Mr. Ananda Samarakoon.Written by චාන්දනී තෙන්නකෝන්
Mr. Ananda Samarakoon was a singer, a lyricist, a school master and most prominently he was the creator of the national anthem in Sri Lanka. According to the birth certificate his name is mentioned as Egodahage George Wilfred Alwis Amarakoon. He was born in 13th of January in 1911 in Paadukka. The great lyricist was dead in 5th of April in 1962.
As Mr. Samarakoon was born to a Christian family in Paadukka, he was given the primary education in Kotte Sri jayawardanepura Maha Vidyalaya. Those days it was named as Christian School – Kotte.
The little Ananda samarakoon was fortunate enough to receive a proper education on Sinhala language under the guidance of Mr.D.C.P. Gamlath, one of the greatest teachers in Sinhala. But Goerge Wilfred Ananda becomes Ananda Samarakoon after travelling to India to study Music from the great musician Tagore. He too did his higher studies in Eastern Traditional Music and Indian Classical Music at the well famous institute for Music, ‘’Shanthi Nikethana” in India.He arrived to Sri Lanka after six months and embraces Buddhism and introduced himself as Ananda Samarakoon.
It was after his journey to India, he composed the anthem “Namo namo maatha”. The song ‘Endada Manike’ was composed as a result in his effort to create Music with a Sri Lankan identity. Among the songs composed by Mr. Samarakoon , ‘podi mall ethano’ , ‘wile malak pipila’ , ‘poson pohoda ’ ‘ase madura jeewanaye geetha’ ,‘punchi suda’ , ‘nilwala gange’ , ‘sumano’ , ‘pudamu me kusume’ , ‘siri saru saara kethe’ are some of the most famous ones. He served as a teacher from 1938 to 1942 in Mahinda vidyalaya – Galle. In 1945 he had the most pathetic experience in his life.
The one and only son he had, died at the age of five. He again left for India due to the utter frustration he had to undergo and in order to get rid from it; he started to do some painting. However this incident was successful enough to produce an artist to the world. Mr.Samarakoon was so keen in his painting; he could hold eleven Art exhibitions. All most all the paintings were finely designed.
After this dark period in his life, he came back to his motherland in 1951. But the life here was not so nice. The composed anthem was recorded in 1946. Though the national anthem was accepted by the government, there were so arguments against it.
Finally the first line of the anthem was changed as “Sri lanka maatha” but it caused the displeasure of Mr.Samarakoon. Some say that it is due to his frustration over this issue, he committed suicide in 5th of April in 1962.