New Delhi: No Budget speech is complete without some poetry by the Finance Minister. Well, Budget speeches are long, almost like a Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus sans the choreographed dances, the shiny attires and the background score. So it becomes absolutely mandatory for our finance ministers to come up with a strategy to ensure the Parliamentarians and the country doesn’t fall asleep.
However, this year, Arun Jaitley didn't recite any poems throughout his 6,696 word-long Budget speech. It was only towards the end that he found some inspiration in Swami Vivekananda.
While concluding the Budget speech, Jaitley said that the government has been guided by its mission to "strengthen agriculture, rural development, health, education, employment, MSME and infrastructure sectors of the Indian economy".
Hoping to create a 'New India', Jaitley recited a verse from Vivekananda's 'Memoirs of European Travel'.
“You merge yourselves in the void and disappear, and let new India arise in your place. Let her arise – out of the peasants’ cottage, grasping the plough; out of the huts of the fisherman. Let her spring from the grocer’s shop, from beside the oven of the fritter-seller. Let her emanate from the factory, from marts, and from markets. Let her emerge from groves and forests, from hills and mountains’’.
Here’s a look at some of the poems that became a part of the previous Union Budget speeches:
1. Arun Jaitley (2016-17)
Jaitley started his 2016-17 Budget speech by first talking about the bad economy that he had inherited. But there was good news. He said he knew how to fix it. So, he didn’t want to miss a chance to bring out his inner poet out and recited an Urdu couplet.
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 showed and will keep on showing, how to cross the river in such conditions.
2. P Chidambaram (2013-14)
The then Finance Minister quoted a couplet from Thirukural, a classic Tamil text consisting of 1,330 couplets, to drive home the point that India can progress further if it makes the right decisions and choices. We instantly knew he is a big fan of Tamil literature.
Kalangathu kanda vinaikkan thulangkathu thookkang kadinthu seyal.
Translation: What clearly the eye discerns as right, with steadfast will and mind unslumbering, man should fulfill that.
3. Manmohan Singh (1990-91)
In his landmark 1991 Budget speech, then Finance Minister Manmohan Singh, sort of changed India forever. Singh kick-started economic reforms, brought about an expansion of the services sector helped largely by a liberalised investment and trade regime. It also increased consumer choices and reduced poverty significantly. In the speech, he 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.
4. Pranab Mukherjee (2009-10)
Finding inspiration in Mahatma Gandhi and Kautilya, Pranab Mukherjee quoted both in his Budget speech. Pointing out that the short-term fiscal stimulus has to be balanced against long-term prudence and fiscal sustainability objectives, he recited a verse by the author of Arthashastra.
"In the interest of the prosperity of the country, a king shall be diligent in foreseeing the possibility of calamities, try to avert them before they arise, overcome those which happen, remove all obstructions to economic activity and prevent loss of revenue to the state."
5. Pranab Mukherjee (2012-13)
In his last Budget speech, the former President quoted Hamlet, the prince of Denmark, while talking about the tough policy decisions he had to take for the good of the economy in the long run.
“I must be cruel only to be kind.”
6. Arun Jaitley (2015-16)
Taking a dig at the UPA regime, Jaitley borrowed lines from a Hindi poetry.
Kuchh to gul khilaye hain, kuchh abhi khilaane hain,
Par baagh mein ab bhi kaante kuchh puraane hain
Translation: We have made a few flowers bloom and have to bloom more, but there are a few old thorns in the garden.
7. Arun Jaitley (2017-18)
While speaking on Modi government's war on black money, Jaitley again resorted to Hindi poetry.
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.
8. Yashwant Sinha (2001-02)
While presenting the 2001-02 Budget, the then Finance Minister claimed that it targets second generation reforms, growth and equity with efficiency and he recited a poem to emphasize 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?