Accolades for prez and PM – a response
Posted on February 15th, 2016

Rear Admiral Dr. Sarath Weerasekera VSV, RWP, USP Courtesy The Island

 
Professor Carlo Fonseka is an intellectual whom I treat with utmost respect. He has earned a reputation for his sharp-edged, often controversial but genuine criticism without fear or favour, towards even his closest friends. That is why it made me really happy to read his appreciative criticism of my film ‘Gamani’ a few years ago.
Respect towards a person is not a barrier to challenging his views. In such spirit let me state that the contents of his article (with regard to the National Anthem), published in The Island of 10th February 2016 titled “Accolades for President and PM” are very superficial and unpatriotic.

Prof. Carlo, justifying the singing of the National Anthem in Tamil, states that the Tamils could “understand” the meaning instantly when they sing it in their mother tongue. If so, the Anthem should be sung in ‘English Also’- if not in Portuguese and Dutch – for the greater understanding of the Burghers in our country.

‘A national anthem is a generally patriotic musical composition that evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions and struggles of its people, recognized either by a nation’s government as the official national song, or by convention through use by the people.’ It is a symbol of patriotism officially proclaimed so and designed and deemed to strengthen a nation’s resolve. The text of a National Anthem and the way it is set to music is more an expression of patriotic fervor than a literary composition. It is noted more for the inspiration it evokes than for its musical quality or for the beauty of the way its words are strung together. Hence when one tries to justify the singing of the National Anthem in Tamil too on the grounds that the Tamils could understand the meaning, that argument does not blend with the true spirit of the anthem. In South Asian culture, certainly in Sinhala culture, the National Anthem in particular is composed with due regard to the auspicious nature of the words, especially the initial sound of the words which are arranged in ‘musically expressive succession’ all in harmonized form.

In fact the original song composed by Ananda Samarakoon which began as Namo Namo Matha was changed with official approval to the present Sri Lanka Matha because it was believed that the initial sound ‘Na’ was not auspicious.

A National Anthem is a symbol of the identity of a nation. It is a symbol of unity. It depicts the united and unitary character of the state. Twenty nine thousand soldiers were killed and fourteen thousand maimed in the recent process of preserving this country as a “unitary state” by winning the North. Today the North is all Tamil due to ethnic cleansing of the Sinhalese and Muslims, actions perpetrated by the Tamil Terrorists, and getting increasingly endorsed. And today, in the North, in spite of the country being unitary, the National Anthem is sung in Tamil and an MP has with all impunity even refused to hoist the National Flag in Jaffna on the Independence Day! Worse still such conduct is tolerated with asinine and sheepish cowardice and surrender – all in the name of reconciliation and inclusivity. Is not this situation an insult to our war heroes who made the supreme sacrifice? They protected the lives of all communities from terror and will do so in future if the necessity arises. When one stops paying respect to one’s war heroes while still expecting to be protected by them, one is, to say the least, being a hypocrite.

Quoting someone Carlo says “patriotism is the last resort of a scoundrel”. But, I must say, like all emotions, patriotism too comes from within. Whether we are rational or not, we are reaping the benefits of the thoughts and deeds of people who are moved by patriotism.

We are aware that the Indian National Anthem is written in Sanskritised Bengali by Nobel laureate and mystic poet Ravindranath Tagore. It is not even in Hindi, the majority language. Do all the Hindus, Tamils (76 million), Guajarati, Marathi, Punjabis, Muslims et al in India not understand the meaning of it because it is not written in their language? They all sing it in unison. No community, not even the Tamils of Tamil Nadu, demands that it should be translated into their respective languages and no professor would dare to volunteer to shamelessly justify such a demand.

India stipulates that in all schools, the day’s work begins with the singing of the National Anthem. School authorities have been instructed to make adequate provisions in their programmes for popularizing the singing of the anthem and promoting respect for it amongst the students. Mind you, these children belong to all communities in India. That’s why we see, on nationally important days, when the Indian national song is sung, even the Marathi man’s eyes glint with tears. That’s what is called love for the country. The National Anthem is a symbol of national pride which is not supposed to be perverted by the whims and fancies of the local “self proclaimed diplomats”. When it is sung it brings out all the love for one’s country and reminds one of what ” being patriotic ” is all about. It is not about the government or its machinery, but about the social cohesion of the people. When the country needs you the National Anthem will be a reminder of what is at stake and what one’s duty is to one’s country. Can it ever happen in a country with two National Anthems based on ethnicity, is allowed? The frequently used fashionable phrase of the day – “national reconciliation” – becomes a reality only, when all the communities in our country could sing “Sri Lanka Matha” in unison. It will never happen as long as we have leaders with warped selfish political minds and the so called “academics” ever ready to sing “prasasthi gee” or praises to them.

