Divi Neguma: Don’t you want to uplift your life?

BIRD OF PASSAGE

 

We all want to uplift our lives – that’s obvious, right?  I mean, who would launch a programme called Divi Vetuma or Divi Nesuma?  Nobody wants to fall into the abyss of poverty or into the claws of death.  So the present government has this bill called Divi Neguma – uplifting lives. They are intent on getting it passed – through hook or by crook. They seem to have a little bit of trouble convincing some people that their lives need uplifting. Now who would object to uplifting their lives?

Just like this year’s release from Hollywood, there are Three Stooges leading Sri Lanka’s government, bumbling around on wide screen – messing with things like human rights, the 13th amendment and the chief justice of the Supreme Court. These Three Stooges have a grand scheme for uplifting lives. Already around 40% plus of the country’s budget is in their control – that’s called uplifting lives through microfinance. And then of course, there are all those orchards they have invested in California – that’s uplifting lives through agricultural development. They have first hand experience and expertise in all the different avenues of uplifting lives.

Divi Neguma, as you might have heard, is a novel programme to uplift lives. First they are going to set up community–based Uplifting Lives societies in the villages. Except already there are an infinite number of community-based societies in villages. There are Samurdhi societies, farmer societies, funeral assistant societies, Cooperative Rural Bank societies, SANASA societies, Sarvodaya societies and so on. Ever wondered what they are all doing?

Then they are going to organize these societies into regional, district and provincial Uplifting Lives federations. There are, of course, institutions called Divisional Secretariats and District Secretariats, with government officers already being paid to work on uplifting lives. And there are Pradeshiya Sabhas and Provincial Councils with budget allocations to uplift lives. Ever wondered what they have been doing all these years?

 Of course, to uplift lives one needs cash. The Three Stooges are planning to get their hands on lots of it – 80 billion rupees to be exact going into an Uplifting Lives Development Fund and an Uplifting Lives Revolving Fund. The Uplifting Lives Revolving Fund will go into Uplifting Lives community-based banking societies and Uplifting Lives community-based banks. God only knows where and when this fund will revolve into some black hole in the universe. Or perhaps into more orchards in California. We are talking a lot of money here just to win friends and influence people. Already, the villages in our country have plenty of community-based banking societies and banks – for example, Samurdhi, Cooperative Rural Banks, SANASA, and Sarvodya. In fact, 80% of Grama Niladhari divisions in the country have access to at least three of these institutions, according to a study done by the government’s leading policy institute. So how will the Uplifting Lives banks and banking societies add value? By uplifting the lives of the Three Stooges a little bit more?

 What’s more, this new Uplifting Lives Department comes with a top secrecy clause on information – gee, it’s almost like the CID, I mean, uplifting people’s lives in villages might actually threaten national security, right? We don’t want to take any chances. In this cloak and dagger world, one of the Three Stooges, known by the alias of Liza had a conversation with one of his advisors, known by the alias of Peter. According to the grapevine, this is how the conversation went.

Fetch me some water, dear Peter, dear Peter, fetch me the bucket of uplifting lives. There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza, uplifting lives is the mandate of the Provincial Councils, dear Liza. Well fix it with straw, dear Peter, dear Peter, get their approval, dear Peter. But there’s no Northern Provincial Council to approve it, dear Liza, dear Liza. Then ask the Northern Province Governor to approve it, dear Peter, dear Peter. The Governor is not elected, dear Liza, dear Liza, it has to be approved by an elected Northern Provincial Council, dear Liza. Well get rid of the Provincial Councils, dear Peter, dear Peter. There’s the 13th amendment, dear Liza, dear Liza, we can’t get rid of Provincial Councils under the 13th Amendment, dear Liza.  Then get rid of the 13th Amendment, dear Peter, dear Peter. There’s the Supreme Court ruling, dear Liza, dear Liza, that upholds the 13th Amendment, dear Liza.  Then get rid of the Chief Justice, dear Peter, dear Peter. The Judiciary needs to be independent and impartial, dear Liza, dear Liza, the UN Human Rights Council might black list us, dear Liza. Tell them how we are going to uplift lives, dear Peter, dear Peter. The Supreme Court has ruled that uplifting lives need to be approved by a 2/3rd majority in parliament, dear Liza, dear Liza, and a popular referendum, dear Liza.  Well, amend the unconstitutional clauses of the bill, dear Peter, dear Peter, and start uplifting lives, for god’s sake, dear Peter.

As you can see, uplifting lives is an exhausting business. There might be more holes in the bucket for all you know. Apparently the Three Stooges are bumbling around hither and thither to the shrines of Lord Ganesh, asking the Lord to remove the pernicious obstacles in their path, in the island where every prospect pleases but only man is vile.

Bird of Passage corresponds every other week exclusively with iSrilankans.

Comments

  1. It is a nice piece that sets out the dilemma that Sri Lanka is currently facing at the hands of the three stooges.
    The twist that has been given in this article to the famous song ‘There is a hole in the bucket dear Liza, dear Liza.’ sets out very succinctly
    what is happening in the country today. It is all as a result of the 18th Amendment which conferred absolute power to the President
    which has corrupted him, as the saying goes ‘ Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’ . There is no better example anywhere in
    the world than Sri Lanka to prove how very true that saying is.

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