A commentor, Pardeshi Babu asked me to read "An Open Letter to Malaysian Indians" in a blog "A Zillion Reasons to Escape From India".
Curious, I opened the link (http://escapefromindia.worpdress.com).
Here's the opening para:
I stand against any discrimination of any human being in any parts of the world. But when it comes to HINDRAF outrage in Malaysia there are some questions one should ask to Hindu Action Right Force officials. As an Indian, I believe ethnic Indians in Malaysia, still enjoy more rights than Indian citizens who is living in their own country. Since the living standards of Malaysia is far higher than India, I agree that Hindus in Malaysia need a better deal. As a community with migrant history, majority of Malaysian Indians are Hindus while it also include a minuscule Muslim, Christian and Sikh presence. The so called “Indian” heritage in Malaysia cannot be limited with Hindu minority in Malaysia.
Still interested? Click here for the rest of the story.
At first, i just read about this HINDRAF thingy but when i saw the words 'ethnic cleansing' and the threat like whats happening in Sri Langka might happen here, it just send shivers to my spine....
The contents of the blog that you had linked to are fuzzy with the facts. I quote a line from the About This Blog page:
"This blog will bring the real facts about India and the dreams of its 85 billion poor people who doesn’t enjoy the GDP growth."
India's total population is approximately 1.04 billion people. The entire population of the earth is approximately 4 billion.
As such, I have no clue as to how the author came up with 85 BILLION poor people in India.
you are right, saba. :)
The entire population of the world at the last count (September 2007) is approximately 6.6 billion (according to the CIA World Factbook) with about 4.4 billion living in 17 of the world's most populous countries.
I agree with Saba on the accuracy of the facts presented.
Seems that Hindus in Malaysia are in the same boat as Muslims in India.
BTW,Malaysia is one of only 19 countries that has not ratified the UN convention on race equality.
I disagree with you posting a link to some article. We Indians in Malaysia are marginalized and are just asking for a slightly bigger piece of the pie. Why should we compare ourselves to what our lives could be in India? Are you also now swayed away that what Uthaykumar is doing represents the struggle of Indians?
If you were driving in the US and a cop stops u and harrasses and and says...well at least u are allowed to drive in this country.....it could have been worst in Saudi and then points you to an article about women in Saudi....would that be acceptable to you? That is what you have done or implied.
you do not know me. so obviously, it is easy for you to be judgmental. it's a pity that my linking an article has made you prejudiced (of me).
sri...the indians are not marginalised in this country. don't start distorting facts. I have been living in this country for more than half a century.
of course, there are malaysian indians in this country who are disenfranchised, just as there are Malays and Chinese.
and i believe that in this day and age, there should not be Malaysian Indians eking out a living in abject poverty anywhere. in fact, no malaysian should suffer such severe hardship. of course, there are many factors leading/causing harship...
I ahve said it once and i will say it again, if the indian community wants to blame anyone, then, they have only to point their finger at the MIC because the MIC is part of the government, and the MIC has since time immemorial, been tasked to care, improve the community.
obviously, it has failed. The MIC has failed.
sri, why don't you organise a rally to protest the MIC's failure and call for the leaders to step down?
I have covered politics, including MIC politics, so..
you know... at least I am aware of the plight of a certain sector of Malaysian Indians in this country.
MIC president Samy Vellu has denied even this.
that said, i believe that the BN government should take a more serious view of the situation to arrest the problem. The BN chairman should haul up the MIC leader and make him answerable and accountable.
Sri, stop making baseless allegations against me. you have the right to disagree with my linking that article. and you do not have to agree with that article. you can whack the blogger who operates that website, if you think the article wantonly distorts facts.
and i am going to state this again....Uthayakumar is a racist and he is exploiting the situation for his own ends.
and your US/Saudi/Muslim women analogy. sorry, that was baffling. If I was faced with that situation, I would not be insulted. I'd be amused at the ignorance of US traffic officer. I'd give him a quick education.
I don't see what it is that I have done or implied.
I did not write that article. I have read it but does not mean that I agree with it.
I read many articles. So should you.
Cheers and have a nice day.
I respect the right to freedom of speech, expression. And it is with that respect, I will respond very simply to your comment about the Indians in this country not being marginalised: I disagree :)
That if we want our grievances be heard, it will have to be only be through the BN-MIC faction that is supposed to represent the Indians in this country, with respect again, I disagree.
