The Info List - Sri Lanka Matha

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Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Matha (Sinhalese: ශ්‍රී ලංකා මාතා Śrī Laṁkā Mātā; Tamil: ஸ்ரீ லங்கா தாயே, translit. Srī Laṅkā Tāyē) is the national anthem of Sri Lanka.


1 History 2 Multilingual

2.1 Tamil version controversy

3 Lyrics 4 References 5 External links

History[edit] There are differing accounts as to the origin of the Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Matha. The most widely held view is that Sri Lankan composer Ananda Samarakoon wrote the music and lyrics to the song inspired/influenced by Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore.[1][2][3][4] A minority suggest that Tagore wrote the anthem in full.[5][6][7][8] Some have suggested that Tagore wrote the music whilst Samarakoon wrote the lyrics.[9][10] Tagore being directly involved in the creation of the song has been denied by some historians like Indian Lipi Ghosh and Sri Lankan Sandagomi Coperahewa.[11] Samarakoon had been a pupil of Tagore at Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan.[12][13] After returning to Ceylon Samarakoon taught music at Mahinda College, Galle.[14][15] The song, which was then known as Namo Namo Mata, was first sung by students at Mahinda College.[16][17] After it was sung by the choir from Musaeus College, Colombo
at a public event it became hugely popular in Ceylon and was widely played on radio.[18] Prior to Ceylon's independence (1948) the Lanka Gandharva Sabha had organised a competition to find a national anthem.[19][20] Among the entries were Namo Namo Matha by Samarakoon and Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Matha Pala Yasa Mahima by P. B. Illangasinghe and Lionel Edirisinghe.[19][20] The latter won the competition but this was controversial as Illangasinghe and Edirisinghe were members of the judging panel.[19][20] Sri Lanka Matha Pala Yasa Mahima was broadcast by Radio Ceylon
Radio Ceylon
on the morning of 4 February 1948, independence day, but it was not sung at the official Freedom Day celebrations.[19][20] Ceylon continued to use the British national anthem as its official national anthem after independence.[21] At the first independence day ceremony held on 4 February 1949 at the Independence Memorial Hall
Independence Memorial Hall
in Torrington Square both Namo Namo Matha and Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Matha Pala Yasa Mahima were sung, in Sinhala and Tamil, as "national songs".[19][22] More specifically, in 1950 Minister of Finance J. R. Jayewardene requested that the government recognise Samarakoon's Namo Namo Matha as the official national anthem.[18] The government appointed a committee headed by Edwin Wijeyeratne, Minister of Home Affairs and Rural Development, to pick a new national anthem.[21] The committee heard several songs but, after much deliberation, picked Namo Namo Matha.[7][18][21] The committee made a minor change to Samarakoon's song, with his approval, changing the tenth line from "Nawajeewana Damine" to "Nawa Jeewana Demine Nithina Apapupudu Karan Matha".[18] The committee's decision was endorsed by the government on 22 November 1951.[14][21] The anthem was translated into the Tamil language
Tamil language
by M. Nallathamby.[18][23][24] Namo Namo Matha was first sung as Ceylon's official national anthem at the independence day ceremony in 1952.[18][25] In the late 1950s controversy arose over first line of the anthem, "Namo Namo Matha, Apa Sri Lanka".[17][18] It was deemed to be "unlucky" and blamed for the country's misfortunes including the deaths of two prime ministers.[17] In February 1961 the government changed the line to their present form, " Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Matha, Apa Sri Lanka", despite Samarakoon's strong opposition.[18][23] Samarakoon committed suicide in April 1962, leaving a note complaining that his anthem had been mutilated.[18] The Second Republican Constitution of 1978 gave Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Matha constitutional recognition.[26] Multilingual[edit] The Sri Lankan national anthem is available in an identical version in two languages, Sinhala and Tamil, both official languages of the country. It is just one of a number that are sung in more than one language: Belgium (French, Dutch and German), Canada
(English, French and Inuktitut), New Zealand (English and Māori), South Africa
South Africa
(Xhosa, Zulu, Sesotho, Afrikaans
and English), Suriname (Dutch and Sranan Tongo) and Switzerland (German, French, Italian and Romansh).[24] Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Thaaye, the Tamil version of the Sri Lankan national anthem, is an exact translation of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Matha, the Sinhala version, and has the same music.[27] Although it has existed since independence in 1948 it was generally only sung in the north and east of the country where the Tamil language
Tamil language
