Daw Aung San Suu Kyi: A True ‘Satyagrahi’

By: PROF.  RAMU MANIVANNAN*   

The crisis in Burma represents the struggle between the power of arms and the power of non-violence. The power of (arms) violence represented by the military regime in Burma and the power of non-violence, as opposed to the armed strength, is the soul-force representing the oppressed people of Burma. This soul-force in other words can be described as ‘Satyagraha’. ‘Satyagraha’ is the way of non-violence based on truth. Non-violence and truth are convertible terms. The past two decades of the events in Burma has proved that, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is a true Satyagrahi walking on the path shown by Mahatma Gandhi. During her journey towards freedom from fear in Burma, She has faced several years of imprisonment with great courage and dignity of human spirit. Her extraordinary courage and sacrifice brings alive what Gandhi expressed as the spirit and essence of a true ‘Satyagrahi’. Gandhi observed that it is soldier like to allow oneself to be cut down by a sword, not to use the sword on another. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s life resembles to the extraordinary personal sacrifices and political courage that, Gandhi refers here as one who has chosen the path of non-violent resistance against the ruthless military regime in Burma.   

I believe and I’m by no means alone, that, one of the most challenging tasks of twenty-first century political transformation will be to change Burma towards real democratic governance, for which Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is facing prolonged detention. The Burmese military regime has been in power defying all political, social and ethical norms for more than four decades, like a chameleon hiding beneath different names. The oppression and sufferings of the common people in Burma has been told and re-told several times ever since the 8.8.88 movement to the global community. There is a sense of helplessness and political dismay at every step because of the internal oppression and external indifferences prevailing over Burma.

There are many who believe that, the global community would respond at an appropriate time. The question before us is what is the appropriate time to raise our voices against the brutal military regime in Burma? Are there other more important agendas that, the world community is engrossed or engulfed with? Should we not consider that, the Burma situation deserves no more or less attention than the fact that, it deserves an equal attention at par with other crisis situations in the world?   

There are others who believe that, the response has to come from within and not from outside. Given the argument, that, it is an internal affairs of a country that none outside should intervene. There are two factors to consider in this case, first, the concern about the existing status of civil and political rights of the people in Burma in contemporary phase under military regime. Secondly, those nations, regional groups and thinkers, who consider that, it is the paramount role and responsibility of the national population to organize non-violent protest against the military regime should help ensure their governments do not extend support in any form to the military regime in Burma. Thus, either way, world community can’t afford to become a mere spectator of the suppression of people’s voices in Burma.   

We do well remember the human rights abuses and atrocities committed by the military regimes in Latin America, especially the case of Chile under General Pinochet. Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Nelson Mandela have all believed in non-violence and suffered enormous hardships in pursuing their struggle for freedom, equality and justice. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi holds an unquestionable political and spiritual commitment in pursuing the path of non-violence. She is deeply committed towards dialogue and non-violent conflict resolution. She has always led and encouraged her people to act non-violently even under testing conditions.   

She never sought release and refuge in another country sacrificing her political values. She is compassionate and ready for dialogue even though imprisoned for over a decade now. She is fully aware that, she is not alone.

The new century has been waiting for the non-violent political transformation in Burma led by the extraordinary courage and determination of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Once Gandhi ji said, that, “If a single individual has to defy the world he /she can do so only through non-violence. Where there is non-violence, there is God. The sword breaks in its presence.” And also in the coming days of Burma, the guns has to fail and the spirit of justice, freedom and democracy will succeed, as the voice of Burma is represented by the soul of a true ‘Satyagrahi’ – Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.   

(*Prof. Ramu Manivannan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration in the University of Madras. He is also the Co-coordinator of the Mahatma Gandhi Center for Peace and Conflict Transformation, University of Madras, India  

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One Comment on “Daw Aung San Suu Kyi: A True ‘Satyagrahi’”

  1. Free Burma! Says:

    Free Burma!
    International Bloggers’ Day for Burma on the 4th of October

    International bloggers are preparing an action to support the peaceful revolution in Burma. We want to set a sign for freedom and show our sympathy for these people who are fighting their cruel regime without weapons. These Bloggers are planning to refrain from posting to their blogs on October 4 and just put up one Banner then, underlined with the words „Free Burma!“.

    http://www.free-burma.org


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