On the Historic Significance of Singing the National Anthem on National Independence Day in Sinhala and Tamil
The singing of the National Anthem in both Sinhala and Tamil languages on National Independence Day is of crucial significance due to several major factors. First of all, it is a singular achievement for all progressive and democratic forces throughout the country and the world who had stood, and continue to stand for, the principles of equality, dignity, autonomy and security of all citizens of Lanka. It is an achievement for all those who respect unity in diversity, respect universal human and democratic rights, and stand against the politics and ideology of supremacy, chauvinism and hegemony, and any and all forms of national discrimination, oppression and subjugation. It is a positive achievement, however limited and partial, of the Tamil nation for all that it has suffered and endured, and continues to suffer under military occupation and threatened by new forms of political subjugation. Irrespective of whatever interest, motive or agenda behind this policy, the act itself is an achievement for all progressive forces, and a clear gain for the national liberation struggle of the people of Lanka.
It constitutes a frontal blow on all racist, chauvinist, neo-fascist forces. It serves to symbolically pierce its shield of over-lording omnipotence and invincibility. Singing the national anthem in both Sinhala and Tamil occurred in the context where these neo-fascist goons were, and are, on the rampage; where the national flag had been stripped of all minority identities, with just the lion and the sword emblazoned, along with the slogans of ‘Sinha-Le’ (Blood of the Lion) being posted publicly. It occurred in the context where the Bodu Bala Sena had acted as the ‘Balu Bala Sena (Army of Canine Force) in front of the Homagama courts. This act of singing together in both languages occurs even as the camp of neo-fascism is trying desperately to rear its monstrous head to strike back and seize power with terrorist vengeance yet unknown.
We also acknowledge with great respect the genuine and exemplary statesmanship demonstrated by Chief Minister, Hon. C.V. Wigneswaran, who is reported to have visited the Naga Viharaya in Jaffna to offer flowers and prayers to Lord Buddha as an act of pious gratitude, and who is said to have stated that, ‘for every step taken by the Sinhala people towards the Tamil people, they shall take ten steps towards you’. It is up to all of us to grasp this hand of friendship and solidarity, and never let go. That is, if we believe in a vision of a united, independent, democratic and prosperous Sri Lanka.
A window of opportunity has opened for building bridges of mutual trust, understanding, solidarity and cooperation between the North-South-East and Hill Country. It is time for civil society to raise its voice of appreciation and to ensure that the dark, evil forces of neo-fascism shall never raise its head in the Land of Lanka ever again.