Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Deportation - Easy Way Out to Keep Malaya "Clean".

Deportation had been another tool used by the British in fighting against the communist insurgency in Malaya, beside the well known "New Village Plan" to relocate the peasants and farmers from the rural area of Malaya to a-hell-like closed guarded compounds in semi-urban area.

Deportation does not take the centre stage of discussion in the fight against communist insurgency in Malaya. The British was not open about this policy and kept a very vague record of deportation from Malaya.

Deportation has been regarded as inhumane by many scholars. Families are destroyed in deportation.  A father been forced to leave his family in Malaya and deported to China. Many of those deported were second generation Malayans who were born in Malaya. They had been deported forcefully to a foreign land which they are not familiar with.

The intention of the post is to analyse and understand the impact of deportation exercise against the trade unionists who were considered as "trouble-makers" to the Malayan Government.

Since the declaration of Emergency in June 1948, many unionist who had no association with the Malayan Communist Party (MCP) were arrested and deported to China and India. The Malayan Chinese outnumbered the Indians. Many of them were genuine unionists who stood against capitalist oppression policies towards the labourers.

On the 27th October 1949, the Indian Daily Mail reported that Colonial Secretary Arthur Creech Jones told the British parliament that 870 bandits killed in Malaya since the beginning of Emergency - June 1948. One of the Conservative Party MPs said there was a fairly general impression in Britain that the people were not being kept informed of the situation in Malaya. The Conservative MP also questioned the fact that since the end of July the situation in Malaya had deteriorated.
The Colonial Secretary replied :
"No,  the situation had not deteriorated. In some months the difficulties are greater than in other months but I think the authorities are pursuing the problem and pressing their operation with full vigour."
Another Conservative MP, Walter Fletcher questioned whether was there any difficulty arising in getting "rid of bandits who are due to deportation since Amoy (now known as Xiamen) and Swatow (now known as Shantou) were no longer ports which bandits can be deported.
The Colonial Secretary replied, " We have to some extent been obligated to abandon the policy which we had hoped to pursue, but alternative measure have been taken in respect of squatters who have been detained.

Even though in the British Parliament, the Colonial Secretary said the Malayan Government obligated to abandon the policy, but we do see records of Malayans deported after 1949. Deportation was a easy way out to keep Malaya "clean".
Indian Daily Mail - 27 Oct 1949

Sunday, April 26, 2020

"The Hindu" Urges Indian Government to Act

The Hindu editorial strongly urged the Government of India to intercede with Whitehall in order to obtain reprieve for Ganapathy. It reported Ganapathy is under sentence of death by Malayan court for illegal possession of a revolves.
The plight of the Indian labourer's in Malaya's turmoil is of great concern to us, declared the paper adding the labourers are caught in the terror campaign of the communist. agitators and strong-hand, t methods of the Foreign Administration. The labourers "should not feel that have been orphaned by the storm. To their credit, they have managed to keep out from the conflict in the spite if pressure form those challenging the authority of the Rulers," the paper reported.
"But there is some danger of the Rulers succumbing to the pressure from the planting interest to exploit disturbance for suppression of legitimate labour movements" 
The paper continued :
"The risk of one or more Indian falling victims unwillingly to the rough justice now administered in Malaya by the regime which seeks to crush the revolt in very real. We are concerned with question of the rights of the Malayan Government to take drastic measure to restore law and order. But we are very concerned to see that in the process no innocent Indian's life is placed in jeopardy. Specifically we would like the case of Ganapathy to be examined by the Government of India before the death sentence is carried out by the Malayan Government.
"The decision to charge a man under ad hoc capital without even an allegation that he was actually connected with murder gang or terrorist organisation takes on an ominous significance in the light of the fact that Ganapathy was the ex-President of the Pan Malayan Federation of Trade Unions which was since been banned."
The editorial concluded :
"The Representative of the Government of India should not spare any effort to prevent a grave miscarriage of justice. But the Government of the India to whom the people of Ganapathy's native village in South India have already submitted an appeal on his behalf. should make urgent representations to Whitehall to reprieve Ganapathy."

Indian  Daily Mail - 15th April 1949

Tamil Daily Viduthalai Claimed Indian Leaders Failed to Save Ganapathy

Upon learning the death of Ganapathy, Periyar (EV Ramasamy) the President of Dravidian Federation in Tamil Nadu, India signed a statement to the federation's Tamil Daily "Viduthalai" on the 12th May 1949 strongly condemned the Malayan Government authorities for the execuion of S.A Ganapathy. He also added if the Government of India had made greater efforts in the early stages, Ganapathy might have been saved.

What and where it went wrong? We know from the newspaper reporting that efforts had been made by local leaders in Tamil Nadu by sending petition to Tamil Nadu Congress leader, Kamaraj to intervene with the Ganapathy's case.

Based on the pressure, Thivy decided to meet Gurney on the 15th of April 1949. Nothing was reported on outcome of the meeting. Later, we learnt the High Commissioner of India to UK, met with Lord Listowel on the 3rd of May 1949 on Ganapathy's case. There rest is history.   

At this point we kind of agree with Periyar's view on the inertness of Indian politicians and leaders to save Ganapathy. For a second though, why Indian leaders as would want to save Ganapathy in the midst of India and Congress leaders like Nehru and Vallabhai Patel were raging war against the communist in India.

The Indian Daily Mail 14th May 1949

Jananayagam - 5th May 1945 - Ganapathy's Short History

Jananayagam (Democracy) published on the 5th May 1949 carried the life story of Ganapathy on its first page - "Thukkilidapatta Ganapath...