Monday, September 20, 2010

One Courageous Woman - Puan Sri Janaky Davar Athi Nahappan

"The day will come when men will recognize woman as his peer, not only at the fireside, but in councils of the nation. Then, and not until then, will there be the perfect comradeship, the ideal union between the sexes that shall result in the highest development of the race"

~ Susan B. Anthony

Although I share a birth date (27 Feb that is) with the best Cleopatra on the Screen, Dame Elizabeth Taylor, I detest her too-weak persona portrayed in many of her movies. Thank God, such portrayal has metamorphosed into courageous Sally Field, Jodie Foster, Julia Roberts, Ashley Judd, Meg Ryan, Renee Zellwegger and Dakota Fanning. That's the beauty of Hollywood's Silver Screen, even their actresses show the mantel of courageous womanhood, which our Bolehwood has yet to see the glimpse of hope.

If we can't find such exemplary icons to move our generations towards true patriotism and humanity on our silver screen, it is time to see the real "Steel Magnolias" that this nation has borne.

One fine courageous Malaysian Woman is Puan Sri Janaky Devar Athi Nahappan - the wife to Tan Sri Athi Nahappan, who in June 1965, headed a "Royal Commission of Inquiry on Local Authorities". The said commission came out with eponymous Athi Nahappan Report - a 2 feet high-4 volume report, which is regarded as one the most comprehensive and erudite reports ever produced by our Government - which makes it qualified to sit in the Harvard Library as a basis for how local government should function.

Coincidentally, over a seminar I attended in mid August, it dawns on us how little power State Governments under PR have (Thanks to highly politicised federalisation and privatisation that even uncollected garbage at residential areas could provide substantial weight to shake a State Government) to being much-needed reforms that rightfully are our rights. There's a huge gap between what a State Government could and what is being carried out by our local councils. Such misconception on State Government and misrepresentation of local councils should be addressed urgently so that common people like you and me do not have to suffer on daily basis.

Here's a couple of articles (Aliran's 2000 article by Prof Johan Saravanamuttu and a comparative study by researchers from University of Glamorgan and UUM in 1998) on the importance of our Government implementing Athi Nahappan Report, by primarily to give the power back to elect to us, the Rakyat and to ensure every elected representative is accountable.

A few days before our 53rd Merdeka Day, she was interviewed by Noelle Lim for BFM 89.9's Merdeka Series. At her tender old age, reminiscing her life is one emotional journey and I was choked with tears listening to her talking about her parents, beloved husband (who untimely left her tending to their young family) and lost struggles of today's MIC for Indians in Malaysia.

I always believe that true women are not those who remember those praises but those struggles they have gone through and still remain grateful to the past and hopeful for the future.

May God Blesses Puan Sri Janaky and her beloved family. We are forever indebted to her and her husband for an iota of goodness we are currently enjoying in this nation.

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