predominates.[27] The majority of Sri Lankans (around 75%) speak the Sinhala language. More specifically, "Tamil is the native language for the Tamil people, who constitute about 15% of Sri Lankans, and for Muslims who are nearly 10%", according to the BBC.[27] Until early 2016, the Sinhala version was the only one to be used during official government events and it was the only version used during international sports and other events.[24] Although the Sinhala version of the anthem was used at official/state events, the Tamil version was also sung at some events in spite of the unofficial ban which ended in early 2016. The Sinhala version of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Matha was used in all parts of the country with the exception of the North and the East which have a large Tamil population.[23][28][29] Some reports indicate that the Tamil version was used at official events held in the Tamil speaking regions in the North and East of Sri Lanka.[23][24] The Tamil version was sung at Tamil medium schools throughout the country.[23][24] The Tamil version was even used during the period when Sinhala was the only official language of the country (1956–87).[23][24] Tamil version controversy[edit] On 12 December 2010 The Sunday Times reported that the Cabinet of Sri Lanka headed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa
Mahinda Rajapaksa
had taken the decision to scrap the Tamil translation of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Matha at official and state functions, as "in no other country was the national anthem used in more than one language" - even though the national anthems of Canada, South Africa
South Africa
and those of several other countries have more than one language version.[28] The Cabinet's decision had followed a paper on the national flag and national anthem produced by Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister W. D. J. Senewiratne.[23][30] The paper had drawn on the Singaporean model where the national anthem is sung in the official lyrics and not any translation of the lyrics.[23] Based on this the paper recommended that the Sri Lankan national anthem only be sung in Sinhala and the Tamil translation be abolished.[23] The paper's authors had failed to realise that the official lyrics of the Singaporean national anthem are in Malay, a minority language (75% of Singaporeans are Chinese).[31] Government minister Wimal Weerawansa
Wimal Weerawansa
had labelled the Tamil version a "joke" on Derana TV, and had cited India as an analogy.[32][33][34] Some journalists, such as D. B. S. Jeyaraj,[23] claimed that it was wrong of Weerawansa to cite India as an analogy because according to them the Indian national anthem was not in Hindi, which is the most widely spoken language of India, but in Bengali, a minority language.[35][36][37][38] Although sources based on an official Government of India
Government of India
website state that the Indian National anthem
National anthem
was adopted in its Hindi
version by the Constituent Assembly of India,[39][40] the proceedings of the Constituent Assembly of India
Constituent Assembly of India
on 24 January 1950 does not mention that the National Anthem was "adopted", nor does it mention that it was done so in its Hindi version.[41][42] In actual practice the unaltered Bengali version is the version sung as the National Anthem, with its words in original Bengali Tatsama, a highly Sanskritized form of Bengali that has Sanskrit words common to both Hindi
and Bengali.[43] The Cabinet's December 2010 decision to scrap the Tamil translation of the anthem[44] (which was not subsequently enacted) caused much furore in Sri Lanka. Later, the government denied allegations that the Tamil translation was to be abolished.[45] The Presidential Secretariat
Presidential Secretariat
has stated that there was no basis to the media report and follow up reports which intimated the same.[46] Nevertheless, an unofficial ban[29] on the Tamil version came into being as fearful public officials in Tamil speaking areas stopped using the Tamil version or blocked attempts to use it.[24][47] The Sri Lankan Army
Sri Lankan Army
forcefully stopped any use of the Tamil version and taught school children to sing only the Sinhala version.[47][48][49][50] In March 2015 newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena
Maithripala Sirisena
announced that he would be issuing a circular which would state that there was no ban on singing the national anthem in Tamil.[51][52] Sirisena's announcement was attacked by Sinhalese Buddhist nationalists.[53][54][55][56] During Sri Lanka's 68th national independence day celebrations on 4 February 2016, the Tamil version of the anthem was sung for the first time since 1949 at an official government event, the independence day celebrations.[57] Lifting of the unofficial ban on the Tamil version had been approved by President Maithripala Sirisena
Maithripala Sirisena
(who had said he would unite the nation after the nearly 26-year civil war that ended in 2009) and by others in the government.[29] This step was viewed as part of the plan for "post-civil war ethnic reconciliation".[58] Naturally, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Matha was also sung in the majority Sinhalese. Some groups, and Sri Lanka's former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, were opposed to the government officially allowing the Tamil version to be sung.[27][59][27][60][61] Lyrics[edit]

