South Asian race each other to set world records in ‘human national flag’

The Tudikhel open ground in central Kathmandu is transformed into a large flag holder as 35,000 Nepalese break the world record for the biggest human flag - 23 August 2014 - Photo by AFP/Getty Images

The Tudikhel open ground in central Kathmandu is transformed into a large flag holder as 35,000 Nepalese break the world record for the biggest human flag – 23 August 2014 – Photo by AFP/Getty Images

If there’s one thing (many) South Asian nations have in abundance, it’s people. Now, countries of this populous region are competing to hold the world record in an unusual phenomenon called the human national flag.

On 23 August 2014, more than 35,000 Nepalese came together in Kathmandu’s city centre to form the world’s largest “human national flag”. The feat was best seen from the air, and had a special visual significance too: the Himalayan nation has the world’s only flag which is not a quadrilateral (it’s made up of two triangles).

Yahoo News http://news.yahoo.com/nepalese-attempt-worlds-largest-human-flag-record-102255975.html

The exercise was billed as an effort to ‘unite the hearts of Nepal’. As seen from the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/events/1521476671414710/), it entailed plenty of preparation. Unless you’re in North Korea, getting thousands of people to perform an act of mass coordination isn’t easy.

If Guinness World Records accepts this claim based on photographic and video evidence, Nepal will replace Pakistan as current record holder. On 15 February 2014, a total of 28,957 people came together at the National Hockey Stadium in Lahore to make up their flag during Punjab Youth Festival 2014. http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/2000/largest-human-national-flag

On 5 February 2014, a total of 28,957 Pakistanis came together at the National Hockey Stadium in Lahore to create their national flag

On 5 February 2014, a total of 28,957 Pakistanis came together at the National Hockey Stadium in Lahore to create their national flag

Pakistanis beat Bangladesh to this record. A total of 27,117 volunteers, mostly students, stood up with red and green blocks to form their flag at the National Parade Ground in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in Dhaka on 16 December 2013. They stood there for 6 minutes 16 seconds, though the requirement for setting a new world record was 5 minutes.

My friend Shahidul Alam photographed it from the air – see: http://www.driknews.com/issue/849

Bangladesh human national flag created at the National Parade Ground in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in Dhaka on 16 December 2013. Photo by Shahidul Alam/Drik News

Bangladesh human national flag created at the National Parade Ground in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in Dhaka on 16 December 2013. Photo by Shahidul Alam/Drik News

So here’s a chance for Sri Lanka’s patriots to literally fly their flag into a world record. Of course, coordinating the creation of the Lion Flag will be more demanding (making up Pakistani and Bangladeshi flags is relatively easier than Nepal’s).

Who’s willing to take up this little challenge?

When Worlds Collide #118: Astrology in Sri Lanka – Are we leaving it all to the stars?

When Worlds Collide, by Nalaka Gunawardene

Text of my ‘When Worlds Collide’ column published in Ceylon Today newspaper on 22 August 2014

Hethuwaadi Lipi (Rationalist Essays) edited by Ajith Thilakasena, Sarasavi Publishers, 2014 Hethuwaadi Lipi (Rationalist Essays) edited by Ajith Thilakasena, Sarasavi Publishers, 2014

“Sri Lanka has many persons claiming to practise astrology with its professed powers of predicting the future. However, not one of them anticipated the Indian Ocean Tsunami on 26 December 2004 which killed close to 50,000 people in Sri Lanka!”

With this statement, Ajith Thilakasena, veteran Sinhala author and rationalist, opens his powerful prologue to an anthology of essays he recently edited titled Hethuwaadi Lipi (Rationalist Essays, Sarasavi Publishers, 2013).

Ajith Thilakasena Ajith Thilakasena

He notes how, despite this, the hit-or-miss (actually, more miss than hit) ‘prophecies’ of astrologers are still widely amplified by our print and broadcast media. That, in turn, prompts many people to accept them uncritically.

“There is no shortage of blind followers for astrologers and other soothsayers despite their proven…

View original post 1,153 more words