Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Friday quoted Tamil classic "Purananooru," and drew inspiration from it to assert that the NDA government was for judicious taxation ensuring that it does not hurt any section of the tax payers.
Thanking honest tax payers during the presentation of the Budget, Nirmala said: "I find wisdom in a line from Purananooru which is a Sangam time Tamil literature piece, a Tamil Sangam era work and this is done by (poet) Pisiranthaiyar."
When the Minister felt she was probably not getting the pronounciation of the poet's name right, she was helped by MPs from Tamil Nadu after which she repeated the name twice with perfection. "Pisiranthayar, Pisiranthayar, yes," she said.
Tamil's echo in Union budget was last heard in 2014 when P Chidambaram, then Finance Minister, quoted "Thirukkural," couplets, a Tamil classic of all times in his presentation.
Sitharaman quoted the verses that begin with "Kai Nel Aruthu Kavalam Koline," (that appears under the head "Yanai Pugunda Nilam, meaning land entered by an elephant), which she said was an advice to the Pandian king Arivudai Nambi.
The Minister picked lines from the first, middle and end of the compilation and was greeted by members, one of whom said "very good."
Explaining, she said, just a few mounds of rice cooked from paddy harvested from a small piece of land would be sufficient for the elephant.
If the elephant, however, was to enter the entire tract of paddy field and started eating, it would eat far lesser than what it will trample with its foot. "I hope the meaning is clear," she said.
"So the advice given to Pandian Arivudai Nambi is a valuable advice that this government appreciates," she said adding "we don't intend to trample anybody (for purposes of taxation)."
FULL COVERAGE: Union Budget 2019
In direct taxes, therefore, due to slew of efforts taken by our govt the direct tax revenue has significantly increased over the past couple of years by over 78 per cent from 6.38 lakh crore in 2013-14 to around 2018-19 11.37 lakh crore, growing at double digit rate every year, she noted.
The song quoted by Nirmala was from the 184th verse of Purananooru in which Arivudai Nambi who himself was a poet was rendered advice, noted epigraphist, S Ramachandran, who has researched epigraphy of Tamil Nadu dating back to two thousand years said.
The poet and king duo belonged to the Sangam era which was about two thousand years ago, he, who is a scholar in Tamil as well, said.
Puranaooru is a compilation of 400 verses that revolve around munificence, valour, and justice related to the chieftains as well as kings, Ramachandran, formerly with Tamil Nadu government archaeology department told PTI.
Pisiranthayar, was a noted Sangam era poet who was emotionally attached to Chola king Kooperuncholan as well.
The period of history in Tamil Nadu -the third century BC to third century AD- is known as "Sangam era," as an Assembly was founded and nurtured by kings especially those belonging to Pandya dynasty for the development of Tamil ethos and language, he said.
Nirmala Sitharaman hails from Tiruchirappalli district, the hub of Cauvery delta region in Tamil Nadu.
Former Finance Ministers, R K Shanmukham Chetty (1947-49), T T Krishnamachari (1957-1958 and 1963-1965), C Subramaniam (1975-1977) and R Venkataraman (1980-1982) also belonged to Tamil Nadu.