Aung San Suu Kyi, Ideas of
- Receiving a Western education at elite institutions, such as Oxford University, moving among cosmopolitan circles as an adult yet strongly committed to preserving her Burmese and Buddhist heritage, Aung San Suu Kyi has indicated, in her essay "Intellectual Life in Burma and India under Colonialism," her adherence to a model of modernization in which a synthesis of Eastern and Western values on the intellectual and spiritual levels precedes the more conventional modernization of the economic or technical variety. This synthesis was practiced by leading figures of the late 18th- and 19th-century "Hindu Renaissance," whom she describes in her essay, contrasting the highly developed nature of Indian social and political reform movements during the colonial era with the relative lack of development of their counterparts in Burma. In this and other essays, compiled in the anthology Freedom from Fear and Other Writings, she emphasizes the universal validity of both Buddhist and Western democratic ideas, arguing for their compatibility and denying the legitimacy of the kind of cultural relativism that is often used to legitimize authoritarian regimes. Major influences on her ideas have included not only her father Aung San, whose career she researched before 1988, but also Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who both saw resistance against oppression in spiritual as well as political terms and employed nonviolent methods of opposition.
Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). Donald M. Seekins . 2014.
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