Gotabaya says will not wear maroon shawl

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa told Parliament today that he will not wear the maroon shawl.

Making his maiden speech to Parliament, President Rajapaksa said that the maroon shawl had been worn by his family members in Parliament over the years.

Clad in full suit, President Rajapaksa said that he will not wear the shawl but stands by the idea behind the maroon shawl (Satakaya).

The Rajapaksas were often identified for the maroon shawl with the new President’s father, brothers and others in the family often wearing it for state events.

“From the first day the honourable D. M. Rajapaksa, known as the Lion of Ruhuna, appeared in the State Council, he wore a maroon coloured shawl. What he symbolized through this maroon shawl were the millet farmers of Giruvapaththuwa. Following D. M. Rajapaksa, my father D. A. Rajapaksa and each member of the Rajapaksa family who was elected to Parliament wore the maroon shawl. Even though I do not wear this shawl, I stand for the same profound philosophy of constant dedication to the poor that is symbolized by the maroon shawl,” he said.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa wore a white shirt and pants when he took office after being elected President and today he was seen in full suit.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, his brothers Basil Rajapaksa and Chamal Rajapaksa and Mahinda Rajapaksa’s son Namal Rajapaksa have all worn the maroon shawl. (Colombo Gazette)


  1. I support the President’s idea. We have a culture and also living in the huge world with others. There is an international standard of dress code which is wearing suit and tie. Japan, China, Korea, Singapore follow this particular standards. We also have a unique culture, we have to wear cultural dress while attending cultural events. We have to learn to live with ourselves and international community.

  2. Excellent idea. The red shawl has bad connotations. Even wearing the
    National costume should be limited to Sri Lanka. When travelling abroad, must wear the suit and tie, without standing out like a sore thumb.
    This may not please some in Sri Lanka, but they must project a harmonious image abroad.

  3. We can use India as an example. India is our closest neighbour. Not a single Indian leader since 1947 (year of India’s independence), has worn Coat and Tie. Every nationality and every nation has a right to express cultural distinctiveness and make a statement through choice of dress. Sri Lanka must fashion it’s dress code in line with our culture and not follow some one else slavishly. Uncle Tom’s clothes do not sit well on proud Sinhalese people.


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