Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Woman On Period & Hindu Rituals



This image is now being circulated in social media. I think the person who created this image has an unexplainable hatred towards religion. His/Her view on Hinduism is a misguided one. 

I remember one joker from Utusan once wrote an article on Manusmriti and tried to make fun of the Hindus. Looks like Utusan is not alone.

Manusmriti is a Smriti, meaning written by man. Therefore, it has no authority over modern Hindus. Vedas are Sruti, meaning non-human and divine origin. It is based on revelation received by Sages through their spiritual experience. 

Manusmriti was actually written by Manu, a king who ruled during ancient times. It was actually the constitution of his kingdom. As we all know, man made law can always contain flaws. Manusmriti has alot of good things in it and also loads of crap. 

It is not necessary for modern Hindus to follow Manusmriti. It was written for people of a different era. Hindus have the free will to use their own intelligence.

Women actually have a high position in the Hindu world. There are also many rituals which can only be done by them. Certain fast are only observed by women. So the joker who created this image need to do some homework. 

Hinduism is perhaps the only remaining religion which sees God in the form of woman, Shakti. What else is needed to explain this?

However, women are usually prevented from conducting rituals when they are on periods. The actual reason behind this is deep rooted in prehistoric times.

Those days, there were no sanitary pads. The women on periods used cloth. So there was odor and blood stain. 

Prehistoric people lived in jungles and women on periods had a higher tendency of attracting predatory animals like lions and tigers.

Religious rituals were not individual but done in groups. People lived in groups. So their rituals will always have some sort of gathering.

So segregating such woman during such ritual reduces the chances of danger for the others in the community/village. But of course, our good prehistoric ancestors would have assigned someone to guard the woman in the hut when the rest are busy with their ritual. 

This could be one reason. 

The other reason is women on periods usually have mood swings and many go through pain. Periods are also not hygienicThey may not feel comfortable to conduct a ritual. It is better for them to just take a break on such occasions.

Over the time, people forget the actual purpose and turn it into a tool to discriminate women. 

Logic eh?

Monday, 14 July 2014

Indian Malaysian Gangsters - A Historical View

I usually don't talk about gangs in my blog or Facebook page. I see too many people talking about it but I guess one article with a different perspective will be needed.

Gangsterism is a menace in this country. There are gangsters from every race. But we will look into the involvement of Indian gangsters in the Peninsular. 

To understand how it started, we need to look at the history of the community.

When the Indians migrated from India to then Malaya, the triads of India moved in with them. Back then, Indians had their own triad network just like the Chinese. The underworld of the triads has been in existence for many centuries. It is not something which was created overnight.

It is also not something which was born out of poverty. It is all about power. The Indian triads are still around but they are very secretive.

Some of these Indian triads could be older than the Mafias of Sicily. Their main source of income comes from smuggling, contract killing, protection money. They also had access to guns. So it was not just parangs like what you see today.

Like sea piracy, it was once a way of life for some.

But these triad men, though they were criminals, were not causing much trouble to the ordinary people. They were a nuisance to the law enforcers and the business community but not the general public. 

Such Indian triads existed in Port Klang too. 

Indians were numerous in the Klang harbour area. Certain triad clans were controlling the trade over there. Smuggling is a lucrative business.

Areas such as Tengku Kelana was once full of Chinese shops until the Indians took over. The Chinese are still in control in certain areas of Klang but they did loose some territory to Indian triads. I have heard of stories of clashes between Indian triads and Chinese triads from my relatives. 

My father and grandfather used to tell me that the gangsters of their time do not recruit school boys. They also do not disturb the public during temple festivals unlike what you see during Thaipusam in KL. 

But things started to change in the 1970s......

Global demand for rubber dropped and Malaysia went through a period of "Estate Fragmentation".

You may ask what was there before the rubber estates. The area was of course a thick jungle. The British brought the Indian coolies and made them clear the jungle, plant rubber and work in the rubber estates for a few generation.

After the rubber estates were fragmented, former estate lands were privatized. New owners find it cheaper to hire foreigners to work than local Indians. The skill of the Indian rubber tapper was no longer needed.

Large percentage of the estate land was converted into housing areas, industrial areas, highways. 

The present administrative capital of Putrajaya was once known as Prang Besar Estate with many Indians. I have been to that estate before it turned into Putrajaya. It was a beautiful place. 

Today you see many Malays in Shah Alam, the capital of Selangor. They are the majority now.

But Shah Alam was also once a very large estate full of Indians. When the estates were taken over for new projects, Malays moved in not just from their neighboring kampungs but also from other states. Large number of Indonesians from Java moved in too.

The Indians of the former estates were then left in the dark after the fragmentation. They had no land, no experience living in cities, no skills and no education. 

When they moved in to live in the new township, things became very hard for them. They were so used to the estate life and a sudden change was just too hard to accept.

Since they were not educated, many did not see the importance of legal registration of marriage. Because of no marriage certificate, it becomes difficult to register the birth of their children. These children then grow up as adults with red MyKad. They become stateless.

The Indians with red MyKads are often discriminated when they walk into any government offices for help. They are not treated as Malaysians. 