Prof. Carlo maintains that some people diabolically tried their best to prevent Tamils from singing the National Anthem in their mother tongue and there exists a “primeval fear “that it amounts to the beginning of the end of “territorial integrity”. He also says that that fear “is a “whopping delusion”. But I say that “fear” is not unfounded. Those who think it is a delusion are the ones who look at this sensitive issue superficially and in total isolation or total exclusion of attendant facts.

What is the background in which this matter has cropped up? The separatist Tiger is slowly raising its ugly head again. The Chief Minister of the North tells the world that Tamil genocide was practised and demands unbridled powers for the Northern Provincial Council. The TNA is fighting hard for federalism with a view to achieving secession. And the authorities today are offering on a platter what the terrorists caused murder and mayhem for. Zeid Hussein, representing the modern day colonial masters of Sri Lanka, demands expeditious reduction of military strength in the North and calls upon the armed forces to face up to the “stain” on their reputation. With the tremendous pressure from the international community to implement the 13th Amendment fully, and considering the current behaviour pattern of our leaders, there is a strong possibility that the North will soon become a federating partner in a Federal State and eventually a separate state. In this state of affairs, allowing the National Anthem to be sung in Tamil on the National Independence Day, without even any request by the ordinary Tamils and also by blatantly violating the Constitution, naturally arouses suspicion amongst patriots in the midst of the already prevalent signs of territorial disintegration. Hence that “fear” is not a ‘whopping delusion’ as Carlo Fonseka propounds but an issue to be viewed very seriously.

We must have one country, one flag and one anthem. I am sure every citizen of the country. Endorsing and tolerating National Anthems in the plural, in more than one language, in this case in the indigenous Sinhala, sows discord, not concord. If Carlo Fonseka calls those who object to two anthems in the country “self-proclaimed patriots” who then are the” real “patriots and who are the real “traitors”?

Rear Admiral Dr. Sarath Weerasekera VSV, RWP, USP

15 Responses to “Accolades for prez and PM – a response”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    SL has become the LAUGHING STOCK of the world for having 2 national anthems! ONLY country to have 2 national anthems. What a bloody joke.

    Don’t forget VASUTHEVA who is now with MR. He too HAILED the govt. for singing the national anthem in TAMIL MADU language.

  2. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    Rear Admiral Dr. Sarath Weerasekera !!!

    Carlo was my class-mate at St. Joseph’s College. He used to sing just like Sunil Shantha. Was a firm follower of Abraham Kovoor. I do not want to delve about his idealogy. He was very bright in College. A childhood friend asked me, ” how come Carlo is bald, and you have all your hair on your head ?'” My answer was, that he used his brains and lost them, but I never used my brains. Please permit to tell a short story. No malice at all, just reminiscing mischievous College days. Carlo is the Top Authority man in controlling and eradicating Alchohol and Tobacco. My story complements his position.:-
    On the last day of term our click of five contribute Rs5.00 each, and after college closes half day, we go to Medina Hotel, opposite Maradana Station, to have Buriyani. We get down a bottle of Fine Old Port for Rs10.00. Everybody smokes, except me. At the end of lunch, they all caught me and tried to poke a lighted Cigarette in my mouth. I struggled, broke two glasses that were on the table and escaped. I have never smoked one Cigarette till this day. Iam same age as Carlo.
    Now I see him discouraging people from smoking. WHAT IRONY ? Iam happy he is on a good mission.

  3. ranjit Says:

    I too like Carlo Fonseka as a person.I watched him in Doramadalawa and other forums but I do not agree with him in this particular issue which he agrees for singing the national anthem in Tamil. It shouldn’t be done at all. He must first think of the majority Sinhala race who does not agree at all.Maybe few will like it same like Carlos Fonseka just to please a small section of our population for their own benefits politically or otherwise. The majority are against this and we are ashamed as a country in whole.

    Rear Admiral Dr. SARATH WEERASEKERA is a hero to me and to millions in this country without any doubt. He is a fighter and we admire his courage and his work on behalf of our heroes and the Sinhala race.We need heroes like him at this very moment and I hope he will get a chance again to represent not only a section of our population but to serve all the people in this blessed country.Lies, bogus promises, intimidations, threats should be stopped at once. This is not democracy this is dictatorship we are seeing today with this Govt of Judas.let’s get united to send this evil Govt packing before they destroy the Sinhala race and our sacred religion Buddhism.

  4. ranjit Says:

    I too like Carlo Fonseka as a person.I watched him in Doramadalawa and other forums but I do not agree with him in this particular issue which he agrees for singing the national anthem in Tamil. It shouldn’t be done at all. He must first think of the majority Sinhala race who does not agree at all.Maybe few will like it same like Carlos Fonseka just to please a small section of our population for their own benefits politically or otherwise. The majority are against this and we are ashamed as a country in whole.

