Jaitley juggles verse, breaks the monotony of numbers

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is, perhaps, now fully in sync with the workings of the most tricky Union Ministry, a view that gains currency (pun intended) by the fact that while his first Budget speech contained not a single line of poetry or a quote, his fourth, delivered on Wednesday, was peppered with couplets in Hindi and ended with a quote likening the economy to a bird about to take flight.

At several points in his nearly two-hour speech, Mr. Jaitley broke into poetic flourishes, and even paused for applause, somewhat to the relief of his audience that welcomed the break from Budget jargon.

“Iss mode par ghabraakar na tham jaaiye aap, jo baat nayi hai ussey apnaiye aap (do not be anxious at this juncture and stop, see the newness for what it is and accept it),” he said while explaining what he termed the “new normal” of the Indian economy following demonetisation.

Taking the theme further, he said: “Dartey nahin nayi raah pe kyun chalne se hum, aage aage chaltey hain aaiye aap (do not fear to tread this path, we are ahead of you, do come along)” — the pep talk needed to chart the post-demonetisation world.

Poet Anonymous

Unlike former Finance Ministers P. Chidambaram, who liberally quoted Swami Vivekananda and Thiruvalluvar, Pranab Mukherjee, whose go-to book for quotes was Arthashastra, or even former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was fond of Victor Hugo, Mr. Jaitley kept his poetic source a mystery.

Neither the Minister nor his staff divulged the name of the poet.

The Finance Minister are never too popular as they hold the purse strings of other Ministries, but poetry can possibly bring in a change. Mr. Jaitley’s progressively increased use of verse in his speeches certainly points to that.

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2021 12:30:43 AM |

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