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Activists sing the National Anthem in Tamil on 72nd Independence Day

6 February 2020 03:13 am - 5     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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When the Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Government announced the National Anthem would be sung in ‘Sinhala Only’ at the 72nd Independence Day celebrations, the public received it with varied reactions. 

 
While it evoked a smile from certain Sinhala-Buddhist elements, those standing in solidarity with minorities, especially the Tamil community, frowned upon the decision. Keeping this in mind, a group of activists gathered at the Kanatte Roundabout Borella yesterday to sing the National Anthem in both Sinhala and Tamil and pledged their solidarity to the Tamil community while showing their disagreement to the Government position.Speaking to the , a few participants shared their thoughts as follows:

 

Policy Destroyed Us
“A group of us citizens, got together to organise this event to sing the National Anthem in both our official languages, Sinhala and Tamil, on Independence Day, in protest against the Governments announcement to sing the National Anthem in Sinhala only at the official Independence Day function held earlier today.  

 “Whilst we fully recognise the grievances of the Tamil-speaking people of Sri Lanka are by no means limited to the language issue, history has shown us how Sinhala Only Polices have destroyed our country and been a root cause of our three-decade-long ethnic conflict, which to date remains unresolved. We believe in an equal and free Sri Lanka, and will continue our struggle for equality and justice for all those subject to systematic oppression by the State, in this country.” - Marisa de Silva, activist and co-organiser of the event.


 

Constitution  

 “A country’s Independence Day is a unique occasion for every citizen in the country. The National Anthem symbolises this significant occasion. The constitution also states that the National Anthem could be sung in both Sinhala and Tamil. But the Gotabhaya Rajapaksa regime pledged that the Tamil-speaking community cannot sing the National Anthem in their mother tongue. The Government also didn’t take a firm stance on whether it should be sung at the Independence Day celebration or not. Therefore we gathered here today to sing it in both languages and stand in solidarity with the Tamil population of the country.” – Siritunga Jayasuriya, United Socialist Party 


 

People Divided   
“I came today as a citizen of this country since we were concerned about the statement made by the Government that the National Anthem would only be sung in Sinhala at the Independence Day celebration. I believe that if one group of citizens cannot sing the National Anthem, then I don’t think anyone of us can sing it. Our country’s history is such that our people have been divided over language. We have fought conflicts and encountered so many riots. What’s important for me is not a song or a flag. But we should be able to sing together, be it a National Anthem or any other song, and we got together to show our love towards the Tamil population in the country.” – Senel Wanniarachchi, Co-founder Hashtag Generation  


Meaning of Anthem  

“Some people don’t understand the meaning of a National Anthem. This is why I decided to join this group, sing the National Anthem in both languages and pledging our support towards the Tamil community.” – Shanika Silva, Attorney-at-law representing The New Wings youth organisation 

 


It is a symbolic decision 
“The idea that the Tamil-speaking community has about the country is not the same as that of the Sinhala people.

Therefore it is a symbolic decision to come here and show our  disagreement with the government’s decision and stand in solidarity with the Tamil community, who are equal citizens of this country.”

– Pasan Jayasinghe, Researcher  

 


 

 

Pluralistic country

“There are some elements that don’t approve the singing of the National Anthem in Tamil.

We are a pluralistic country, and the sign of a mature society is that we should be able to respect  and protect the identities of other ethnic groups.”

– Fr. Sarath Iddamalgoda  

Pics by Nimalsiri Edirisinghe


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  Comments - 5

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  • Prem Nalin Friday, 07 February 2020 07:46 AM

    These fools do not understand, Tamils, Muslims,up-country Tamils are against Sinhalese people

    Kathir Puvanachandra Saturday, 08 February 2020 12:27 PM

    They are not against the Sinhalese people even Prabaharan or the LTTE was against the Sinhalese. Tamils are trying to assert their rights and to be recognised as citizens of this country.There are no minorities ,all are Sri Lankans .Until this fundamental position of everyone other than the Sinhalese is recognised we can never progress or become :a Singapore".The Welsh Irish and the Scots are not minorities in UK

    Neil Friday, 07 February 2020 12:05 PM

    If Tamil is an official language, what is the problem singing National Anthem in Tamil.

    KATHIR NADANACHANDRAN Saturday, 08 February 2020 12:55 PM

    The position taken by this group of true patriots (unlike the opportunists in politics) is commendable and brings a glimmer of hope for the nation. Well done and keep pushing this and explain to the misguided public of the need for mutual respect and acceptance.

    Kathir Ravichandra Thursday, 13 February 2020 08:02 AM

    If Sri Lanka belongs to the Sinhala Buddhists, why so much fuss about singing its National Anthem in Sinhala only. All what is needed now is to free Thamil Eelam from the clutches of the Sinhala nation in the island of Sri Lanka so that Sri Lanka and Thamil Eelam can flourish like Malaysia and Singapore. Politicians in Sri Lanka are a hopeless bunch. Will the so called International Community wake up and help out to resolve this issue for the good of all? One should not dismiss this proposition as unrealistic because its not new for nations in captivity to become free for one reason or other. If not for the intervention by India, China and the West for the wrong reasons, this would have been a reality some years ago. K.R. Chandra, Australia


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