Bishop Duleep de Chickera
The singing of our National anthem in Tamil on freedom day was not simply about singing it in another language. It was about our National Anthem being sung in the mother tongue of a substantial number of Sri Lankan citizens who had been deprived of this right and privilege since as far back as a year after our independence.
For this to have happened on freedom day was a true demonstration of freedom, not just for those who think and speak in Tamil but for all Sri Lankans. As long as some were deprived of a right that others enjoyed,discrimination prevailed and as long as discrimination prevailed, no Sri Lankan was free.
To know that with February 4/16 the way has been paved for all to be able to publicly sing our common affirmation of the land of our birth, each in her mother tongue, liberates all; those who were earlier deprived of singing as well as those who sang alone.
Those responsible for this decisive step have done well. They did what was right and had been staring in our face for years; and they did it in circumstances of a visible wave of southern nationalism and sporadic expressions of northern nationalism.
This reminds us all over again that when those in civil governance do what is right with dignity and in a spirit of humility and calmness,people see through the divisive nature of all forms of nationalism, to rise above the exclusive demands and interventions of these forces.
The next step rests with the people; we are to voluntarily learn our National Anthem in each-others language so that we will all be able to sing it together in either language or together in both languages, in all corners of the land.
If the February 4/16 initiative can be consolidated this way,that will be enough for now. It must be left to the wisdom of future generations to consider a multi lingual rendering of our National Anthem on the lines of the South African National Anthem.
If we ever get to this enlightening space, this will be one of the lasting tributes that all her sons and daughters will pay Mother Lanka.
With Peace and Blessings to all!