As political landscapes move they are always preceded by a change in the political discourse driving them. Old ways of looking at society and how it gets summed up into its politics have great inertia. These are entrenched into society by the power elite, who are the beneficiaries of the old system. Even as the old politics loses it moral basis, these forces of conservatism work to maintain status quo. These conservative forces keep trying harder and harder to maintain the status quo as the situation gets increasingly pregnant with the need for the new. New participants armed with ubiquity of information, new devices of communication, a new sense of the past and a new morality unleash great forces for change.
The new morality is sensed at the fringes, and against great resistance, work their way in to the centre. The story of that Great March to the centre is told here in first person narrative by Uthayakumar in the events leading up to the Grand Hindraf Rally of the 25th of November 2007. Even as this story is being told another unfolds within it. This story within the story is of how, issues that were considered taboos and sensitive for public discourse were breached, and how new ground was broken in the national discourse since.
The story when told and heard in these flesh and blood terms interspersed with intense discussion of the taboo and “sensitive” issues is a great contribution to the change in the political discourse. The events in the buildup to the Grand Hindraf Rally and the changing paradigm of new possibilities, how it formed, developed, spread to the extent of a hundred thousand people pouring out on the streets on the historic day the 25th of Nov 2007, between the Petronas Twin Towers is narrated here in a gripping fashion.
One of the main “taboo or sensitive” issues which Uthayakumar precipitates in the course of the narrative is UMNO’s Malay Muslim racist and supremacist policies and how this was achieved through the numerous and blatant violations of the Malaysian Federal Constitution and the laws of the country. In the process he differentiates between UMNO the political party and the Malays the ethnic group, and that one does not automatically equal the other. These racist and supremacist policies are all developed and implemented by a significant mafia like UMNOPutra group in the Civil
Service, the Police, the Economic Planning Unit, Implementation and Co ordination Unit ,the Attorney General’s chambers, Judiciary, the Media and the Biro Tata Negara, just to name a few.
The other significant “sensitive” issue breached is that UMNO is the main culprit and the root cause of the problems of the Indian poor and not the MIC.
MIC was just a conniving partner in UMNO’s grand game of deceit. UMNO’s design was just to have an impotent MIC Mandore for a partner party and not one that truly represented the interests of the Indian poor. To make matters worse he also lays out in so many instances how the Indian poor had been completely abandoned including, by the Indian elite in a poverty trap unique to the Indians, far worse than the poverty that the other ethnic groups find themselves in. This also relates to the neo-colonialist conditioning of the so called multi-racial Indians who do not identify themselves with the problems of the Indian poor.
The other clear issue that Uthayakumar brings to the fore repeatedly is the
race based hypocrisy within and across the whole spectrum of Malaysian
politics where Human Rights and Justice is race based. In this he includes,
along with UMNO, all the opposition parties, civil societies and NGOs.
Uthayakumar has articulated these issues in an intense and forthright manner.
In doing so, he has certainly made an invaluable contribution to extending
the boundaries of the political discourse in the country.
What is very clear in Uthayakumar’s narrative is how he, Waytha Moorthy and Hindraf transitioned from the individual issues to the general issues of marginalization of the Indian poor as the realization of the root cause dawned on them. In the process they took on the might of entire UMNO and the government machinery at great personal risk and against general counsel of caution. The way the Indians in the country responded to their call for the rally in the end justified the risks they had personally taken. In addition this tsunami of a response does tell two things. One is that there is a deep seated seething anger and accumulated frustration within the Indian community, accumulated over a half century of abuse that found expression in this rally.
The second is the profound understanding that Uthayakumar and Waytha Moorthy had for the Indian problem to be able to sense out and create this human wave of tsunami proportions, something never before seen or heard of in Malaysia.
Even as new ground is broken in the discourse, it has resulted in a significant backlash from the power elite. Uthayakumar’s incarceration and Waytha Moorthy’s exile are just two instances of that backlash. Subsequent harassment and demonizing of Hindraf, swarming the people through the mainstream media with images of an extremist Hindraf , the outlawing of Hindraf, infiltrating the leadership with a Police plant and the bribing and seducing of the interim leader are some of the significant other responses to the threat the power elite perceived from Hindraf. This narrative helps
to clarify and to counter the many lies and negative perceptions that have been repeated by the mainstream media to “manufacture consent” for this unwarranted assault on Hindraf, Uthayakumar and Waytha Moorthy by the UMNO Government.
For their part Uthayakumar and Waytha Moorthy provided true leadership and ingenuity and made courageous decisions as events unfolded. They continue to demonstrate this courage and ingenuity today as they are the two leaders remaining, undeterred in spirit, in pursuit of the original Hindraf objectives. Three of the other lawyers incarcerated along with Uthayakumar, have gone back to their practice and a more normal life, who prior to their detention, anyway only played supportive roles rather than central roles. The Police Special Branch plant in the group, has now openly turned against the cause. The interim leader of Hindraf during Uthayakumar’s detention has been turned over by UMNO and has become a traitorous renegade. But
Uthayakumar and Waytha Moorthy keep pressing on in new-found structure and energy and keep growing in strength and in stature.
As a reader, I ask you to make a judgment for yourself. If you can accept Uthayakumar’s articulation of the causes for the Indian marginalization problem, then think why is the UMNO government so bent on destroying Hindraf, Uthayakumar and Waytha Moorthy? Is it because they are “biadap” or “kecoh” or “extremists” or selfish trouble makers? Or is it because they talk too much of the truth and that is not desirable to UMNO’s gravy train? You decide.
A basic axiom of life is that “The truth always prevails”. Whether we accept that the Sun is the centre of our Universe or not, the truth is the truth, it is objective, it will prevail. Likewise, even if the powers that be do not recognize their historical contribution to the Indian marginalization problem, the truth is the truth and it will prevail. Uthayakumar, Waytha Moorthy, HRP and Hindraf have taken upon themselves just to hasten that process.
It is only a matter of time.
18th Oct 2010
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