Greatest victory to Sri Lankans

Salute to my beloved Sinhala Brothers and Sisters

by Lenin Benedict-Toronto

(December 17, Toronto, Sri Lanka Guardian) As the President Mahinda Rajapakse discussed in the latest cabinet meeting about scraping of the National Anthem sang in Tamil in the North and East by Tamils living in the area for decades, just trying to portrait himself as a Hardcore Sinhala Nationalist and a savior of Sinhala language in the south as a measure to save his popularity eroding and his slogan of victory over Terrorism as his personal achievement diminishing due to his mistakes committed one after their other. Though the President trying hard to regain his political power and strength by propagating the old trick practiced by the Tamil Nationalist as well as Sinhala Nationalist to get the support from the mass, whenever their support does in drain, The victory won by the sacrifice of the Armed forces has been reconfirmed by no empathy or no support shown by the majority community that Srilankans cannot be divided on Language or Communal lines and will remain united as one. Really this was the greatest victory achieved by Srilankans than any other victory achieved so far. The war against Terrorist was supported by the majority of Srilankans to defeat just Terrorism and not Tamils have been very clearly established by majority of Srilankans showing no support of the President’s Tamil Anthem issue. It is worth to mention here that Srilanka has finally won its political goal of uniting all Srilankans against communal politics and the sacrifices made has not gone in vain.

When the country struggling to rebuild the nations trust and harmony, where the mistrust between both the communities yet to cleared and political unrest is visible in all parts of the island, and the rehabilitation and development have not yet been completed, the cabinet was discussing about scrabing the usage of National Anthem sang in Tamil in the North and East. When there are much more important things of National importance to be discussed, while the Government of Srilanka (GOSL) itself says the LTTE is regrouping and pose a threat to National security, what was the urgency to discuss the National Anthem issue right now? Has the GOSL has a hidden agenda behind this? Or the President himself has his own agenda behind this move?

No doubt, if all Srilankans sing the National Anthem in one language whatever the language may be, it would be great, particularly when the Tamils sing the National Anthem along with their Sinhala brothers in the majority language. This courage’s act will prove that Tamils have not fallen to communal politics, and it’s not going to take a long time for this to happen. But what would happen if a section of Srilankan community does not sing the National Anthem itself in a language it likes to sing with the same meaning? Is that not a disgrace to the Nation? It is an honor to sing the National Anthem or just forbid the community singing the National Anthem of its own choice of Language? Even the Sinhala only bill of 1956, which was introduced by Late Prime Minister S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, has never tried to stop singing the National Anthem in Tamil. He has respected the right of existence of the Tamil language in the Tamil speaking area and that what democracy means. Even the protest against the Sinhala only bill in the Galle face opposite to the old Parliament by the Federal Party was allowed and it showed the great respect for democracy and shows the minority rights were protected by the Sinhala leaders then. Will at least a Sinhala person will be allowed to protest against your Government, Your Excellency under your leadership?

According to the media reports, Minister of National Languages and Social Integration, Vasudeva Nanayakkara voiced his dissent saying this move would not be a suitable one and the same was endorsed by Minister of Fisheries Rajitha Senaratne on President’s suggestion of abolishing the Tamil National Anthem telling his ministers that no other country uses more than one language which was supported by Minister Vimal Weerawansa who is a ignorant saying India being a country of several languages but Hindi the majorities language was made as the language of National Anthem without even knowing Bengali a minorities language spoken in West Bengal is honored as the language of National Anthem wrote by Noble laureate Ravinderanath Tagore who was the one and only in the world who had the honor of writing National Anthem for two countries in the world the other being Bangladesh. Bangladeshis never rejected because it was written by an Indian but honored the Noble laureate by making his as their National Anthem. The writer of the Srilankan National Anthem Egodahage George Wilfred Alwis Samarakoon later changed his name to Ananda Samarakoon whom converted to Buddhism, himself is a student of Santiniketan which was founded by Ravindranath Tagore, to learn art and music.

