“The government must undertake serious efforts to ensure Indians are not left behind. The same with temples. Schools and temples have been a major problem for Indians since independence”
And, that’s exactly why Indians’ present status quo here is made inherent. Underscore the phrase ‘made inherent’. That’s why Indian school dropouts, unemployed and prisoners number is high as opposed to the Malaysian population ratio. In line with that, this dire state can be remedied if only Malaysian Indians shake their one-dimensional agendas, fickle and blinkered mindsets, temerity, ignorance, apathy, fanaticism, mob mentality and the failure to prioritize correctly off.
I am sure many of us are familiar with ‘kovil vasool.’ Men or women would go door to door to collect money from Hindu households to construct/rebuild/renovate/ for festival fund, etc. We have mini temples from lane to lane, drain to drain, under trees, along highways and in houses – we have a glut of temples. Do we need that many temples? The money that is collected from the public to build temples would provide a meaningful context if used as funds for the rounded development of under privileged kids in Tamil schools. Even India’s promising presidential candidate, a staunch Hindu, Narendra Modi, from the Bharathiya Janata Party has called to stop building temples and build toilets instead, given India’s abysmal sanitation and hygienic systems.
Let’s look into the ongoing fiasco and fracas concerning Hindu temples issue primarily which is riddled with hypersensitivity rather than sensibility. Although the majority of Indians here are Hindus, this case scenario makes the impression that all Indians here are Hindus and all of Indians’ places of worship are Hindu temples. This perception fragments Indians internally, screwing unity up from within.
There are Indian Christians and Indian Muslims here and these brethren are left out by the sum of Indian Hindus. In other words, they are plainly dianak-tirikan. There is an undercurrent of dissatisfaction amongst Indian Christians and Indian Muslims in similitude with the dissatisfaction non-Malays have over Bumiputra status and the special rights that come with it. Ironical, isn’t it? But, Indian Muslims here predominantly have the tendency to conceal their Indian identity and try to pass off as Bumiputera to get all the Bumiputera privileges.
Mindsets need to evolve to meet needs which morph through time. Petty sentimentality should not be allowed to get the better of logical, timely and sound judgement.
Maybe temple issues were relevant say, 20 to 30 years ago but now it has festered into a red herring, steering Indians away from things that matter now and in the long run. Instead of erecting one temple for one estate or residential area and spending much valued money in maintaining the buildings, use the existing temples as operational hives for beneficial activities besides fulfilling one’s spiritual needs. This way, decadence in the Indian community can be doctored to say the least.
Convert a part of a temple into a library, conduct free tuition for those children who can’t afford tuition fees, organize motivational speeches on weekends, hold sporting events for youths and make those activities available not only for Hindu Indians but for all Malaysians, regardless of race and religion. Make the effort! For the holier than thou units who think that these activities as highly sacrilegious, I have just the phrase for you, “Makkal sevai, Mahesan sevai.” Translated literally, it means service to people is akin to service to God.
Now, let’s shift our sight to Tamil schools. Tamil schools have been existing from the British colonial times. The age is over but some of us are stuck in the era either by refusal to move on from times gone by or plain ignorance or the static belief that Tamil schools would do wonders to unite the Indian people.
Historically, the British built separate vernacular schools to maintain racial divide and prejudice to lord over us. It is indeed expedient and shrewd and one of the things that should have been kicked out right after Malaysia gained independence from the British if our leaders truly want to see a united Malaysia turn up without jeopardizing our national language, our official religion, our monarchy and our Rukun Negara.
Vernacular schools impede national unity at the primordial stage; there is no room for vernacular school in a multi-racial society. Although I went to a national primary school, I can speak Tamil fluently and I taught myself to read the language – I can’t write Tamil effectively though; I’m working on it. It is my individual effort to learn Tamil and I’m still learning.
If vernacular schools get abolished and vernacular language literacy be achieved by the means of languages’ subjects integration in national schools like English. But, unlike English, make it an option; students can either take the subject up or omit it. The government doesn’t need to split monetary allocations into 3 separate schools no more; it would be single pronged. Ethnic gratification level would augment alongside with over-reaching racial unity.
France and Germany were more divided than Malaysia in the past, different dialects were spoken in different provinces. Their leaders, succession after succession came to the realization that for solidarity to prevail, a bit of identity sacrifice must be made for greater good and for encompassing development to accelerate.
But, to achieve such a state, strategical planning and detailed restructuring are needed. It has been more than 5 decades since vernacular schools, particularly Tamil schools catering primary education to Indian kids in estates and the fringe of urban cities. Make a mistake in phasing in this integration and those kids in Tamil schools will be out of school and that is the last thing any of us want. There are very poor kids studying in even poorly built Tamil schools. The roofs leak everytime it rains and some schools are located in such remote areas, mosquitoes, dangerous insects and venomous snakes lurk in the bushes and students study in dilapidated classrooms which don’t provide a conducive environment to learn. MIC observes inaction to this dire straits of our Tamil schools.
There is a certain discrimination meted out on our kids from Tamil schools. Our very own Linggeas and Naveena hail from Tamil school backgrounds and scored 12 A+ in SPM and they were not accorded JPA scholarship, never mind that 12 A+ is the highest score one can score in SPM and the fact that both the kids are Selangor state toppers. Both MIC and PR are silent regarding this maliciousness and duplicity.
Also, if vernacular schools get integrated into national school, Indian students would be spared from culture shock and get the chance to mingle with students of other races right from the beginning – it would save them a lot of fitting in trouble.
But, there should be a political will to carry out this integration; our leaders must see beyond racial barriers if we are to face global competition. As we all know, we don’t have many credible leaders. All they are worried about is their political survival and they use racial and religious cards to further their self serving agendas.
From independence day to the present day the separatist notion has been it’s an Indian problem, it’s a Chinese problem and it’s a Malay problem. It is high time we call our problems a Malaysian problem and seek to solve it as Malaysians.