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Posted on Nov 14, 10:56PM | IANS
Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi Wednesday expressed hope that the people of India will support the last difficult phase of her struggle and said she was confident of the friendship between the two countries.
"I'm still trying and hope that in the last difficult phase of our struggle, the people of India will stand by us and walk by us," said Suu Kyi.
Chairperson of the National League for Democracy, Suu Kyi said she was sad that India has drawn away from their struggle but she was confident of the friendship between India and Myanmar.
"I hope the friendship of both the countries will last into future...our relations should be based on friendship between the peoples and not the governments...governments come and go," she said.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner, who was educared at Delhi's prestigious Lady Shri Ram College and the Oxford University, was delivering the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Lecture here.
Stating that her movement was rooted in the non-violence practiced by Mahatma Gandhi, Suu Kyi said the influence of Nehru on her was less well-known.
Nehru's ideas, she said, inspired her and gave her courage to go through the difficult and lonely phases of her struggle for democracy, including the long years under house arrest in Yangon.
"Nehru's book 'A Discovery of India', written while he was in jail, was also a discovery of myself," said Suu Kyi, who is in India after a 25-year gap.
Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru's mentor and the guiding force behind the India's freedom struggle, also inspired her, said Suu Kyi.
Narrating the feeling of loneliness she encountered during her struggle, Suu Kyi said she realised that "to rely on others is to invite a heartbreak".
"I needed to keep faith with my party...and thought of Nehru's loyalty to Gandhi despite serious differences," she said, adding that "I could relate to Gandhi and Nehru for the challenges they faced."
Mentioning about a touching episode from Nehru's "A Discovery of India", she said while in prison, he refused to give up his politics against the British rule for an offer to be allowed to visit his ailing wife Kamala.
Besides recalling her days at the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies in Shimla in 1987-88, Suu Kyi said her education at Oxford University in the 1960s after her graduation in India did not take her away from the Indian influence.
"In 1964, I went to Oxford for higher studies. But Oxford did not take me away from India. I made many Indian friends out there too," she said.
Remembering her foray into the political cauldron in Myanmar in 1988, Suu Kyi said her nation was in a state of upheaval and her major concern then was to unite the divided people and make them into an united force for democracy.
Referring to her years of house arrest in Yangon, Myanmar's capital and her home city, the political leader recalled the friendship between her father Gen. Aung San and Nehru.
"Nehru was concerned about our welfare after my father's death," she said.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi welcomed Suu Kyi at the event and praised her for the pro-democracy movement she leads in her homeland.
Terming Suu Kyi as "one of the most remarkable figures of our times," Gandhi welcomed her saying "millions of Indians have taken you in their heart for who you are and for what you stand for".
"Her life is her message," said Gandhi.
Suu Kyi's visit to India ends Nov 18.