At this discussion where was our knowledgeable Foreign Minister G.L.Peris who should be knowing Canada has its National Anthem “O Canada” sang in two of its official language English and French, on some occasions is sung with the mixture of stanzas taken from its English and French versions, which strengthens its national feeling by allowing the French speaking minority people to sing on their own choice of language. Our most respected and a moderate Foreign Minister should be definitely knowing Switzerland has national Anthem in four languages and one language represent 2% of its population called Rumantsch and the Italian 4%, rest being German and French. The National Anthem of South Africa being a very unique one, as the lyrics of five most widely spoken of its eleven official language Xhosa, Zulu, Sesotho, Afrikaans and English has two stanza in its National Anthem combination of old and new lyrics. Multilingual country of Spain has no words in its National Anthem, La Marcha Real. Denmark has two National Anthem “Kong Christian stod ved Hojen mast” and “La Marseillaise” Apart from “God Save the Queen”, the New Zealand sung with the first five verses in Maori (Aotearoa) and the second one in English “God Defend New Zealand”.

Though United Kingdom sing “God Save the Queen” its constituent countries of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own Anthems also each have number of Songs played at occasions and official events. Even “Land of Hope and Glory” played instead by England.

Wales sings “Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau” (Land of My Fathers) and accompanied its own Hymn at times, while Scotland adopted “Flower of Scotland” as its unofficial National Anthem recently. Srilankan politicians who always compare Srilanka to Singapore or dream of making Srilanka as Singapore should know that its National Anthem “ Manjulah Singapura” was sung originally in Malay and the truth being 85% of the Singaporeans do not speak Malay. Also Singapore has its Anthem in Lyrics of its other three official languages of Tamil, Mandarin and English.

Article IV of the Srilankan Constitution subsection 18:2 very clearly says that Tamil shall also be an official language and section 19 states Sinhala and Tamil shall be the National languages of Srilanka. If then, How could a President, the guardian of the Constitution and the Government of the country could say that the National Anthem could not be sang in Tamil language where as the Tamil language itself respected and protected by its own Constitution? The law maker should not be the law breaker, Your Excellency! In addition on the use of National languages section 20, states a Member of Parliament (M.P), a member of Provincial Council (MPC) or a local authority shall be entitled to perform his duties and discharge his functions either of the National languages. Singing the National Anthem in many languages only bring honor to the National Anthem and to the country itself but by not singing by a portion of people bring disgrace to the country. An anthem can become a country's national anthem by a provision in the country's constitution, by a law enacted by its legislature. It shouldn’t be hard for you Your Excellency, who got the magic two third majority by hook or crook to change the 18th Amendment of the Constitution for your own benefit to remain in power and you can do the same for the sake of the country and to unify the country by adding the Tamil Anthem also as one of the Srilanka’s National Anthem.

The implication of the discussion regarding abolishing the Tamil National Anthem has subsequently helped your political counter parts or in other words colleagues the Tamil Nationalist Alliance whom are the living sprit and soul of Pirabhaharan has once again used this opportunity to regain their political strength and benefited by your act. The defeat of LTTE has silenced their political activities and made them politically paralyzed whom were waiting for a good chance for a come back and by your grace they have got one as same as you gave K.P a wonderful chance. Suresh Premachandran, the TNA parliamentarian has gone to the extent of saying “If we can’t sing the Anthem in Tamil, we will be driven to boycott the National Anthem” This is what you expected Your Excellency! Without Tamil Nationalism in the North and East and without Sinhala Nationalism in the South, you will not be able to rule the country. Without communal differences it will be very hard for you to keep the Emergency regulations and the P.T.A for a long time and the present day Srilankans very well know your old bag of tricks and have responded negatively to your communal act. This is your first political defeat dear President and don’t force Srilankans too much and you will end with more and more defeats if you decided to take this communal line as Pirabaharan did.

As we are nearing the end of 2010 and looking forward anxiously what New Year would bring for Srilanka and to my beloved Srilankans. The Nation has stood strong against the Terrorist irrespective of the political differences for just one reason and the only reason being our great love for our beloved Motherland. Remember Sinhala and Tamil language belongs to each and every Srilankan. It’s the property not for the rulers of Srilanka but to all Srilankans who value their Cultures, Traditions, Heritage, Religions and language which belongs to all communities of Srilanka. Let us not allow the crooked politicians to divide us on communal, religion and language as they did in the past. We are new wave of Generation who put our country’s interest first and not of personal or political interest first. Let alone our Unity and Harmony makes the country more stronger and richer in values. Only the unity of the Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Malays and Burger will make our country strong.

Thank You my beloved Srilankans for denouncing communal politics.

I fall at the feet of my brothers and sisters to kiss them for the courage they showed.

May the Noble Triple Gem, the God Almighty, Eswara, Allah and All the Gods of the Earth, Bless my Srilankans with Peace and Unity. Tell a Friend