SINGING SRI LANKA’S NATIONAL ANTHEM IN TAMIL Part 3
Posted on February 9th, 2020

KAMALIKA PIERIS

Those interested in the issue, want to know, how a Tamil version arose. It was due to British rule. The British administration recognized Tamil as a vernacular language, together with Sinhala. Tamil words were shown on rupees and coins, (e.g.  the 10 cent coin of 1928). There were Tamil vernacular schools. Also, Tamil was going to be an official language   after Independence.

Taking all this into account, the legislators allowed a Tamil translation of the national anthem. But right from the start the Tamil version met with opposition. When it was sung for the first time in 1949, some members of the audience remained seated. (Lankadipa of 5.2.1949)

The national anthem did not feature in the 1972 Constitution. But the 1978 Constitution included the national anthem in its schedules. The anthem was to be in Sinhala only. We can infer that from the English translation, which was a transliteration. The Tamil translation came about because   Tamil MP K. Devanayagam asked for it, saying the Tamil speaking group wished to sing in Tamil.

In 1987, Tamil became a national language thanks to the 13th Amendment.  Tamil speakers then became arrogant. Tamil is now a national language, on par with Sinhala,and the Tamil translation is no longer an option. It is a must, they said.If Tamil speaking citizens demand that the national anthem be sung in Tamil the other communities have no legal or moral right to obstruct it. Like the Sinhala people, Tamils too take pride in their language, Tamils love their language and they must be allowed to sing the national anthem in it  and indeed must never be asked to sing in Sinhala.

These arguments did not carry the weight the Tamils expected. To start with the public was highly critical of the 13th Amendment, which made Tamil a national language .the amendment was forced on Sri Lanka by India and was passed in Parliament under coercion. The public were angry.

Kamal Gunaratne records two demonstrations, one before and one after the Accord was signed. The first was a massive protest march from Kolonnawa heading towards Presidents House.  The marchers were aggressive, chanting anti government and anti Indian sentiments. Kamal recalls the violent reaction of the crowd, as The army turned them back. they dispersed, ‘shouting at us in foul language scolding not only us, but also our parents, grandparents and great grandparents.’

The situation remained tense after the Accord was signed, continued Kamal. A second protest march had started from Castle Street area. The army had to use force to disperse the crowd.  Once again we were subjected to angry, abusive language, this time against the President and Government as well as our parents. These waves of unrest also spread to other parts of the country.

Tamil anthem supporters said they needed to sing in Tamil because the Tamils do not know Sinhala. ‘We can’t sing in a language we don’t understand, they said. This is not correct. Tamils know Sinhala.

Television news show Tamil politicians and Tamil citizens speaking fluently in perfect Sinhala. These fluent speakers include Sampanthan and Sumanthiran. Derana news of 14.1.2020 showed a meeting between Tamil journalists and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. Speaking in perfect Sinhala, they asked about singing the anthem in Tamil at the next Independence celebrations.

The total population of Tamils in the 2012 Census was 2,269,266. Out of this, 392,583 (17.3%) know Sinhala. This leaves 1,876,683 who do not know Sinhala.  This amounts to less than 2 million, out of a total Sri Lankan population of 20 million.

However, the Tamils   continued with the argument that they cannot understand Sinhala. Tamils cannot think of themselves as Sri Lankan when the national anthem is in a language that they cannot understand.

‘it will be meaningless to force a Tamil to sing the National Anthem only in Sinhala, if that person cannot comprehend the literary content of the song, which needs a sound knowledge of the language, they said.

‘There is greater chance of inculcating a sense of Lankan patriotism in Tamil/Muslim children when they are allowed to sing the national anthem in their own language rather than parrot it in a language they barely understand,’ said this group. Tamil could understand the meaning instantly when they sing it in Tamil.

What the opponents of singing it in Tamil advocates is to force Tamils to recite it without understanding it. What good will that do? It would become drudgery and people could refrain from singing it altogether. Or worse, compose a song for themselves with different sentiments.

There are 3 million Tamils, all Tamil speaking, and 3 million Muslims, mostly Tamil speaking, whose patriotism is intimately tied up with the use of their mother tongue, as much as the patriotism of the Sinhalese is tied up with the use of their mother tongue. There is nothing romantic about singing the National anthem in Tamil, replied the Sinhala group.

