Giving someone the Nobel Peace Prize cannot be turned into mere means of passing a statement against that person’s opponents. But that is precisely what the world reaction to brutal massacre of democracy in Myanmar (Burma) seems to suggest. The world may be fighting for oil, but let’s spend some time with a slender thought called democracy.

Aung San Suu Kyi was born on 19 June 1945. Her father, Aung San, was credited for having negotiated Burma’s independence from the United Kingdom in 1947. However, being consistent with the political history of our region, he was assassinated by his rivals in the same year. Following the assasination of her father, she lived with her mother, Khin Kyi, and two brothers, Aung San Lin and Aung San U, in Rangoon.

Later when her mother, Khin Kyi, was appointed as Burmese ambassador to India in 1960, Aung San Suu Kyi came to India with her mother and studied in New Delhi. She followed it up by education at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford and also in New York, where she also worked for the United Nations.

In 1972, Aung San Suu Kyi married Michael Aris. She has two children from her marriage.

It was only when she had come back to her homeland in 1988, to visit her ailing mother, that she had got involved in politics.

The same year saw the long-time leader of the socialist ruling party, General Ne Win, stepping down. The step was followed by demonstrations for democratisation. The demand was ruthlessly suppressed by a new military junta, that took power.

Heavily influenced by Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence, Aung San Suu Kyi entered politics to Work for democratisation, helped found the National League for Democracy on 27 September 1988, and was put under house arrest on 20 July 1989. She was offered freedom if she would leave the country, but she refused.

The treatment meted out to a legitimate, elected leader of the nation led to wide condemnation of the military rulers by western nations; and in the process, won her the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.

But that’s just about how far the external support has gone. For, the world did not shake when her husband died away from her – for neither she was allowed to move out of Myanmar nor was her husband allowed to enter. Or when she consistently gets kept under house arrest by the present military rulers. Once her convoy was attacked by the ruling junta supported mob and she had barely managed to escape with her driver while her supporters were murdered and looted.

Today, she lives on under house arrest with the solitary hope of seeing a dawn that would bring democracy in her country.

If not for her Gandhian methods, Myanmar’s border with us and use of its land by outlawed Indian outfits should make us take her case strongly at all international forums. Go democracy!


Author. Entrepreneur. Filmmaker. Journalist.

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