Sweat, blood and tears of colonial-era Indians

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 09 Oct 2016

PETALING JAYA: The historical migration of Indians to Malaya and their contribution to the development of Malaysia has been published as a pictorial narrative book.

According to author M. Janakey Raman, the book explains the contribution of Indians to the country in various fields.

These include the construction of railways, their roles in the rubber industry, their contribution in developing the nation's economy and the cooperation to fight for independence from Britain.

The book, titled "Malaysian Indian Forgotten History of the Colonial Era: Sweat, Blood and Tears" took Janakey five years of hard work in gathering pictures, documents, historical facts and statistics from the National Library, National Museum and National Archives before it was published.

Janakey, also a social activist and a social researcher, was born in Java Selangor Estate in Batang Berjuntai, Selangor. He has dedicated more than 35 years of social service to squatters and the people in plantations, villages, rural areas, and cooperatives.

In 2009, he authored "The Malaysian Indian Dilemma: The Struggles and Agony of the Indian Community in Malaysia" in Tamil, detailing the socio-economic status of the indian community.

It was a success with the Indian community, and in 2012 he released the English version of the book.

Janakey said that although the book is titled "Malaysian Indian", however, he wrote the book in mind for all Malaysians so that they read and understand each other's culture and origins.

"As a multiracial society, Malaysians should know and understand each other's background, from where we originated, and trace the reasons why we came to Malaya," he said at the book launch at Wisma Tun Sambanthan here Sunday.

What also prompted Janakey to write the book was the lack of knowledge among the younger generation of the history of Malaysia.

"As I mostly give talks to university and college students, I found that the younger generation knows very little about our history, so I felt a great need to have a history book that caters to them.

"If they do not know history, it is very difficult to build a future, as the country is not built on one race," he said.

On his reason for publishing a pictorial narrative instead of a historical book filled with words, he said: "I noticed that to cater to the young ones, the book must be interactive and engaging because they do not read much anymore, and pictures will enable the information to be digested easily."

Janakey hopes to publish a "Malaysian Forgotten History" book which will incorporate the history of all races, hoping that it will be made a guidebook for the younger generation.


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