President allows singing of National Anthem in Tamil- Mano

18 March 2015 06:58 am - 80     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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In a major reconciliatory move, President Mathripala Sirisena will be sending a circular to all institutions saying that there is no bar on singing the Lankan national anthem in Tamil.


He will thus be lifting an unofficial ban existing since 2010, when President Mahinda Rajapaksa let it be known that government will frown on singing the anthem in Tamil. Schools and other institutions, which were using the Tamil version of “Sri Lanka Matha, Apa Sri Lanka” since 1951, stopped doing so.


Sirisena announced his decision to lift the language bar when the leader of the Democratic Peoples’ Front (DPF), Mano Ganeshan, raised the issue at the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting on Tuesday.  


“The President said that he would send a circular saying that there is no ban on singing the national anthem in Tamil. He also said that he would have the matter cleared by the National Security Council,” Ganeshan has told the New Indian Express.


It was in 1951 that newly independent Lanka adopted Shantiniketan-trained Ananda Samarakoon’s  Sinhalese-language song  “Sri Lanka Matha,  Apa Sri Lanka” as the national anthem. Simultaneously, a Tamil version, “Sri Lanka Thaaye Nam Sri Lanka”, composed by the Lankan Tamil poet, M.Nallathambi, was also adopted. For decades, both versions were sung, although only the Sinhalese version had constitutional sanction.   


But the victory of the Lankan armed forces over the Tamil Tigers in 2009, resulted in Sinhalese-nationalist parties like the National Freedom Front (NFF) and the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) demanding a ban on the Tamil version on the ground that countries sanction use of only one language for singing the national anthem.


On December 12, 2010, Home Minister W.D.John Senewiratne introduced a cabinet paper to officially disallow singing the anthem in Tamil. President Rajapaksa, who headed the cabinet, did not officially commit himself to Senewiratne’s proposal, but word went around that his government did not favor the use of the Tamil version. In the Tamil areas, the Security Forces insisted on the use of the Sinhalese version only. The Tamils’ argument that in several countries, including Canada and South Africa, the anthem is sung in different languages fell on deaf ears.

  Comments - 80

  • shantha gamlath Thursday, 19 March 2015 08:52 PM

    It is grateful decision , respect to president in this regard. This one of the important decisions with regard national reconciliation. Political leadership must demonstrate their genuine interest regarding trust building process in between two communities. While one party giving trust hand , other party also should be ready to take it and try to maintain and sustain that trust. Mature and moderate Tamil political intellectuals and politicians must ready to build real national reconciliation by give up extremist ideology and actions in this momentum.

    dilip Wednesday, 18 March 2015 02:10 PM

    Great ,very soon it will be their own national anthem . So why worry.

    Tomiya Wednesday, 18 March 2015 04:07 PM

    Rev. Sobitha / Rev. Ratana / Minister Patali, Your comments please

    RMC Wednesday, 18 March 2015 02:11 PM

    Cn some body tell me whether the national anthem of India is singing in all major languages such as tamil and Thelingu

    lakshman Thursday, 19 March 2015 08:03 AM

    Its a good move.While Canada and Switzerland have different lyrics for each of their official languages,both South Africa and New Zealand have incorporated more than one language in the National Anthem.Ideally we should be looking at incorporating both languages in the national anthem rather than two different versions

    Kennediy Wednesday, 18 March 2015 02:14 PM

    In Sri Lanka early stage ethnic issue is minor, due to political Acts it became major. At-least now correct the small ones so that major issue becomes minor.

    Ukkun Putha Wednesday, 18 March 2015 02:16 PM

    Do you want a separate national flag too? 13 also will come so casually.

    Gunda Thursday, 19 March 2015 02:08 PM

    Muslims demand that national anthem be written in Arabic so that they can sing it at their own functions!

    Raj Wednesday, 18 March 2015 02:42 PM

    RMC, We are not liberal as Indian, FYI Indian national anthem is written and sung in one of the minority languages, Bangala

    asi Thursday, 19 March 2015 08:29 AM

    In india no one allows sing their national Anthem in tamil or other language only hindi....even tamil people in Tamil Nadu sing it very well.."jana gana mana"

    Lakksman Wednesday, 18 March 2015 02:48 PM

    Indian nation anthem is not in hindi . It is sung in Bengal language which is a language of minority group.