    Rear Admiral Dr. SARATH WEERASEKERA is a hero to me and to millions in this country without any doubt. He is a fighter and we admire his courage and his work on behalf of our heroes and the Sinhala race.We need heroes like him at this very moment and I hope he will get a chance again to represent not only a section of our population but to serve all the people in this blessed country.Lies, bogus promises, intimidations, threats should be stopped at once. This is not democracy this is dictatorship we are seeing today with this Govt of Judas.let’s get united to send this evil Govt packing before they destroy the Sinhala race and our sacred religion Buddhism.We all hope for a better future for all Sri lankans to live in peace and harmony with a strong leadership who actually loves this nation and the people.

  5. NAK Says:

    With all due respect to Prof.Fonseka, I will agree with you about singing the national anthem in Tamil if you can answer the following.
    Does the translation of the national anthem has the permission of the original composer for it to be translated. Does it not require such permission.
    Does it not violate our constitution by singing it in official functions with out amending the relevant acts in the constitution.

    And then,this time the the Tamil version was sung at the end of the ceremonies. What if some dumb skull demands it to be sung at begining or simultaiously with Sinhala version so that they would not feel like second class citizens.

    Dont you think the best solution is to teach the Tamil students the meaning and lyrics of the Anthem so that they too can sing with Sinhales and Muslims with the feeling it generates.
    Why is it neccessary to have a Tamil translation of everything? Learing the Anthem and its meaning surely couldn’t be such a big deal unless some political losers want to make an issue out of it.

  6. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    NAK !!! YOU HAVE RAISED A MOOT QUESTION. IT IS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE. IT APPEARS THAT THE LYRICS OF THE SONG, THE MUSIC OF THE SONG AND THE PRESENTATION OF THE SONG, THE WAY IT IS SUNG, HAVE NOT BEEN PROTECTED UNDER THE INTERLLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS…(IPR ), PERIOD.

    NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO TRANSLATE, INTRODUCE DIFFERENT LANGUAGE AND IN SHORT MEDDLE WITH THE ORIGINAL PRESENTATION OF THE SONG, THE WAY AND HOW IT HAS TO BE SUNG. THIS IS A VERY SERIOUS MATTER.

    APARENTLY, “”THOSE DAYS,”” NOBODY ENVISAGED “”THESE DAYS”” WITH THE TAMIL MENACE, OF RIDING OVER ANYTHING, ASSUMING THAT IT IS THEIR OWN BIRTH RIGHTS. NO POLITICIAN PUT HIS FOOT DOWN FOR SAFEGUARDS.

    THIS HAS TO BE LOOKED INTO, AND IF THE SONG HAS BEEN PROTECTED IN THE AFORESAID MANNER, IT CAN BE TAKEN TO A COURT OF LAW, AND THE CRONTROVERSIAL TAMIL VERSION COULD BE COMPLETELY NEGATED AND A COURT ORDER OBTAINED TO PREVENT FROM SINGING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM IN TAMIL.

    IF THERE IS NO INTERLLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS PROTECTION AT ALL, A CLOSE RELATIVE OR FRIEND OR ANYBODY FOR THAT MATTER, COULD ENSURE THE SONG BEING PROTECTED UNDER RIGHT AWAY, WITH THE NAME OF THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR, AND PROTECTED UNDER IPR.

    THEREAFTER, IF ANYBODY BREACHES THE INTERLLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS, HE, SHE OR ANY ENTITY COULD BE SUED IN A COURT OF LAW.

    NOW, SINCE ALL OUR POLITICIANS FROM A TO ZEE, ARE INVERTEBRATES, THE LEGAL FRATERNITY SHOULD GO INTO THIS SUBJECT IMMEDIATELY. BLESSINS OF THE NOBLE TRIPLE GEM TO ALL CONTENDERS OF THIS ACTION.

  7. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    NAK !! Re my 4th para, When the song was originated, and went in for publication, the Publisher has to obtain written permission to Print, and simultaneously, it is Registered for Intellectual Property Rights. If this has happened, then, the next step. Trace the person who translated it into Tamil, and take him to Courts for TAMPERING with INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, and SUE HIM. A Court Order can be obtained to completely negate the Tamil Version, and of singing it thereafter. The best person that we can get assistance from is SHENALI.

    SHENALI, PLEASE, PLEASE ENLIGHTEN US ON THIS SUBJECT. THANKS.

  8. Jag Says:

    Rear Admiral Dr. Weerasekera, you have raised a very pertinent argument.
    When the ”so called” Professors profess vexatious views to justify something totally wrong and unacceptable just to please their masters, then where is our country heading….???

    MR better be careful of the old fox ”Vaasu”. He is with MR, not because he accepts MR’s views, but he has nothing or no one else to cling on to with his bankrupt politics. Blood is thicker for him more than the country. His relationship with Wigneysan (massinaa) is more important to him than the country.

