The Indian Dilemma Part 1
By Ganabatirao Veraman
Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in his 1963 Letter from a Birmingham Jail that “freedom is never given voluntarily by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” This explains the ideology behind the 2007 Hindraf uproar.
As a founding member of Hindraf, I felt that it was needed at that time to ensure our voices are heard across the globe. At that time, Malaysian-Indians felt that they were oppressed in terms of education, employment, businesses, politics, social, and welfare. All these marginalization, inequality, and suppression towards the Malaysian-Indians for decades led to the emergence of Hindraf which altered the political landscape of our country.
The Malaysian-Indian voters have always given their undivided contribution to the change of the governments for a long time. It is an undeniable fact that the great Hindraf rally on 25th November 2007 had led to a massive transformation of mind set among the Malaysian-Indians. It was indeed that spark that managed to roll Malaysian politics into a completely new era.
Hindraf shattered the old feudalistic and racial politics where a single indian party was viewed as the sole guardian for the Indian community. In the post-Hindraf era, the previous government who rules Malaysia since the independence lost its ground and gradually reduced its popularity among the Indian voters. Despite all the efforts and apologies by then government led by Prime Minister Najib Razak, vast majority of Indian voters stood strong with their desire for a change; a truly multiracial government.
Subsequently, the Indian community’s hunger for a change in governance kept increasing, a fact which became evident through the General Elections of 2008, 2013, and 2018 respectively. Even under the unpopular premiership of Tun Dr Mahathir from 2018 to 2020 surrounded by many controversies, the Indian backing towards the PH block was still unfazed. Not only that, even after experiencing the most painful taste of betrayal due to the 2020 Sheraton move, the Indians however stood still by the PH block with the same spirit sparked by Hindraf in 2008. More than a decade of conquest towards change kept their spirits lighten up, hoping for a wonder in the future.
Fast forward to 2023, after more than a couple decades of political polarization, the much anticipated government under the leadership of Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim was installed in Perdana Putra. With more than 90% of approval of the Indian community, the MADANI government was brought to power with the hope for a Malaysian state built on the basis of the fairness, justice, and equality.
Finally, after more than a decade of Hindraf mega rallies, protests, tear gas, water cannons, hundreds and hundreds of arrests, and the most brutal usage of the Internal Security Act in which the 5 founding members of Hindraf, including myself were detained without trial; the truly multiracial government that we have always dreamt about was made reality. This success in 2023 was supposed to fulfil Hindraf’s mission.
However, the Malaysian Indian dilemma on its stand continues amid the continuing failures to address their real needs in various sectors.
Part Two of The Indian Dilemma will be published on a later date.