Ecumenical Sri Lankans sing Anthem in Both Indigenous Languages

News Item in Colombo Gazette, 4 February 2020

Concerns were raised today over the failure by the Government to sing the National Anthem in Tamil at the main Independence Day event at Independence Square. The National Anthem was sung only in Sinhalese, which was a shift from the policy of the former Government which decided to sing the anthem in Sinhalese and Tamil in order to promote reconciliation among the communities.

A group of people led by some activists gathered at the Borella cemetery roundabout and sang the anthem in Tamil and Sinhalese. Most of them wore black in protest of the Governments decision to sing the anthem in Sinhalese only at this year’s Independence Day celebrations.

The Tamil National Alliance also boycotted the main event as a mark of protest. Former Minister Mano Ganesan tweeted saying he was saddened and ashamed to note that the Government had dismissed the National Anthem in Tamil at the official Independence Day ceremony in front of international and local communities. He accused the Government of going down the path of destroying the Sri Lankan identity by giving justification to separatists and disappointing patriots.

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WHERE an English-speaking Aussie, BRIAN GILBERTSON,  honoured Lanka by rendering SRI LANKA MAATHA in Sinhala in a style that swelled the hearts of Sri Lankans present … and I was one of the fortunate ones

…. incidentally, Brian was coached in the Sinhala version by the late Dr Risien Bartholomeusz — so the lineage of transmission was truly as trans-ethnic and as thuppahi as the whole world is.


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2 responses to “Ecumenical Sri Lankans sing Anthem in Both Indigenous Languages

  1. Janaka Perera

    This brings me back to my some of the earlier questions on this topic to which I got no answers.
    1. Why do Indians (in a country of 22 languages) sing their National Anthem in on language at the main Independence Day event in Delhi?
    2. Are countries where people sing the National Anthem in one language more or less than those where they sing in two languages?
    3. The previous government had the National Anthem sung in two languages since 2016 and even went to the extent of even not having military parades to mark the LTTE defeat of 2009 in order to appease the likes of the TNA. Did it achieve so-called reconciliation?
    (Remember it was during the previous regime some Tamils marked May 18 – the day the LTTE was crushed – as ‘Tamil genocide’ day)
    4. Will the Northern Tamil politicians give up their separatist / federalist demands if the National Anthem sung also in Tamil?
    5. If so will they give a guarantee that non-Tamils too will be allowed to settle in the North and build temples in the same ay Tamils have been allowed to do so in the South?
    If they agree to all the above I doubt those in the South who want national unity will oppose singing the National Anthem in two languages at the main Independence Day event.

    • i KNEW THE ISSUE WILL EMERGE ON FEB 4TH ….. and besides that I have been kept busy by (!) my focus on essays facing the impending Geneva witch hunt; (2) maintaining two Web sites and (3) watching tennis, cricket and rugger on top of (4) home duties.

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