Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Malaysian Indians like me ... translocated from Malabar to Malaya by Great Britain!

People use all kinds of justification to "establish the truth" about Indians being marginalized in Malaysia. In today's Malaysia and Singapore, all of us (who are products of the past immigrant Indians) do not accept the current immigrant Indians as equal. We call them "Ooris" or "Oorukaaran" or "Indian Indians" ... and we do not take them as equal to us. If their kids are given the same fees in school we fight to change the system.

Malabar to Malaya book

So in this context, why are we expecting Malays to go back to history ... analyse the origin of roti canai ... and give us an award that we are equal to them? Those are bygone histories of Chola, Srivijaya and Majapahit kingdoms. They lost some war somewhere along the lines and they are no longer here. We came because the British wanted "slaves" (who had no rights), supervisors (who were half English speaking Indians) and middlemen (who were recruiters) to manage their plantations, railways and roads. The British took land (in 100,000s acres) from the Malay rulers of the time. Just because we were British "slaves", helping Britain exploit the resources of the land and adding wealth to Queen Elizabeth's treasure trove it does not make us contributors of Malaysian economy. We were mere selfish beings enjoying the newfound opportunity to make a living. If our forefathers were anywhere near having a "good life"in their village in India, they would not have "fled" the country and landed here ... and soon became citizens.

By the time the Japanese landed on bicycles, the British fled! Notably the Japanese sank two British naval ships within days making the British abandon all their "slaves" and battalions of Indian soldiers. When the British came crawling back, the natives slowly rose to the occasion and wanted independence. By this time, we who helped the British change the whole landscape of the country and caused the Malays to lose their land in the name of plantations, wanted equal rights!! In what era is that a fair expectation?? Inadvertently, we also "helped" the British to push all Malay kampungs into the interior by developing vast lands around them.

In the entire process, by 1957 we were the "pitiful Indians" who were left with 888 active Tamil schools, 112,000 Hindu temples, 3 Tamil newspapers, 1 Radio Malaya Rangkaian Merah, 1 Minister, several MPs, 1 political party, many Gounder/Malayalee/Telegu sangams and numerous toddy shops. We were also given RM1 medical treatments and free schooling. Astonishingly, our Tamil schools with 104,600 enrollment by 1993 and was allocated government funding of RM27 million between 1990-1995 ... and we still could not "change" the fate of the remaining "pitiful Indians" of 1957!

I am unable to "connect" to the constant argument of trying to fight for equal rights when we have not utilised the given resources properly. If our teachers (in Tamil schools) wanted to genuinely uplift the lives of Indians, they had 100,000 students with them each year to do so. Was this not enough to make a change?

We do have complete freedom to run our own business. And yes, just like any other country in the world, some benefits are reserved for the natives.