    The God Father Thursday, 19 March 2015 08:36 AM

    It should start with "Sri Lanka Maatha", then few versus in Tamil and English, this is my opinion.

    Pasindhu Thursday, 19 March 2015 08:37 AM

    What people should understand is that No National Anthem of any country in translations. Countries like New Zeland, South Africa has different Stanzas (parts) sung in the representative state language but not the whole thing in their language. I think we are the first country to do so in the world. A translation of a national anthem of a country is the heart and soul of the nation....

    Rajiv Thursday, 19 March 2015 08:39 AM

    A good move in my opinion. Lots of people seem outraged, but personally I think we need to recognize our native languages as all are citizens and people of this land. As long as the lyrics and tune is not changed this is acceptable I think. This is first step in reconciliation with the tamil people in giving recognition to their language which is very important. Other nations also have adopted this move to recognize the people living there. In South Africa , adopted 4 languages in the anthem in a move to reconcile all people, in New Zealand the anthem is in Maori and English, Canada has the anthem in English and French and many more. If we suppress a peoples language this is one of the main reasons for animosity and mistrust. Note this is my opinion only, and others are entitled to their own.

    doch 1500 Thursday, 19 March 2015 08:42 AM

    Not a good move, The national anthem should be in 1 language- no other options

    Lakshman Fernando Thursday, 19 March 2015 02:30 PM

    The National Anthem in India is sung in Bengali Language. It was written by the Nobel Laureate Ravidranath Tagore, a Bengali National. India is a secular country once ruled by a Sheik Prime minister a minority in India (1.9 % of population) as well a Muslim president also a minority, So This is India. How beautiful to hear

    Givantha BC Friday, 20 March 2015 12:43 PM

    Hmm... lets see for the nxt move...

    Freddy Thursday, 19 March 2015 08:51 AM

    Its not the National Anthem but the intentions of getting their way and agenda is shocking. Where do you draw the line. They terrorized and did not get their way thanks to Mahinda. Now with maithri we give in and they get their way because we are worried of war crimes and genocide threat. What a load of garbage. This is not good governance to terrorism or ideology. The Tamils must be fair and open to the majority, getting the International support to succumb to the lies and distortion of racism, genocide,or war crimes will create further problems.

    Ordinary Man Thursday, 19 March 2015 06:11 PM

    mhmm actually i didnt know there was a "Ban" on singing Tamil version of national athem, till i read the news!! im sure most of the people didnt know either! however now everybody is reacting? lets be practical im sure most of the tamils, do not know the tamil version of it!! relax guys

    mailman Thursday, 19 March 2015 08:59 AM

    Some comments clearly shows why Sri Lanka will never have true peace. via DM Android App

    gamunu Thursday, 19 March 2015 02:41 PM

    Only country that sings its national anthem in two languages is New Zealand. It is sung in part in English and then in native Maori. Listen to it at world cup matches.

    Citizen Thursday, 19 March 2015 09:09 AM

    I am am Muslim. Studied in Sinahala Medium and was a Sinhala Language Teacher in East. We know that 99% or even more Tamils do not understand any Sinhala. Simply they cannot sing our National Anthem in Sinhala. When they sing in Tamil they sing the exact translation of the Sinhala version. Definitely when they sing many times they have to obey and get that feeling of the meaning too.Meaning of the our anthem is really great and this will pave the way to comfort the Tamils to a great extend. I cannot understand why it was stopped and why still a few people oppose this.

    patriot Thursday, 19 March 2015 06:18 PM

    good move your Excellency since you have granted a Tamil anthem might as well support other requirements of TNA such as 13 all ready feel guilty for betraying a nation by voting you ( ( via DM Android App

    semira rajapaksha Wednesday, 18 March 2015 03:08 PM

    Thats really good..!

