Never felt "far away" from India, Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday said as she had an emotional return to her alma mater here where she talked passionately about her vision for a democratic Myanmar.
"I feel myself partly a citizen of India, a citizen of love and honour," 67-year-old Suu Kyi said, addressing "my girls" in Lady Sri Ram College here from where she graduated in 1964.
Reminiscing her formative years in the prestigious institution, the pro-democracy leader said she never felt far away from India even in days when she had little contacts with this country, which she last visited in 1987.
She said she did not think that the people of India were connected to her through an intellectual bond but it was more of an emotional bond.
"Coming back to LSR (Lady Sri Ram) is not just coming back home, it is coming back to a place where I know my aspirations have not been wrong," Suu Kyi, who has been waging a campaign for democracy in Myanmar for decades, said.
"I always knew I would come back to this hall where I had learned to sing one of Gandhi's favourite songs - Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram," a smiling Suu Kyi said drawing loud applause from the audience.
Addressing a jam-packed auditorium with alumni and students in attendance, Suu Kyi talked about her fight for democracy in the country reminding the audience that democratic rights were very precious.
"It's only when you don't have them, you realise how precious they are," she said, adding that many things were taken for granted here which "we are fighting for, struggling for in Burma."
Noting that her country needs India's help in its progression towards democracy, she made a passionate plea, saying, "We are trying to achieve democracy. In our endeavour we need you, we need your help."
Suu Kyi said, "At this moment we have to ask for help, we have to ask for your support.
"But we are doing that so that one day we are in a position to give to others not just our experience, but our warmth and generosity or what we have to offer to the world in a way of stronger and more positive links between all human beings," she said.
Touching on campus life in Myanmar, she said youngsters in her country do not know what campus life means or what university means.
"For them, it means going to classes, lectures, and going home again. There is no life beyond a classroom. We want our universities to be institutions, we want to revive campus life in Burma," she said.
She said she wanted the universitites to be institutions that produce young people with courage, with probing minds, with the ability to go out and face the challenges of life.
Suu Kyi, who returned to India after a gap of 25 years, said she was hoping to see what kept her closely linked to the country over the years "when I had very little contact with you."
"It is basically the warmth in our hearts that has kept us together...I think it is an intelligent emotional bond, a bond that is not just emotional but based on intelligent acceptance of our mutual needs.
"We need one another, not just people of India and the people Burma but people all over the world. We need you to help us in our progress in democracy. We have not yet achieved democracy, we are trying to achieve democracy and in our endeavour we need your help we need you with us," she said.