The Return of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

She walked the aisle, lined with a velvet red carpet, the choir group chiming the song, the people of Burma had composed for her, “Aung San Suu Kyi, Aung San Suu Kyi, Aung San Suu Kyi,” after almost four and half decades, whilst the entire auditorium stood up in standing ovation for perhaps one of the most iconic leaders of our time. It was Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, walking the corridors of her institution, LSR (Lady Shri Ram College for Women).

Aung San Suu Kyi, continuing to fight for democracy in her country of Burma, was placed under house arrest in July, 1989 and was finally released of her detention in November 2010.

Suu Kyi spent a great amount of her fundamental years in India. On her week-long visit to India, she visited the two institutions she was educated at: Convent of Jesus and Mary, and Lady Shri Ram College for Women.

Selected students from all final year classes were given the opportunity to witness the legend in all her grandeur. Luckily enough, I was one of the 500 students sitting in the LSR auditorium on Friday- I was a part of one of the most glorious moments of my institution and my country.

The moment she walked in through the doors,  I had shivers running through my body.

Accompanying Aung San Suu Kyi, was the Minister of State for Human Resources Development, Shashi Tharoor.

Without dwelling too much on the other details of the ceremony, I am going to jump straight into the details of Tharoor’s and Suu Kyi’s speeches.

In all honesty, before Friday, I had never heard Shashi Tharoor speak. Like most women out there, I was caught off guard by his exuding chivalry and raw sexual appeal. My mouth, literally and actually, dropped open when he started speaking.

My, oh my! What an absolute delight! His speech laid emphasis on how Suu has been a driving force for democracy all over the world- a revelation he received in his years at the United Nation, where the Nobel Laureate, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, was also working.

Next came the moment all of us had been waiting for; Ms. Suu Kyi’s speech. She walked up to the podium ever so elegantly.

Complete silence washed over all those sitting in the enclosed space. We soaked in each and every word that she said.

She did not have a speech prepared as she wanted to answer all those who had spoken for her, and directed their sentiments towards her. One of the most heart warming moments of her speech: when she referred to Dr. Meenakshi Gopinath as “her” principle and the girls of LSR as “her” girls.

She spoke about the youth, how they have the power to bring about a change, bring about a social revolution because they are not yet tied down by an angry and embittered past. It was easy to embrace her words; you can tell that she derives her strength and unshackled presence, by abiding by her principles.

The ever graceful lady spoke about making compromises on the grounds of humility; compromise is not about compromising your pride and ego, but it’s the compromise made for what is better.

However, a compromise must not be made if giving up your principles becomes a part of the bargain. She spoke about working hard. It is only through hard work that one can accomplish what they have set out to achieve. Bluntly though, she also said that if you are not willing to work hard, then it is better to simply give up that dream and find an easier one you are willing to work for.

Her speech was different compared to the speeches that I have heard before; her will to fight and achieve was just so visible, that sitting there in that auditorium, you could believe every syllable she said.

It was simply mind blowing to see a spirit as alive and empowering as Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the twinkle in her eyes still glittering; transcending her needs and wants, for a much superior cause.

Walking out of my college, on Friday, I was absolutely honoured to be one of the few spectators of her emotional return to her institution, whilst feeling completely privileged to have been in the humble and inspiring presence of Daw Aung Saan Suu Kyi.

Shreya Kalra

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