By Justice Markandey Katju
(Former Judge, Supreme Court of India)
The Union Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, has displayed her fantastic erudition by quoting several poets—Kashmiri poet Dinananath Kaul Nadeem, Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar, Sanskrit poet Kalidas, etc in her recent budget speech.
However, I wish she had also quoted the following :
- Ved Vyas, who wrote about the upadesh given by Bheeshma Pitamah to Yudhishthir at the end of the Mahabharat war in the Shanti Parva about how a republic is destroyed :
“ Bhedaad ganaah vinashyanti, bhinnaah supajapa paraih
Tasmaat samaghata yogeshu prajataren ganaah sada “
“ Republics are destroyed only by internal dissensions among the people
Therefore a king should always strive to maintain good relations among the people “.( Mahabharat Chapter 107/108, shloka 14 ).
This shloka from the Mahabharat is especially relevant now when the ruling party, to which Nirmala belongs, has been polarizing society on religious lines, and terrorizing the minorities. This will surely lead to destruction of India, as Bheeshma Pitamah foretold.
- Tamil poet Subramaniam Bharathi who wrote :
“ Muppadhu kodi mugamudayal
Enil maipuram ondrudayal
Ival seppumozhi padhinetu dayal
Enil sindhanal ondrudayal “
“ This Bharat Mata has 30 crore faces, but her body is one
She speaks 18 languages, but her thought is one “
This verse vividly describes a cardinal feature of India, that is, its diversity and pluralism ( which is due to the fact that India is broadly a country of immigrants, like North America, as explained in my article ‘What is India’ ). The philosophy of ‘Hindutva’, in the form propagated by our present rulers, which polarises and divides Indian society, and seeks to impose one religion as the dominant one, goes against the very nature and identity of India.
- Urdu poet Firaq Gorakhpuri’s sher :
“ Sar zameen-e-Hind par aqwaam-e-aalam ke Firaq
Qafile aate gaye, Hindustan banta gaya “
“ In the land of Hind, the caravans of the people of the world
Kept coming in, and India kept getting formed
This sher gives the reasons for India’s diversity, that is, it is a country of immigrants ( as explained in my article ‘What is India’ )
- Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz’ poem ‘Hum Dekhenge’, in which he writes :
“ Jab zulm-o-sitam ke koh-e-giraan rui ke tarah ugh jaayenge
Hum mehkoomon ke paon tale yeh dharti dhad dhad dhadkegi
Aur ahl-e-hakam ke sar oopar jab bijli kad kad kadkegi
Jab arz-e-khuda ke kaabe se sab but uthwaaye jaayenge
Hum ahl-e-safa mardood-e-haram masnad pe baithaayen jaayenge
Sab taj uchaale jaayenge sab takht giraaye jaayenge “.
Perhaps Nirmala deliberately did not quote these verses as they may augur and portend ill for her own party and its leaders.
- These Sanskrit verses, which though written thousands of years ago, are especially applicable to our present rulers who seem to be puffed up in arrogance :
“ Jaanami Nagesh tava prabhaavam
Kanthasthitah garjasya Shankarasya
Sthaanam pradhaanam na cha balam pradhaanam
Dwaarasthitah ko api na singhah “
“ O King of the Serpents, I know your power
You are hissing only because you are located on Lord Shiva’s neck
It is the position which one occupies which is cardinal, not one’s own strength
At one’s own door who is not a lion ? “