On November 7, Myanmar, ruled by a Military junta goes for polls after a gap of 20 years. The question looming large before each one of us is what for this farce? But elections there will be, and it is a forgone conclusion that the party formed by the ruling junta led by the dictator Than Shwe is poised to sweep the polls as the main opposition party led by pro-democracy leader Aung-San-Syuuki is nowhere in the picture upon the decision of the authorities of National League for Democracy (NLD) led by her not to participate in the scheduled elections. The junta dissolved it forth-with and decided to plunge into the battle arena, guaranteeing a cakewalk ultimately. Again one is forced to ask, what for this farce? Whom they want to convince? Is there anybody left to be convinced? No one. Still the Theatre of the Absurd is being enacted at an amusing juncture like this.

In 1990 when elections were held in myanmar adventure tours, the National League for Democracy (NLD) secured a formidable majority and the party staked claim to form a government. The military junta under Than Shwe couldn't stand such a possibility, it is at the helm of affairs since decades and promptly put Aung-San-Syuuki under house arrest. Since then she is languishing in solitary confinement, imagine a lady past her sixties even after 20 years is still being confined to house arrest. Solitary confinement is enough to lead an average lady to reach a nervous breakdown. But an outstanding lady that she is, her quest for freedom, principles, ideals, her conviction all steely and even now ready to face any eventuality is determined to fight to the hilt. The only access allowed by the junta is party spokesman Nyan Win and through him the world comes to grip with Mrs Syuuki's messages.

Many a struggle fought in Myanmar, even by Buddhist Sanyasins, but the junta brutally suppressed them, silenced them.

Whenever the picture of Mrs Syuuki enters my mind, my heart goes all out for millions of people across various nations where ruthless dictatorship prevails and the suppressed hopes and aspirations for their freedom. Likewise the face of an equally courageous and principled man whose thirst for freedom remained unquenchable, who fought it out by waging freedom struggles and undergoing solitary imprisonment for almost three decades the harassment and torture he had undergone, he is none other than Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa. He could be a role-model for anyone particularly Aung-San-Syuuki. The same courage and conviction I see in her and if not today, atleast in the not too distant future the military junta would be overthrown since peoples' thirst for freedom always remains unquenchable. We could see and hear and the lessons from history passed on to us since our early days remain defining examples.

Myanmar could have broken the chains of dictatorship had the countries across the world, especially its neighbouring countries could prevail upon the military junta. But no. In the changed world order each nation nurtures its own self-interest and as long as this self-interest gains an upperhand, what these countries look forward to is how much can they extract from a country be it democratic or a dictatorship.

For instance, Myanmar is blessed with abundant mineral wealth and with that enormous resources in its possession it enters into relationship with each nation approaching them and accordingly agreement and pacts are signed thus cementing relationships with each of them. India, which had to suffer under the brutal rule of Britain for centuries fought a prolonged battle for democratic freedom under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Subash Chandra Bose, Sardar Vallabhai Patel and millions of faceless freedom fighters - numbers galore. Even before Mahatma and Pandit Nehru many glorious men were in the picture and to name all of them is an ardous task. The same India in the 20th and the first half of 21st centuries, forgetting its own history of struggle for freedom has not even raised a finger against the Myanmar junta instead has established warm and cordial relationship with Myanmar. Why? The reason not at all respect and regards. Then what? Self-Interest. To extract maximum from the dictator blessed with abundant natural resources, signing of extradition treaty for a variety of purposes. The Pretext : we should not interfere in the internal affairs of a nation. Yes we should not. Agree. But why can't we prevail upon the dictators with a diplomatic approach the need for making way for a democracy. 'But that is none of our business', the common refrain.

Not only India, each country keeping self-interest in mind eyes other's wealth and resources. Self-interest is the key.