Main Atal Hoon: Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s poetry teaches us 7 crucial investing lessons

His poetry chronicles the struggle for freedom and his unique political observations. But they also offer money lessons to those who can read between the lines.

Poem 1. Kadam mila kar chalna hoga

‘Ghire pralay ki ghor ghatayein/ Paon ke neeche angare/ Sir par barse yadi jwalayein/ Aag laga kar chalna hoga/ Kadam mila kar chalna hoga…’

The poet is writing about the Freedom struggle, but the lesson for the savvy investor is simple. You cannot fight the good fight alone. As they say, it takes a village… So find help. With your financial planner offering you good advice, you can set the whole world afire and success will follow.

Poem 2. Kaurav kaun, Pandav kaun

‘Kaurav kaun / Pandav kaun / Tedha sawal hai/

Dono ore Shakuni / Ka failaya kootkaal hai…’

In a short poem about the Mahabharata, the poet reminds us right away that no matter on what side you are, there are enemies quietly working against your interests. In your financial life, you will receive lots of unasked for advice about where to invest, and financial schemes will lure you with promises of unheard of successes and more… But you have to be steadfast in your pursuit and meet your financial goals.

Poem 3. Hari hari doob par

‘Hari hari doob par / Os ki boond / Abhi thee / Abhi nahi hain…’

Seems like a lovely pastoral poem, doesn’t it? The poet is writing about the magic of seeing that single drop of dew (os) on the edge of a blade of grass (doob) vanish. The poet does not lament the beauty of the dew that vanishes with the rising Sun. He says, ‘Soorya ek satya hai /Jise jhuthlaya nahi ja sakta’ (The Sun is a reality and you cannot deny it) but so is the dew even though it is infinitesimal. The poet says, ‘Kyon na main kshan kshan jiyoon/ Kan kan mein bikhre saundarya ko piyoon…’

Successes in your life do not come in a gigantic bundle that falls once on you. These successes are tiny like the dew, and can vanish if you don’t pay attention. So investors, be alert to opportunities no matter how tiny, and revel in the little successes.

Poem 4. Aao phir se diya jalayein

‘Hum padaav ko samjhe manzil / Lakshya hua aankhon se ojhil/

Vartman ke moh jaal mein / Aane wala kal na bhulaye

Aao phir se diya jalayein…’

This is the second stanza of the poem, and so apt for your financial journey. When you’re facing challenges on the way, it is very easy to give up on your goal and choose to stop. The poet reminds you to not think that the rest stop on your journey is your goal, no matter how enticing this stop for today is, don’t forget that you are working towards a bigger brighter future.

Poem 5. Maut se than gayi

‘Tu dabe paon chori chhipe se na aa,/ Samne se vaar kar phir mujhe aazma…’

Even though the poet knew that the struggle for freedom could mean death at the hands of the British, he was like so many freedom fighters, unafraid of death.

The smart investor knows that there are many challenges that must be faced when stepping out of the comfort zone and investing in something different. But you must face those challenges head on. And when success comes, the poet says, ‘Har chunauti se do haath maine kiye,/ Aandhiyon mein jalayein hai bujhte diye…’

Poem 6. Main na chup hoon na gaata hoon

‘Savera hai magar poorab disha mein / Ghir rahe badal/

Rui se dhundhalke mein / Meel ka patthar pade ghayal

Thithke paon / Ojhal gaon / Jad ta hai na gatimayta…’

This poem is about biding time or staying put without tom-tomming your successes or failures. The poet knows that morning has come, but knows that clouds are slowly creeping up on this glorious morning.

You have noticed too that those who inquire incessantly about the secrets of your wealth and are curious about how you do it, are waiting for you to fail. So savvy investors do not boast about making a killing at the stock market, nor do they lament the losses. Stay cool!

Poem 7. Oonchai

‘Oonche pahad par / Paed nahi lagte / Paudhe nahi ugte / Na hee ghas jamti hai…’

This poem is about the loneliness of a person who is like that tall mountain. When you have achieved success, and nobody comes close to you, it is right when they say, ‘There’s loneliness at the top’. But as an investor, what joy! Enjoy those successes!

The poet does not want to be alone in the success, so he adds, ‘Zaroori yah hai ki / Oonchai ke saath vistaar bhi ho…’ The second part of the lesson? Think about your portfolio, expand it!

Atal Bihari Vajpayee has written heart wrenching poems about India’s struggle for independence. Some really inspiring and others speaking about the futility of trying to change pessimistic thinking. When you find time, do read them all, especially the one about the Partition, titled, ‘Doodh mein darar pad gayi’.



Manisha Lakhe is a poet, film critic, traveller, founder of Caferati — an online writer’s forum, hosts Mumbai’s oldest open mic, and teaches advertising, films and communication. She can be reached on Twitter at @manishalakhe.


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Published: 20 Jan 2024, 01:18 PM IST

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