Sri Lankan national anthem has been sung in Tamil language for the first time since 1949. The national anthem has been rendered on its 68th Independence Day, amid objections from certain sections of the country, reported The Hindu.

The former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, allowed only the Sinhala version to be sung on independence day. Thus, there was an unofficial ban for five years on the Tamil version. When Maithripala Sirisena became the president of the country in January 2015 he lifted the ban. The decision faced a lot of criticism from the section deemed as die-hard nationalists, which includes former president Rajapaksa himself.  Criticising the move, Rajpaksa said that the anthem should be sung in just one language.

Uday Gammanpila, leader of the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya , commented that  there is no Constitutional sanction for the move made by the government.

On the other hand, many people from the government expressed their positive feelings about the decision.

Cabinet Minister Harin Fernando commented, “It is in our constitution, I don’t know why people make an issue with this…It’s the same song, same tune and same meaning. If it is sung in Tamil, Tamil people will understand the true meaning of it, they will also be part of it”.

He emphasized the need of unity in Sri Lanka and stated that when a person speakes in his own language he shoulders more responsibility which is the demand of the day in Sri Lanka.

Tamil Minister Mano Ganeshan also shared his opinion which echoed Mr. Fernando’s thoughts. He said that although, it was a very small act it would go a long way. He added that this was the victory of their coexistence.

The anthem is called as “Sri Lanka Matha.” It was written by Ananda Samarakoon a student of Shantiniketan. The anthem was said to have been inspired by Rabindranath Tagore.

Tamil population comprises 24.87 percent of the population in Sri Lanka. They are classified as three ethnic groups: Sri Lankan Tamils, India Origin Tamils and Sri Lankan Moors.