For someone who has had to endure as much as Burmese pro-Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi for such an extended period of time, it is no less than fascinating that she still retains a youthful charm, made even more potent accompanied now by an ethereal aura. One would imagine that the unrelenting crackdown on their cause, the innumerable attempts at their life, the taxing period of house arrest and the pain of separation from their loved ones would be adequate to crush anyone’s spirit. But like a phoenix that rises from the ashes, she has risen again, with a renewed vigour towards the realization of her cause for democracy for her people. This was something that was visible to all this morning, at her alma mater, Lady Shri Ram College.
Suu, as she was lovingly called during her college days studying Political Science here, arrived at the college for an emotional ‘homecoming’ just past 9.30 am. Accompanied by Hon’ble Minister of State for HRD Shashi Tharoor and several other dignatories including former Union Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar, she was greeted by current students of the college sporting traditional Burmese skirts or longyis, staff as well as her former teachers, as she made her way through a packed college auditorium up the stage for the commencement of her felicitation ceremony. After welcome addresses by the Principal, Dr. Meenakshi Gopinath, the Chairperson Mr. Arun Bharat Ram and Dr. Shashi Tharoor, the Nobel laureate renowned for her intransigent fight for democracy, was honoured by the distinguished panel.
Perhaps the most riveting of the moments was her stirring unrehearsed speech, in which she reached out to ‘her girls’, and all young people at large. She acknowledged the support she always received from the institution, even in times when she had little contact with the outside world and remarked, “… My faith in the oneness of human aspirations is justified.” She further touched upon the “emotional connection” she had with the people of India, and thanked them for their support through trying times. “I feel myself partly a citizen of India”, she said. Addressing young political aspirants, she warned against “unprincipled politics”, urging them to never compromise on their principles if they were to enter the political arena. She concluded by asking for continuing support in the last few steps that Burma had left towards democracy, effectively consolidating all the hearts she had already conquered.