The Tamil paradox

 |Mar 22, 2017

As the drums beat to the tune of an impending general election and the parties jockey for position a critical question remains unanswered.

What are the policies of the opposition groups who will never govern?

They seem to be promising the people the moon (and sixpence) and have little or nothing to show for either.

What’s perhaps even more troubling, like Anwar Ibrahim and Lim Kit Siang have done in the past, none of their promises have any costings that treasury can analyse to make head or tail of.

The Tamil as a people have helped India secured more Noble prizes for science, literature and physics over the past century.

India as a result secured a greater number of Nobel prizes then many western and developed nations nations including of Argentina, Chile, China, , Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Korea, Holland, Greece or Ireland.

It says a lot about the Tamils and what they are capable of where they work towards a goal.

They are very prominent in business and science throughout India.

Yet looking at the way the Tamils of Malaysia have fared since World War II (WW2), it is hard to believe that the Tamils of Malaysia are descendants of the same Tamils who have contributed so much to the world and to mankind inspite of their own problems in India.

The late Professor Jeyaratnam Christie Eliezar, once a vice chancellor of the University of Malaya, a double PhD from Cambridge and Jaffna in maths, was a contemporary of Dr. Albert Einstein.

Srinivasa Ramanujan may not have scored the Nobel prize in maths, but his achievements at Cambridge with little basic education as depicted in the highly successful 2016 film, “the man who knew infinity” should serve as an inspiration to all Malaysia’s Tamils.

There was Sir CV Raman for the ‘Raman Effect’- Dr. Subramaniam Chandrasekhar-for his work on stars and their evolution-of course there was the late Indian president and the father of the Indian rocket programme although not Nobel prize recipient was Dr. Abdul Kalam a Tamil Muslim.

Heading in the right direction the MIC this time round appears to be firing more than just blanks.

Its profile has been positively enhanced as a relevant representative of the Tamil people if not for all Indians through its leader Subramaniam Sathasivan.

A far more dynamic and personable leader Sathasivan appears to have won the hearts of a wide cross section of the community with his leadership style and fresh approach to politics.

His job is no free rise considering what he and his team have inherited from the divisive and violence ridden politics of the MIC’s past.

The MIC appears to be attracting more and more young talent from its ranks for the first time demonstrating a willingness by Tamil youth to step up to the plate and to take responsibility for the problems and advancement of their community instead of waiting for handouts and condemning government at every given opportunity.

MIC youth chief C. Sivarraajh has earned his place and respect in the community by making a reasonable and relevant demand of the cabinet secretary on the issue of scholarships in a proper way.

His demand is devoid of the emotional, insulting rhetoric of the past.

That’s a positive step in the right direction many observers note.

His approach is by far better than the overly emotional wasted words of Hindraf and previous MIC leaders.

Sivarraajh is a young man to watch.

He may need the assistance of others within the Indian community with respect to adopting effective new strategies on how to approach government and what to expect of it in return.

By contrast the recent outbursts of S. Gopinath is an example of how not to deal with government.

Attacking the TN50 initiative was both ill conceived, lacked substance and was poorly timed.

Gopinath’s attacks on governments TN50 initiative elicited a sharp and devastating response from Tunku Abdul Aziz.

Tunku a seasoned diplomat, an internationally respected social and political figure, Gopinath and the Indians could well have cultivated as an ally for the Indian community instead of earning his wrath.

Tunku Abdul Aziz’s credentials for fairness, compassion and assisting struggling communities within Malaysia and beyond is legendary.

It is people like him that the Indians need to build bridges into the largest and most practically relevant community, the Malays.

They must do this in order to undertake that ‘long march’ the Indians must walk towards prosperity, self sufficiency and cohesion.

And it is friends like him that the Indian community needs.

It can’t afford to be parochial in a sea of mediocrity it has been floating in for decades.

There are others within the MIC who have in recent times proven their mettle and shown the kind of resolve and character the Tamils in particular need of their representatives in government.

Vell Paari immediately comes to mind as being a relevant, caring and committed Tamil with his shoulder already to the wheel.

Vell Paari’s recent rebuke of self serving critics of the economy whose propaganda nearly cost Malaysia several billions of dollars in Saudi Arabian investment is another example of a no nonsense loyal member of a key plank in the Barisan Nasional platform.

His, Sivaraajh’s and S. Subramaniam’s stoic resolve to support a credible government are a bell weather of the future of the Barisan and the long suffering Tamil community in Malaysia.

There are no free lunches or permanent friends in politics.

Just situations as Ben Gurion once said.

The Tamils have to learn not only from both the Malays and the Chinese but also from their own history how to position themselves, especially in lieu of the up coming elections.

They must act in a way beneficial to themselves and their partners in the Barisan in order to extract maximum benefit from all sides.

In their case it is the Barisan they ought to focus on because that is where real power lies.

To gamble their opportunities and whittle it away on emotional caustic remarks earning them enemies before even a handshake is possible is political suicide.

It is the staple of Hindraf’s leaders.

The MIC is too big and too precious for such antics.

In order for government to strengthen its hand at the next elections it needs strong and reliable partners.

It needs partners who understand the matrix of politics within the Barisan and not critics from within demanding Rome be built in a day.

There are numerous talented candidates for the MIC to choose from and to groom before the next call for a general election.

The Indians must learn how to leverage their position to their benefit but not soley for themselves.

The point applies to all parties within the Barisan.

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Gopal Raj Kumar is a MO reader and contributor.