Posted on February 2nd, 2016

Dr. Daya Hewapathirane

There is a strong movement today for the reinstatement or restoration of the ancient   Sinha kodiya” (lion flag) as the national flag of the country. There is an outcry against the continued use of its corrupt and modified version with green and orange bands instituted in 1953.

As the nation’s authentic traditional national flag, this popularly known Sinha-kodiya” was hoisted prominently at the historic occasion of the signing of the Udarata Givisuma (Kandyan Convention) in 1815, and also at the occasion of the formal granting of political independence to the country in 1948.

During the British rule of the country, the traditional lion flag was replaced by the Union Jack, and the nation’s traditional lion flag hoisted at the Udarata Givisuma in 1815, was taken away by the British to England. In the early 20th century, this flag was recovered from the Royal Hospital at Chelsea where it had been stored. This Sinhala Kodiya was brought back to Sri Lanka in 1948 and was adopted as the national flag of Ceylon, as this country had been named by the British during their rule.

It was in 1953 on the initiative of the then UNP government headed by D.S. Senanayake that action was taken to modify this authentic traditional flag, especially   with the addition of the prominent green and orange colour bands to represent the minority communities thereby virtually destroying the authenticity of this ancient national insignia. More changes were effected in 1972 further corrupting and shattering the wholeness and aesthetic value of this dignified and meaningful traditional ‘Sinha kodiya’. The addition of bands to represent minorities was redundant given the fact that all those who subscribe to the idea of a single nation, are necessarily represented in the traditional national flag. History of our country reveals vividly that the spirit of tolerance and accommodation of others irrespective of their religious or other differences has been a common distinguishing characteristic of the people of this country from very early times.

It is noteworthy that the flag used in our country by King Dutugemunu (166 to 137 BCE) or more than 2000 years ago, and by subsequent rulers of the country, depicted prominently a lion carrying a sword. The most distinguishing feature in the national flag, emblems and other insignia of the country has been the figure of the lion or ‘sinha’  which signifies the national character of this country.

The identity and character of this nation, from ancient times have been based on Buddhist norms and principles, which essentially include non-violence, peaceful coexistence, compassion, tolerance, virtuous and simple lifestyle, spirituality and the development of insight. From ancient times, with the single exclusion of the European colonial period, the inspiration for all aspects of the island’s development- economic, cultural, social and spiritual was drawn from these social values.

The changes made to our authentic ‘Sinha Kodiya”, is a form of destruction of one of our nation’s unique historical symbols, one of our nation’s cultural monuments. No patriotic national of this country should tolerate such vandalism in a country that values its ancient cultural wealth which has given the country its unique identity as a nation. We should not further delay the resurrection of our traditional national lion flag. It is the most significant of the nation’s insignia. It is an essential step towards preserving our nation’s cultural heritage. Consistent actions are required to protect our national heritage in order to enhance our pride and dignity as a nation, and to build self-energy among our people that will help to nullify the harmful impacts that contaminate and degenerate our culture. Since the elimination of terrorism and the restoration countrywide, of peace and stability, our country has been experiencing an unequivocal national cultural revitalization.

More efforts are needed today, to bring to the forefront, the role of our national culture and heritage in the nation’s future development. It is necessary to promote vigorously,  a well conceived awareness programme of our nation’s rich and enchanting cultural heritage, and its continued relevance as a rich fund of social philosophy. It is encouraging to note, that in recent times, our younger generation and our traditional Buddhist leadership – the Buddhist Bhikkhus are coming to the forefront in movements to revive and uphold some important aspects of  our national culture which are evidently being subject to threats, challenges and undesirable influences. It is necessary to bring to the forefront the significance of our long-followed Buddhist principles and practices and our aesthetic values in meeting our emotional and innermost spiritual needs. It is a commonly observed fact that Buddhist practices and values are becoming increasingly adopted and valued by diverse nations in the world today.

Dr. Daya Hewapathirane

February 04, 2016



  1. ranjit Says:

    Very interesting article Dr.Daya. You are correct in saying “more efforts are needed to bring to the forefearlesslye role of our national culture and heritage in the nations future development”.This is the only Sinhala nation in the world and this is our home where no one on earth can question or claim. We need to protect our country from all foreign and local traitors to the Motherland. This is dangerous than the LTTE war therefore stand up together to fight the enemies and to save the Sinhala nation. Condemn this evil Govt in one voice for their actions against the Sinhalese and Buddhist religion. We have never witnessed what we are seen today in this country before taking Buddhist monks to jail like criminals, assaulting school children unmercifully, arresting and intimidating Opposition politicians and arresting well educated Govt servants, Principles, teachers, Policemen, killing innocent people in daylight by underworld and thugs, car thieves which we have never heard before,rulers acting like dictators, allowing foreigners to interfere in our affairs, releasing hard core terrorists from jails and so on.

    Time has come to stop this evil clique and their foreign co sponsors who brought them to power. Stand up fearlessly and help to save our culture, religion and our homeland dear patriots.

  2. Jag Says:

    A timely reminder for all patriots to rally in unison to protect our rights. Minorities are on a concerted effort, backed by the west and also the MIddle Eastern Muslim nations to undermine the ”sons of the land” and overtake us.

    Gon Siraa is answerable for all such treachery against Singhalese, along with his parangi blooded PM. These traitors will never be pardoned by the people. They must be given their dues rightfully, sooner rather than later.

  3. Charles Says:

    Daya, This is an apt reminder when the Yahapalanaya is about to celebrate the 68th Independence anniversary, with a complete lopsided idea of independence. They are selling everything Sinhala for a silly idea of a reconciliation which the Tamils. Tamils will not accept anything other than separate Eelam State. No one except this silly Yahapalanaya wants it to happen. We have to educate the Sinhala people by distributing small handout in schools and every where people gather about the Sinhala Buddhist Values. The un mutilated Flag and National anthem sung in Sinhala are two important elements. The removal of 13A is equally important. Setting up military camps in the North and building houses for Sinhala Soldiers and Police Officers and Government Servants in the North and East should be encouraged. To make a popular demand of these Sinhala National requiments a leaflet campaing should be carried out relentlessly. The leaflet should not be long and complicated but treat different subjects in each leaflet and in big letters in simple sinhala and English, and also perhaps in Tamil.. It should be short and precise.

  4. SA Kumar Says:

    Dr. Daya Hewapathirane

    In Jaffna not your Sinha-Kodiya our Puli-Kodi is not flying now but Indian flag is flying machang/ machan !

  5. SA Kumar Says:

    * Dulanjalee Premadasa tells Mahinda Rajapaksa not to drag her name into his political problems- any comments ?

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