I think as Malaysians, all of us should be responsible and be aware of any faction/sect/race of people who are being marginalised. You agree with me on this I think.
Uthayakumar-HINDRAF are not the best way to address our grievances agreed. BUT that does not make him a racist. I think that was a very strong comment and untrue. He is pursuing what he believes to be the right way, and in some ways, the HINDRAF rally has helped us Malaysians realise now, THAT not only are Indians being marginalised, there also apparently many Chinese and Malays who are being marginalised. He in my opinion has created an awareness in all of us about the plight of many Malaysians who need to be helped. He wants to help his people..I'm sorry, but how does that make him a racist.. doesn't that mean UMNO General Assembly participants are bigger racists in pursuing Ketuanan Melayu?
In any case, keeping to the topic at hand..I just wanted to voice out my disagreement with some of the fallacious statements you have made. Cheers
thank you. i respect your views.
i do wish, as all Malaysians do, that race-based political parties are past their time, so that there is no more Umno or MCA, MIC...
The plight of all Malaysians are all our concern.
but the reality is that MIC exists to take care of the Indian community....
and no...the Indians in Malaysia are not marginalised although the plight of a section of them has to be looked into.
I also believe that there are serious socio-economic problems in the Indian community...
I certainly maybe wrong about Uthayakumar. I do not know him. But based on the memorandum he wrote, yes, he must be.
There are Uthayakumars in Umno too, I am sure.
I do not need an Uthayakumar to highlight to me the plight of impoverished Indians in this country.
I do not need Uthayakumar to tell me that we need reforms to be effected to address the problems facing the community.
Perhaps, others -- including middle-class Malaysian Indians -- need someone like him to tell them so.
i do not see my fellow malaysians as malay, chinese or indian..or whatever else, although the subject of race and culture has always fascinated me.
that is why i am looking at uthayakumar from Malaysian eyes, not of a Malay.
i have always believed that the problem of marginalised Indians in Malaysia is a real problem and have always been exasperated by the lack of political will from MIC to improve their socio-economic status.
of course, it is a malaysian problem, but as i have said, the MIC have been given allocations, facilities to deal with the problem because they are the best body to deal with the problem.
unless we are not clear about the current political system in this country -- Umno takes care of the Malays, MCA (the Chinese) and MIC (indians).
so, we have the barisan nasional to take care of the country.
I don't believe that the MIC has its hands tied and cannot help the marginalised Indians.
of course, overall, the BN leadership should now know that MIC has failed.
enough. i have said enough of this.
my stand is plain for all to see.
i do not condone racism or racist policies.
Thank you for pointing out one of the typing error at http://escapefromindia.wordpress.com
You should have been able to ignore that single error because the rest of the document clearly say about "85 million". Doesn't matter, some people try to find out typing errors, because they have a prejudice on issues.
Irrespective of that minor error, the data provided are authentic, as they are linked to various sources, including Central Population Registrar of India, which you can verify by yourself.
Fortunately, it is one of the fastest growing blog at wordpress!
* The Wonder That Was India: A Survey of the Culture of the Indian Sub-Continent before the Coming of the Muslims
Book by A. L. Basham; Grove Press, 1954. 568 pgs.
MIC has failed the indians for sure, thus the rally. But unfortunately Uthaykumar may have used the rally for his personal gains.
The sad thing is that whenever KJ or Nazri or the other morons say some dumb stuff, I do not to see this as the malay race being incompetent or their views representing the Malay race. However, reading comments from other blogs, there seems to be a huge racial outcry for something uthaykumar did. Blame him, not the indians. (i am not saying u did that)
Nazri is a racist, KJ is a racist, Hishamuddin is a racist...however, I still do not see the logic of putting a link of them to some islamic extremist website. Unfortunately, thats what you have implied by putting up that link that indians have it better here so stop complaining. I was born a Malaysian, my parents were born as Malaysians.....that link is meaningless to me.
By u saying that Indians are not marginalized, I think this is where our differences in opinion begins and thus a debate in this topic will be useless.
But overall, I still think you are a fair, unbiased blogger. Keep it up.
At first you wrote:
"sri...the indians are not marginalised in this country. don't start distorting facts."
And then again you wrote the following:
"i have always believed that the problem of marginalised Indians in Malaysia is a real problem and have always been exasperated by the lack of political will from MIC to improve their socio-economic status."
Which is which?
To be fair, I was only disputing your comments and not doubting your stand(becasue I don't know you well enough) on any issue.
