Dedication of my website to two great individuals: B.R.Ambedkar and Aung San Suu Kyi
B.R.Ambedkar (1891- 1956)
During my PhD research two decades ago, I came across a remarkable Indian monetary economist, B.R. Ambedkar, a graduate from Chicago University and London School of Economics. His views on Indian colonial monetary conditions (quite correct according to my own research) were little recognized in the established literature, even by Indian “monetary experts” writing for the Cambridge History of India.
I found years later that B.R.Ambedkar was not just an economist, but a social activist of the highest order. He had chaired the post-independence Commission on India’s Constitution in the 1940s. When he became disillusioned by the conservatism of most of India’s leaders, he adopted Buddhism as a more liberating religion for the “Untouchables” which he also was classified as.
He began a national movement for the conversion of Untouchables to Buddhism and devoted his life to their emancipation in India. There are numerous universities now named after him in India. His life of exemplary mix of strong academic research, social relevance and personal integrity, is difficult to emulate. Here is just one site devoted to Ambedkar: http://www.ambedkar.org/ There are many others.
Aung San Suu Kyi (Burmese Leader of Opposition, recently elected to Parliament)
Fiji’s people can take inspiration from Burmese leader, Aung San Suu Kyi who, when asked why she kept on struggling all these three decades against a military dictatorship, replied: “we have to bear witness”. She said:
“Within a system which denies the existence of basic human rights, fear tends to be the order of the day: fear of imprisonment, fear of torture, fear of death, fear of losing friends, family, property or means of livelihood, fear of poverty, fear of isolation, fear of failure. ..
“It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”
Aung San Suu Kyi also observed: “One has no right to hope without endeavor, …. (with endeavour) … we will get to the negotiation table at one time or another.” Fiji people also need to get out of their “cultures of silence and acquiescence” and understand that merely hoping without acting, is a pointless exercise.
In one of my rare jam sessions with my youngest son, Amit sang a song by Damien Rice (very sixtyish I thought, so I looked him up and found a song he dedicated to Aung San Suu Kyi and the Burmese people.
There are interesting connections in life.