Monday, November 30, 2009

Two years on, the focus is clearer for Hindraf by G Narayanan and Anwar, who are Hindraf's real heroes?

A sea of aggrieved humanity descended to the center of Kuala Lumpur on that historic day on Nov 25, 2007 and that was the day Hindraf was born.

Even though it had existed as a loose grouping of just over 30 NGOs, the Hindraf we all recognise today was indeed born then. It was more of a phenomenon than an organisation on that day.

Many of us were swept along into that phenomenon because of what it meant to all of us. What happened that day was a crystallisation of something that had been brewing for a very long time in the minds of the Indians in the country.

hindraf british petition rally 251107 gandhi's sprayedThese include emotions of seething anger, disgust, bitterness, alienation and helplessness. All these deriving from a lifelong experience of being put aside, being put down, being treated with indignity, being sidelined, being discarded, being treated like sub-humans, being denied the most basic of rights, being denied equal opportunities and being given reasons and excuses which we felt totally helpless to do anything about.

Now after two years of struggle as an organisation, we have found a clear direction and a firm basis by which to engage in what will be a prolonged struggle - for the inertia of status quo is very strong.

We have removed the chaff from the wheat. Most of those who do not belong have found their way out. We have cleared ourselves of many wishful thoughts. We have a better understanding of reality.

hindraf british petition rally 251107 malaysian flagsWe know what the real issues are, who our true friends are and who our fair weather friends are and who our enemies are. Two years have given us much opportunity to engage the issues and to learn from the various struggles. We can see our mission clearer now for all that. And it is a historic mission.

Hindraf is a working-class movement and the Human Rights Party (HRP) is a working-class party. Hindraf and the HRP lead the Indian poor and marginalised. This is where we originated from - the fight against a convergence of racism by the Umno regime and economic exploitation by the power elite of the country.

Hindraf and HRP will lead the Indian poor and marginalised today to realise a new life for them.

This is our mission. The Indian marginalised and poor are factory workers, service workers, manual workers and often contract workers.

Constant struggle for only the basics

They are drivers, they are security guards, they are the cleaners, they are the gardeners, they are the helpers, they are washerwomen in restaurants, they are the criminals in prison, they are the dregs of Malaysian society.

They form the majority of the Indians in the country. What characterises the Indian society at large in Malaysia today is a constant struggle only for the basics of life. Compared with the other segments of society, you see a contrasting, vibrant, forward-looking set of programmes for them but this basic struggle for the Indians.

hindraf british petition rally 251107 plaza ampang hosedThe Indians are also the dispossessed in our society. They have no 'kampung' to go back to. They have no ancestral structures to fall back on. They only have their working power to live their lives by. And that too is being blocked in so many ways by the working of this racist system.

And to top this all, the poor and marginalised Indians have been kept in a state of ignorance for as long as they have existed in this country. This makes them a group that is most desirous of change and most in need of change.

NONETo bring about change is their historic role. But they do not yet recognise this role. Hindraf and HRP now have set themselves the agenda of creating this recognition and in the process, uniting this group under one umbrella and forcing change in the system. Forcing change through empowered participation in the political processes of government.

The Indian poor and marginalised have the most to gain from a change to the system and they have the least to lose by any change. Thus, they have the potential for leading change in this country like no other single group.

Hindraf has evolved over these two years to become that organisation that discovered this historic mission for itself and this historic role for the Indian poor and marginalised. This role requires political clout - something which cannot be realised through any existing arrangement.

hindraf rally butterworth 251108 crowd march to temple1The needs of the Indian working poor can only be met by a re-engineering of the basic groupings within the government, by restructuring the constitution of those holding the reins of power.

HRP, the political wing of Hindraf, has taken on as its objective to participate in all levels of government to bring about a change to the basic policies. This will mean a change for all the poor and marginalised, not just for the Indians.

But the Indian working poor, organised well and led well, have the potential for leading the charge and creating change for all the working poor and marginalised in the country.

The work of HRP has just begun. Hindraf forms the mass base and HRP becomes the wing that will take on the struggle for national policy changes. This is so clear now after two years of struggle. A journey of a thousand miles starts but with a single step.

Valga Makkal!

Anwar, who are Hindraf's real heroes?

Gandhi: I can only say that P Uthayakumar and some hardcore believers in Hindraf did a sensible and meaningful commemoration of the historical event two years ago.

Where are Thanenthiran, Vasanthakumar and Ganabatirau? Is holding a dinner to commemorate the solemn event a fitting move? Get down in the trenches like Uthayakumar to go all the way to submit the memorandum and keep the fire alive. Knock on the doors of the corridors of power to act on the plight of Indians.

Ranjit Singh: Anwar Ibrahim should take the trouble to do some background checks on this character (Vasanthakumar) before endorsing him. Anwar doesn't seem to learn from his lessons as he keeps recruiting hapless and suspicious candidates who eventually backstab him.

Imhindraf: Hindraf members, please set aside your differences for the benefit of Indians. Hindraf came about to protect the Indians worst-hit by Umno discrimination.

DC: Here we go, another one attempting to gain political mileage for his own benefit. Why didn't he raise the Kampung Buah Pala issue to Anwar? We are not going to see change until and unless these so-called Indian champions openly, and with indignation, raise our issues.

Lvbala: That should be the way, Anwar. "Our political landscape has changed. Indian, Hindu and Tamil problems must be seen and projected as a Malaysian problem."

We should stand as one. United regardless of race, ethnicity and religion. United we must stand and free this holy land from corruption. Make Malaysia proud. Be a proud Malaysian.

Murali: First Thanenthiran sold his soul to Umno and now Vasanthakumar and Ganabatirau have sold theirs to Pakatan for political mileage. These are the selfish people I have seen after Samy Vellu. We will see whether they will highlight and solve the Indian issues.

Let It Be: Hey guys, if Vasanthakumar is going to be a frog there's nothing all of us can do here. Whether he's a true Indian or a frog, only time will tell. The Indians are not blind and you can cheat them only once.

To be frank, the defining moment for Malaysia was when Anwar was sent to prison because the powers-that-e believe they can continue to mislead us. It made Anwar a better person, when otherwise he would be sucked into Umno's politics of deceit and corruption.

Hindraf did the right thing to come to Pakatan Rakyat and let all Indians rally together for a long and meaningful road ahead. Hope, trust, perseverance, loyalty and lastly sacrifice is needed for this journey.

Reaching out to all, Hindraf's theme for third year

Kris Khaira: Timber companies in Borneo steal from the vulnerable through illegal logging because of profit. For the same reason, oil palm plantations pay their workers of all races, including Indians, obscenely low wages. The common enemy here is capitalism, a system that prioritises profit over people.

Gibran: Hindraf is not racist; it started by taking up the plight of the suppressed Indians. If they are successful, the ramifications will be great because this allows other marginalised communities like the disabled, single mothers and the like to bring up their issues.

Hindraf's success is pertinent - we could best equate it with the civil rights movement in US in the 60s, once the African-Americans obtained equal rights other marginalised groups started fighting for their rights too. Let us support this movement.

Paradox: Dear Penan brothers, be prepared! Hindraf will join forces with you to help your struggles. Now, this is what we call the real 'Bangsa Malaysia'. Kudos to Hindraf!

Pau Line Yaacob: Hindraf is on the right path. Many misunderstand them as being a race-based organisation but there is no harm in raising the issues of your community.

Pairin raises KadazanDusun issues as well. Would you call him racist and not seeing larger Malaysian issues? Similarly Hindraf speaks for the marginalised Indians. In fact they are going a step further to incorporate the natives from Borneo. Well done.