More Colombo 7 photos on Flickr
Vinay Sitapati wrote a stirring letter ‘To South Mumbai‘. Their Colombo 7. Money quote: “You could so easily be using the power at your disposal to improve governance in India. But instead, you choose pliant politicians and bendable babus to clear your file quickly.” Colombo 7, too needs to wake up. “You may not know who your MP is, but mine is only one phone call away for you. Responsive politics, that illusion for which we trudge to booths every four years, is yours for the asking.” And it is. I know plenty of people who can call Ministers. I know plenty of businesses. They don’t. We don’t. Perhaps we should.
I’m a member of the elite. I pay more in tax than most people make each month. I’m supposed to feel bad about this, but I don’t because I pay more in tax than most people make each month. Right now that pays for guns, and dead-end defence jobs. I’d rather have that money spent on education and healthcare and cleaning up the Beira Lake. But, despite being elite, I have zero political power. Not because I can’t get it, but because I’m too damn lazy. Democracy don’t do delivery, and the customer service is terrible.
Most l33ts I know are like that. We’re pretty smart, but we don’t vote, or organize. At best we’ll give some lower class guy our ID to go vote for us. However, I think that detachment may be a luxury now.
No two ways who the real culprits are: terrorists who hide their simple evil behind a complex cause. But a venal political process and abysmal administration have added to the problem. And these problems, which affect us all, affect you today. The only difference between you and me is that you have the power to do something about it.
So hereâ€™s what I beg of you: vote in person. But vote in spirit too: use your clout to demand better politicians, not pliant ones. Back babus who are administrators, not file facilitators.
And basically, make phone calls. Like we do to get ourselves out of drunk driving, except for a positive cause. We know Ministers, and Ministers sons, and we have telephones and drivers and fax machines. And, more to the point, we have relatives and money and connections. We can fund and run candidates for office from Provincial Council to MP and demand accountability from them. We can lobby other MPs and at least make them pay attention to basic issues of economics and Constitutional law.
Where I would start is getting Ranil’s phone number and telling him to quit. And giving, like, Ranjan Ramanayake support to replace him. Leader One!