Buddhism is associated with noble and exalted qualities such as loving kindness, compassion, peace, moderation, philosophic detachment, self-discipline and abnegation. Though not a Buddhist, I think Buddhism with its agnosticism (see the Buddha’s famous analogy of a man shot with a poisoned arrow) and with its Existential attitude of individual responsibility, is the wisest and gentlest of religious doctrines. Since Sri Lanka boasts of being the primary stronghold of Buddhism, people will also look at what symbolises the country: the flag. But there’s little of Buddhist doctrine in the flag which is dominated by a lion, its jaw agape and, to add to its menace, a raised sword in its paw. One would have expected to see a flag that was peaceful, even serene but the present flag has all to do with power and pomposity (gold); power and hegemony; aggression and violence. In short, with all that the Buddha abjured. It is yet another example of religion being potently and perniciously political. (It’s not the flag but beliefs and behaviour.) In a certain context Karl Marx said: If this is Marxism, I’m not a Marxist. Similarly, one can imagine Christ saying that of Christianity or the Buddha, ‘the Soul of Utmost Compassion’, sadly saying, if this is Buddhism, then I’m not a Buddhist. Of course, one can be profound (disingenuously or not) and subject the flag to a historical and philosophical interpretation, such that the eight hairs on the lion’s tail represent the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path, albeit one would have thought it an insult to place the Buddha’s Eightfold Path on the tail of an animal. Be that as it may, what do those who are not Sinhalese, or those not militantly Sinhalese-Buddhist, see?  By way of an answer, I turn to ‘The Front Row’ in Pradeep Jeganathan’s collection of short stories, ‘At The Water’s Edge’, quoting from my ‘Sri Lanka: Literary Essays & Sketches’ (page 151): To the child, “innerly” lonely and vulnerable, the national flag at the front of the classroom threatens violence and cruelty: a “fierce” lion on a “blood red cloth”, with “a naked sword” in its paw.  In a remarkable use of understatement and indirection, we are told that, seeing the flag Krishna tried to calm himself: his psychosomatic attacks of asthma were getting more frequent.

There’s much corruption (particularly at the highest levels) and violence in ‘the Paradise Isle’:  racial and political violence; violence in public and in private life. See, for example, ‘Sri Lanka: A Long History of Violence’, ‘The New York Times’, 21 April 2019.  See also, ‘How torture is institutionalized in Sri Lanka (‘The Diplomat’, 20 September 2019) from which I cite an extract: “A new 68-page report from the International Truth and Justice Project demonstrates how torture has been institutionalized in Sri Lanka. It is shown to be the direct consequence of Sri Lanka continuing to use the Prevention of Terrorism Act implemented in 1978. The PTA was described as an “an ugly blot on the statute book of any civilized country” by the International Commission of Jurists in 1984… the PTA deems “confessions” obtained under torture admissible.”

Sadly, the Sri Lankan flag, after all, is appropriate. The Dhamma Deepa can be proud that of all the 196 national flags of the world, its flag appears to be the most aggressive and violent. 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 14
    1

    The Union Jack of Great Britain reflects the national identities of England, Scotland and Wales regionally and by language. Why cannot be one in Sri lanka. The Sri Lanka flag subordinates and subjugates by the lion shouldering a sword warning at the minorities.. Doesn’t it look odd and sorrowful. Yet Mr. Smbanthan. a Tamil raised the lion flag which was not raised any other Tamil in history.
    Although what is said about Buddhism is true and that is what every religion is preaching but no one adheres to it. Not the Sinhalese and not the Tamils and not the Muslims. It is a dirty world we are living in.

    • 6
      3

      Prof Charles Sarvan,

      The Para-Sinhala Para-“Buddhist “ National flag is based on the lies and imaginations of the Mahawansa Chronicles, which the majority of the mean IQ 79 Para-Sinhala still believe, just like the many who still believe that the Sun goes around the Earth.

      Para-Sinhala Para-“Buddhism “ differs from Pristine Buddhism, and is in fact a distortion of Buddhism and is an insult to the Buddha.

      The flags of Britain, Christian countries and Islamic countries are much closer to reality and their religious ideologies.

      Japan , mean IQ 106, has a rising Sun as it’s flag.

