India can’t afford to be a fence sitter in Burma’s struggle for Democracy

By: Nirmala Deshpande  

Few months ago fifty-nine former Heads of State made an appeal to release Aung San Suu Kyi, who is known across the world for her Gandhian values struggling to establish human rights and democracy in Burma. She is unfortunately also world’s only imprisoned Nobel Peace laureate despite many appeals made by United Nations Secretary General’s and others to free her. Her undying commitment towards the ideology of non-violence as a true Gandhian recently facilitated galaxy of world leaders to join together to demand her unconditional release.

A century ago, Mahatma Gandhi emerged on the world scene with an entirely new political method of Satyagraha. From many examples of world history, it has been proved that ideology and methods of violence can’t solve the contemporary world’s problem standing on the brink of a catastrophe. It is known that, world is becoming less and less safe & secure with the invention of more and more weapons of destruction. In this age of violence, Aung San Suu Kyi stands as one of the tallest leaders and bacon of light and hope in the darkness of violence. She is fighting for the establishment of genuine democracy and human rights in Burma, the land of her birth. But her fight has become a symbol of a bigger fight that is waged across the world against menace of violence. So rulers in Burma and world community should not forget that those voicing the demand for her release are representing the world’s conscience. Thus she is proving the efficacy of non-violence by her continuous suffering. Her struggle is based on the firm foundation of truth and as the great Ancient Indian wisdom of seers that, “truth always wins” or “Satyamev Jayate”. So she is bound to win sooner or later in her journey towards truth. Those who are voicing for her release as friends, sympathizers’ and admirers all over the world are trying to lessen the suffering of Aung San Suu Kyi, her colleagues and of the people of Burma. 

According to the philosophy of Yoga or “Yoga Darshan” – there are three types of violence. The first type of violence is known as – “Krita” – done by one self. The second type of violence is “Karita”, which one gets through others act or, by creating situations that leads to violence. The third type of violence is “Anumodita”, which is for those people who remain silent in the face of violence. And those who remain quiet in the face of violence are equally guilty of committing violence because their silence is a sign of accepting violence.  The worldwide demand for Aung San Suu Kyi’s release and restoration of true democracy in Burma is an expression that people of the world doesn’t belong to third category or “Anumodita” or, third category of violence. Thus, those who speak for her have joined the non-violent struggle in Burma.

India and China have a special duty to perform in this journey of truth. Both are great countries with ancient civilization and faith in Lord Buddha. The beauty of non-violence lies in its power of converting a foe into a friend. While violence destroys the enemy, non-violence destroys the enmity. It is also noteworthy that non-violent battle ends in the victory of both sides. The philosophy of Lord Buddha also teaches us, that, victory of hearts through non-violence is the best method and sustainable one in which both sides wins. Time and again, it has been proved that, non-violence brings an end to injustice and generates love, compassion and friendly feelings. 

So India, the land of Lord Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi can not afford to be a fence sitter in this ‘battle for right against might’ in Burma.    

(The author, Sushri Nirmala Deshpande is a noted Gandhian, social activist and Honourable Member of Rajya Sabha of Indian Parliament)  

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4 Comments on “India can’t afford to be a fence sitter in Burma’s struggle for Democracy”


  1. Skill is needed on the part of the international community if it is to aid the people of Burma. What diplomatic steps should be taken in dealing with an intransigent and xenophobic dictatorship like that of Burma?


  2. he beauty of non-violence lies in its power of converting a foe into a friend. While violence destroys the enemy, non-violence destroys the enmity. It is also noteworthy that non-violent battle ends in the victory of both sides. The philosophy of Lord Buddha also teaches us, that, victory of hearts through non-violence is the best method and sustainable one in which both sides wins………

    this section is truley beautiful. Perhaps the brothers in teh Middle East may follow this thinking, or do you believe that would be impossible?

  3. NS Says:

    Madam,
    I admire your values and your faith in non violence. But nothing is really going to stop the Burmese junta from doing what it is doing by merely condemning it. China has used Burma to contain India and we have been forced to engage with the military rulers. Just this week, the Burmese Govt has granted ONGC exploration rights to natural gas reserves in Burma.

    Do you think our Govt would now demand Burma to free Ms. Suu Kyi or give freedom to its citizens ? It has not even lodged a whimper of protest. There has been almost zero coverage in the Indian media. People are more excited about the 20 20 World Cup victory.

    If non violence was always the answer to every problem, Hitler would have never been defeated – the free world would have been under the grip of Nazi Germany. We may have not even become a free country if Hitler annexed India

    I do not mean to say that we have to resort to a war against the Burmese Govt to liberate its people from the tyrants. But non violence has its limits. Like you said it needs moral support from countries who cannot stand it. Sadly, India is ready to tolerate this behavior , putting it in the same moral page as China. And thats an absolute shame.

    I pray to God that he protects the Burmese people and the brave Buddhist monks from the tyranny of its rulers.

    God Bless Burma.

  4. terry crowley Says:

    now is the best chance the Burmaese people have had in years for change,the world is looking at this weeks events with much distane.And its may be the beginning of the end for the Miliarty rule if the current momentum and be maintained.The military does not realize its is setting the seeds for its own demise.But this current ongoing set of movements must continue


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