Sinhala Tamil Transliteration (Sinhala) Transliteration (Tamil) English

ශ්‍රී ලංකා මාතා අප ශ්‍රී....... ලංකා නමෝ නමෝ නමෝ නමෝ මාතා සුන්දර සිරිබරිනී සුරැඳි අති සෝබමාන ලංකා ධාන්‍ය ධනය නෙක මල් පලතුරු පිරි ජය භුමිය රම්‍යා අප හට සැප සිරි සෙත සදනා ජීවනයේ මාතා පිළිගනු මැන අප භක්තී පූජා නමෝ නමෝ මාතා අප ශ්‍රී ...... ලංකා නමෝ නමෝ නමෝ නමෝ මාතා

ඔබ වේ අප විද්‍යා ඔබ මය අප සත්‍යා ඔබ වේ අප ශක්ති අප හද තුළ භක්තී ඔබ අප ආලෝකේ අපගේ අනුප්‍රාණේ ඔබ අප ජීවන වේ අප මුක්තිය ඔබ වේ

නව ජීවන දෙමිනේ නිතින අප පුබුදු කරන් මාතා ඥාන වීර්ය වඩවමින රැගෙන යනු මැන ජය භූමී කරා එක මවකගෙ දරු කැල බැවිනා යමු යමු වී නොපමා ප්‍රේම වඩා සැම භේද දුරැර දා නමෝ නමෝ මාතා අප ශ්‍රී........ ලංකා නමෝ නමෝ නමෝ නමෝ මාතා

ஸ்ரீ லங்கா தாயே - நம் ஸ்ரீ லங்கா நமோ நமோ நமோ நமோ தாயே நல்லெழில் பொலி சீரணி நலங்கள் யாவும் நிறை வான்மணி லங்கா ஞாலம் புகழ் வள வயல் நதி மலை மலர் நறுஞ்சோலை கொள் லங்கா நமதுறு புகலிடம் என ஒளிர்வாய் நமதுதி ஏல் தாயே நமதலை நினதடி மேல் வைத்தோமே நமதுயிரே தாயே - நம் ஸ்ரீ லங்கா நமோ நமோ நமோ நமோ தாயே

நமதாரருள் ஆனாய் நவை தவிர் உணர்வானாய் நமதோர் வலியானாய் நவில் சுதந்திரம் ஆனாய் நமதிளமையை நாட்டே நகு மடி தனையோட்டே அமைவுறும் அறிவுடனே அடல்செறி துணிவருளே

நமதோர் ஒளி வளமே நறிய மலர் என நிலவும் தாயே யாமெல்லாம் ஒரு கருணை அனைபயந்த எழில்கொள் சேய்கள் எனவே இயலுறு பிளவுகள் தமை அறவே இழிவென நீக்கிடுவோம் ஈழ சிரோமணி வாழ்வுறு பூமணி நமோ நமோ தாயே - நம் ஸ்ரீ லங்கா நமோ நமோ நமோ நமோ தாயே

Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Matha, Apa Sri Lanka Namo Namo Namo Namo Matha Sundara siri barini Surendi athi sobamana Lanka Dhanya dhanaya neka Mal palathuru piri, jaya bhoomiya ramya Apa hata sapa siri setha sadana Jeewanaye Matha! Piliganu mena apa bhakthi puja Namo Namo Matha, Apa Sri Lanka Namo Namo Namo Namo Matha

