I think this is quite an unconventional post. I wrote this letter to a president of a college after he visited my school and spoke about the importance of political activism and creating mass change, and how a liberal arts program may help one to strive for that. The person in question here has been involved with the political world of his country for almost all of his working life, and became the president of his college recently. Being the busy person he is, I decided to write him a letter since I didn’t find the opportunity to converse with him after his address. I figured it would be interesting to put it up on my blog because it directly pertains to many of my beliefs and even ambitions.

The recepient is unnamed because I haven’t received his consent to publish this letter.

Dear Mr. <unnamed>,
I’m Aditya Kannan, a student studying at <my school>, where you delivered a speech on the 20th of November. To begin, I was truly fascinated by what you spoke and it’s needless to say that my mind on liberal arts has changed considerably since then.

If you recall, I asked you the question “You spoke about the importance of social change through volunteering and social service. However, what is your opinion of using politics as a means to do the same?”. Due to the fact that we were running out of time, I, unfortunately, didn’t have the privilege of listening to your complete response. Regardless, I thought I’d share what I took from your speech and explain the rationale behind the question I asked.

Trying to induce social change is interesting because I often wonder about the extent a single person can impact the world. I see the merits of visiting and volunteering in, say, Cameroon, Somalia or someplace where my help would be valued, but is working to transform the lives of a few individuals truly a substantial contribution to the society? With that question in mind, I look to politics; where the ideas I apply, the actions I do and the changes I establish become automatically ingrained into the society and proactively impact hundreds of thousands of people hopefully for the better. 

My dream of an ideal society isn’t one where every individual is necessarily equal. It’s rather something of a meritocracy, where the only true equality all humans share is the opportunity to excel and become whatever they dream of if they have the capacity to do so. I believe the only way this could be achieved is by drastically improving the standards of education to give each person an equal footing in the real world and making education completely free of cost.

Through the leverage of influence or politics, I envision holding the power to veer the world away from self-destruction caused by ignorance and militarism, towards a form of intellectualism that forwards our species — undivided by borders, “races” or religion — as a whole.

I sometimes wonder about how far I can really reach with my ambitions, and how this career would affect me as an individual. I hope it’ll treat me as well as I wish to treat it.

Finally, I’d like to finish by asking you for your view on politics as a viable future. I’ll leave you with this graph below. It’s something I often think about, and I’m sure you’ll find something to gather from it too. I eagerly await your response.


Best regards,
Aditya Kannan