“If Indians don’t wake up soon, they’re going to wind up extinct”

MINORITIES must always perform better than average in order to be on par with the majority.

This is not Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s fault or Malaysia’s fault or anyone else’s fault; it is just a fact of life.

This is part of the reason why immigrants tend to be better than locals everywhere in the world. Immigrants instinctively know that they belong in a minority group and the only way that they will be able to keep up with the majority race is by giving a better than average performance at a consistent rate.

A minority that is headed for an undignified extinction is a minority that doesn’t understand this fact of life.

If you belong in a minority group but instead of upping your level to maintain your identity, you keep comparing yourself with the majority group – and assume that you will be able to keep your identity while performing at an average or below average level – you are headed for extinction.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at the Educational Development and Future of Indians programme organised by Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit (MITRA) on June 10, 2023 (Pic credit: Anwar’s Facebook)

There are two things that will happen to us Indians if we are unable to up our game and continuously compare ourselves with the majority race.

The first is that an increasing number of our own members will abandon our group identity and embrace the identity of other bigger or more successful races.

The second is that we will become so disenfranchised and disempowered that we will we will either turn on each other as our opportunities shrink or we will become so deprived of opportunities that we will simply not have the resources to continue preserving our identity.

‘Blaming ourselves’

Either way, both paths lead to the undignified extinction of our identity.

In practical terms, what I mean by performing better than average is that if the majority race is touting someone with a Bachelor’s degree to be their leader, we need to have someone with a Master’s degree to be ours.

If the majority group can tolerate a leader who might be a little corrupt, ours has to be spick and span clean. If the majority group can afford to fight with each other and create six or seven parties over the slightest issue, we must find a way to stay united even if we have major differences among ourselves.

If anybody wants to be the leader of the Indians, they must compete with other potential leaders within the community and let the Indian community themselves decide who is the best person to lead us forward.

If we cannot perform in a better than average manner, we are surely going to become extinct and as we decline and deteriorate, we will have nobody else to blame but ourselves.

Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy (left) and Charles Santiago

Former Penang deputy chief minister II Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy and ex-Klang MP Charles Santiago are railing at Anwar after his cabinet reshuffle for having not even one minister of Indian origin (Gobind Singh doesn’t count).

But what is the point of berating Anwar when we ourselves are so disunited and weak that despite being just around 6% or 7% of the population, we are splintered in so many different directions.

It is also not Anwar’s fault that V. Sivakumar, the only Federal Minister we had lost his job. Anwar did not cause Sivakumar’s aide, political secretary and officers to be investigated for corruption and abuse of power by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). Sivakumar alone is responsible for that.

Breaking point

It is not that I don’t see the purpose of Ramasamy and Santiago railing at Anwar. I can understand that Ramasamy and Santiago must make a name for themselves to garner a following which they can then translate into political power in order to forward the Indian cause.

But I seriously suspect that all this will do is exacerbate our differences and weaken us even further.

When Ramasamy and Santiago rail at Anwar, I am quite certain that it will be taken by the Madani-friendly Indian politicians as an attempt to draw Indians away from the Madani government’s fold into the Ramasamy or Santiago camp.

Newly appointed deputy ministers of Indian Tamil origin (from left) M. Kulasegaran (Ipoh Barat MP), R. Ramanan (Sungai Buloh MP) and Senator Saraswathi Kandasamy

This will then invite a retaliatory response from the Madani-friendly Indian politicians to stop the siphoning away of their support. This “rail at the chief and draw from his wellspring of support” technique to siphon support from the chief is not a new technique, especially in Indian politics.

When Indian politicians on the Madani government’s side realises, they are likely going to return fire and cause a war of word to erupt which might even result in chairs to be thrown and tables to be turned in an effort to frustrate the move.

This gung-ho and abrasive practice of gaining support is probably why Indian politics has devolved to a point where the Indian electorate have not only become embarrassed with the antics of their politicians but rather trust a Malay or a Chinese than their own kind to forward the Indian interest and aspirations.

Make peace

The greatest and most influential scientists of all time, Albert Einstein (1879-1955), once said: “You cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it.”

Indian politicians in the past had already tried this “let me out-gun all the existing Indian leader to draw the Indian support to my side so that I can unite the Indians under my party” technique.

All it did was break up the Indian community to such an extent that not only are the Indians virtually unrepresented in the national politics today but shopping malls, too, don’t even bother to decorate their venue during Deepavali while our teenagers and young adults are complaining in public that they are being edged out of things like scholarship and university placement.

Rather than engage in this divisive – and ego-centric practice which doesn’t even work – let me suggest an alternative path to our politicians.

Why not just pick up the phone, call your fellow Indian politician regardless of which side of the political aisle they are from and have some tea together?

Instead of always trying to steal the thunder from your fellow Indian politician, why not talk to them and come up with a mechanism where you can compete for the support of the Indian community in a healthy manner?

Rather than attempting to pry their supporters to your side, why not bring all of your supporters to the same side? Instead of trying to wrest the opportunities that they have, why not try to create more opportunities for everyone?

If even at this stage our existing politicians can’t humble themselves enough to sit together in the same table and have tea with their fellow Indian politician, I am sorry to say that the chances that we will be able to preserve our identity are only getting dimmer by the day. – Dec 14, 2023


Nehru Sathiamoorthy is a roving tutor who loves politics, philosophy and psychology.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

Subscribe and get top news delivered to your Inbox everyday for FREE