Ask any Indian child what they want to be when they grow up and they will tell you, doctor, lawyer or engineer. No child ever says that they want to be a politician or prime minister.
Similarly, Malaysian Indian youth dismiss politics as saakadai (sewage) and a cesspool of putrefying waste and have a standing that they don’t want to get besmeared by politics and choose to stay ignorant.
Okay, so what is politics? According to Google, politics is the activities associated with the governance of a country or area, especially the debate between parties having power.
So, the general idea is, politics only concern political leaders, not laymen.
WRONG! Politics is intertwined in every aspect of a citizen’s living. From the shirt on your back, the food on your table, the utility bills, the car you drive to the house you live in, politics is behind all that and more.
Indian youth and their lack of political awareness
We don’t need to look far to prove the disinterest of politics and political idealism among the Indian youth. Four gems of Tamil movies based on political fundamentalism, Iruvar, Hey Raam, Anbe Sivam and Aayutha Ezhuthu are major flops both in India and Malaysia. The reasons are obvious; Indian youth don’t have much fervour in politics. Perhaps the only Tamil movie with politics as its core which hit the right chord with the Indian youth here is Mudhalvan and the movie owes its success to director Shankar’s touch. And, the closest thing many of our Indian youth get to politics is this interview:
Question any random Indian youth here on when Velei Illa Pattathari, VIP, will be released and he will give the accurate answer in a blink of an eye. Ask him who is the MP for his constituency and watch him scratch his non itchy head.
Perhaps the only time in Malaysian history so far when Indian youth made a political statement is in 2007’s HINDRAF rally. Braving tear gas, water cannons and riot police not to mention mass arrests, this uprising made a huge, unprecedented change that changed the political course in Malaysia in the 12th GE, 2008.
As the 8% of the Malaysian population, we could have unanimously changed the fate and the leadership of this country for the better in GE 2013. Alas, a tactical political move divided Indian votes as they fell into the snare of the enemy within only to realize the mistake when it’s too late.
To you, an Indian youth, who is reading this, can you make out my hint in the latter paragraph above? If you could, you have my thumbs up. This is not for you; this is for Indian youth unlike you whom I doubt would read this article after seeing its title and this is the problem that I am trying to address.
Indian youth here are more interested in controversy, kadalai (gossip) and fun. They either look for something they can kutuk or something they can moral police – especially whether Indian girls nowadays are cultured or not. Arasiyal na allergy ah ma.
Political awareness is crucial especially in the democratic system. Politicians who are our leaders are our servants. PUBLIC SERVANTS. Our tax money pay their salaries and they develop the country using our tax money. On why local political sentience is important, it’s because we should questi2on when OUR SERVANTS FAIL TO FUNCTION PROPERLY. From statism, we should shift to populism and for that to happen, political awareness is critical.
Politicians are like diapers. They need to be changed often for the same reason. The reason why our ruling coalition is now arrogant and thinks of itself as invincible is because we have let it rule for too long. We should strive to achieve bipartisan politics in close scores like the American Republicans and Democrats. Make politicians from opposing poles work for the people by close political competition. If they fail to deliver, boot them out of the office in the next GE. We should instill the fear that if our incumbent politicians don’t deliver the goods, they will lose their parliamentary seat. Appo than avan olunga vele seivan.
We all know the grand temple in Pulau Pinang, worth 10 million bucks. It’s the biggest Hindu temple in the world outside India and some politicians say that the temple represents religious freedom in Malaysia. Kedah got public holiday for Thaipusam. National level Ponggal celebration and Indians are well taken care of.
What about education and work opportunities for Indians? Are those taken care of? Building temples and holding national level festivities for Hindu celebrations don’t give our children public university seats.
Where I live, there are 4 mini, ramshackle temples, not counting the temples in the front yard neem or mango trees outside houses. And, kovil vasool is collected almost fortnightly to fund the temples’ renovations and festivals. The Ipoh Kallu Malai temple is yet to be fully furnished – renovation work for that temple began ages ago and it is yet to reach completion. How much of donations the temple must have received for Thaipusam and other religious festivals but yet, the work is torpid. I bet you can guess who pocketed the donation money. Don’t they fear retribution from God? Apparently not.
We tend to split temples – therevukku oru lamp post maari, therevukku oru kovil athukku vasool vereh. I discourage my mom from giving kovil vasool but she never listens – Saami kuttham aayidum.
In India, the temples, which are thousands of years old are maintained by donations. A watershed event happened in India last week, Friday, 16th May 2014. Congress, which has ruled India since independence was overthrown by BJP in an unprecedented event. This was possible there because youth there acquired political awareness. Narendra Modi, the newly elected PM of India said in his inaugural speech that instead of building more temples, India should build more toilets.
Likewise, Malaysian Indians should build more community centers that function as social, educational and information hives than temples. We always complain that others are racist and that 1Malaysia is merely veneer but we never really take the initiative to change things. Most of the time, we always wait for others to take the initiative for us. Why don’t we operate community centers and have not only Malaysian Indians but our fellow compatriots of other races in the loop? Why can’t we realize the dream of Onn Jaafar? Athan pa, nambe Hishamuddin ode taata.. Sejarah leh padichome.. Maranthupocha? Now, Dyana Sofya is bringing fresh hope for all Malaysians.
We, Indians have a short memory and an elevated tendency of being boot lickers. For one hamper, Kalasala stage performance and mutton curry dinner, we are ready to sell our votes. Indian youth also lack critical thinking – preferring to imbibe their minds with theatrical ideals. That’s why we are what we are now – a regressive community which has no backbone. And, the Indian youth’s political ignorance only compounds the problem. If one knows politics, one will know their rights and they will fight for their rights come hell or high water. Hendak seribu daya, tak hendak, seribu dalih.