Sri Lanka celebrates I-Day by rendering national anthem in Tamil too

(Last Updated On: February 4, 2016)

Lankan-expats-celebrate-I-DaySri Lanka on Thursday celebrated the 68th Independence Day with fervour with an uncommon element – the rendering of the Tamil version of the national anthem at the main event of the day.

According to several Ministers, this happened after a long gap.

As in the previous years, the might of security forces of the country was demonstrated in the event on the Galle Face Green which lasted nearly two-and-a-half hours. The event began with President Maithripala Sirisena hoisting the country’s national flag. The Sinhala version was played.

But, what captured the attention of many was the Tamil version of the song that was sung by school students on the occasion. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Leader of Opposition R. Sampanthan and former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga also took part in the function.

As soon as the event was over, social media went viral with Ministers and many others posting their remarks.

Mano Ganesan, Minister of National Co-existence and Dialogue and Tamil Progressive Alliance leader, tweeted: “Yes it’s a very small act but that goes long way forward. National anthem in Tamil after decades. Victory 4 our Coexistence journey.”

Harsha de Silva, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Colombo’s Member of Parliament representing the United National Party, stated on his Facebook account: “A first in my lifetime! After many years the independence day celebrations came to a close with the national anthem sung in Tamil!”

A student, Firas Ashraf, said he was “feeling great and emotional when I was hearing the national anthem sung [in] Tamil.”

Mr Sirisena, in his address, said his government was “determined to face the UNHRC [United Nations Human Rights Council] resolution [on accountability and reconciliation] with the collective strength of all sections” of the country to “protect and preserve the national pride” and the “dignity of our armed forces that have made numerous sacrifices to safeguard the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country.”

In his message on the eve of the I-Day, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa referred to the recent arrest of his son, Yoshitha Rajapaksa along with four others and said that in the event of the arrest of his entire family including himself, he would not “deviate from the path of reasserting our national independence” and “ensuring the territorial integrity of our motherland.”

Influenced by Tagore

The anthem, called “Sri Lanka Matha,” was authored by Ananda Samarakoon, a student of Shantiniketan. It is said to have been influenced by Rabindranath Tagore. Criticising the government’s move, Uday Gammanpila, leader of the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya , said there is no Constitutional sanction for the action.

Read full article: The Hindu

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