    Saran Thursday, 19 March 2015 09:58 AM

    How many person sung National Antom in North East Tamil? You flirty find the answer. You answer will be below 2%

    Anthony Wednesday, 18 March 2015 03:12 PM

    We will be the only country in the world which sung national anthem in two languages. Even in India where there are more than 100 languages in use, the Indian national anthem is sung in one language. Mr President why not ban to sung the Sri Lankan national anthem in singhala and sung it inly in Tamil?

    Lakshman Saturday, 21 March 2015 07:58 AM

    The majority of the comments favour Presidents decision, which shows the acceptance of all communities in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka needs to isolate all types of extremism which has already caused much damage to Our motherland. Although Sinhalese were originated in Sri Lanka, the Tamils constitute to the origin of the language and the people and Moors were also part of the whole process. Do not try to differentiate these people they are the same integrated and belongs to one country speaks two languages. Then well have Sri Lankan identity.

    Ganesha Wednesday, 18 March 2015 03:15 PM

    Why should it be in one language in a country where two native ,official languages are in use. This is a symbol of reconciliation and patriotism for every citizen to sing with pride and above all relish and enjoy the meanings in it contented. It need not be in a link language

    CANADA ROY Thursday, 19 March 2015 10:28 AM

    Who the hell are you to give rights its our birth rightcanada does it in English and french so we must do the same its our right

    nelum Wednesday, 18 March 2015 03:15 PM

    i am singing it in gibberish.

    Cheers Wednesday, 18 March 2015 12:42 PM

    Is he brave enough to lead the country with the decisions he is making and soon UNP will blame him and will wash their hands

    Sana Thursday, 19 March 2015 10:31 AM

    Now please make sure they sing the Sri Lankan national anthem; and not the eelam one.

    lkboy Wednesday, 18 March 2015 12:42 PM

    Good move.

    Palitha Wednesday, 18 March 2015 05:28 PM

    What about in Hindi and Gujarati

    Mm Wednesday, 18 March 2015 12:47 PM

    Hari shok.

    Katie Wednesday, 18 March 2015 12:49 PM

    what about allowing to sing the national anthem in ENGLISH

    Thushara Thursday, 19 March 2015 10:47 AM

    I wish to express my view that the national anthem and flag is to integrate a nation as one nation and not to diversify.The issue has been, is and and shall be, I believe, is the of reluctance of accepting integration and the seeking of diversification.

    Modia Thursday, 19 March 2015 06:53 PM

    How do you expect to sing a song without knowing the meaning or even without knowing singala word. Funny comments from few.

    PAZ Thursday, 19 March 2015 03:32 PM

    THANK YOU Mr PRESIDENT.

    bubby Thursday, 19 March 2015 12:03 AM

    very good move MR. President. we all love to live peacefully with all the races. via DM Android App

    willowsd Wednesday, 18 March 2015 12:59 PM

    If it was allowed since 1951, then there is no issue in lifting the restriction now

    Marikkar Wednesday, 18 March 2015 12:59 PM

    This is just a matter of pleasing a particular community which has no common or specific interest towards Mother Lanka. I personally believe that the national anthem should be sung only in one language.

    JDL Wednesday, 18 March 2015 01:01 PM

    Very Good move. Regardless of the language use to sing National anthem what most important is that it stays closer to heart of people. Since both sinhala

    basil dinesh Wednesday, 18 March 2015 01:02 PM

    Its good idea we wanna be together.

    sangaralingham Thursday, 19 March 2015 12:27 AM

    wise men/women know what is right for the society

    krishantha Thursday, 19 March 2015 07:06 PM

    Yahapalanaya. one nation one antham.

    ABC Wednesday, 18 March 2015 01:05 PM

    Are there any countries in the world sing national anthum in different language i am not sure via DM Android App

    cyril n Wednesday, 18 March 2015 01:13 PM

    Good move. Every possible acts must be explored to bring down the misunderstandings and suspicions, hiw small they may be.

    prema Thursday, 19 March 2015 07:10 PM

    Whats the big deal if people sing national anthem in the language which they understand. You guys want tamil to sing the national anthem in Sinhala without understanding it? This lack of understanding brought us 30 years of civil war and it is the time that we should reconsile and be one nation. People must feel and sing The national anthem so that they understand proud of our nation.

    cyril n Wednesday, 18 March 2015 01:13 PM

    Good move. Every possible acts must be explored to bring down the misunderstandings and suspicions, hiw small they may be.

