After a gap of almost four decades, Myanmar's opposition leader and champion of democracy Aung San Suu Kyi is on a week-long visit to India on the invitation of UPA leader Sonia Gandhi.
Pro-democracy icon Suu Kyi spent some of her formative years in India when her mother Khin Kyi was the Burmese ambassador. She graduated from Lady Sri Ram College in the early 1960s where she studied politics.
As a young student, her biggest inspirations were Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, and their principles gave her courage during her house arrest of almost 15 of the 21 years from July 20, 1989, until her recent release on November 13, 2010.
Suu Kyi, 67, has been greatly inspired by Gandhi's ideology of non-violence. She has followed his principles throughout her political struggle and is the "Keeper of Mahatma Gandhi's flame" in Myanmar.
Her father General Aung San, a political hero in Myanmar's struggle for independence, was Nehru's close friend and his personal guest in January 1947 when he travelled to London to discuss Burma's independence.
Delivering the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial lecture in New Delhi on Wednesday, she thanked Nehru and Gandhi for being her life-long source of inspiration, whose lives and struggle for democracy taught her to find her own path through "uncharted terrain" of brutal politics, as reported by Firstpost.
Seeking India to help her realize her vision for democracy in Myanmar, she remarked, "We need you to help us in our progression towards democracy. We are trying to achieve democracy. In our endeavour we need you, we need your help," reported Firstpost.
"I feel myself partly a citizen of India - a citizen of love and honour," is how she described her return to India. "People of India who have given me so much affection, so much warmth with such generosity that I have never felt myself to be far away from India even in days when I had little contacts with you," she said, according to Firstpost.
She visited her alma mater Lady Sri Ram College, besides Rajghat and the Nehru Memorial. She will be in Bangalore on November 17 to visit the Infosys campus and the Indian Institute Of Science. She will also tour rural areas of Andhra Pradesh to gain an insight into rural development and the ongoing women's empowerment programmes in India.