What's really up with the Nepali Flag?

I see it!
My old TV at home has a couple of channels on it and on top of that, a very few are in English. It’s either watching people die in Aljazeera or watching “Finding Bigfoot” on Animal planet. If you haven’t watched those crazy guys looking for bigfoot, you should give it a try. It’s perhaps the most ridiculous show ever to be produced on the face of the earth.

“So…you saw something?”
“Yeah, it was pretty big”
“Was it Hairy?”
“Oh yeah it was!”
“Could it outrun you?”
“For sure”
“What you saw my friend……is the Bigfoot!”

It’s almost like somebody in Nepal should produce another series called “Finding Yeti” and take those Sherpas on mountain trips just to find absolutely NOTHING.

Speaking of which, there are times when I do get to skip those rather absurd programs and watch some quality stuff on a channel called Screen. Yesterday night, after some very spicy bbq over at that Chinese place and some very, very strong, delightfully weird Khorangju, I found myself watching the Season 5 Finale of Game of Thrones and oh boy was it fun getting really, really confused and agitated and LOST.

You guessed it right, that was my first time watching the show. I had no background idea about the characters, nor the plot; I did see the dragon on 9gag but that was about it. So all the killing and stabbing in brothels and dragon resting and Mongolian-like-horse-riders surrounding and going about doing one’s duty made no sense to me at all.

In one of those very confused state, I noticed something that I wouldn’t have perhaps noticed it had I not had understood the story. As my mind slowly drifted into the abyss, I noticed a double triangular flag that one of those bloke in the army was carrying and I took an interest into how they actually went about selecting such a flag. Why not just a rectangle?

Well that same could be said about the Nepali flag isn’t it? Are we that desperate to separate ourselves from the crowd? Why go through the pain of making kids draw double triangles with complex triangular moon and sun in their elementary general knowledge class? I mean, I remember drawing it and did wish at that time that our flag looked liked japan’s and not ours.

As I found out from the radio podcast of PRI’s The World, the triangular flag has hindu roots. Graham Bartman, the chief vexillologist of The Flag Institute [HERE], who was on one of the programs had this to say:

“Hindu flags are triangular. So is the Sikh khanda flag. Triangular flags are very culturally normal in that part of the world.”

Well, I didn’t know it was so common in our part of the world to be honest. We kinda accepted the fact that our flag was absurdly made and was later shocked to discover that our flag looked nothing like the others.

This being said, I do see why the flag was a topic of discussion a few years ago regarding how the flag needed to be changed. Since Nepal now is a secular republic and not a hindu kingdom like before, it made sense to have a secular flag but I think the constituent assembly members had larger, more important issues to deal first…rather than just delve on whether the flag should stay being the flag it is.

Of course it should.

If you look at it from a non-religious perspective, it makes more sense keeping the flag. Modern explanation about the triangles go about saying that the two triangles, with one overlapping displays the glorious Himalayan range that has prevented, time and again, imperialists to take over the nation. Think about the Genghis Khan or even the Brits who suffered chronic altitude sickness as they tried to make their way into the country and over take it. The blue boarder representing people’s calm, overly relaxed demeanor hiding down a crimson red which has hints of anger, courage and most of all, rigidity. The moon and sun combo exhibiting both traits of serenity and fierceness are very alike how the mix of red and blue express themselves in the flag.  

But it doesn’t just end there.

Apparently, a lot of mathematicians and flag-enthusiasts dig the flag big time. And for a very good reason. The constitution, or rather, the old constitution, has a detailed DIY guide to drawing your own Nepali flag. From describing how the outline should be made to the position of the moon and sun in a very old school mathematical way of using “Ok so make A and B point and draw a line between them…I said LINE gooddamit! LINE,” the details are excruciatingly dizzy if you just go on about reading it.

The full transcript of the description can be read [HERE]. If you feel very lazy like me would rather see someone else draw that for you, here’s a video posted up by Numberphile youtubers. They have a pretty good video about the enigma machine as well, if that’s your..cup of tea. 

You can also listen to PRI's short take on the flag down by clicking on the play button without having to the leave the page:


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