Just to mark out certain inconsistencies: In the first response you claimed that the Indians are not being marginalised. But in the second response you used the word prety liberally. Then again, maybe it was I who misunderstood the context in which you meant to put it.
As for your comment on Uthayakumar being a racist, I respect that you, after so many bloggers/comments who just speak out of blind racist attitude and hatred, are looking at him from a very Malaysian perspective. The Bangsa Malaysia principle that I held on to until I was in my 20s was shattered really after I saw the great diffference in the way I was treated in the country I am currently in compared to the way I was treated back home - Malaysia.
I am middle class Indian. And as you put it, the HINDRAF rally has reminded me of the plight of my fellows and that it is my moral and social obligation to help in whatever way I can to lift my community members out of our misery. Even if it means bypassing the discriminatory policies in place currently in our country. I am more than aware of the fact that we Indians have been underutilizing the quota set out to us in public universitites. I cannot argue that policy until I am able to say, we are more than that quota.
But I still cannot and will not agree that Uthayakumar is racist. He may be overzealous in his pursuit for what he calls justice, equality for Indians(I resent the religion element being used in his campaign and will make my stand clear here)...but he is definitely not a racist. I would help any human being who comes to me for help. I would stand up for any injustice against any people. But my first obligation, other than to my family, is to my community. That community, when I was young and naive, was the Bangsa Malaysia. Enough *balik where you came from*, enough *keling* and a host of other events, painful memories have all but driven those dreams out of my former katak-di-bawah-tempurung head. Imagine me, a middle-class Indian whose parents could afford to send her abroad to escape the blatant racism - imagine those who haven't had the privilege of a reasonable financial background or good sense that my parents had with respect to the importance of education.
I do not hold the racists who mar the fabric of our socitey to blame though. I hold our overly-tolerant society to blame for having kept silent and condoned and even bred these monsters.
My first community is the Indian community.Does that make me a racist? That would make me very upset I must say. I never would want to be categorised as such. It is a dirty word I reserve for people who are truly discriminating based on class/colour/creed/caste/religion -any kind of shallow differences. You and I concur on this I think(please forgive me if I take certain liberties like these and my assumption is wrong), racism is vile.
Uthayakumar's memo: I brand it as a large-scale publicity stunt - to draw attention to the plight of Indians. Some of the claims are being shot down outright - but I can only urge those doing so to first and foremost investigate these claims before dismissing it. Enough said on my part. For now at least :D.
Just allow me to reiterate, I respect that you see yourself first as Malaysian - but also would like you to see that some of us simply have been disillusioned by that Utopian model.
Cheers everyone and have a pleasant day.
i think we shall keep our opinion on uthayakumar to ourselves. i don;t hate him. don't misunderstand. i will call anyone who fans racial sentiments a chauvinist or/and a racist.
all my opinion, thus far, is based on what he stated in the memo.
i said indians are not a marginalised race and that indians are not marginalised but that as section of the indian population in malaysia are.
so when i say "marginalised indians", i am referring to those marginalised (as opposed to those who aren't) in the community.
i am so sorry that i cannot agree with the contention that the indian community as a whole, as a race, is marginalised.
when i say that there are serious socio-economic problems in the indian community, i meant simply that. and i believe that is true.
sri, thulasy -- i have many many many malaysian indian friends some of whom are very very close...i have known many many of them since i was a little girl.
i have met many many malaysian indians from a cross section of society.
i will not make a generalisation here...so, let's keep it at that.
thank you and have a great weekend.
i would like to thank you for being so frank and open. I do appreciate that.
i hold nothing personal against uthayakumar. i laud him for defending Hiindu rights and the right of his community.
i laud anyone who defends and speaks up for his/her community, and who works hard to improve the lot of his/her community.
but uthayakumar is not doing just that. he has distorted facts and the truth about the country. we all may have serious issues with the government, but uthayakumar is no different from an ultra Umno or chauvinistci MCA member who uses, exploits and capitlaises the racial card for his own ends.
it is people like uthayakumar who sets us back in race relations. we are all angry with the likes of nazri and KJ. you must have read the blogs chastising, chiding, blasting them.
we are in the 21st century and we wonder why race relations seem to be deteriorating.
perhaps, sometimes i forget about racism because i have great relationship with my friends who represent a melting pot and multi-ethnic malaysia.
i would take a bullet for them, i really would. i love them all.
so, i cannot condone the stunt pulled by people like uthayakumar.
it is irresponsible.
if he has his own agenda, then fight it the way he should without inciting malaysian indians/hindus, which in so doing he has also angered the malays.
i appreciate your sense of realisation that there are in your community those who are still impoverished and disenfranchised.
in my years as a journalist and an editor, i have got our reporters to cover this section of the population.
as an editor, i tried to get their stories across. i remember, a group of malaysian indians who came to the NST because they were desperate as they had lost their homes in a rubber estate. the estate was no longer in operation and had closed down. they lost their jobs and their homes.
they sought the help of the MIC.
