“Sri Lanka Thaayae, Nam Sri Lanka, Namo, Namo, Namo, Namo Thaayae…” (Sri Lanka Mother, our sri Lanka, We Salute, Salute, Salute, Salute Thee) – Sri Lankan National Anthem in Tamil
Sri Lanka known as Ceylon gained Freedom from Britain on February 4th 1948. I was born six years later in Independent Ceylon on May 21st 1954. Ceylon became a Republic and changed her name officially to Sri Lanka on May 22nd 1972.Sri Lanka celebrated her 68th anniversary of Independence on Feb 4th 2016. The official commemorative event was held at the Galle Face Green. The highlight of the day was the singing of our national anthem in both Sinhala and Tamil.
During the past decades I have seen many official commemorations of Independence day occur. However for the first time in my life I witnessed a scene via the internet which I thought would never ever happen during my lifetime. I saw and heard a youthful choir of boys and girls exuberantly rendering the Sri Lankan National anthem in my mother tongue –Tamil. It took 2 minutes and 32 seconds. The singers were students of Bambalapitiya Ramanathan Hindu Ladies College and Colombo Vivekananda College. They sang harmoniously with gusto and great fervour. After several decades the National anthem was being sung with official approval at the state sanctioned commemoration of Independence.
I was in a state of emotional ecstasy. I did something which I have not done before when Sri Lanka’s National Anthem was being played. I cried! I am not ashamed to say that!! I kept clicking replay to see the clip over and over again. My eyes turned moist and tears kept trickling down my cheeks. I even sobbed a few times involuntarily. It was with the greatest difficulty that I controlled myself. When the “Rupavahini” camera panned on the distinguished gathering, I saw those very important children of the Sri Lankan mother – most of them Sinhalese- standing respectfully erect as the words rang out clearly in Tamil. It was truly a defining moment!
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