Where religion is touched, emotions run deep. When bodies like Hindraf have appeal, it signifies the failure of dialogue in Malaysia. It is true that there will always be people who politicise issues to gain power and position for themselves. It is also the failure of mainstream political parties and NGOs that make it possible for groups like Hindraf to thrive. By taking a strong adversarial position, the government of the day plays its part in making champions of such leaders.
I take serious exception to the use of 'Hindu' for when one begins to use religion for one's cause, it calls for a quality of leadership that is befitting of the religion. Ultimately, in most instances it only discredits the faith. That is why many are willing to die for their faiths rather than live by its qualities.
It is true that there are grievances and shortcomings, and these have to be addressed. The failure to address these issues is the failure of the government. At the same time, we must appreciate that we are Malaysians and our cause can only triumph if we can persuade other ethnic Malaysians to our cause. Our issues are fundamentally Malaysian and these have to be addressed within the Malaysian context. It is here that the government fails badly. Every expression is seen as a threat.
Why not allow the Hindraf rally and restrict it to a thousand people in front of the British High Commission to hand over their demands? In doing so, the government diffuses the issue and moves on.
Politics is all about winning people and using strategy for your cause. It is sad that we do not have politicians with the capacity to outfox their opponents. The ruling party could have turned this to their advantage, as with the Bersih rally. On the contrary, what we have are politicians who are there because of their parents or patronage. When politics loses touch with the feel on the ground, politicians also lose the capacity to take political advantage.
Force is never the answer. It will only lead to greater violence. When this is mixed with religion you have an irrational mixture that is dangerous. I pray that good sense will prevail.