    Ranjith Thursday, 19 March 2015 04:05 PM

    Thank God ! Now we have a President with brains and spine.

    cyril n Wednesday, 18 March 2015 01:13 PM

    Good move. Every possible acts must be explored to bring down the misunderstandings and suspicions, hiw small they may be.

    Ranil Thursday, 19 March 2015 07:15 PM

    poor act , national Anthem only in one national Language, no other country do this. this government cannot handle tamil political pressure.

    Thalaivan Wednesday, 18 March 2015 01:13 PM

    I think that the anthem should be sung only in Tamil.

    Shawn Thursday, 19 March 2015 12:08 PM

    To all the people who do not know.... IN NEW ZEALAND, THE NATIONAL ANTHEM IS SUNG IN MAORI (NATIVE LAGUAGE) FIRST, FOLLOWED BY THE ENGLISH VERSION. Good idea to watch the NZ vs WI match where they are sure to play it.

    Laya Alles Thursday, 19 March 2015 04:07 PM

    This is a welcome move. In Montreal since 1980s we have sung the national anthem in both languages; partly sinhala and partly tamil. Both Tamils and Sinhalese participate. This allowed the sri lankan community to come together. Many have commented that this is not constitutional. However the community here maintained that the constitution must be changed if we want to treat all ethnic communities as equals

    Deneth Wednesday, 18 March 2015 03:38 PM

    Fantastic news! A great move to show solidarity and unity as a nation. Unfortunately there will be lots of narrowminded Sinhalese who wont like this.The national anthem in a number of other countries are sung in different languages (South Africa, new Zealand etc.)

    ameer Thursday, 19 March 2015 12:27 PM

    Well done your Excellency Sir, your humbleness in taking the right decision will go a long way, we are indeed happy to have elected you as our President of Mother Lanka

    Pasel Friday, 20 March 2015 12:37 AM

    Here is the evidence since 1946 on singing National anthem in both Langues but in the middle the rights denied by the GOSL or someone https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152751669758616

    Vijith Pieterz Wednesday, 18 March 2015 03:42 PM

    Good move.... we all Sinhalese living in Colombo and Kandy welcome your move.

    Deva - mittra Thursday, 19 March 2015 01:28 AM

    excellent move. Thumbs up for President Maithree. We should encourage Predident Modi to let the Indian National Anthem be sung in all languages spoken in India.

    Waco Wednesday, 18 March 2015 03:44 PM

    India has been allowed to have dialogues with trade union leaders of the Up-country Tea Plantations.

    Bala Wednesday, 18 March 2015 01:36 PM

    ABC Have you ever watched a worldwide show on TV. Most recently the on going World Cup cricket. South Africa is Zulu and English, NZ is Maori and English, Canada in French and English. Where have you been ABC

    ranga jayamal Wednesday, 18 March 2015 01:37 PM

    mr. prasident api oyata chande dunne pissu kelinna nemei indiayaweth basha 108 thiyanawa aath jathika geeya rate pradana bashawa karunakarala oowage dewal karala obathumawa apa karawanna apa

    Observer Thursday, 19 March 2015 03:10 AM

    Just play the music, forget the lyricks!

    ssivapriyan Wednesday, 18 March 2015 01:43 PM

    Excellent move and really appreciate OUR president. Leaders should be brave enough to take bold decision to take this country forward.

    Suq Madique Thursday, 19 March 2015 03:48 AM

    We are all for reconciliation but there should also be some sort of reciprocation from the tamils who are only demanding more and more. All this talk of genocide and complaining to India and other countries must stop and discussions with the govt be a priority

    JEGATHEESVARAN Wednesday, 18 March 2015 01:43 PM

    It is a positive corrective move. Those who want to sing the national anthem in only one language (either in Sinhala or Tamil), go into a room , lock the door and sing. Do not disturb the public.

