Monday, November 15, 2010

Burmese Connections

OK. This is historical. No, I’m not talking about Obama’s India visit. I’m referring to Aung San Suu Kyi’s release from house arrest in Myanmar. And with her release comes the freedom to imagine democracy and all the goodness that it supposedly promises. She was awarded Nobel Peace Prize 20 years ago and has been mostly under arrest since for raising her voice against dictatorship that engulfs her nation even today.

When Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in Robben Island prison and then went on to become the first black President of South Africa, there was worldspread jubilation. The reason was pretty simple. Here was a man who with his strong convictions and non-violent methods led a nation against apartheid. And today, looking at the way South Africa is holding a prominent place on geopolitical canvas, one can conclude that it was worth such a long struggle.

Suu Kyi’s devotion to her cause has been timeless but her release doesn’t contain the magnitude Mandela’s did. She has a long way to go now. Military junta is in no mood to concede power and let democracy flourish. That isn’t going to happen too soon but every positive sign is welcome and her cherished democratic voice behooves aspiration, not only in Asia but also across the planet. No wonder, everyone from POTUS to U.K. PM expressed their happiness and are looking forward to concrete political transformation.

It’s pretty obvious by now that Indian government don’t give a damn about democracy in Myanmar. Our foreign minister’s restrained comment on Suu Kyi’s release speaks volume of the catch-22 we are in. Of course, we’ve got our foreign policies too, which keenly demands closer ties with the infamous junta who apparently ensure us security cooperation on North-East front. But we shouldn’t overlook at the sentiments here. After all, its not about some cheap thrill baam-boom photo-op leader. We are talking about a lady who was once handed a choice between her ailing husband abroad and her nation. She chose the latter.

After attaining independence, India was a nation full of issues but had morality at the right place – on top. As of today, we are still in the thick of gigantic problems but our priorities are not the same. In spite of Myanmar being our instant neighbor, we haven’t extended the support Suu Kyi’s fight deserves and needs.

India is the world’s largest functioning democracy and it’s a shame to see ourselves dragging feet on core human rights issues. We can always escape debate by pointing towards domestic shortcomings but for a nation aspiring to be in-the-not-so-distant-future superpower, its time we got our moral math right.


Soumyaranjan Dash said...

The release of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest is a great news and may it be another step on the road to the end of oppression in Burma and restoration of democracy there! Nice post, Shakti. It's really startling to realize how we remain tight-lipped all these days on this matter in spite of Myanmar being our instant neighbor.

lost_scotoma said...

Yup. There's lot of positivity this time around especially with Obama's persuasion for 'greater role'. Let's see how it turns out.

Abhishek said...

Its high time that India starts taking stand against rouge nations.

Abhishek said...
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lost_scotoma said...