By Kanasan Ramalingam

Heavy heart at seeing toils of Waytha, Hindraf

We are what our thoughts have made us. When I look back my past memories I am sure Hindraf chief P Waythamoorthy's current hunger strike must have been ignited and seeded during his school days.

As far I know, Waytha has generously contributed much most of his time and energy to the needy since he was only 15 years old.

Today I am a technical lead for many software engineers in London.

But 30 years ago I struggled to have a full meal in a family of five members as my mother was an office cleaner who earned only RM350 a month.

In 1985 when I was 13 years old, I unexpectedly received a £30 money order with a short note saying, "Please keep this money for your school expenses. My duty is to encourage everyone in his struggle".

Money orders like these were sent by Waytha to many deprived students. Later I came to know that he had to work day and night to support himself for his law degree in London.

As I have known him nearly 31 years now, every time before he start taking his meals he always keeps away a little food from his plate to show thoughts for the helpless people in this world.

But today he is completely putting off daily meals for the predicament of unrepresented ethnic Indians in Malaysia.

I visited Waytha few occasions in early 2008 in London where he stayed in a small cell with just the basics needed to live.

During this period, Waytha was emotionally squeezed by many incidents but till now his drive is towards the Indian community in Malaysia.

The question is; why do we need Hindraf in Malaysia? Are we right to think Hindraf is a racist organisation and typically aiming for political gain?

From my life experience in England, I strongly encourage and support Hindraf in Malaysia.

Most developed countries firmly enforce laws against discrimination.

The primary legislation is the equality act which outlaws discrimination regarding access to education, public services, private goods and services or premises in addition to employment.

However, discrimination is a big challenge for minorities in Malaysia.

There are serious issues affecting minorities because of both their ethnic and religious identities.

So I don't think the existence of Hindraf is a coincidence but a heroic strategy which highlights awareness for the voiceless and disregarded Indians in Malaysia.

Many claim that the Hindraf blueprint is an absolute joke.

But in the history of Malaysia economic policies so far, there isn't anything with its clarity from the current government or any other political party on the plight of stateless Indian communities.

It is not fair to attack Hindraf for not pointing to the struggle of other races in Malaysia, mainly the Malay and Chinese communities.

Indians were dislocated when rubber and oil palm plantations elsewhere in the country began to close down and the rural mining industry entered a prolonged slump.

The Indians then came to the city to look for work and the only place they could afford to live was in squatter settlements.

The problems were highlighted by a week of violent ethnic clashes in Petaling Jaya in early 2001.

These clashes were prompted more by frustration and anger over poor living conditions and marginalisation than race issues, and unmasked the emergence of a growing disgruntled and frustrated underclass.

Today as Waytha persists with his hunger strike, my heart and mind bleeds on seeing him fasting and only drinking water.

Please sanctify Waytha on his way in life. The Mahatmas in this world never die, they always evolve at the right time.