      • 1
        1

        Prof Charles Sarvan,

        The Sri Lanka Flag should have a map of the Land of Native Veddah Aethho, with a picture of the Native Veddah Aethho in it.

        http://roar.media/english/life/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Vedda_GalOya_02-e1488095921534.jpg?fit=clip&w=1000

        This will send the message that all others are Para-deshis, Paras.

        The historical chronicles and modern molecular genetic haplo groups based on mitochondrial DNA support the above.

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24196378

        MtDNA haplogroup analysis revealed that several West Eurasian haplogroups as well as Indian-specific mtDNA clades were found amongst the Sri Lankan populations. Through a comparison with the mtDNA HVS-1 and part of HVS-2 of Indian database, both Tamils and Sinhalese clusters were affiliated with Indian subcontinent populations than Vedda people who are believed to be the native population of the island of Sri Lanka.

      • 1
        1

        Prof. Charles Sarvan,

        Who are the Para-Sinhala Para-“Buddhists “ and Para-Tamils and Para-Muslims? They all are Pars from India.

        Hum Biol. 1995 Dec;67(6):843-66.
        Genetic affinities of Sri Lankan populations.

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8543296

        The genetic distance analysis was conducted using 43 alleles controlled by 15 codominant loci in 8 populations and 40 alleles controlled by 13 codominant loci in 11 populations. Both analyses give a similar picture, indicating that present-day Sinhalese and Tamils of Sri Lanka are closer to Indian Tamils and South Indian Muslims. They are farthest from Veddahs and quite distant from Gujaratis and Punjabis of northwest India and Bengalis of northeast India. Veddahs are distinct because they are confined to inhospitable dry zones and are hardly influenced by their neighbors. The study of genetic admixture revealed that the Sinhalese of Sri Lanka have a higher contribution from the Tamils of southern India (69.86% +/- 0.61) compared with the Bengalis of northeast India (25.41% +/- 0.51), whereas the Tamils of Sri Lanka have received a higher contribution from the Sinhalese of Sri Lanka (55.20% +/- 9.47) compared with the Tamils of India (16.63% +/- 8.73). Thus it is apparent that the contribution of Prince Vijaya and his companions, coming from northwest India, to the present-day Sinhalese must have been erased by the long-standing contribution (over 2000 years) of the population groups of India, especially those from Bengal and Tamil Nadu. Similarly, the Tamils of Sri Lanka are closer to the Sinhalese because they were always in close proximity to each other historically, linguistically, and culturally.

    • 6
      2

      A Flag, is A Flag, is A Flag. A piece of Cloth with colours on it.
      The Meaning of the Symbols, is in the Eyes and Mind of the Beholder!
      What Stories we can make up about a Piece of Cloth with Symbols on it, and then Kill One Another other because we can’t agree on the Stories we have made up!

      • 2
        2

        Hamlet

        The crooks and killers find it convenient to wrap themselves around in a flag in times of difficulties. Appropriating the flag also helps win elections.
        Very useful before, during and after a Sinha Le campaign to raise petty nationalism, followed by riots, looting, pogrom, ………………..

        How about a white flag?
        Or How about a begging Bowl (patta – Pali, patra – Sanskrit, ) in the middle of a white flag

    • 2
      2

      A Sri Lankan waving a national flag is like a homeless man sleeping on the streets waving his cleanest pair of underwear to garner some self-worth.

    • 0
      0

      Sellam
      Not Wales. Wales was part of England at the time.
      English with state power destroyed the Gaelic language of the Irish.
      Scots and Welsh languages got marginalized over the years under a powerful state and an even more powerful capitalist system.
      The Lion is about a race rather than language I would say.

  • 6
    10

    It is not only beauty that is in the eye of the beholder, interpretation of what is seen is there too. If someone wants to read the Sri Lankan flag as a threat, then to him it is a threat. Someone could even claim that it represents The Sinhala lion protecting Buddhism from the Tamils and Muslims.
    On the other hand one could interpret it as representing the Sinhala lion protecting Buddhism as well as the minorities. It all depend on the viewer and his prejudices and opinions.
    It is also worth mentioning the intention behind the design. The intention was to give a place on the Sinhala flag to the two main minorities. This was a good intention, not found in the flags of other nations.

    • 3
      1

      Our flag gives importance to communities & a religion, Buddhism rather than giving an importance to the nation as whole.

