The Union Budget for 2020-21 was presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman before the members of Lok Sabha today. The budget has brought significant relief to the middle class, in terms of major tax cuts, while those concerned with agriculture have many things to smile about. However, the highlight of the budget speech was Nirmala Sitharaman’s cultural references in the current budget, especially the ones that talked about reviving the indigenous heritage of India.
Beginning with a poem of Kashmiri poet Dina Nath Kaul, Nirmala Sitharaman went on to describe in detail about the vibrant history of entrepreneurship in India, using the term Saraswati Sindhu Civilization instead of the much anglicized Indus Valley Civilization. However, the principal focus was upon the teachings of Tamil saint Thiruvalluvar, and how PM Narendra Modi’s governance is doing complete justice to his teachings.
For those unaware, saint Thiruvalluvar was a Tamil poet and philosopher who has written Thirukkural – a brilliant treatise on ethics in political and economic matters. Thiruvalluvar’s Thirukkural – literally translated as “Sacred Verses” – is a classic Tamil language text consisting of 1,330 couplets or kurals. It has been widely admired by scholars and influential leaders such as Leo Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Schweitzer, Constantius Joseph Besch etc. Thiruvalluvar and his greatest work Thirukkural have long since been celebrated and upheld as a text of reverence by the Tamil people and the government of Tamil Nadu.
To quote an excerpt from Nirmala Sitharaman’s budget speech on Thiruvalluvar, “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.” Further elaborating on the 5 essential principles as taught by saint Thiruvalluvar in his creation Thirukkural, Nirmala mentions, “There are five jewels for a country, which is one without illness, one with wealth, it must have good crops, it should have happiness as well as safety/security. That – simply put – is a premise for the 5 priorities of the current government:
1. Ayushman Bharat Yojana
2. Special regard for wealth creators
3. Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN)
4. Ease of living
5. National security
However, all hell broke loose as Nirmala talked about the fourth and fifth point, i.e. Ease of Living and National Security. As Nirmala mentioned about the measures taken by Modi government in order to ensure ease of living and national security, the Opposition members began shouting causing the minister to pause her speech.
The Opposition benches wanted to know what the Centre was doing to calm the fears created by the Citizenship Amendment Act. But the minister had something else in mind. “There is enough proof to say that national security is the top priority of the government,” she said, obviously referring to the Centre’s response to the 2019 Pulwama attacks.
However, we also forget that these are the same people, who still live in the hangover of absurd policies as drafted by the Nehru Gandhi dynasty. They still think that the world runs on Panchsheel principles, and any deviation from the same is nothing less than blasphemy. It is another matter altogether that the very Panchsheel principles had led to one of our most humiliating defeats in the Indo China War of 1962.
Now the real reason as to why the opposition is so rattled about the mention of Thiruvalluvar by Nirmala Sitharaman is because of the roots of Bharatiya Janata Party. For decades, BJP has been trolled as the ‘Cow Belt Party’, because its popularity was initially restricted to the states of UP, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand etc. Any attempt to make their presence felt in other regions of India was looked at in a contemptuous manner.
Now, for the past few months, PM Modi has made it a point to talk about people like Saint Thiruvalluvar in order to dispel the notion that BJP is just restricted to select portions of the Indian peninsula. As such, if PM Modi succeeds in winning the hearts of the Tamilians, who consider Thiruvalluvar to be nothing less than a matter of national pride, it would destroy the carefully crafted hoax of Aryan Dravidian theory, on the basis of which the leftist oriented cabal of politicians and intellectuals had been dividing our nation for decades, if not centuries.
Moreover this is not the first time the name of the iconic Tamil saint has been invoked by the current government. PM Narendra Modi himself mentioned Thiruvalluvar’s teachings during his Independence Day speech by quoting his line neer indri amaiyathu ulagu (the world can’t survive without water). He even quoted another line from Thiruvalluvar’s creations during his speech at the UN General Assembly, which literally meant that the world is a global village.