Life becomes very tough for them. No legal documents to help, no proper education, broken family, no help from society, no strong kinship network.....

They become the social outcast of the city and turn into crime. These are the new breed of gangsters in the society.

Unlike the previous Indian triads, these underclass Indians were very desperate. They were not well established. The adults turn to alcoholic drinks such as samsu to forget about their misery. 

The school boys join gangs. They also turn to drugs becoming both users and pushers. It gave them money. They don't have to depend on their poor parents anymore. Furthermore, they have no communal pride to worry about.

These are the type of Indian gangsters who then become a nuisance during temple festivals ramming their motorbikes, whistling, blowing vuvuzelas, drinking and dancing. They seek the attention of the society in a very unpleasant way.

This is what happens when we forcefully move people out of their existing environment and place them at the bottom of the social hierarchy in a new environment.

The well established Indian triads and Chinese triads are no longer in the front line of their business. They outsource their work to these new Indian gangsters. The triads have morphed into "Corporate Gangsters". They only deal directly with people who have influence, money and power.

Our government is also at fault here. 

They should have provided the underclass Indians with necessary skills training before moving them out. This is so that they can survive in the city.

They could have at least come up with a scheme similar to FELDA. Many Malays today are enjoying the fruit of FELDA. 

If a similar scheme was offered to the underclass Indians of the estates back in the 1970s, their children would not be suffering from poverty today. 

They would have not turned to gangs to solve their problem. Indian gang menace could have been avoided or at least minimized.

Nobody wakes up in the morning and suddenly decide to become a gangster. There is a history behind everything. In the case of the Indian Malaysian gangsters, the real problem started in the 1970s.



Thursday, 10 July 2014

Boycott Israel? Start with Facebook


I noticed that some of Facebook users have recently circulated pictures like the above in Facebook. They have been suggesting that the Malaysian Muslims boycott those companies. 

So no more buka puasa (break fast) in places like McD. No more Nestle products. Forget about Huggies diapers for your babies. 

The list of things to avoid goes on.

Well I respect your choice to criticize Israel. Even I have criticized Israel in the past. I even highlighted why it is not right for Tamil Malaysians to openly support Israel.

Here is the link for my past article
http://sharmalanthevar.blogspot.com/2014/04/should-malaysian-tamils-support-israel.html

The call for a boycott of Jewish products in Malaysia is just a waste of time because I don't see any use in it. 

To make it worse, some Muslims even asked if I am supporting Israel's action in Gaza because I eat McD. I mean like what the......

It is nothing but an emotional outburst with no real benefit for the Muslim community or the country.

Why do I say this?

Because those who are calling for a boycott are still using Facebook. They are still uploading selfies and enjoying the free service provided by Facebook. 

The creator of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, is a Jew. Zuckerberg appeared in Jerusalem post as the most influential Jew. I am sure he gives money to the state of Israel. Every single rich Jewish company does it. 



To add on, Zuckerberg is an active member of Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity (AEPi). This is a fraternity of Jewish people in America. They are hardcore supporters of Israel.




The younger Zuckerberg.
Zuckerberg and former Israeli PM Shimon Perez.

Zuckerberg and current Israeli PM Netanyahu.

So if you really want to boycott Israel, why still use Facebook? 

As long as you stay in Facebook, you are helping Israel make money. The same money which is being used to bomb Muslim Palestineans.

Probably you should deactivate your account as a sign of protest?



Thursday, 3 July 2014

My HINDRAF Experience

To know more about HINDRAF check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HINDRAF . All pictures taken from Google.




The rally organised by the Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF) on 25 November 2007, created a political tsunami that affected the Indian votes in the 12th Malaysian General Election in 2008.

However, it was not the first of its kind. We did have the Klang Indian Riots of the 1940s and Thondar Padai movement of Kedah in the past. There was also strong trade union movement among Indians during colonial times. I will write about it on another day.

HINDRAF was the first of its kind in the new century. Although I disagree with HINDRAF with their ideology, I decided to join the rally back then because at that time, it was crucial for the Indians in this country to be part of it. The Indians needed something like this to knock some sense into them.

I got up early on 25 November 2007 and told my parents that I am meeting up with some friends. They actually believed me. While most people chose Orange as their colour (signifying Hindu saffron), I wore Red for the rally.

My first rally experience started in Kampung Baru. I called up my friend Jullian and told him that I will SMS the updates. He decided to post my updates in Friendster so that our friends get to know the latest happenings from my side. Some could not make it to the rally because of roadblocks.


Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) a.k.a Malaysian Riot Police
The FRU surrounded that area. They issued warning and requested the crowd to disperse. People did not listen. So they fired tear gas to disperse the crowd. 

Many Indians ran into Kampung Baru which is a Malay Muslim majority housing area. The Malays even tried negotiating on their behalf.

Some of us continued with our "cat and mouse" game with the FRU. People ran in all directions. The crowd then moved to the area near Ampang Park to join another bigger crowd. There were at least 30,000 people there.