    As NAK stated, there is a serious issue of Intellectual Property Rights as well, ”unless” the Late Hon.Ananda Samrakoon has signed it off as a Property of the State, allowing the government of the day to change according to their whims and wishes.

    Someone got to investigate that and find a way to take legal action.

    Hon.Sir, I reckon that you should be writing more. People are aware that ”Weerasekeras” are squeaky clean patriots. They also know that your illustrious elder brother entered priesthood and became an ”aaranya vaasi bikkhu”. I have read your beautiful poems during my childhood.

    You are knowledgeable than most of the politicians in the country, with abundant knowledge in our country’s heritage, literature and culture. You are the type of leaders that people look up to.

    My heartiest wishes!

  9. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    Jag !! In those days, nobody looked for so much of legality. Things just passed by as it was peaceful times. It is my point of view that Ananda would not have signed any document passing on his rights to the State. Then, Probably, he would have Registered for the THREE safeguards, Patent, Trademark, and CopyRight, under Intellectual Property Rights.

  10. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    CARLOS COMMENTS STEM FROM HIM BEING A STAUNCH CATHOLIC. HE LOVES TO ALWAYS CONTEST. EVERYBODY LOVED HIM IN COLLEGE.

  11. Jag Says:

    Susantha, yes there is a very high probability. Now it is left for the opposition, probably to Udaya Gammanpila or Wimal Weerawansa to file a case and create maximum problems for this moronic government.

    I also heard this Pon-Siraa govt has authorised ”Provincial Anthems” as well. How on earth they authorise such a thing? Isn’t that the precursor to allowing NE their own anthem and then their OWN FLAG as well ?

    So where is this vociferous patriot in the govt, ”Paata-Lee” ??? Isn’t he the one who screamed world over against Tamils while provoking millions of Singhalese to go against Tamils ?? Isn’t he the one who swore that NO chances will be given to Tamils for separation ???

    This govt has gone astray. Instead of reconciliation, they are dividing the country.

  12. nilwala Says:

    A very well written piece by Adm. Weerasekera that shows how the Current Govt. chooses to ignore the Constitution and the Law therein, whenever convenient, while it lectures on the Rule of Law at other times.
    The latest I have heard is that there are 2 Versions of the Constitution in circulation, one WITH the 3rd Schedule that does NOT include the Tamil lyrics, and one WITH the 3rd Schedule that includes the Tamil version.
    This should be checked out for determining what the ORIGINAL/AUTHENTIC VERSION is.
    There is a lot of hanky panky that goes on in the Parliament with the Hansard. Someone should go through all the records and compare from the time of Independence since that is when these controversies began to appear.
    With the 2 languages, there has been deceitful acts in many records such as Deeds and Court records as well, especially in the Eastern Province. Adm. Weeerasekera will understand the implications.

  13. Fran Diaz Says:

    The National Anthem sung in Tamil, is Tamilisation of Lanka. It is acknowledging that there are two “Nations” ? All that is happening under Yahap govt is leading to a Fed State > Eelam. That is what is being put in place here by Yahap. Tamil leaders will have their cake and eat it too – Fed State in the North and Tamils can live in the rest of Lanka with Tamil language in place with all the perks. Can’t help feeling that Sri Lanka is sliding fast into the lap of Tamil Nadu – TN culture will be at Lanka doorstep very soon, plus their Caste System. What a ghastly achievement for Yahap govt.

    Also, Fooling with the Law of the Land is the downfall of the Nation …

    STOP IT ! What are the Lanka Lawmakers doing ?

    What we have today is a dead/bribed Parliament. What is the use of such a Parliament with a Fascist/Sadistic dictator leadership ?

  14. Fran Diaz Says:

    Susantha has raised a valuable point here re registration of all of the songs the Sinhala people consider valuable under the Intellectual Property Rights.
    I do not know the costs and other aspects involved. Over to the Lanka lawyers ….

  15. Jag Says:

    ”What are the Lanka Lawmakers doing ?”

    The majority of lawmakers are illiterate and they are only committed to their welfare and development, they will never talk about sovereignty of their own country.

    The ones who should be in parliament like Adm.Weerasekera are not there today, to speak on behalf of the country.

    Did a single lawmaker even question the govt asking their sanctioning of the National Anthem to be sung in Tamil, and not raising the ”real Sinha flag” too just like in 1948 where they say the National Anthem was sung in Tamil ??

    These video clips shows the real ”Sinha Flag” that was hoisted in 1948.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1IBlfAAxzE

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UosArxZtK_c

    Only way to unite the country and build one nation is to stop talking about minorities. All are Sri Lankans and everyone should be treated equally. There can’t be separate Tamil and Muslim schools too. That is what separates communities.

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