FEATURES

A FICTIONAL HISTORY OF THE SRI LANKA FLAG

Published

on

THE ORIGINAL FLAG BROUGHT BY VIJAYA

The short epilogue of a play of the imagination about the death of the Lion, of why Sinhabahu killed the animal father, why Prince Vijaya revolted and was expelled to Lanka, and the birth of the Lankan nation. The play is “Under The Ola Leaves”to be published shortly in Colombo.

(The lights come on, and the three characters are seen seated exactly as they were in the prologue. The scripts are in their hands, they have finished reading the play)

Philip: (The first to break the silence after the reading. ) I saw the whole thing visually. I saw the whole play. I think it will work on stage.

Sita: I don’t think it can be performed in this country, people are touchy. Especially the flag that Vijaya brought to Lanka. Politicians have conditioned people to accept a militaristic lion depicted in an art form of our times. In the ancient times of Vijaya a subject was depicted as seen in nature. Anyway, I didn’t think about staging, I wrote it for reading. After so many centuries of experiencing the theatre, the mind and feeling have been conditioned to imagine a performance.

Rasa: Why did you imagine it as a lion of peace ?

Sita: There was no reason to see Vijaya or Sinhabahu as militaristic. Sinhabahu later suffered from his seeing his father as beast only ,from the time Sinhabahu left the cave to rejoin humans till he killed his father. A mercy killing, however painful to the killer, administering mercy makes passage easier if the killed is seen as a beast.

The Sinhala people came from a human and a beast. The beast had to be removed from the story of the human Sjnhala people, for the story to continue, but the killing was an act of mercy, but made easier by mixture of feeling between father and animal.

Philip: It is a tragic lion and peaceful. How did it change to the flag we have today?

Sita: The history of Sri Lanka.The original peaceful Lion of Vijaya became a fierce animal, sword in hand threatening the minorities, the two stripes, in front of him.

Rasa: Do you think that was deliberate?

Sita: I don’t think so. It was just carelessness and a lack of imagination of those designers as to what they were unintentionally conveying.

Rasa:You got the idea and the feeling for this play by being at Sarachchandra’s Sinha Bahu in Peradeniya.

Sita: Yes, that was a tragic and sad lion with a very uncertain son when he killed his father, and I imagined a different ending in Sarachchandra’s play. Instead of the lights going down, when Sinhaya fell dead on stage, to end the play, I saw the lights lowered, and the son walking very slowly, standing over the body of his father, with head bent down. Then a slow blackout to end the first story . Mine is the second.

Philip: And it is also from old Peradeniya.

Sita : Yes, Sinhaya and Sinha Bahu are as much from Peradeniya as from the Mahavamsa.

Author