Supporters of the Tamil anthem also fell back on a comment by Colvin R de Silva which is treasured by the Tamil Separatist Movement. Colvin said ‘One language two countries. Two languages one country’. This is an absurd statement and it should be forgotten. The correct position is, One language, one country. Two languages, two countries.”  British Canada gave the French language a place after defeating the French .Now Quebec wants to secede. Sri Lanka recognized Tamil, now the Tamils wants Eelam.

Colvin’s statement has been modified by Ryp Van Winkle. Ryp said that after the independence celebration of 2020, Eelamists have been given the opportunity of saying ‘One anthem, two nations. Two anthems, one nation.’  I will show, later on in this essay, that it is ‘two anthems, two nations’.

Tamil anthem supporters heavily criticized those who did not want to hear the national anthem sung in Tamil. ‘nationalists want to ram the Sinhala national anthem down the throat of our Tamils speaking brethren’, said one critic.  ‘People who insist that Tamil speaking people should be forced to sing the national anthem in Sinhala wish to demonstrate their superiority to the numerically weaker Tamils. It shows Sinhala dominance’ said another.

 ‘the loud mouths Wimal Weerawansa and Bandula Gunawardena, to name but two opponents, were recently heard denouncing the very thought of allowing the national anthem to be sung in Tamil. One dares to ask what high qualifications Wimal Wee and Bandula Gee possess to so vociferously deny the Tamils also that bit of expressed respect to our common motherland.’

Supporters of the Tamil national anthem saw nothing wrong in singing in Tamil. ‘What is wrong in letting them sing the national anthem in Tamil to the same tune?  They would understand and sing with the same feeling.  For this land is as much theirs as ours. We must give the Tamils back their dignity.   It is only the racists, who object’ said one supporter.

‘A national anthem is meant to unite and that doesn’t mean singing it in one language in a multi language society where diversity is recognized and accommodated in the constitution. Accommodating the linguist diversity of our people increases loyalty, a sense of belonging and strengthens unity rather than threatens it. Accommodating diversity strengthens unity,’ said another.

 ‘The singing of the national anthem in Tamil was a very significant act of the government to make the Tamils feel equal and a sense of belonging to the state.’  ‘It will also help chauvinistic Sinhalese to remember that there are people other than the Sinhalese living in this country,’ concluded this group.

In these divisive times, when there are clear indications of certain forces hell-bent on widening the rift, isn’t it a short-sighted and reckless move to exclude the National Anthem from being sung in Tamil – particularly after it had been sung in that language for a number of years’

The Tamil anthem supporters spoke strongly. the country is already divided and by singing the National Anthem in Sinhala, it will divide the country further.  ‘The Sinhala only national anthem was designed to divide rather than unite, to widen the psychological gulf the majority and the minorities and drive home the lesson that minorities are not so welcome interlopers in a Sinhala country,’  they said. We must voluntarily learn the national anthem in each other’s language, so we can all sing it together.

 In 2020 they said, the cancellation of the Tamil language national anthem is not a mere procedural adjustment. It involves an important policy change carrying serious repercussions, taking the country back 60 years to the disastrous ‘Sinhala Only Demand’ era. What we face now looks very much like a Second ‘Sinhala Only’ demand, carrying disastrous consequences.

Supporters of the Sinhala anthem point out that singing the national anthem in Tamil does not help unity. some people think that singing the national anthem in Tamil will promote national reconciliation. how does singing the national anthem in two different languages bring two ethnic groups together? On the contrary, are we not moving further away from one another by singing the anthem as two separate groups,” they asked.

The national anthem of Sri Lanka is not a mere song to be judged musically. A national anthem is a symbol of unity.  It should be a ‘national anthem’ not a communal anthem. Singing the national anthem in the Sinhala language does not affect peace and harmony among different communities in the country, either, Jaffna Tamil Buddhist Association President Ravi Kumar said.  Whether we sing the anthem in Tamil or not, Sinhala is considered the prominent language, because it is the language of the majority, said observers.”

What do the Sinhalese or the government stand to lose by singing the National Anthem in Tamil? asked the Tamil supporters, determined to push the issue. No damage has been done to the sovereignty of our people or the unitary state of our country as a result of singing the national anthem in both official languages, they said.

That statement cannot be accepted. Much damage can be done by singing the national anthem in Tamil today. That is because singing in Tamil reinforces separatist tendencies and there is a growing separatist movement in Jaffna today. There are clear indications of this. The Ezhuga Tamil march (Rise up Tamils”) rally drew huge crowds in Jaffna. An estimated 10,000 to 15,000 had attended. The rally was supported by the university and the civil society groups. The Ezhuga movement wanted the merger of North and East. 

