Thursday, 29 November 2007

The Indian Problem

I don't pretend to know much about the Indian problem, but I'll add my two cents' worth. The recent rally was a wake-up call to all Malaysians to take note of the serious problems that plague the Indian community. It was a bold public expression of discontent, of sufferings and deprivations, of desperation. Some would call it stupid, insensitive, a threat to national security. It is not the Malaysian way of solving problems. Some would say, surely there are avenues for them to channel their grouses to? The sole Indian Minister in the coalition government branded them "trouble makers".

Some even questioned the use of the acronym 'HINDRAF' for Hindu Rights Action Force. Why not INDRAF or Indian Rights Action Force? Why did they turn it into a purely Hindu problem? But the fact is the Indian community is fractured by different religious denominations within the community and the caste system, a relic of the past that still influences the way Indians relate to each other. But the estate Indians and the urban poor, who are overwhelmingly Hindus are the ones who felt that they have been victimised and trampled on.

Why did they petition the Queen, and not the Agung to help them? Isn't this like shooting themselves in the foot, or rather the mouth?

Demonstrators who brought their children and wives to the rally were accused of endangering them as nobody could predict how a volatile crowd would behave. But it was largely a peaceful rally, with Mahatma Gandhi's pictures held aloft to show the world their peaceful intention.

As a columnist from "the star" said, in the final analysis, the Indians have to help themselves, as nobody is going to help them. In other words, there is no free lunch in this world. But he seems to have forgotten that long term affirmative actions by the government have considerably improved the lives of Malays.

For those who were arrested and charged, the Bar Council has sought lawyers to provide legal aid to help them.

Scenes at the Batu Caves temple
(Photo credits: Malaysia Today)

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