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When literary figures came alive in Parliament

Last updated on: April 23, 2010 23:58 IST

Image: Chidambaram. Inset: Tiruvalluvar
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

When Shashi Tharoor invoked eminent Malayalam poet Vallathol Narayana Menon while making a speech in Parliament on Tuesday, the embattled ex-minister was following the footsteps of many leaders who quoted literary figures in the august House.

Here we present you some previous notable instances:

Chidambaram quotes Tiruvalluvar

P Chidambaram while presenting the Budget 2008-09, quoted legendary Tamil saint poet Tiruvalluvar in the Lok Sabha to emphasise the need for compassion and righteous rule.

The then finance minister said: "As always, I turned to my muse, Saint Tiruvalluvar, for guidance and reassurance.

"Two thousand years ago he set the benchmark for good governance in the following immortal words:

"'Kodai Ali Sengol Kudi Ombal Nangum, Udaiyanam Vendharkku Oli' (Generous grants, compassion, righteous rule and succour to the downtrodden are the hallmarks of good governance.)"

When literary figures came alive in Parliament

Image: Mamata Banerjee. Inset: Tagore
Photographs: Reuters

Mamata quotes Tagore

While announcing a special train in February 2005 to popularise the great Rabindra Nath Tagore's legacy among the young generation, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee herself turned poetic, quoting Allama Iqbal and reciting a Hindi film song.

Marking the 150th birth anniversary of Tagore, Banerjee announced a special train Sanskriti Express. "Tagore is the only poet in the world whose poems have been adopted as national anthems by two countries  -- Amar Sonar Bangla in Bangladesh and Jana Gana Mana in India " she told the House during her railway budget speech. She said the government proposed to run a special train in consultation with Bangladesh across the border so that the two countries could jointly celebrate Tagore's 150th birth anniversary.

Banerjee began with the remark hamara dard hamara dard nahi hai, hum apne saath hazaron ki baat karte hain (My pain is not my suffering alone, I voice the agony of the millions along) in a reference to the demands made by people across the country, and concluded it, quoting Iqbal: Khudi ko kar buland itna ki har taqdeer se pehle Khuda bande se poochhe bata teri raza kya hai (Make your self-will so strong that before writing your destiny, God asks what you want written).

She also said, "I would like to quote the following words of Gurudev Tagore; "Where the mind is led forward by Thee, into ever-widening thought and action Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake."

Rajnath Singh quotes Iqbal

Image: Rajanth Singh. Inset: Iqbal
Photographs: Jay Mandal/On Assignment

While participating in the Liberhan panel's discussion in the Lok Sabha on December 7 2009, Rajnath Singh quoted eminent Urdu poet Iqbal.

The quote:

"Oh Ram, India is proud of You, and the people of India consider You the lord of the Land" 

Sushma quotes Bharti

Image: Sushma Swaraj. Inset: Bharti
Photographs: Sahil Salvi

While participating in the calling attention motion on the plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka in December 2009, Sushma Swaraj quoted what Subramania Bharti -- the legendary Tamil poet -- wrote on the Independence struggle.

The quote: Sontha sagotharargal thunbathil saithal kandu sinthai irangaredi, kiliye! Semmai Marantharadi. ( "If your heart is not moved by the sad plight of your brothers, then you are as good as dead).

Tharoor quotes Vallathol

Image: Tharoor. Inset: Vallathol
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

Tharoor quotes Vallathol

While making his first speech in parliament after his unceremonious exit as the external affairs minister, Shashi Tharoor played the Kerala card quite well. Having lived almost all his life outside of Kerala, it was quite a surprise when Tharoor quoted eminent Malayalam poet Vallathol to stress his whole intention in the IPL muddle was a team for Kochi/Kerala.

This is what he quoted:

"Bharatam ennu ketala, abhimaana-pooritham aavanum, antarangam; Keralam ennu ketalo, thilakkanam choara nammuke njerambagalil." (When you hear the name of India, your heart must swell with pride; when you hear the name of Kerala, the blood must throb in your veins.)