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Kerala Finance Minister’s speech peppered with references from works of female writers

The Kerala Budget speech comprised of works from women literally figures as Finance Minister used their reference to highlight various phenomenons that marked the Financian Year 2017-18.

Kerala Budget 2018: Thrust on social welfare schemes; alcohol to get costlier Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac presenting the annual budget in the assembly.

Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac’s love for Malayalam literature is not a secret in the state. He has authored a number of books in English and Malayalam, even winning the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award in 1989 for his book ‘Keralam: Mannum Manushyanum’. Though budget speeches are largely full of jargon, Isaac, in his previous stint as finance minister, had used a lot of references from his favourite authors and poets to make his address interesting. But this time, his budget speech was interesting for another reason, all his literature references were from the works of Malayalam female writers and poets.

His first reference was to a Malayalam poem by Sugathakumari where she talks about the sea. The context he was using at the time was the damage inflicted to Kerala by the raging seas in the form of Cyclone Ockhi. Through the poem, Isaac said that those who have grown up playing among the waves in the sea can only grow stronger. Through a prose from a novel called ‘Valakkar’ by Sarah Thomas, Isaac paid tribute to all the women in fisher-families who have lost their husbands in the cyclone. He said in the event of the cyclone, the weight of running the household and educating their sons and daughters has shifted to the women.

Thrust on social welfare schemes, coastal sector; alcohol to get costlier

There was even a reference to a poem by a class XII girl, which she had presented at the school arts festival. The minister later posted a copy of the poem along with the photo of the girl on Facebook, wishing her to become one of the strongest voices in Malayalam literature. The poem she wrote extolled the hardwork of the women in the kitchen.

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Some of the other female writers whose works found mention in the finance minister’s speech were P. Valsala, Sarah Joseph, Indu Menon and Savitri Rajeevan. He concluded with lines from a poem written by Balamaniamma titled ‘Nava Keralam’ (New Kerala). “This was a literature budget,” Rajmohan Unnithan, a Congress politician, said in a statement, responding to the finance minister’s speech.

First published on: 02-02-2018 at 07:08:04 pm
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