Budget 2020: When FM Sitharaman invoked Thiruvalluvar

Budget 2020: When FM Nirmala Sitharaman invoked Thiruvalluvar

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. (PTI Photo)

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Budget 2020 on Feb. 1. A long speech of 2 hours 42 minutes, it was laced with references from literature, which varied from a Kashmiri poem to a Tamil story. She also mentioned a couplet by the legendary Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar, while stressing the importance of keeping the environment free from pollution. The couplet that she recited is: 

Piniyinmai, selvam, vilaivinbam, yemam, 

aniyanba naativvaindhu. 

                  - Kural 738

It means, "the absence of illness, the abundance of wealth, produce, fulfilment and good security are the five elements that make a country beautiful."

Thiruvalluvar, who is commonly known as Valluvar, was a celebrated Tamil poet and philosopher. He is best known as the author of Thirukkuṛaḷ, a collection of couplets on ethics, political and economic matters and love. The text is considered an exceptional and cherished work of Tamil literature. 

It is not the first time that Sitharaman has referred to a Tamil poet while delivering her Budget speech. While delivering her first Budget speech in 2019, she quoted a few lines from Yanai Pugundha Nilam written by Pisirandaiyaar. She also quoted from Purananooru, a set of 400 war poems. 

Not only Sitharaman, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also referred to Thiruvalluvar during his 2019 Independence Day speech. He quoted Thiruvalluvar's line "neer indri amaiyathu ulagu" (the world can’t survive without water) while driving home his call to conserve water. 

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