      We Sri Lankans perfectly follow the flag, and our problems are pinned around the flag; different communities fighting each other, every time there is a majority – minority issue, people immediately think there is a threat to Buddhism. No one cares about the country’s image or progress.

  • 15
    1

    The true meaning is not in the flag , but what is inside the head of the bearer.

  • 16
    1

    A national flag is of meaning less , when carried by a racist retard /bigot. That too when viewed in TV/social media, where mobs carrying national flags and found involved in hatred violence and killings. Pseudo patriots/nationalist (bigots in disguise) are a disgrace to nation. They bring shame and humiliation to the flag and country.

  • 10
    2

    Get a South African style flag. That will be loved by everyone from Sri Lanka to far beyond. Honestly, I hate lion flag (meaningless) and is an absolute rubbish!!!!!

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 2
    1

    The Lion has been castrated.
    It has four fingers in the hand holding the sword, and no thumb, which is required to ‘appose’ the fingers, to grasp anything.

  • 9
    1

    My PERSONAL opinion is the lion on the flag depicts our incapacity perfectly. Though Lion is a mighty regal animal, a lion who is standing on three legs is a different story. When you think the advancement of the countries like Korea, Singapore, and even Bangladesh who were far behind us a few decades ago, the symbol of three legged lion suits us very well.

    • 6
      0

      Gamege,
      You are very right. The lion is weakened by asking him to take up arms, instead of using his own might with four limbs and his brains. On the other hand in Sri Lanka we don’t have lions, they are foreign to us. Sri Lankan lions (Panthera leo sinhaleyus) become extinct prior to the arrival of culturally modern humans, c. 37,000 years BC. So we have imported lions as our National Symbol, like many of our other things. It will be fully completed when we import USA citizen as our President. We should have Nil Manel or blue water lily(Nymphaea nouchali) on our flag instead of the lion (no disrespect to the real lion).

      • 2
        1

        What the hell does any of this matter? Even the Sinhala New Year Kokis is a Dutch sweetmeat. All people and nations are mixed.
        PS Don’t mention this to the pure high caste Jaffna Tamil brahmin Sharma.

  • 3
    3

    Having perused the article, and the comments beneath, I wonder, if Prof. Charles Sarvan would be pleased that he had raised the Flag!
    ___________________________
    The essence of Charles Sarvan’s effort is that the Flag ought to convey the feelings, hopes, and wishes of its people.
    .
    When we as a nation of people start on the wrong foot the chances are that we stumble.
    .
    NB: I have on different occasions stressed that WE ought to rethink who we want to be.

    * Let us register ourselves as Sri Lankans, at Birth.
    * Let us have a National Flag in which the communities are represented by identical stripes.

  • 3
    2

    Gentlemen,

    Today is September 23rd. Exactly 5 months ago, something happened. Do you fellas remember what happened?

  • 2
    0

    Holy Moly…………….. Adding fuel to the fire.
    Just let the Flag be a Flag……………………… Move on guys.

  • 0
    3

    Charles Ponnuthurai Sarvan
    10 Comments
    “Waving The Flag”: A Reading Of National Flags
    The Sri Lankan flag is not simple. It has been described as consisting of a gold lion holding a sword in its right fore-paw in a maroon background with four gold “bo” leaves in each corner. (“Bodhi” means enlightenment.) This is bordered by gold, and to its left are two vertical stripes of equal size in green and orange. The lion and the maroon background are meant to represent the Sinhalese, while the saffron border and four “bo” leaves represent Buddhism and its Four Noble Truths. The orange band represents the Tamils; the green represents Sri Lankan Muslims.
    Premadasa, Père et Fils

    Prof Charles Ponnuthurai Sarvan here has made us think a bit more as to ‘National Flags’ and why we ‘Wave it’.
    Our Founding Père initiated the “Us & Them” syndrome in the Flag. The ‘Us’ represented by a ‘Yellow/Gold’ Lion are the Sinhala speaking descendants of the Lion. The ‘Them’ are the Tamil speakers. Buddhism was inserted into the Flag with the Yellow/Gold Bo leaves at the corners to represent the Four Noble Truths, Maroon background and Saffron borders. The Green Band represents Muslim identity, the Orange Band for the Tamil speakers, the ‘other-Thems’.
    The ‘Us & Them’-divide was used by SWRD B to become PM.
    Soon we had the religion/language-divide firmly in place. Then came the Nationalistic Sihala Urumaya, followed by JHU. and PHU
    .
    We now have Bodu Bala Sena led by Gnanasara Thera. The BBS Flag the Green and Orange Bands are removed.

