When Suu Kyi spoke

When Suu Kyi spoke

Aung San Suu Kyi's Nehru memorial lecture delivered last Wednesday in New Delhi was outstanding for more than one reason. Warmth, sincerity and candour which pervaded the lecture. There was no vanity, no bitterness, nor an over-optimistic view of Myanmar's pathway to democracy. Rule of law was repeatedly highlighted. Suu Kyi confessed her sadness when our country at one time was cosying up with the military junta but acknowledged that nations sometimes do act for 'pragmatic' reasons. She stressed the need for strong relationships between peoples of two countries because governments come and go. There was humour too when she described her father's sartorial deficiencies on his way to London for talks with the British and Pandit Nehru promptly arranging for proper jackets for him. What made an indelible impression was her indomitable courage in the fight for democracy against severe odds adhering to the creed of non-violence. She stressed the influence of Gandhiji and Nehru on her thinking and political activity.

Suu Kyi's book, Letters from Burma, gives a fine insight into her mind and spirit. In one of the letters, 'A Normal Life', she says, "when we ask for democracy, all we are asking is that our people should be allowed to live tranquilly under the rule of law, protected by institutions which will guarantee our rights, the rights that will enable us to maintain our human dignity, to heal long festering wounds and to allow love and courage to flourish. Is that such a very unreasonable demand?" The answer to the question can only be 'No' thanks to the strength of her logic and genuine sentiments. In another letter, 'A Friend in Need', Suu Kyi writes, "a good friend is one who gives things hard to give, does what is hard, bears hard words, tells you his secrets, guards your secrets assiduously, does not forsake you in times of want and does not condemn you when you are ruined. With such friends, one can travel the roughest road and not be defeated by hardship." Suu Kyi can depend on India to be one such friend. Under Suu Kyi's wise and courageous leadership Myanmar should soon achieve full restoration of democracy and prevalence of the rule of law. Insha Allah.

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