Nirmala Sitharaman's Budget: Long Speech, 4 Languages, Some Poetry

As she quoted an Urdu couplet by Manzoor Hashmi, Nirmala Sitharaman urged the house to "pardon her pronounciation".

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Nirmala Sitharaman's Budget: Long Speech, 4 Languages, Some Poetry

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented her first Budget in parliament today.


New Delhi: 

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman delivered her first Budget speech in parliament, one of the longest ever, occasionally switching to Hindi, Tamil, Urdu and even Sanskrit.

Nirmala Sitharaman, India's first full time woman Finance Minister, has ditched many traditions but stayed loyal to one - that of interspersing the usually ponderous Budget speech with couplets.

In her 2 hours 17 minutes-long speech, Nirmala Sitharaman did not pause even for a sip of water.

As former Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman is no stranger to long speeches.

Before she began, the Finance Minister greeted her parents Savithri and Narayanan Sitharaman and her journalist daughter Vangmayi Parkala in the gallery.

The speech drew most desk-thumping and applause when Nirmala Sitharaman, who is from Tamil Nadu, reverted to Hindi to make announcements on rural artisans.

As she quoted an Urdu couplet by Manzoor Hashmi, she urged the house to "pardon her pronounciation".

"Yakeen ho to koi rasta niklta hai, hawa ki ot bhi le kar chirag jalta hai, (If you are determined you will see a way. The lamp burns bright even in the wind)," the minister said.

Ms Sitharaman also quoted medieval political strategist Chanakya, Swami Vivekanand and Lord Basaveshwara during the speech.

Quoting from Chanakya Neeti, the minister recited: "Kaarya purusha kare na lakshyam sampa dayate (With determined human efforts, the task will surely be completed)." She made the reference while speaking of India's goal to be a $5 trillion economy in the next few years.

Ms Sitharaman also quoted from a Tamil classic ''Yaanai Pugundha Nilam'' written by Pisirandhayar.

What the minister said in Tamil was: " An elephant will be happy to have two mounds of rice from a paddy field. But if it enters the land, it will have far less to eat than it will trample."



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