Image courtesy Narenthiran

Read Part 1 here

There have been diverse responses to the singing of our National Anthem in both our national languages; some sensible, some stupid; some patriotic, some racist. Among the questions that arise are the following:

  • If the National Anthem depicts the unitary character of the state, do states that are expressly federal, or de facto federal or quasi federal have no right to a National Anthem? Many countries around the globe fall within these categories but all of them have National Anthems.
  • Do those multi lingual countries that have National Anthems that are sung in their National Languages fail to inspire their citizens when their National Anthem is sung in those Languages?
  • If the National Anthem cannot be sung in two National languages what of countries which have more than two National Languages in all of which the National Anthem is sung?
  • Who are war heroes? Do they include those who committed criminal acts in the course of or in the wake of the war? If we do not differentiate our war heroes from the war criminals, we would be defiling the reputation and honour of our armed personnel, most of whom fought bravely and honorably and suffered much in consequence.
  • Why did Tamil separatists oppose the singing of our National Anthem in Tamil? Singing the National Anthem in Tamil would promote National Integration and undermine the cause of the Tamil separatists. The Tamil separatists were intelligent enough to understand this, unlike some of their majoritarian counterparts who oppose the singing of our National Anthem in our National languages thinking that it would lead to secession.
  • In fact the LTTE and its hardline supporters were consistently opposed to federalism, even though they may have appeared to be supportive of federalism in some of their negotiations. They too were aware that successful federalism would undermine the case for secession.