    Alien Saturday, 21 March 2015 12:00 AM

    දරුවෙක් ව දෙකට කපනවා කිවුවාම දරුවා ව බේරගන්න ඉස්සෙල්ලා මැරෙන්න හරි බලාගෙන ඉස්සරහට පනින්නේ අම්මා... ඒ වගෙම තමා රටක් දෙකඩ කරද්දි ඒ රට බේරගන්න ඉදිරිපත් වෙන්නේ ඒ රටේ නියම උරුමක්කාරයෝ...ඒකට තම ජාතික අනන්‍යතාවය කියන්නේ..ඒක ලේ වල තියෙන්නේ.ඒ ජාතියේ චින්තනය අනුව තමා හැම රටකම ශිෂ්ඨාචාර වල මුල් බිහි උනේ...ඔය දෙමලෙන් ලබු ඉල්ලන උන් රට බේරගන්න පැන්නද ?මේ රටේ විවිධ ජාති බිහි උනා, ඒකට කමක් නෑ ඒ ලෝකේ හැටි.. සිංහලයොත් ඒ අයට ලස්සනට ජීවත් වෙන්න ඉඩ දෙන්න ඕනේ... ඔව්න්ගේ චාරිත්‍ර වාරිත්‍ර කරගන්න ඉඩ දීපු පලියට රටේ අනන්‍යතාවයෙනුත් කෑලි කෑලි ඉල්ලානවා නම් උන්ට කියන්නේ පරයෝ කියලා, උන්ව සන්තෝස කරන්න මේ රට ශිෂ්ඨ කරපු ජාතියේ අනන්‍යතාවය පාච්චල් කරනවා නම්... උන්ට කියන්නේ අවජාතකයෝ කියලා...(කවුරුහරි කියනවා නම් අපි ප්‍රින්ස් විජයා ගෙන් එන්නේ කියලා, කරුණාකර පසුව අමතන්න...)

    OMG Wednesday, 18 March 2015 01:44 PM

    How come Bodu Bala Sena is not to be seen or heard anymore?

    Common Man Thursday, 19 March 2015 05:06 AM

    Yes, there are countries that sings national anthem in different languages. 1) Cameroon -( French and English)2) Canada - (French and English)3) Ireland - (Irish and English)4) New Zealand- (English and Māori )5) Switzerland- ( German, French, Italian and Romansch)So lets stop arguing about the language of the national anthem and focus on more important issues.

    concerned Thursday, 19 March 2015 05:04 PM

    In Singapore Its sung in Malay the minority national language where majority speak chinese.Its about the patriotism not the language is concerned. via DM Android App

    Robert Thursday, 19 March 2015 06:06 AM

    stupid move. Start making Arabic and English version.

    Kumar Siva Thursday, 19 March 2015 07:02 AM

    Its shocking to see the suppression mentality of SL majority still existing even after all the talk of one country, one people. If it was true we wont see such opposition to this move.

    Naufal Wednesday, 18 March 2015 01:59 PM

    Does India has differnt language national anthems ? Becz indian tamil population is more thn Sri Lanka. :)

    manimaran Thursday, 19 March 2015 01:33 PM

    it was a good news.

    Well_Wisher Thursday, 19 March 2015 05:31 PM

    This is tip of the iceberg and how the minorities are treated in Lanka. It is very hard to believe that Rajapaskse Government did not all sing even the National Anthem. These acts always alienate minorities always hoping for to create Nation for minorities..

    hola Thursday, 19 March 2015 08:49 PM

    Just play only the music of the anthem, as I heard one of the nations were doing at world cup matches. Then the question of language does not arise.

    Nims Wednesday, 18 March 2015 04:06 PM

    New Zealand sings the National Anthem in English and Maori. Recently I saw a similar thing in Australia too

    sugath Thursday, 19 March 2015 05:31 PM

    The President is not above the law. He has no right to give orders which contravene the constitution . via DM Android App


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