Nirmala quotes Tamil poem in Budget speech

Nirmala quotes Tamil poem in Budget speech

New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and MoS Anurag Thakur arrive at Parliament to present the Union Budget 2019-20, in New Delhi, Friday, July 05, 2019. (PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan)(PTI7_5_2019_000031B)

The classic language of Tamil made a comeback in the Union Budget speech after a gap of five years with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman quoting a famous poem from Sangam Era work of ‘Purananooru’. The Lok Sabha was used to Tamil during budget speeches when P Chidambaram turned to his muse Thiruvalluvar at the end of his more than an hour-long presentation and quote one of his couplets from Thirukkural.    

The last time Lok Sabha heard Tamil during the Budget speech was in 2013 when Chidambaram presented the last full budget of the UPA-II Government. 

Nirmala turning to Purananooru penned by Pisiranthaiyaar o Friday is an attempt to assuage the feelings of Tamils across the globe who accuse the BJP of imposing Hindi on them at the cost of their language. After completing the first part of her speech, Nirmala began her second part on taxation by quoting from 
Purananooru, the Sangam-era literature. 

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“I find wisdom in a line from Purananooru which a Sangam time Tamil literature piece is. This is about a land where elephants gets into it and the line was sung to King Pandian Arivudainambi by Pisiranthaiyaar. The meaning of the line is that just a few mounts of rice from paddy would be sufficient for an elephant. But what if the elephant itself enters into the field and start eating? It will eat far lesser than what it will trample with its foot,” Nirmala said. 

“The advice given to Pandian is a valuable advice that this government appreciates. The meaning is clear, and we don’t intend to trample anybody,” the Finance Minister said. 

MPs from Tamil Nadu, who raised slogans hailing Tamil when they took the oath last month, were visibly happy as Nirmala quoted from Tamil literature. They also corrected Nirmala when she struggled to pronounce the name of the author of Purananooru, Pisiranthaiyaar. DMK members A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran were seen reciting the poem as Nirmala quoted the verses in her speech. 

Also, Nirmala, who hails from Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu, became the sixth person from Tamil Nadu to have presented Union Budget in independent India. Free India’s first budget was also presented by R K Shanmukham Chetty, a Tamil who was born in Coimbatore, on November 26, 1947. 

Finance Ministers T T Krishnamachari (1957-1958 & 1963-1965), C Subramaniam (1975-1977) and R Venkataraman (1980-1982) also hailed from Tamil Nadu.  Chidambaram (1996-1998, 2004-2008 & 2012-2014) is also a native of Tamil Nadu.

Chidambaram used to always end his Budget speech by quoting from Thirukkural, which has a couplet for every subject ranging from ploughing a piece of land to ruling a country. 


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