Obawe apa widya Obamaya apa sathya Obawe apa shakti Apa hada thula bhakthi Oba apa aloke Aapage anuprane Oba apa jeewana we Apa mukthiya obawe

Nawa jeewana demine Nnithina apa pubudu karan Matha Gnana weerya wadawamina ragena Yanu mena jaya bhoomi kara Eka mawekuge daru kala bawina Yamu yamu wee nopama Prema wada sama bheda durara da Namo Namo Matha, Apa Sri Lanka Namo Namo Namo Namo Matha

Srī laṅkā tāyē – nam Srī laṅkā Namō namō namō namō tāyē Nalleḻil poli cīraṇi Nalaṅkaḷ yāvum niṟai vāṉmaṇi laṅkā ñālam pukaḻ vaḷa vayal nati malai malar Naṟuñcōlai koḷ laṅkā Namatuṟu pukaliṭam eṉa oḷirvāy Namatuti ēl tāyē Namatalai niṉataṭi mēl vaittōmē Namatuyirē tāyē – nam Srī laṅkā Namō namō namō namō tāyē

Namatāraruḷ āṉāy Navai tavir uṇarvāṉāy Namatere valiyāṉāy Navil cutantiram āṉāy Namatiḷamaiyai nāṭṭē Naku maṭi taṉaiyōṭṭē Amaivuṟum aṟivuṭaṉē Aṭalceṟi tuṇivaruḷē

Namatōr oḷi vaḷamē Naṟiya malar eṉa nilavum tāyē Yāmellām oru karuṇai aṉaipayanta Eḻilkoḷ cēykaḷ eṉavē Iyaluṟu piḷavukaḷ tamai aṟavē Iḻiveṉa nīkkiṭuvōm īḻa cirōmaṇi vāḻvuṟu pūmaṇi Namō namō tāyē – nam Srī laṅkā Namō namō namō namō tāyē

Thou Mother Lanka, Oh Mother Lanka we salute, salute, salute, salute Thee! Plenteous in prosperity, Thou, Beauteous in grace and love, Laden with grain and luscious fruit, And fragrant flowers of radiant hue, Giver of life and all good things, Our land of joy and victory, Receive our grateful praise sublime, we worship, worship Thee. Oh Mother Lanka! We salute, salute, salute, salute Thee!

Thou gavest us Knowledge and Truth, Thou art our strength and inward faith, Our light divine and sentient being, Breath of life and liberation. Grant us, bondage free, inspiration. Inspire us for ever.

In wisdom and strength renewed, Ill-will, hatred, strife all ended, In love enfolded, a mighty nation Marching onward, all as one, Lead us, Mother, to fullest freedom, we worship, worship Thee Oh Mother Lanka! We salute, salute, salute, salute Thee!


