Having just returned from my 3rd trip to India in a year, I felt compelled to respond to the ridiculous reactions to the Interlok hoooha and especially to the book burning incident. Seriously, don’t you think there are more serious and pressing problems affecting the Indian community in Malaysia than the Interlok book?

What about the disproportionate deaths of Indians in police shootings and police custody? Poverty? Lack of documentation? Inability to get out of the cycle of violence, plantation work and association with crimes?

Book burning is a cheap, populist and intellectually bankrupt response to any controversy and disputeĀ  – the type of response advocated by the goondas and thugs of Shiv Sena and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

Surely, we are better than these goondas and thugs. Get your act together and address the real issues rather than getting hysterical over words like “keling”, “pariah”, etc.

Read serious books – pick any book from Arundhati Roy (The Algebra of Infinite Justice, An Ordinary Person’s Guide to the Empire and Listening to Grasshoppers) and magazines like Frontline, and you will appreciate the value of the freedom of the press and information; open discourses, channels and communication; and peaceful protests – especially since the Indians here are a minority.

By Eric Paulsen