Once again, the FRU started shooting tear gas. Some of the protesters threw the canisters back at them. We were also sprayed with chemical laced water. At that moment I was already near the Tun Razak Police Station.



One tear gas canister fell near my left foot. I started suffocating and I could not see anything. My eyes and skin were burning. I inhaled too much of the gas and I knew I had to run from that place a.s.a.p. I am asthmatic and that is definitely not good.

Somehow, I managed to move away from the crowd and walked into the police station. The protesters were getting arrested at this time. Some, like me, escaped.

I saw many policemen nearby and also a group of journalist. Since I had my office lanyard and tag in my pocket, I wore it around my neck and pretended like a journalist. It saved me for a good 30 minutes.

Another crowd then emerged at Ampang Park, they decided to face the FRU batallion. The police were getting ready to charge at them. 
I didn't want to miss the action so I left my "journalist team" and joined the crowd. 

I would say that it was one of the stupidest thing I have ever done in my life. Should have just stayed quiet and enjoyed the show as a "journalist"

Once again, tear gas....chemical water......tear gas.......chemical water.



The mass arrest began.

One officer asked me "You buat apa kat sini?"
(What are you doing here?)

Me: Oh I am a tourist. What is happening here? 

You know what? He actually believed me and let me go. Probably because I spoke in English and pretended like I don't know Malay. He told me to avoid the crowd and even showed me how to get out.

Nice!

Just when I thought I was lucky and walked away, two young officers from behind grabbed me. They were shorter and smaller than me. They refuse to listen to my explanation. I even told them that their superior officer told me to go.

Nope. Not interested to listen.


I was finally caught and made to sit with the rest inside the police vehicle. My phone rang at that moment. Guess who? It was my wife (then friend) with details of people who can be contacted in the event of arrest. 

I hid my phone in my socks because some of the detainees told me that the police confiscated their phones. I didn't want to loose my phone. 

We were brought to PULAPOL at Jalan Semarak.

There were around 200 of us in the detention center. The police gave us drinks which I refused to take because of my ego. We were not ill treated but I did see some guys getting kicked during the rally.

I managed to call one of my uncles. He is a lawyer. He told me what to do. He advised me to inform the other detainees not to sign any papers and wait for lawyers to arrive. So I did some messenger work inside the detention center explaining to them on what needs to be done.

I was actually frustrated with some of them. They refused to listen and decided to make things hard. Others including some "community trash" who I think don't deserve to protest were also there.

There were also guys from the MIC Youth/Putra division. A few of them went on to become popular bloggers/social media personalities later. I don't wish to name them here.

I wondered......

What are these guys doing here? Is something going on and I am not aware of it? But never mind, it doesn't matter anymore.

A few hours later, Latheefa Koya and her team arrived. The police briefed us and informed that we can leave. There were no charges. I was among the few who refused to sign any papers. 

The policeman who spoke with me actually gave up. 

"Okay la. Tak mahu sign tak apalah. You pergilah" 
(Okay la. If you don't want to sign then it is okay. You leave)

I left the place after spending about 7 hours inside. 

News of my detention reached home even before me. I received numerous calls from friends and family members asking if I was alright. Did they beat me? etc.

I was okay, unharmed. Looks like Jullian did a good job :)

I can't write every single detail about that day here but it was one hell of an experience. 

Back before and after HINDRAF, I used to be quite active in Indian forums before blogs became popular. We used to have discussion via emails and online groups. 

Few months after the HINDRAF incident, I was approached by their overseas coordinator, Ravi Shan. We met in Seremban for a teh tarik session. 

Ravi found out that I do research on the Indian community. I used to visit the National Archives frequently. He knew that I could help their front line propaganda team. So he introduced me to few others in the HINDRAF team hoping that I will join their cause.

But our ideologies are different. If Ravi reads this and still remembers me, I want him to know why I never joined them.

HINDRAF was formed under the Hindu banner but it claimed to champion all Indians, which includes non-Hindus. There was a flaw in their foundation.

They were inconsistent in certain matters especially their decision to sue the British government which never saw any positive outcome. It was probably used as a bait to gain the support of the community. 

Their struggle was of a communal nature and not a class struggle. 

To make matters worse, they later joined hands with the same people they once fought against. This betrayed many of their own supporters.

Perhaps the movement was hijacked and that lead to its failure. One brother became Deputy Minister and the other went to prison. Whatever happened after that is history.


HINDRAF brothers Waythamoorty (left) and Uthayakumar (right). Waythamoorty later joined the BN government as a Deputy Minister while his brother went to prison. Ganabathi Rao (centre).
Many people who read my writings tend to judge me wrongly by assuming that I must be a hardcore right wing Indian-Hindu champion. 

There were even some who asked if I am interested to join their Indian organisation. This includes some friends from MIC. 

I never joined them. 

Because although I may do research on Indian related matters or talk about Hinduism in my blog, politically, I am inclined towards Left.

I believe in the ideals of Socialism within a proper democratic system. I believe in the separation of state and religion without any racial preference.

A Socialist who prefers Merit over Reservation.

So someone like me can never join HINDRAF or MIC as they are based on something which I think should never even be part of governance.