Suu Kyi’s gentle knock


Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday gave India a gentle knock for not supporting her pro-democracy movement at a critical juncture.

Departing from her prepared text while delivering the Nehru Memorial Lecture, Suu Kyi said the two words that were constantly put to her during her India visit were expectations and disappointments.

Using the second word as a peg, the pro-democracy leader expressed her disappointment that the government of India had not supported her movement when it was needed the most.

"We have not yet achieved the goal of democracy and we are still trying and we hope that... the people of India will stand by us and walk by us as we proceed along the path that they were able to proceed down many years before us," said Suu Kyi on her first visit in 25 years to Myanmar's giant neighbour.

"I have been asked whether I have been disappointed that India had not stood staunchly by us through the years of struggle for democracy," she said at an annual lecture in memory of India's first post-independence prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

"I was saddened to feel that we have drawn away from India or rather India has drawn away from us during our very difficult days," she added.

Suu Kyi spoke of her sadness that India, which had been one of her staunchest supporters, changed tack in the 1990s and began to engage with Myanmar's junta at a time when it was a pariah in the West.

But then, she said, ties between nations are determined by the people and she was happy that the people of India had great regards for the people of Myanmar. “Governments may come and governments may go, but it is the relationship between the two nations that is enduring,” she added.

New Delhi was once one of her staunchest supporters, but changed tack and sought engagement with the junta in the mid-1990s - a move that the Nobel peace prize winner has acknowledged ‘saddened’ her.

In her speech, studded by poems and liberal quotes from Nehru’s works, Suu Kyi said Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru were the two Indian leaders to whom she felt ‘closest’ and recalled how and she and India's first prime minister had many things in common.

The India-educated pro-democracy icon, who is coming to this country after 25 years, said many of the challenges faced by Gandhi and Nehru along the path to India's independence were the ones her movement had been facing over the course of its struggle which will mark its quarter century next year.

"The survival of their relationship, which was both personal and political, inspite of their many differences is one of the triumphs of Indian politics," Suu Kyi said delivering the Memorial Lecture, 17 years after she was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru memorial Prize in 1995, the year she was released from her first house arrest.

67-year-old Suu Kyi, whose father General Aung San - regarded as Myanmar's independence hero - was a personal friend of Nehru, last visited India in 1987 when she travelled to Shimla to join her husband Michael Aris, who was studying in the hill station.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi in her address described Suu Kyi's five-day visit as ‘something of homecoming’ and told the democracy leader that she was the ‘worthy inheritor’ of a ‘noble father's legacy.’

Sonia said Suu Kyi's vision of politics as an ‘ethical calling’ has inspired people the world over.
"As in the case of Mahatma Gandhi, her life is her message," Sonia said, adding that Nehru too has been a source of some inspiration for the pro-democracy leader.

Suu Kyi's visit is an emotional one because she spent several years in India as a student in the early 1960s while her mother was Ambassador to India.

The democracy leader, who was freed by the military junta in 2010, is also due to visit the Lady Shri Ram college in New Delhi, where she graduated with a degree in politics.





CHANDA , website,

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