Friday, January 9, 2009
The Racist Flag of Sri Lanka
This is how some of my friends defined the National flag of Sri Lanka once we met up over a few drinks and smokes. This did not bewilder me as much because I have overheard such claims and it had kept me thinking for sometime. It is actually true that the first Sri Lankan flag was not quite popular among the minorities as it only depicted a lion which was derived from a Sinhalese flag. But the flag came under several amendments and included green and orange colors to represent the minorities.
The talk was about how the flag had its colors and designs in a way to signify each race which indirectly symbolized segregation of the minorities. One main supplementary argument was how other nations have defined their flags, and how we have done it. They claimed the use of a lion with a sword, is a rather a violent symbol compared to the nature of flags in other countries and depicted aggression particularly towards the Tamils.
This argument is any way represented among many in the Tamil Diaspora and even is used in the propaganda campaigns of the LTTE.
But in a holistic view we can not rule out the existence of such a claim. I personally believe its how you want to look at it, understanding each other and respecting their thoughts is something you would have to cultivate. And i dont believe that the current majority in this country would look at the national flag as my few good friends mentioned above. But there is a serious argument on how well the country was handled after the independence and whether all the communities were given proper prominence and equality in a way where it looked after the aspirations of everyone who fought for independence. And the issue of the Sri Lankan flag they claim is also a sub factor reflecting the mentality the country was in during that period.
Of course one can argue it both ways, and if you look at the definition of the Sri Lankan flag it would depict a whole different picture.
But several questions hover over my mind. If the flag had been designed in a different way will it had helped? Will it change the perception of some people?
Is our national flag really a raciest flag??