The financial budget for the year 2020-21 was recently tabled before the members of the Lok Sabha by the finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, today. While the budget has brought some relief for the middle class in terms of income tax cuts, it has also set a roadmap for a more inclusive approach in terms of agricultural economics. However, one of the most remarkable points about this budget was the cultural significance of the same. This is one of the first budgets presented in the history of India that was truly Bharatiya in all aspects.
To begin with, Nirmala Sitharaman quoted a poem composed by famous Kashmiri poet Dina Nath Kaul, which was as follows –
“Saun Watan Gulzar Shalamaar Hyur
Dal Manz Pholvun Pamposh Hyuv
Navjavan-an-hund, Vushun Khumaar Hyuv
Myon Watan, Chyon Watan
Saun Watan, Nundbony Watan”
This is translated as shown below –
[Our country is like a blooming Shalimar Bagh,
Our country is like a lotus blooming in Dal Lake,
Our country is like a lotus blooming in Dal Lake,
My country, your country, our country
The world’s most adorable country]
Nirmala then defined India as a continuous civilization thriving for the past 4000 years, and instead of the classic Indus Valley Civilization, she used the term Saraswati Sindhu civilization as she talked about the vibrant history of entrepreneurship in India. Instead of Indus Valley Civilization, as is the norm, she mentioned Saraswati Sindhu Civilization, stressing upon the importance of each word in her speech.
To quote another extract from her speech, “The guilds of Saraswati-Sindhu civilization & the Harappan seals are remarkable. They belong to 3300 BCE. Words from the Indus Script-hieroglyphs have been deciphered. Commerce and trade related words show how India for a millennia is
continuing as richin skilis,rnetallurgy, trade etc. “Takara Kolimi=Tin smithery, “ Sreni “= Guild, SethF= wholesale merchant, “Poddar”= Assayer of metal into treasury.”
Nirmala even mentioned an excerpt from the iconic Sanskrit epic of Kalidasa titled ‘Raghuvamsa’ while discussing the aspects of taxation, wherein she explained, “The king collects taxes from his subjects only for their own good, just as the sun draws moisture from the earth to give it back a thousand times.”
We have often been told as to how Dravidians were the original inhabitants of the entire Indian subcontinent, who were forced out of their northern homes by the invading Aryans. However, the mentions of Saraswati Sindhu civilization and saint Thiruvalluvar are more than enough to describe as to how rattled the members of opposition, as well as those of the establishment have felt towards the cultural references of Nirmala Sitharaman in the current budget.
Interestingly, when Nirmala focused on the cultural aspect, she also revealed a fact that would make some of the left oriented intellectuals cower in fear. Not only did Nirmala Sitharaman declare that an Insitute of Heritage and Culture would be set up, but also maintained that 5 archaeological sites would be developed as iconic sites, with on site museums. Interestingly, the 5 locations – Rakhigarhi, Dholavira, Hastinapur, Sivasagar and Adichallanur are situated in different regions of India, which also demolishes the Aryan Dravidian theory to smithereens.
However, it seems that Nirmala wasn’t done yet, as she further quoted verses from the compositions of famous Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar, indicating as to how the current PM Narendra Modi’s approach towards governance is in complete synchronization with that of the famed poet Thiruvalluvar. To quote an excerpt from her budget speech, “I fall back on the wise words of Thiruvalluvar. We’ve heard of several words of wisdom from the legendary poet. He has spoken about what a good country is and what makes up for the jewels of a good country.”
Nirmala further added, “There are five jewels for a good country. A good country must be free from epidemics, it must be wealthy, it should grow crops, people there must be happy and security and safety of the country must be a top priority India, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, qualifies to be a good country.”
However, these statements were cue to continuous heckling and booing from the Congress led opposition, each time Nirmala made cultural references with respect to the modern budget. The booing was the loudest as she mentioned about Saraswati Sindhu civilization, as well as about Saint Thiruvalluvar. The outrage over Nirmala Sitharaman’s mention wasn’t limited to just the Parliament, as several self claimed custodians of Indian history outraged over the mention on their social media accounts.
However, this wasn’t completely unexpected, not only because it was the opposition in question, but also because probably for the first time in the history of Indian governance, a truly cultural, Indic budget was presented. Anything that is remotely Indic, or has a cultural reference to our indigenous history, is looked down upon by the cabal of left oriented politicians, intellectuals as well as artistes, who try their best to suppress it. For instance, when Nirmala Sitharaman mentioned about the principles of Saint Thiruvalluvar, and how PM Narendra Modi was doing complete justice to his approach, she was met with disdain and hooting from the opposition.
For the first time, significant attention was paid to the need of reviving our Indic history, which is proved with the way Nirmala Sitharaman mentioned excerpts from whatever has been deciphered from the Indus script. Instead of the much anglicized Indus Valley civilization, she mentioned Saraswati Sindhu civilization, which in itself is a major blow to the sentiments of those, who hard persistently carped upon the absurd Aryan – Dravidian theory for decades.