HINDRAF is the most successful Hindu/Indian resistance movement outside of India, which offers certain basic lessons in running effective Hindu movements. On 24th Nov 2007 HINDRAF organised the most successful demonstration in Kuala lumpur which had hit all major news channels around the world. About 30-40 thousand people participated. However, according to certain reports, if the government had not created blockades in the city the numbers could have swelled to 100 thousand.
I believe to study a movement, a good starting point would be its leader , who in this case, happens to be P Waytha Moorthy. Moorthy, a simple man who was running a Vivekananda youth movement, became a Hindu hero and icon, who exposed & brought the racist Malaysian government down on its knees. From 2008 until a few days back I was privileged to spend hours & days with Moorthy in England.
During the initial days, we met as Hindu activists, in the midst as friends & towards the end as brothers. (End implies end of his stay in London. Moorthy returned to Malaysia on 1st Aug 12 after an exile of about four & half years). At some point in my life, I would like to write in much detail about the time I spent & the time I hope to spend further with the incredible man called Moorthy. I have chosen to be selective & brief in writing this article for the sake of secrecy & confidentiality as the HINDRAF struggle is still on going….
The problem for Moorthy’s enemies is that he gets tougher if you get tough with him. A rare trait that lacks in Hindu leaders who start softening after a point in the name of following Buddha’s middle path or creating a win win situation. Forgetting that it is truth alone that needs to triumph. Truth & deceit can never co- exist in the first place. There can be no midway & one’s rights can never be achieved with conditions tied to them. This is reflected in HINDRAF slogan “Rights not Mercy.“It is noteworthy that Moorthy is not only fighting for the cause of 1.5 million Hindus but for the 15 million non Muslims too who feel discriminated & systematically marginalised by the Malaysian government. It would not be a Dharmic cause he were to fight for the rights of Hindus alone. Would it ?
While brainstorming Moorthy has an uncanny ability to bring in all the details that one needs to factor in & would describe the threats & opportunities that lie within. Before disclosing his strategy he would ask your opinion & would integrate it into the bigger picture that he seems to see so clearly. For all major situations he has at least four contingency plans & he would never forget to brief all the people involved for their respective plans. Should the need arise he changes his strategy completely within no time & little effort. This really works well when you are braving a state, who are eavesdropping upon you 24×7 and reading your patterns. A completely new strategy acts like an intellectual ambush for a big bureaucratic state machinery which is not able to manoeuvre & deal with the new set of conditions swiftly enough….
Moorthy probably happens to be the pioneer & master of Intellectual Guerrilla tactics. I asked Moorthy, if he had read books like Art of War or Chankaya. He never had but employs all those strategies & tactics. They are embedded in his mind intrinsically.
Moorthy is always infused with ideas that can bolster his cause & movement. One such idea was of suing the British government. One fine day he chose to sit & brainstorm the basic draft of the civil suit with his very accomplished lawyer friends. He kept thinking & hovering around the room for hours everyday & finally came up with the draft after several days of discussion & rumination. He would get it chiseled every now & then from legal eagles in Malaysia, India, US & Europe. Recently, Moorthy filed a civil suit on 2nd July 12 in London & is right now touring different parts of Malaysia to build awareness about it.
Besides all the strategic planning & contingencies, Moorthy knows that there is always a risk involved, after all it is a small group of Hindus braving an autocratic Islamic state. Moorthy is a big risk taker & meets with all kinds of risks with courage alone. Before leaving for Malaysia, I asked him several times, on several occasions, in several different ways, ” …what if you get arrested & are put into the prison ?” & his standard answer would be , ” Will make the best of it…” He never said anything beyond this & I still keep wondering what did he exactly meant by that ?
I have met & worked with many Hindu leaders. Some are very well grounded in their local areas but do not have a global view. Though well intentioned & dedicated, they are generally clueless about where the world is headed & the changes that are likely to affect the people they are leading & even themselves. Others tend to have a global view but are absolutely disconnected with the people they claim to represent & lead.
Moorthy is connected with the grass roots & is a true globalist at the same time. He is able to understand & interact with his people at all levels and likewise deal & negotiate with foreign governments & International Human rights organisations across the world. When he speaks you can feel the grit & determination in his voice. I have never seen him reading from a script or even looking up at bullet points but what he speaks is specific & measured. One can’t help noticing his sincere & honest eyes which reach far & deep corners of your comprehension, where words before getting there generally dissolve and become meaningless.
His eyes dart & pierce into your heart as if injecting the truth itself. One suddenly starts seeing the deeper meaning of life and a certain force commands you to stand by him. I have seen many people standing by him through thick & thin, who otherwise would never ever contribute towards a noble & honourable cause.
However, the very basic reason for Moorthy’s success is his unflinching faith in Hindu Dharma that in return earns him the faith of the 1.5 million Hindu Malaysians that he leads. He stands behind them & they stand by him during the toughest of times. Quite a few times during his stay in London he showed me emails promising him international diplomatic support and resources/donations IF he replaced the “Hindu” word with …….
“Indian” for his organisation HINDRAF– (Hindu Rights Actions Force) , but he did not. Instead, he chose to lead a life of altruism in England and diverted all the resources he had towards the movement in Malaysia.I witnessed that, at the cost of his health, he would sleep less, eat at odd hours or not eat at all & spend hours together late in the night liaising with his people in Malaysia. Waking up early mornings & rushing to attend meetings in London with British MPs, Human Rights organisations & influential international delegations etc.
Working tirelessly across three time zones of Asia, Europe & the US, finally in Feb 2009, the inevitable happened, he had to be hospitalised in London as he has a heart condition & to top it all diabetes too.
We had to beg him to ask his wife to join him here in London, who was actively contributing to the movement in Malaysia. (After she arrived his condition improved and has been stable since). On the other hand, we come across Hindu leaders who often give complexly constructed reasons, sometimes alibis clearly, to give up a campaign or cause in between but Moorthy never.
He is so focused & single minded that his personal life and prosperity seem secondary & sometimes even incidental. Whilst in Malaysia, not just his wife but his young daughter who was about 6 then (2008), was arrested by the police along with a few other people. Moorthy was concerned then but not deterred. Clearly the terrible sufferings & plight of Hindu Malaysians & other non muslim groups remain continuously before his eyes & mind.
Even a situation like this could not force him to change or suspend any of his plans & campaigns. As mentioned earlier, he only gets tougher than the situation that his combatants or destiny may present before him.
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