Help never came from the MIC. I believe an NGO helped them.
that said, while the disenfranchised have remained so, i do see a growing (malaysian) indian middle class. And i am so happy to see that.
i am glad there are malaysian indians like you who will always defend the rights and position of your community.
May God bless you.
i wish you "syabas" and i am so sorry that you had been at the end of the discrimination stick.
i am hopeful for a better Malaysia.
Thanks for the link. I think it's a missive that every blog carrying a report/opinion/review or thought on the Hindraf Rally should reproduce for people to contemplate over. the one or two typo syntactical errors does not nullify much of what it says.
The Malaysian Indians who had been building up this pent up anger, frustraion, despair, anxiety and a sense of loss needed to purge out all of that. I would like to think that the Hindraf rally did just that.
However, I can in no way agree with Uthayakumar, being a lawyer educated in London and of Lincoln's Inn, making the kind of callous accusations of ethnic cleansing, reckless statements that had mischievious intentions like the one about numbers killed or slashed in Kampong Medan, and retelling of the British attitude towards Malays over a 100 years ago that brought about the indentured labour of Indians. Common sense would have excluded some of these testaments in the various writings by Hindraf taht you can find the their web site Policewatchmalaysia.
It is not too difficult to isolate the dirth of instances that these Malaysian Indians might have issues with. Each one can have a resolution that can be acceptable to all parties without the need for all that Hindraf is doing. In the final analysis the Malaysian Indian who today shines out as a success will tell you that it was all his efforts. But for many, maybe it was part of their culture or believe, they have been successfully been convinced to wait on MIC to do something. Which of course MIC failed.
In terms of discrimination, only this morning I discovered the reason the church I have been worshiping in all my life, and that was worshipped in by my parents as well as my grandparents came about as a result of a discriminative racial stand taken by the English priest of the time of a church in which christian Indian Railway workers and their families used to go to together with the whites resident in KL almost 90 years ago. Apparently the pews were reserved for the whites and the indians were made to sit on the floor in the front.
No. There was no Hindraf kind of rally. There was no Martin Luther King kind of speeches either. Just that one Tamil stood out and did what was necessary. Thus began the nucleus of a proud church today that stands tall on a major street in KL. I have used Tamil here to denote the recognition to that person who might have been a Jaffnese Tamil, although the church is substantially populated by Indian Tamils. But they did it on their own. No enemies were seen nor made.
In many other postings I have advocated that the final destiny of the Malasyian Indian rests in his own hand. It is not necessary for any kind of hostility or confrontation to get ahead.
Hindraf has lost its credibility for the stance it continues to take. Emotion is undermining not only their efforts and their objectives but also putting lives and a whole nation at risk. The only beneficiary that I see in everything Hindraf and Uthayakumar are doing can be UMNO.
UMNO has, since Badawi's ascension to premeirship very successfully alienated the Malay masses from itself to the point that it looked vulnerable. Uthayakumar and Hindraf have successfully turned the tide for UMNO and I suppose all the headline grabbing noise that we see and hear is all calculated to achieve just that. Considering everything Uthyakumar and Hindraf continue to do ensures that even the Chinese vote will, like 1999 go to BN. But are they looking at that at all?
I just reading all the counter and recounter explanations to this piece.
Rather satisfying to both sides i would think.
As for Hindraf, what has since transpired i would say has got most Indians more politically alert and hence possibly more responsible in future as to their predicaments.
While it remorseful that the ruling govt's name and UMNO or even MIC's name was sullied thro the whole drama it would be good to remember what spiderman would say "that with authority comes responsibility" and in this case responsibility to the masses irrespective of race or creed.
As to your main title "About India", i seriously think "try as you might to say otherwise" that it was most callous, and especially from a blogger of your standing to equate happenings in this country to situations in another.
Once upon a fan but now a diplomat.
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