Sinhala LION flag imposed by Sinhala Majority- 1948

Place: Ceylon | Date: 19480000

The first House of Representatives of Ceylon (as it was then known) under the new Soulbury Constitution was elected in August 1947. The first Prime Minister was D.S.Senanayake who headed the Sinhala dominated United National Party. In anticipation of independence which was to be declared on 4 February 1948, a motion was tabled in January 1948 calling for the adoption of Lion Flag of the last Sinhala King of Kandy, Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe as the National Flag.

This did not find acceptance amongst the Tamil people and a Parliamentary Select Committee was appointed by Prime Minister D.S.Senanayake on 6 March 1948, for the design of the Flag. The Members of the Committee were Mr.S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, Sir John Kotelawala, Mr. J.R. Jayewardene, Mr. T.B. Jayah, Dr. L.A. Rajapakse, Mr. G.G. Ponnambalam and Senator S. Nadesan. The first three were future Prime Ministers of Sri Lanka.

Lion The Sinhala Lion Flag was used as the National Flag on Independence Day on 4 February 1948 and on the occasion of the opening of the first Parliament of independent Ceylon on February 19th, 1948. Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake unfurled the Lion Flag at the Octagon (Pattirippuwa) during the independence celebration held in Kandy on February 12th, 1948.

The Select Committee submitted its Report on 14 February 1950 and recommended by a majority that the Lion Flag be kept intact, together with its border and Bo leaves in the four corners - and to this Lion Flag (and outside it) two strips, one green and the other yellow be added. Each of these equal to one seventh the size of the flag were to represent the two minorities, the Tamils and Muslims.The National Flag recommended by a majority of the Select Committee was later presented to Parliament by Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake and adopted.

The decision to retain the Lion Flag in its entirety and keep the strips representing the minorities 'outside' its borders was symbolic of the will of Sinhala majority to build the newly independent state on the narrow and divisive foundation of the old Kandyan Sinhala kingdom.