The proposer of the lion flag:
At the time of gaining political freedom the question of the
national flag became an issue among the political leaders of the
day. On Friday January 16, 1948 when the parliament met after
lunch A. Sinnalebbe (Batticaloa) rose in parliament and moved,
"That this house is of opinion that the Royal Standards of
King Sri Wickrama Raja Sinha depicting a yellow lion passant
holding a sword in its right paw on a red background, which was
removed to England after the Convention of 1815, should once again
be adopted as the official flag of free Lanka."
And this proposal was seconded by A. E. Goonesinha (First
Colombo-Central). But the proposition ran into trouble because a
section of the members of Parliament opposed it. Later Prime
Minister D. S. Senanayake appointed a committee on January 27,
1948 and the committee comprised S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, T. B.
Jayah, Sir John Kotelawala, J. R. Jayewardene, L. A. Rajapaksa, G.
G. Ponnambalam and Senator S. Nadesan.
However on February 4, 1948 lion flag was hoisted and on
February 12, 1948 after a period of 133 years the downtrodden flag
once again reasserted its importance and dignity when it was
hoisted by Prime Minister D. S. Senanayake at the Dalada Maligawa
Octagon. And on the night of March 2nd, 1951 the lion flag was
accepted by the House of Representatives with 51 voting in favour
21 against and 8 abstaining. From February, 1952 the Union Jack
was replaced by the lion flag after making changes 11 times.
Late Al Haj Mudlr. A. Sinnalebbe and his father Ana Mana Cheena
had contributed immensely to the social mosaic of this country and
in particular to the educational uplift of the people of Eastern
Province. They provided the first school for Muslims at Kattankudy
(Al Hira Vidiyalayam, K'kudy) the 1st Central College for Muslims
at K'kudy and the first Technical School now the Technical
College, B'caloa. And also donated the first rural hospital on the
outskirts of K-kudy and Ariyampathi in 1925 a 5-acre land for
Jaamiathul Falah, Land and building for Grand Meera Mosque and the
Market Square donated to the Mosque for its maintenance, the
burial ground and the present land for the Muslim Ladies Arabic
College all at K'kudy and Muhaideen Jummah Mosque at Eravur etc.
are a few by this illustrious sons of Sri Lanka.
And now we at Mudlr. Sinnalebbe Educational Foundation grant
scholarships to the needy undergraduates. Just Books - a
subsidiary of Mudlr. Sinnalebbe Educational Foundation sells all
Indian books two times the Indian price which is the cheapest in
the country, for the welfare of the people.
And SL Institute of Languages, Arts and Culture, SL Institute
of Studies and SL D'awah Mission are a few doing their level best
to promote educational and cultural awareness following in the
footsteps of the great sons of Sri Lanka.
In 1972, Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike saw Lanka through to the
status of a democratic republic. She also directed her Cultural
Minister the late Mr. S. S. Kulatilleke and Permanent Secretary
Mr. Nissanka Wijeyeratne to define clearly the four bo leaves at
the four corners of the flag in its proper form. A gesture, much
appreciated by the public.
Today our identity as a nation is symbolised by the Lion Flag
where it shall fly freely, uniting all races, creeds and religions
within our motherland.
Long live Sri Lanka!
Mudlr. Sinnalebbe Educational Foundation
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