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Burmese 'princess' remembers her Delhi days, working for AIR

world Updated: Jun 28, 2014 00:09 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

Than Than Nu, daughter of Myanmar’s first prime minister, U Nu, fondly remembers her days working for All India Radio’s (AIR) external service division in the 1980s and 1990s during her long stay in New Delhi.

Nu, Cho Cho Kyaw Nyein and Nay Ye Ba Swe — daughters of Myanmar’s former leaders — are fondly called ‘three princesses’.

Those were tumultuous days for Myanmar, then Burma, and AIR’s Burmese division would broadcast pro-democracy programmes to be relayed into homes in the military junta-controlled country.

“The radio programme had a huge following back home. There were lots of listeners. The military government objected but the Indian government allowed it,” Nu said.

Nu is in Beijing to commemorate the 60th year of the Panchsheel or the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.

Her father, U Nu, was one of three pioneering signatories to the treaty initiated by India and China under Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Premier Zhou Enlai.

In all, Nu and her family stayed in Mumbai, Indore and Bhopal before settling in New Delhi for nearly 20 years; she returned to Myanmar in 2003.

Nu stayed in West Kidwai Nagar in the New Delhi area and her younger son, born in Indore, studied in DPS, RK Puram and later went to St Jospeh’s College in Nainital.

She regretted the fact that the Indian government stopped the radio progamme in 2000 without any explanation.

“That should not have happened. India is the largest democracy in the world,” Nu told Indian reporters after a seminar on Panchsheel attended by former diplomats and academics from India, China and Myanmar.

Earlier in the 1970s, she, along with her father, stayed for a few years in a palace owned by the Nawab of Pataudi in Bhopal.

“My father returned to Burma but I stayed back in India,” Nu said.

Nu, now the secretary general of Democratic Party in Myanmar, said the situation in her country was improving.

She added that India was contributing in developing the sectors of health, education and human rights.

On the relevance of the Panchsheel in today’s world of international diplomacy, Nu said the three leaders were very sincere when they initiated the movement in 1954.

“These days, I can’t say it is a smooth going (for the ideals of the principles). But we have to try and propagate the ideas. Instill the ideas in children,” Nu said.