National anthem and national unity

It was very gratifying to hear the President say a few words in Tamil when he addressed the nation on Independence Day. I cannot be the only person who wished to have heard some Tamil words when our National Anthem was sung. These days the newspapers are full of pious writing about a Sri Lankan identity. How can the Tamils think of themselves as Sri Lankan, if the National Anthem is in a language they don’t understand. It is true that there cannot be two national anthems. But surely it is possible to introduce a Tamil verse into the National Anthem. What have we got to lose? This step will create a not insignificant feeling among our Tamil speaking brothers that they too belong in Sri Lanka. It will also help the more chauvinistic among the Sinhalese to remember that there are people other than the Sinhalese living in this country. My suggestion is more likely to bring the two communities together while the 13th amendment is designed to separate them still further.

L Jayasinghe

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