The proposer of the lion flag: Mudlr. Sinnalebbe

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

Mudlr. Sinnalebbe

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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