Northern Provincial Council unanimously adopted a resolution in 2016 that asked for the merger of North and East into one state, with its own Parliament. TNA also wants a merger of North and East provinces. TNA leaders Sumanthiran and Sampanthan spent the Yahapalana period, (2015-2019) telling foreign visitors that the Tamils are separate nation, the north and east is their homeland and they are entitled to self-determination. 

Today the north is all Tamil, and they have with all impunity sung the national anthem in Tamil, said Sarath Weerasekera in 2016. At the opening of the Jaffna International airport in Palaly, on 17 October 2019, the national anthem was not played in Sinhala. (CONCLUDED)

2 Responses to “SINGING SRI LANKA’S NATIONAL ANTHEM IN TAMIL Part 3”

  1. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    Anti Sri Laka, anti Sinhalese, anti Buddhist, minority worshiping, Mother Lanka dismembering GooandPee (kakkka
    and chu party) aka UNPatriotic [email protected] along with jaathidhrohee vermins’ party aka jvpare responsible for the mess we are in. Traitor alugosuwa (to Sinhalese Buddhists only) thambi mudiyanselage [email protected] started the destruction with its
    disastrous constitution and 13, 13A etc. etc. which promoted tamils and mussies to start the destruction of the
    Sinhalese race. Then traitor alugosuwa (to Sinhalese Buddhists only) lk porisada lowered the percentage for the
    minorities to 5% which saw the thieves den filled with mussie deshapaluwas who propped up every government,
    landed powerful ministries. And? Of course promoted land grabbing, mussie eyesore mosques (sword stores)
    in every corner, baby farms etc. etc and helped mussie expansion.

    While traitor low life deshapaluwas of the GooandPee destroyed Sinhalese lives with the Bheeshana samaya and
    then its catholic buddy barrel man hitler mala paharan’s catholic tigers of tamil drealam, mussies quadrupled
    with their baby machine wives. While Sinhalese couples doing jobs and struggle to race one child mussie baby
    machines stay at home keep producing a vote every year and the baby machine operator mussies has a shop
    in the town where Sinhala modayas shop saying oh, our lebbe is so friendly unlike our singala muniya and help
    the mussie to produce more votes. Crafty, two faced mussie payback by lacing the food with sterile agents so
    there will be no more singala munia any more.

    While destroying 60,000+ during bheeshana samaya and 100,000+ during catholic tigers of tamil drealam saying
    the terras were invincible GooandPee destroyed most of a generation, along with Buddhism and Sri Lanka its
    tenure. Then the traitor alugosuwa (to Sinhala Buddhists only) Batalnde wa(n)dakaya Pol Pot ponil [email protected]_leech
    wickrama Sinhala killer fronted puppet vairapala sorry sena and destroyed the Sinhalese race, Sri Lanka and
    Buddhism. We are reaping what these traitor low lives of GooandPee sow during the last 4+ decades. For the
    Sinhalese race, Sri Lanka and Buddhism to survive wipe these GooandPee traitor low lives out from the political
    map of Sri Lanka. GooandPee is a cancer in Mother Lanka!

    By the way, any monks to chant pirith for the die hard catholic token Buddhist Batalande wa(n)dakaya? Traitor
    low life is like a cat done the business on a rock these days after its catholic buddy gonja’s tapes! Still nobody
    utter a word against the chief architect of these miseries for the Sinhalese race, Sri Lanka and Buddhism. Is it
    because it’s not a Buddhist?

  2. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    GooandPee aka UNPatriotic_rats party’s anti Sinhalese, anti Buddhist, anti Sri Lanka, minority worshiping, Mother
    Lanka dismembering activities. You won’t see these in so called Buddhist (on paper) Sri Lanka where all the
    media are controlled by GooandPee party’s henchmen.

    http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2016/05/27/ranil-wickremasinghes-new-unp-3/

    http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2017/08/09/ranil-wicremasinghes-crimes-against-sri-lanka-and-its-people-for-forty-years/

    http://ltte-christian-ties.blogspot.com/

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cV6_o9txURc

    http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2015/08/05/christianizing-of-sri-lanka-unps-betrayal-of-buddhism/

    http://www.lankagrid.com/soma-thero/

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_eJ1gX_fuU

    http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2016/09/26/ltte-terrorism-church-links-can-someone-explain-these-photos

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