Marginalized Minorities in Malaysia? A Case Study of a Demolished Estate Hindu Temple in Penang
Keywords:Penang, Malaysia, Hindu temple demolition, Hindus, religious minority
In the literature, Malaysian Indians, as minorities, are marginalized and discriminated against, while their agency is either conspicuously lacking or one-dimensional. As a result, the mainstream discourse concerning Malaysian Indians is discursive and renders them subordinate. I argue that despite the marginalization and discrimination, grassroots Malaysian Indian Hindus are not powerless. With a case study of a demolished estate Hindu temple in Penang, I unpack their agential compliance and lack of confrontation when the state government destroyed their community temple. Their agential responses reflect their diverse political and social experiences as minorities and the myriad ways of interpreting the political rivalry between the ruling federal and opposition-led state government. Analysis of the case study is derived from ethnography and in-depth interviews with the estate Hindus.
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