    In a certain context Karl Marx said: If this is Marxism, I’m not a Marxist. Similarly, one can imagine Christ saying that of Christianity or the Buddha, ‘the Soul of Utmost Compassion’, sadly saying, if this is Buddhism, then I’m not a Buddhist.

  • 1
    2

    There are many ways of skinning a cat and this is one of them.
    Tamil racists derive an enormous satisfaction telling the world “look these idiotic Sinhalese believe that they are a product of a cross between a lion and a woman. Hey, hey, ha, hoo.” World has better things to worry about.

    Soma

    • 3
      2

      soman

      ““look these idiotic Sinhalese believe that they are a product of a cross between a lion and a woman. Hey, hey, ha, hoo.”

      Come on somass, your Sinhala/Buddhist Bible, Book of Revelation the Mahawamsa says so. Are you going to argue against facts according to Mahanama (a Tamil from South India?).

      • 1
        1

        Tamil racists also say “look their gods don’t have even tails. Hey, hey, ha, hoo.”

        Soma

      • 1
        1

        NV
        If it is written by a Tamil from South India the story of the lion mounting a woman must be true.

        Soma

  • 3
    1

    Regi, you mean Gotha announced his candidacy standing over hundreds of mutilated bodies ??????

  • 2
    2

    Regi, you mean Gotha announced his candidacy standing over hundreds of mutilated bodies ?????? How can the public forget that ???? He was not “waving the flag” then but of course his followers did that for him in back ground.

    • 2
      1

      Chiv,

      Gotabhaya Rajapakse announced he will run for the elections on April 27th, 2019. Not the same day hundreds of people were murdered inside various churches.

      Don’t lie and try to mislead the readers.

  • 1
    1

    Ragie, I very well know that. You are missing the point. Does it matter it was same day ,next day, one week or one month. Buddy it is called EMPATHY. During such calamity , when hundreds have lost their life and the whole country is in shock and grieving, is not the time for any individual (that too at the affected site) to announce his presidential candidacy. We have not seen this to happen in any part of the world except in Lanka (that too only with Rajapaksas ,who only care about their family well being ). If not for responsibility at least a person should have EMPATHY. Your candidate is a cold blooded murderer , who goes around visiting religious sites including temples, churches and Vatican.Today Gotha claimed there is no use of making plans when some one cannot execute. YES SURE HE IS AN EXECUTIONER, who execute his own country men/women. Regie, ex military, how come you are ” missing the woods for the trees” ??? .Too busy with finer details and missing the whole problem/message.

    • 1
      0

      Chiv,

      Thanks for your dignified response.

      It does matter that he did not announce his candidacy on the same day but a week later. From his perspective, it was perfect timing to do so when emotions were running high.

      I do not trust Gota the politician. I don’t know why you think I would. For that matter I do not trust any politician, whether UNP, SLPP, Sri Lankan, Canadian, Black or White. To me, they are in it for themselves and to look after those who pay for their elections, in other words major corporations and interest groups.

      I do trust Gota the soldier for he was a very valiant and brave one to say the least. He may have had his faults. But keep in mind we were at war. Tell me which war was fought without civilian casualties and by which country?

      I also beleive Gota will be much favored by the loved ones of those who perished on April 23rd. To me the current government failed their people big time on April 23rd. There is no excuse for that. The events on April 23rd, 2019 should NOT have happened. PERIOD. But given that it did, this government should be thrown onto the dustbin.

  • 1
    1

    What is this nonsense about the lion not having a thumb or having three legs? Are you going to point out that the Nandi Bull on the flag of the Tamil kings has no testicles? Or that the red dragon on the Welsh flag does not exist? What is wrong with you people?

  • 1
    1

    Bawa, Check your self, if yours is intact , they may put you instead . (as you mentioned in Tamil king flags)

  • 2
    0

    Regie, I too appreciate your response.From your previous comments , I do understand you had served the country and hence may be genuinely concerned. If I had misjudged your intentions, pardon my ignorance.

    • 1
      1

      No worries. Keep contributing.

