National anthem
Posted on February 5th, 2016

Neville L

A Cabinet appointed sub-committee is reported to have recommended that the National Anthem be sung in both Sinhala and Tamil. Apparently, a final decision is to be made jointly by the President and the Prime Minister.

The primary reason advanced for the National Anthem is in order to promote reconciliation. However, measures to promote reconciliation should not be at the cost of violating the Constitution, because Article 7 is an entrenched clause listed in Article 83 meaning that any change to an entrenched article requires a 2/3 approval by Parliament and approval of the People at a referendum.

Article 7 states: “The National Anthem of the Republic of Sri Lanka shall be “Sri Lanka Matha”, the words and music of which are set out in the Third Schedule”.

According to this article whatever language is used to write the script of the National Anthem, the “words and music” should be Sri Lanka Matha if the Constitution is not to be violated. The English version of the National Anthem reflects this principle – the script is in English but when sung, the words and music are “Sri Lanka Matha”.

The argument that it has been sung in Tamil for a long time, the last occasion being when the President and the PM were in Jaffna only means that the Constitution has been repeatedly violated and no action has been taken to correct it. Furthermore, anyone raising the issue has been dubbed a racist even in Parliament.

If there is general consensus that the National Anthem should be sung in Tamil or other languages in addition to Sinhala, please respect the Constitution and amend it accordingly. However, if Sri Lanka as a nation is to honour one flag, should not the words and music of its National Anthem also reflect one nation?

Therefore, we need to make up our minds whether we are to respect and uphold the supreme law of the land, or bend it depending on the circumstances. If we settle for the latter, we cannot afford to talk about Good Governance and “Rule of Law”, nor should we lament whenever it is abused. Now that the President and the PM have violated this provision of the Constitution in Jaffna, the forthcoming Independence Day celebrations will demonstrate to the nation whether they would honour our independence by upholding the Constitution.

5 Responses to “National anthem”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    This govt. just violates the constitution. They don’t care about the RULE OF LAW.

    What GOO GOVERNANCE!

  2. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    NEVILLE !! Your article in the Island about THE UN ROLE should also be reflected in the Lanka Web. Excellent Article.

  3. Fran Diaz Says:

    The Law of the Land is broken with impunity in Sri Lanka. This has happend very badly only after the Yahapalanaya govt came into power (RW/CBK/ms).
    But even before, the 6-A was never implemented.
    Also, the 13-A was forced on Lanka under Duress by INDIA (UNP times udner JRJ), but that illegality has never been addressed by Parliament.

    On the 4th of Feb., Sri Lanka celebrated the 68th Year of Independence from Colonist Britain. Damage done to Lanka by Colonists have never been acknolwedged at Parliament level, has it ?

    Question : Is Sri Lanka an Independent Nation ?
    Are we a puppet state with strings controlled by INDIA & West, made worse by Tamil leaders who still have the Vadukoddai Resolution (1976) still not revoked officially.

    There are various internal problems too, making the whole situation rather weird to say the least.

  4. Cerberus Says:

    Why don’t they sing the Indian national anthem in Tamil in Tamil Nadu? How about Malaysia, Fiji, Mauritius,Canada, Australia, Norway, parts of Africa, where there are lots of Tamils do they sing the respective National anthems in Tamil. Why is only Sri Lanka selected for all these antics? As former Prime Minister of Singapore said we have to govern with a firm hand and ensure each district or area has equal numbers of all communities. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KDjjXUx9bY

  5. Christie Says:

    This is an important issue and the Peon Sirisena and the Kankaani Ranil and the Govenor Chandrika should have put this as part of their policies at the elections.

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