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Mahatma Gandhi Peace award conferred on Aung San Suu Kyi

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The pro-democracy Myanmar leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has been felicitated with the Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Peace and Reconciliation here.

The award was bestowed by the South African-based Mahatma Gandhi Foundation.

Aung San Suu Kyi

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Born 19 June 1945 in Rangoon, is Prime Minister-elect,a pro-democracy activist and leader of the National League for Democracy in Burma, and a noted prisoner of conscience and advocate of nonviolent resistance. Aung San Suu Kyi was the third child in her family. Her name is derived from three relatives; "Aung San" from her father, "Kyi" from her mother and "Suu" from her grandmother.Suu Kyi won the Rafto Prize and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. In 1992 she was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding by the Government of India for her peaceful and non-violent struggle under a military dictatorship. She is currently under detention, with the Burmese junta repeatedly extending her detention. According to the results of the 1990 general election, Suu Kyi earned the right to be Prime Minister, as leader of the winning National League for Democracy party, but her detention by the military junta prevented her from assuming that role.

She is frequently called Daw Aung San Suu Kyi; Daw is not part of her name, but an honorific similar to madam for older, revered women, literally meaning "aunt".Strictly speaking, her given name is equivalent to her full name, but it is acceptable to refer to her as "Ms. Suu Kyi" or Dr. Suu Kyi, since those syllables serve to distinguish her from her father, General Aung San, who is considered to be the father of modern-day Burma.

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Her father, Aung San, founded the modern Burmese army and negotiated Burma’s independence from the United Kingdom in 1947; he was assassinated by his rivals in the same year. She grew up with her mother, Khin Kyi, and two brothers, Aung San Lin and Aung San Oo in Rangoon. Her favourite brother Aung San Lin drowned in a pool accident when Suu Kyi was eight. Her elder brother migrated to San Diego, California, becoming a United States citizen.[After Lin’s death, the family moved to a house by Inya Lake where she met people of very different backgrounds, political views and religions. Suu Kyi was educated in English Catholic schools for much of her childhood in Burma where she was noted as having a talent for learning languages.She is a Theravada Buddhist.

Suu Kyi’s mother, Daw Khin Kyi, gained prominence as a political figure in the newly-formed Burmese government. She was appointed Burmese ambassador to India and Nepal in 1960, and Aung San Suu Kyi followed her there, graduating from Lady Shri Ram College with a degree in politics in New Delhi in 1964.Suu Kyi continued her education at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, obtaining a B.A. degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics in 1969. After graduating, she lived in New York City with a family friend and worked at the United Nations for three years, primarily on budget matters, writing daily to her future husband Michael.In 1972, Aung San Suu Kyi married Dr. Michael Aris, a scholar of Tibetan culture, living abroad in Bhutan.The following year she gave birth to their first son, Alexander Aris, in London; their second son, Kim, was born in 1977. Following this, she earned a Ph.D. at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in 1985. She was elected an Honourary Fellow in 1990. She also worked for the government of the Union of Burma.

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In 1988 Suu Kyi returned to Burma at first to tend for her ailing mother but later to lead the pro-democracy movement. Michael’s visit in Christmas 1995 turned out to be the last time that he and Suu Kyi met, as Suu Kyi remained in Burma and the Burmese dictatorship denied him any further entry visas.Michael was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1997 which was later found to be terminal. Despite appeals from prominent figures and organizations, including the United States, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Pope John Paul II, the Burmese government would not grant Michael a visa, saying that they did not have the facilities to care for him, and instead urged Aung San Suu Kyi to leave the country to visit him. She was at that time temporarily free from house arrest but was unwilling to depart, fearing that she would be refused re-entry if she left, as she did not trust the junta’s assurance that she could return.

Michael died on his 53rd birthday on March 27, 1999. Since 1989, when his wife was first placed under house arrest, he had seen her only five times, the last of which was for Christmas in 1995. She also remains separated from her children, who live in the United Kingdom.

On 2 May 2008, after Cyclone Nargis hit Burma, Suu Kyi lost her roof and was living in virtual darkness after losing electricity in her dilapidated lakeside residence. She used candles at night as she was not provided any generator set.

 

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Article Courtesy: Wikipedia

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