  • 1
    1

    The “reading” of national flags seems to be beyond the author’s purview. Also, connecting the Sri Lankan flag to Buddhism and finally aggression on the part of the Sinhalese is a comedy of errors at best. Very simply, “sinha” means “lion” in Sanskrit. Vijaya’s father was “Sinhabahu”, a Vanga king. In those days, Vanga was a kingdom in Bengal. Many Sinhalese kings continued to marry royalty from Vanga or Kalinga to preserve the bloodline. For example, at Dambulla, there is a rock inscription delineating the heritage of Nissanka Malla: “having come from the royal line of the Ikshvaku family having become like a forehead mark to the royal family of Kalinga emperors born at Sinhapura…” Sinhabahu was the founder of Sinhapura. Vijaya was Sinhabahu’s son. Clearly there is no connection between “sinha” and Buddhism. Secondly, Buddhism is not an organized religion, it is a personal philosophy. The emphasis is on detachment; attachment is dangerous as it distorts perception (e.g. duality) and creates strong emotions that then cause “dukkha” and lead to a cycle of rebirth. Buddhism does not “belong” to any particular race or religion, although the development of the school of Buddhism called “Theravada Buddhism” is strongly affiliated with Sri Lanka. Lastly, the author says ” its flag appears to be the most aggressive and violent.” If any group of people are under violent attack, they will fight back aggressively to preserve their lives and property, including land. According to Jane’s Information Group, between 1980 and 2000, the LTTE carried out 168 suicide attacks.

  • 0
    0

    Lester writes: “If any group of people are under violent attack, they will fight back aggressively to preserve their lives and property, including land. According to Jane’s Information Group, between 1980 and 2000, the LTTE carried out 168 suicide attacks.”

    The above is either a foolish or a deliberate anachronism: the flag is much older than the entrance of the Tigers! It’s a non sequitur.

    Secondly, as I understood it, the main point is that the Island claims to be the Dhamma Deepa.
    This in turn raises the legitimate question, “What is the core of Buddhist doctrine?”
    “What makes Buddhism doctrine so wise and compassionate, elevated and noble?”

    Never mind ancient myth but, being a Dhamma Deepa the world will look to see something more of Buddhist doctrine in the flag: as Sarvan says, something of its peace and serenity.
    But what domiinates is a raging lion with a raised sword.
    The four “bo” leaves and the eight hairs on the beast’s tail are woefully inadequate to represent Buddhist teaching: power and not piety.

    The problem is that the flag is so common that no one “sees” it any more.
    FEW, VERY FEW; PONDER ABOUT THE FLAG WITH DETACHMENT,
    FEW REFLECT ON ITS SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPLICATIONS:

    Pentheus

    • 2
      2

      Sinhalese have been fighting off South Indian (Tamil) invasions for thousands of years, well before any lion flag or the arrival of Buddhism. Secondly, the origin of the flag is the kingdom of Sinhapura, as I have explained in detail. Furthermore, Buddhism is not a political or economic philosophy. It is closer to something like science, in which the prevailing methodology is based on rational thinking. Lastly, Sri Lanka did indeed play a unique role in the foresting of Theravada Buddhism. This is what is meant by “Dhamma Deepa.” To connect this relationship with aggression is laughable. According to the statistics, the U.S. has been at war 222 out of 239 years. And that is for a country only 243 years old, claiming to be the human rights champion of the world.

      • 0
        2

        *In the fostering

  • 0
    0

    True it is that our National Flag is different from most others – and unnecessarily so, as our post-independence history reveals.
    .
    It is overly dramatic and violent.
    .
    We have, I believe a National Bird (the Jungle Fowl) and a National Flower. Harmless.
    .
    It is sad that or National Anthem has also has had its share of controversies. It is not what we used to sing as kids – changed after SWRD B was assassinated. Poor Ananda Samarakoon committed suicide after the first few bars were changed. How sad.
    .
    And then, there was the sensible Tamil translation – let Weerawansa explain that!
    .
    Dear Prof. Sarvan in Germany! There the National Anthem is something by Haydn, isn’t it? But now we have a European Anthem. Too good for the sometimes selfish whites! Beethoven wouldn’t disapprove of my sentiment that it should be the World Anthem!
    .
    Wouldn’t it be wonderful to escape altogether from Nationalism?

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 7 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.