National Flag and Emblem of Sri Lanka

ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ රාජ්‍ය ලාංඡනය

The flag that represents an entire nation shall reflect upon the entire citizenship without isolating one specific tribe or giving prominence to one tribe over others.  Our flag and the emblem both carry a highly polarized sinhala buddhist nationalism, while allowing a few favored minority group representations in a small corner.  In 1951, our 'wise' policy maker added two more ethnic groups to a predominantly Sinhalese Buddhist flag instead of creating a secular symbolic instrument to represent this entire nation. Today, many citizens do not feel the pride deep in their hearts when they stand up looking at this flag.  If we are a progressive nation, and want to build one united citizenship, we need a flag that all citizens can genuinely feel proud of and have a great passion for the values it represents.  Our flag that represents a great nation shall represent and foster universal human rights, freedom and democracy in a secular political landscape.  Racist nationalism and ethnocentric politics we portray on the current flag is not something all citizens can feel proud of or allow us to rally together as one nation.   We saw this failure in front of our eyes over the last few decades.  Younger generations paid the price due to the ethnic and religious divide and uprisings we saw since independence that cost hundreds of thousands of lives and a great destruction of the macro economy.  Current flag is a representation of a poor negotiation without a clear political vision or addressing the fundamental errors in the national political arena. Many people fought and died, many people had to raise the 'white flag' over the decades of violence due to the lack of a secular national flag, a secular constitution that they all can feel proud of. Pride is not something the majority can enforce on the minority of any nation.  Minority also needs to understand what they demand in their negotiations instead of asking for more ethnic and religious divide.  Our minority politicians failed to understand what they should demand, and continued to fail the people who they represent.  Elected ethnic and religious tribes and their tribal leaders pushed for their piece of the pie, and made agreements with the power holders to amend the flag and emblem without removing the racist, religious and ethnocentric political stage.  They claimed there is a multi-religious harmony and peace, but future generations continued to pay the highest price for their parents' narrow minded vision.

The old age mentality of presenting ethnic and religious tribes in a national flag is a common disease not just unique to Sri Lanka.  Flags raised at the annual UN convention in New York City is the best representation of ethnic and religious rivalries that fight for dominance on earth, and we continue to call them great nations, partners, allies and friends.  There are few exceptions, where some nations have realized that the national flag, constitution and emblem shall be a strictly secular instrument.  What are these nations that moved away from ethnic and religious national identities?

What can we do about bringing forward a secular national flag and an emblem that represent all people of Sri Lanka instead of making a collection of religious and ethnic paraphernalia of the majority power groups fighting for political and religious dominance?

Here's an idea to start....let's think about introducing a new secular flag. How would we envision such a flag...?  What would be the best secular representation of this island's citizenship?

First lets remove the relgious and ethnic elements and then see what is left in our original flag... Well, once you do that, there is no flag left...Right?  What would be a cultural and social elements we admire that spans across all cultures based in Sri Lanka, something all religious, non-religious ethnic, multicultural citizens can equally accept?

Well, lets try this...for now...  The island of the Asian Elephant!