When finance ministers delivered poetic budget speeches

Finance ministers have often weaved poetry into their budget speeches to support a point that they make
Last Updated 30 January 2021, 10:51 IST

As Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is set to present the upcoming Budget on February 1, let us have a look at some of the Budget speeches that incorporated poetic verses.

1. Budget 2020 | Nirmala Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recited a verse from a poem written by Kashmiri poet and Sahitya Akademi winner Pandit Dina Nath Kaul during her opening speech of Union Budget 2020. The poem refers to Shalimar Bagh and Dal Lake in Kashmir, emphasising that India belongs to all citizens. This came on the heels of the abrogation of Article 370 that gave a special status to Kashmir.

"Humara watan khilte hue Shalimar bagh jaise
humara watan Dal lake mein khilte hue kamal jaisa
nau jawanon ke garam khoon jaisa
mera watan tera watan, humara watan
duniya ka sabse pyara watan."

Translation: Our country is like a blooming Shalimar Bagh, our country is like the lotus blooming in the Dal Lake; it is like the boiling blood of the youth, my country, your country, the world’s most beloved country.

In the speech, she also quoted poet and philosopher Thiruvalluvar, when stating five "jewels" required for a "good country".

"Piniyinmai Selvam Vilaivinpam Emam Aniyenpa Naattiv Vaindhu"

Which translates to- The country's five jewels are: Without epedemic or illness, wealth, farm productivity or crop, happiness and good defence.

2. Budget 2019 | Nirmala Sitharaman

In 2019, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman quoted a couplet by Urdu writer Manzur Hashmi while outlining India's bold and audacious target of becoming a $5 trillion economy in the next few years.

"Yaqin ho to koi rasta nikalta hai
hawa ki ot bhi le kar chirag jalta hai"

Translation: You can find a way if you have faith in yourself, just as an earthen lamp can also lighten up despite the air blowing around.

3. Budget 2016 | Arun Jaitley

Talking about the 'bad' state of the economy that he had inherited from the previous government, Jaitley said that he knew how to fix it. He then took the opportunity to recite an Urdu couplet that explained a similar situation.

"Kashti chalaane walon ne jab haar kar di patwar hamein,
Lehar lehar toofan mile aur mauj mauj manjdhaar hamein.
Phir bhi dikhaya hai humne, aur phir yeh dikha denge sabko,
In halato mein aata hai daria karna paar humein."

Translation: When the exhausted sailors handed the oar of the boat to us, we faced storms and rapids everywhere. But we have shown and will keep on showing, how to cross the river in such conditions.

4. Budget 2013 | P Chidambaram

To explain a point that India can progress further if it makes the right decisions and choices, former finance minister P Chidambaram quoted a couplet from Thirukural, a classic Tamil text consisting of 1,330 couplets.

"Kalangathu kanda vinaikkan thulangkathu thookkang kadinthu seyal"

Translation: What clearly eye discerns as right, with steadfast will and mind unslumbering, that should man fulfil.

5. Budget 1990 | Manmohan Singh

In his landmark 1991 Budget speech, where several economic reforms kick-started, the former Prime Minister quoted Allama Iqbal.

"Yunaan-o-Misr-o-Rom sab mit gaye jahaan se/ Ab tak magar hai baaki, naam-o-nishaan hamara"

Translation: Old civilisations of Greece, Egypt and Rome have vanished from the earth. But our civilisation continues to thrive.

6. Budget 2001 | Yashwant Sinha

Stating that the reforms laid down in the Budget targeted second-generation reforms, growth and equity with efficiency, Yashwant Sinha recited a poem to emphasise on it.

"Taqaazaa hai waqt kaa ke toofaan se joojho,
kahaan tak chaloge kinaare kinaare"

Translation: The time requires you to fight the storms. How long will you keep on walking on the shore?

7. Budget 2017 | Arun Jaitley

In the Budget where the government started a war against black money, Jaitley took to poetry to welcome the new regime.

"Nayi duniya hai, naya daur hai, nayi hai umang,
Kuch the pahle se tariqe to kuch hain aaj ke rang-dhang.
Roshni aake jo andheron se takdai hai,
Kaale dhan ko bhi badalna pada aaj apna rang."

Translation: It's a new world, it's a new regime, new hope and under this bright light, even black money was forced to change its colour.

(Published 23 January 2021, 10:02 IST)

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