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I-Day to have anthem in Tamil". The Hindu. 4 February 2016.  ^ "Tagore's influence on Lankan culture". Hindustan Times. 12 May 2010.  ^ Wickramasinghe, Nira (2003). Dressing the Colonised Body: Politics, Clothing, and Identity in Sri Lanka. Orient Longman. p. 26. ISBN 81-250-2479-4.  ^ Wickramasinghe, Kamanthi; Perera, Yoshitha. "Sri Lankan National Anthem: can it be used to narrow the gap?". The Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) (30 March 2015).  ^ a b Haque, Junaidul (7 May 2011). "Rabindranath: He belonged to the world". The Daily Star (Bangladesh).  ^ Habib, Haroon (17 May 2011). "Celebrating Rabindranath Tagore's legacy". The Hindu.  ^ Nandy, Ashis (17 February 2012). "Nationalism, Genuine and Spurious: A Very Late Obituary of Two Early Postnationalist Strains in India". Occasion, Stanford University. 3.  ^ Alexander, J. P. (2014). Decisive Battles, Strategic Leaders. Partridge Publishing. p. 188. ISBN 978-1-4828-1805-5.  ^ Kasturi, Charu Sudan (12 September 2017). "Fact check stress on PM Tagore claim No evidence to suggest that bard penned or composed song, says professor". The Telegraph.  ^ "Five things you need to know about Rabindranath Tagore". Hindustan Times. 9 May 2015.  ^ Ahmed, Khaled (12 June 2015). "Nationalism over verse". The Indian Express.  ^ a b "The quest for the right song". The Sunday Times (Sri Lanka). 16 November 2008.  ^ Saparamadu, Sumana (30 January 2011). "The origin of our National Anthem". Sunday Observer (Sri Lanka).  ^ Miranda, Sujitha (28 October 2012). "The 'National Anthem' was first sung at Mahinda Galle". The Sunday Times (Sri Lanka).  ^ a b c Saparamadu, Sumana (14 May 2006). " Ananda Samarakoon - The composer of our national anthem". Sunday Observer (Sri Lanka).  ^ a b c d e f g h i Bamunuarachchi, Jinadasa (2 February 2013). "Vasu, DO NOT KILL Ananda Samarakoon again". Daily News (Sri Lanka).  ^ a b c d e Jeyaraj, D. B. S. (6 February 2016). "Tamils Hail Mother Lanka as " Sri Lanka
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Sings Tamil Version Of National Anthem". Colombo
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I-Day to have anthem in Tamil". The Hindu.  ^ Mallawarachi, Bharatha (4 February 2016). " Sri Lanka
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External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to National Anthem of Sri Lanka.

National Anthems: Sri Lanka National Anthems: Sri Lanka Himnuszok: Sri Lanka National Country Symbols Of All Countries: Sri Lanaka

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National anthems of Asia


Abkhazia Afghanistan Armenia Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) Azerbaijan Bahrain Bangladesh Bhutan Brunei Cambodia China Cyprus East Timor Egypt Georgia India Indonesia Iran Iraq Israel Japan Jordan Kazakhstan North Korea South Korea Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Laos Lebanon Malaysia Maldives Mongolia Myanmar Nepal Northern Cyprus Oman Pakistan Palestine Philippines Qatar Russia Saudi Arabia Singapore South Ossetia Sri Lanka Syria Taiwan Tajikistan Thailand Transnistria Turkey Turkmenistan United Arab Emirates Uzbekistan Vietnam Yemen



Assam Karnataka Puducherry Odisha Tamil Nadu Telangana


Iraqi Kurdistan


Federal Territories Johor Kedah Kelantan Malacca Negeri Sembilan Penang Pahang Perak Perlis Sabah Sarawak Selangor Terengganu


Altai Republic Chukotka Autonomous Okrug Buryatia Khakassia Sakha Republic Tartarstan Tuva



Tibet (in exile) West Papua (disputed)



Former anthems

Former Russian Empire or Soviet Union

Russian Empire (1816-33) Russian Empire (1833-1917) Russian Republic (1917–18) The Internationale
The Internationale
(1918–44) Soviet Union (and Russian SFSR, 1944–91) Armenian SSR (1944–91) Azerbaijan SSR (1944–92) Georgian SSR (1946–91) Kazakh SSR (1945–92) Kazakhstan (1992–2006) Kirghiz SSR (1946–92) Russian Federation (1990–2000) Tajik SSR (1946–94) Turkmen SSR (1946–97) Uzbek SSR (1946–92) Tuva (1993–2011)

Other non-Islamic

China (Qing dynasty 1911) Khmer Republic (1970–75) Democratic Kampuchea (1975–93) People's Republic of Kampuchea (1979–89)

Manchukuo (1932–45) Kingdom of Nepal (1967–2006) Siam (now as royal salute) South Vietnam (1948–75) South Vietnam (1975–76)

Islamic World

United Arab Republic (1960–81) Kingdom of Iraq (1932–58) Iraqi Republic (1981–2003)

Afghanistan (1943-73) (1978–92) Kuwait (1951–78) Palestine (de facto until 1996)

Italics indicates partially-