‘What I hope to do is make democracy work in my country so that it can be an example for others’

What would Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi want to convey to the world as a champion of democracy?

When presspersons posed this question to her at the end of her visit here to observe various rural development schemes and projects on Saturday, Ms. Suu Kyi was quick to respond that she would rather be called an “advocate of democracy.”

Making democracy work

“I would not like to be called simply a champion of democracy. I would like to be known as the advocate of democracy because I think it is too much of an assumption to think that I am championing democracy. What I hope to do is make democracy work in my country so that it can be an example for others,” Ms. Suu Kyi said.

Speaking on what freedom meant to her, she said that it always meant the same to her, “to make my own choices and take responsibility for them.” However, freedom for the people was a different thing, she said. “Freedom for our people has to be achieved through genuine democratisation,” she said.

‘India is still India’

Asked how India had changed from the times when she was a student here to now, she said: “Basically India is still India and I can still recognise it… I have not been taken aback or surprised.” She added, however, that there was progress in empowering people. “But I think it should also be handled in the right way so [that] people’s empowerment becomes the strength of the nation,” she said.

Ms. Suu Kyi was accompanied by Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy.