TheRED ELEPHANT FOUNDATION An Initiative for Peace and Gender Equality through Storytelling

Trisha Shetty
She Says, an initiative that works as the step forward in educating, rehabilitating and empowering women to speak up and take direct action against sexual abuse, was founded by Trisha Shetty. In an interview with us, she chronicled the efforts that culminated in the project.

Often, people tend to ask me if I started She Says because I suffered abuse. Starting from a place of prejudice like that makes it appear like the issue is being marginalised. As a woman, I represent a social demographic that faces plenty of abuse and violation very regularly. People express a lot of anger about these issues, but it really needed strong engagement in order for us to address it.
The birth of She Says was really on the premise of “Zomato has everything.” If I go on Zomato, I have all the information I need on where I should eat. Menus are available, information on rates are up for everyone to see, there are reviews and even maps to help navigate. I don’t even need to call on a friend to ask for their help. That’s what I wanted to create to bridge the gap between the existing state of affairs and addressing sexual violence. Sexual Violence leaves one with an alienating feeling. It is a very difficult thing to pick up the phone and say that you’ve faced this situation, and that you need help. So, for someone in that situation, a step-by-step account of how to take action, the complete A to Z of all that one needs to know to get help was necessary.

Sexual violence is a public health issue. But there isn’t enough sensitization around it. The police isn’t always sensitive to the issue. Sometimes, they even chide the women for bringing up a complaint for something they don’t see as severe. People tend to be apathetic and tolerant of abuse – if you are hit or pinched under your waist, it doesn’t matter. If someone slapped your bottom, you keep quiet. But if you’re pinched on your boobs, you get furious. It is this climate of apathy that tends to look at certain crimes as okay and acceptable – but the point is that every crime becomes a gateway to an even greater crime. No one understands the nuances of sexual violence. Instead, they cry about it if it is a horrific rape – but the everyday occurrence under their noses remains ignored.

She Says was an effort to look into creating self-sufficiency in getting help. But it also came with a challenge. We need to keep our privilege in check. One of the things we understood in our journey so far is that the delivery and manner of communicating an issue makes a very big impact. It is a sad truth that people hear so much about these kinds of issues that they get de-sensitized about it. We should package and communicate the issue in such a way that we don’t polarize anyone. It can get too disconnecting for a person to be bludgeoned with talk of violence and abuse. But if you went to a community space where people congregate and package the communication in a way that they feel comfortable receiving, you can work wonders. For example, I once went to a bar that had a sign board that said, “Your woman. After a drink, our woman.” It was appalling – I later learned that it was a bit of a popular signage. Later, when I went to Delhi to attend a conclave, one of my friends had his girlfriend with him. His roommate told him that he was not intending to move out of the flat for him and his girlfriend to indulge in their dalliance. To that, my friend – who is generally very well meaning, and thought nothing of what he was saying – said, “It’s Delhi. There are plenty of buses.” This was right after the gang-rape incident in Delhi of December 16, 2012. It shocked me that we make these derogatory and jocular statements with such casual abandon – that it only made me realise that we should check our privilege.

Once, I was at the airport in Delhi, eating. Behind me, a man of about sixty was busy talking to people accompanying him – women and men around the same age. He casually dropped sentences like “If you excite a man, rape is inevitable”. He then described a case where a woman who was raped in the relative recent past was sitting in the front seat of a taxi, and blamed her for sitting there. Soon, he began to add to his diatribe, speaking of how marital rape is no crime at all because, “who else will a woman sleep with but her husband?” When he belted out a line to the effect that “inserting anything nowadays means rape”, I was outraged. The women in his company said nothing after a feeble attempt to tell him to leave it. I shared a piece of my mind, but was met with silence from him – which meant that he was conscious enough to keep quiet about it – but he was still unapologetic. This is the kind of mindset that needs to change.

On the other hand, there is also the glaring issue of how very few people know that they have rights that are actionable. For instance, there is a common notion that sexual relations that come from a place where a woman was promised marriage is often brought to court as rape. I don’t agree that it is rape, but an incident showed me how much of a premium is placed on certain parameters that stem from a gross lack of understanding. A young woman had come to us and told us that there was this man who had promised to marry her, and he kept trying to get her to come to a hotel to sleep with him. She refused, but he forced her, and there were CCTV grabs that showed that she was crying and upset about it all along when he dragged her into the room. He had sex with her, but did not marry her, and instead, married someone else. He didn’t let her marry, and spoiled her reputation in their social circle. She filed a case of rape – and wasn’t aware that the public prosecutor handles these cases, so she spent a large sum of money on a lawyer. He took a bribe from the other side and tried to pressure her into dropping her case. I tried explaining to her that her case did not fit within the definition of the term, but she genuinely believed that there was no role for consent to play in all of this. She believed that her body was his, and that now that she had lost her virginity, no one would marry her. It is important that we work around these mindsets.

 To deal with this, at She Says, we make it a point to ensure that whoever works with us gets sensitized about the issue. We sit and talk about it, and we also make it a point to stand up to point out or fight something that is not okay. We situate ourselves in spaces where people already congregate. We worked with the Music Festival team pre and during the duration of the festival to make concerts safer for women. This is part of SheSays’s premise of working with established institutions, where we are building a nexus of support to ensure safety of women in Public Places. We are also collaborating with Bars/ Restaurants across Mumbai in a similar capacity. We had posters like “No Dress Code, Check your Penal Code” and the like. We’re also working on a prevention and education module for schools and colleges. We are also trying to get the dialogue going on depression and PTSD as consequences of sexual abuse, and are attempting to help women reach out and get help. Right now, we’re also working around educating people on their rights, so that they can seek justice. We’re constantly advocating the criminalization of marital rape, and the release of a Sex Offender Registry List. 

Weighing in on the conversation with their powerful thoughts, two other team members of She Says add as follows:

Nishiki Bhavnani - Operations Director, SheSays and Matrimonial Lawyer - 
During the recent criminal law amendment ordinance, the reason for not making any changes to this marital rape law was that it would "weaken the institution of marriage".
The UN Population Fund states that more than 2/3rds of married women in India, aged between 15 to 49 have been beaten, raped or forced to provide sex. The statistical data pertaining to marital rape in India clearly show is that sexual violence within marriages is undeniably common.
Rape is rape in every form when there is no consent. A person’s marital status shouldn’t justify or make a crime against humanity valid or legal. The importance of consent for every individual decision cannot be over emphasized.

Krutika Pursnani - Outreach Director, SheSays
As was brought out recently by an article published about an area in Delhi, a city becomes safer not when we give up the public spaces; it becomes safer when we reclaim them. 
Women must not base their comfort on the presence of men or the lack of it, t
he streets belong to 
Cities like Mumbai, especially in the youth dominated spots, must be well equipped to provide this safety. This is the idea behind SheSays tying up with bars; to get institutions to take direct onus towards safety of their patrons.

Caitlin Figuerido is a true humanitarian: whether it is in her personal beliefs or in the work she does. Here is her story in her own words. 

My name is Caitlin Figueirdo, and I am the Australian Global Resolution Ambassador, a UN SDG Task Force UN Goal Keeper and I work to empower the youth to create an equal world.
My vision and motivation for empowering youth and young women stems from my childhood, growing up in a multicultural migrant household and her experience of gender based violence and oppressive gender stereotypes. With my families' background, I recognised that while my experiences silenced me, youth and young girls in particular faced far worse situations. This recognition fuelled my determination to work with influential international organisations and build an interactive non-profit initiative that creates increased opportunities and empowerment for young women.
I come from a family of political migrants from Kenya. I am of Portuguese-Indian descent, having been in Goa. My grandfather got a job in Kenya, and left India – but when there was unrest there, my family moved out to Australia. When they came to Australia, they didn’t have much by way of means, so my grandmother gave up her dream of becoming a doctor like her father to take care of the family.  As far as I can remember, I always knew that it was my calling to help people, and to unify the world. Right from the time I could talk, this was all that I wanted to focus on. At home, my grandparents made it a point to instill these values in all of us – to the point that dinner table conversations had centered around the idea of how much we can do to help others. For my grandparents, life was not about how much money you could earn, but how much impact you could generate. At that point, I wanted to help people get out of lives of poverty, and access resources and facilities for a sustainable life. But, my tryst with gender equality began from my own story, as a survivor of gender based violence as a child. 
From age four to twelve, I faced gender based violence. I had to hide this, because people around me didn’t believe me. The abuser was too close, and used a cloak of lies to mask what was really happening, so the person who attacked me got away with what they did. I suppose I was attacked because I was a girl, and also because I was fiercely vocal against what we now call and recognize as Gender Stereotypes. I always stood up to injustice, and always called out stereotypes, and my attackers didn’t like that. I tried to defend myself – but I was beaten, and they tried to drown me. Despite the threats my abuser posed on my life and the psychological toll the abuse was taking on my life, I knew I did not want to become a victim. Instead, I withdrew into a shell, only pretending to be a happy child on the outside. However, after a while of constantly embodying a façade, I couldn’t do it anymore - I stopped socializing which caused my parents to constantly worry about me.   I began to actively take myself out of the spotlight – I couldn’t help others as much as I wanted to, because I was still fighting my demons.
As a coping mechanism, I tried to act like boy, to be more like my brother.  After a while, I realized that what was happening was happening only to me, and not to my brother, so as a method of deflection I had to act like a boy to protect myself. When I turned 12, I had built up the courage to defend myself from my attacker. But, the damage was done. I began to become depressed and show symptoms of bipolar disorder. But the troubles were far from over.
I had faced severe bullying at school, to the point that I had to change schools. It was the worst decision I had made. I was the only new entrant out of a class of 65, and each of those 64 children made it their mission to target me, and to break me. The bullying got so bad, that I wound up either crying to myself in class, or I would avoid going to school. Sometimes, I would go in halfway, claiming that I missed the bus – which was a lie, because I lived ten minutes from school and everyone knew that. The kids bullied me because unlike the other girls who wore skirts and dresses, I decided to wear shorts and pants like the boys. This led to me becoming disconnected from the girls, after a while I had forgotten how to interact with the girls all together. I had chosen to cope with life’s challenges by behaving and dressing like a boy. I had developed the conception of associating strength with masculinity.
Over the years I've been told by teachers and people around me that I would fail, and even received death threats.  I kept it all to myself, internalizing my pain and these nasty messages that kept coming my way. Meanwhile, my mental illness took over. I tried to commit suicide. I didn’t know about mental illness or gender stereotypes until I turned sixteen, when I got very sick. Life, for me, seemed to have deteriorated. I had to leave Grade 11 because of my health, and I also had to cope with my grandmother’s passing. Then one day, after a long period of depression and isolation, I woke up one day and decided that I had to go back to that little girl inside me, who was just waiting to fulfill her mission in life. I decided that I would use my pain to help others around me.  
When I was 19, I founded World Vision's youth movement, Vgen within ACT, and at 20, I co-founded Peshawar Arts for Peace, which inspires young Pakistani women and the wider community to engage with gender equality, build intercultural harmony, help transition marginalised girls and women back into the education system and assist youth and young women to reach their leadership potential.
I turned my mindset around, and began to think positively and about the future. I decided that I would reconnect with myself, and I did it – I went back to the little girl who dreamed of changing the world. I joined World Vision and founded the youth movement within Canberra. I began to help promote the Sustainable Development Goals, and help promote the youth. When I worked with World Vision, I went to Cambodia, where I visited several rural areas to see how the funds were being used at the grassroots. I went to the UN earlier this year, representing Australia, and that was when I joined the working group for young women and gender equality. It feels weird, in a way, to be the person that everyone is suddenly turning to, for advice and information to create impact in their social groups. I am now designing a global equality initiative for the UN, and am working on Art for Gender Equality, an initiative that can help achieve Planet 5050.
At World Vision, I started off as a Director – even though I was technically not qualified, I was chosen because of I  was driven by the passion for the task. That position really launched my passion and reaffirmed that this was exactly what I was meant to do. I am inspired by the youth I connect with around the world. These are the people who battle hardships every day, and are yet so positive and hopeful, and strive for peaceful futures. I know that I can make a change, and it drives me. I believe that the youth can be great changemakers if they harness their passion.
I face challenges every day. Being a woman whose age puts her in the early side of the youth demographic, and not having a degree in hand yet, I am considered uneducated. People don’t take me seriously – and in a way, that’s the dilemma most of the world’s youth face, because youth voices are not taken seriously. Breaking into that is a tough task, but it has to be done.
I also find that I am juggling a lot to do – that work-life balance remains elusive. I sleep about three or four hours a day, I go to the Australian National University where I study a double degree in Law (Honours) and International Development, spend time with my friends, come back to work on all my voluntary initiatives, and then, do some work to get paid to pay for my own gender equality and peace initiative in Pakistan. It’s not a joke! But, my family has been amazing throughout – without the support of my mother, brother and father, I am sure I wouldn’t have been able to do this. Having been brought up in a social set up that places a premium on Indian values of prestige, it was refreshing that my parents didn’t and don’t care for any of that, and instead, just want me to be happy. My grandparents’ support and aid has helped me a lot. I am a passionate change maker and I am eager to shift the dial towards equality and empowerment. A youth and gender equality advocate, international speaker, Ambassador and the Co-Founder of Peshawar Arts for Peace, I have been involved in successfully delivering education, gender inclusive and career opportunities to scores of young women all around Pakistan and India. I have a passion for visionary ideas and intergenerational partnerships, which led me to be ranked alongside Chelsea Clinton and the Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo as an International Influencer and Mogul Ambassador to an online platform of 18.5 million women from 196 countries. I was also given the privilege recently, of being recognised by The White House and The First Lady, Michelle Obama, where I was named a Global Change maker for Gender Equality. Committed to public policy and institutional reform, I am one of the youngest UN Inter-Agency Task-Force on Youth and Gender Equality members. I work with a number of agencies and professionals around the world to design and implement innovative gender equality and young women's empowerment initiatives.
I face a fair amount of abuse and resistance for the work I do, especially online, where people threaten me because I work around gender equality. I try to push them out of my mind, and focus on my work. I’ve survived the worst, and if I could survive that, I can survive anything.   

I am driven by the goal of working with the youth. I’d like the youth to know that they should be their own person, to be in their own shoes, as they each have their own dreams and goals. If one tries to be like someone else, they won’t make it. Only when I realized that I was my own person, I started to make it. I think the youth are invincible and huge agents of change – and are incredible powerhouses. If they have the heart to do the work, they will change the world.  

By Raakhee Suryaprakash

South Asia, with its many islands and miles of low-lying coastal cities and fertile farmlands, is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change. Add to this the densely populated regions in flood-prone areas, poor civic infrastructures, storm drains clogged with plastics and grinding poverty and what we have is the perfect storm of vulnerability as demonstrated over the past few weeks with the flooding in Gurugram, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Jodhpur, and the massive devastations and displacements of hundreds of thousands in Assam and Bihar and the forest fires in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand early this summer. Adapting to climate change and developing sustainably while working to lower our planet’s ecological footprint and reverse global warming by controlling our carbon emissions is an immediate necessity.

The 2007 Nobel Peace Prize–sharing Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defines adaptation as the “adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities.” A corollary of the concept of sustainable development and integration in developmental parlance, the idea is to find a single powerful solution and methodology so as to address the many problems before us. Thus the idea is to put economics, empowerment of the marginalized, and the environment on the same side so as to achieve prosperity and peace.

This idea has been embodied in many movements “andolan” over the years that have embodied the basics of eco-feminism. Thus be it the programmes of Vandana Shiva that promote organic farming, soil rejuvenations and local seed conservation, or the Chipko Movement of the 1970s that involved the nonviolent protest by hill women who are the backbone of local households and farms of what is today the Indian hill state of Uttarakhand against deforestation by sticking to trees (basically they were tree-huggers long before the term became ‘cool’) to the Maiti Movement originating more-recently in Uttarakhand which promotes afforestation by including tree-planting and nurturing as part of wedding ceremonies and the communal preoccupation of getting girls married! Then there is the brilliant initiative in the Spiti Valley of the other Himalayan state Himachal Pradesh – the Ecosphere project co-founded by social entrepreneur, ace mountaineer and potter Ishita Khanna.

What these movements and initiatives have in common is the fact that they involve primarily marginalized sections of society (e.g., rural communities, tribes, women) becoming empowered by their quest to protect the environment while making a decent living. In a record-breaking ‘hottest planet’ yet – where the ‘Darth Niño’ (the El Niño system exacerbated by the increased concentrations of greenhouse gases and the resulting global warming) wreaks havoc costing the exchequer  over $22 billion in damages due to drought, melting roads, infrastructure and installations, and wildfires in some portions of the planet with corresponding extreme weather, including sudden cloudbursts and storms in others parts of the world – what we need is a scaling-up sustainable development and adaptation that focuses on keeping the planet’s temperature from soaring to over 1.5 degrees.
What Ishita Khanna is doing in the Spiti Valley is one such successful initiative encouraging conservation while bringing in much needed income to the locals. 

This involved the conservation and organic cultivation by the community of the wild berry rich in vitamins, minerals and fatty acids called Seabuckthorn as well as the setting up of processing units for its products including jam, tea, and juice as well as a nationwide marketing programme under the brand name ‘Tsering’  (blessings for life). As money percolated into the previously cut-off community through the Ecosphere project the Spiti Valley has become a model of “reduce-reuse-recycle…and renewables” mantra. Ecotourism has brought in tourists who will spend on local eco-friendly handicrafts, while urban debris such as crushed mineral water bottles are being used in insulating solar passive homes and tetra packs are being recycled as tissue paper! Solar power and geysers, smokeless chulhas (stoves) and composting pits and biogas plants is all helping to drastically reduce this tourist hub’s ecological footprint, while the increased plant cover and tree-cover and use of organic farming shelters the region from the more devastating effects of erosion, landslides and flood run-off.

Many farmers, especially those with smallholdings, whether it is Asia or Africa are women, yet the face of agriculture across the globe is inevitably male. This dichotomy adds to the feminization of poverty in the face of poor farm yields from small farmers who are also, according Andrew Youn, co-founder of the One Acre Fund, a huge portion of the world’s poor and hungry. Thus as funds, green technology, training, and adaptation knowledge-sharing is shared with these smallholding farmers – most of whom are women or have woman-headed households share-farming we have the consolidation of ties between the people and the planet which in turn builds prosperity and brings peace to communities.

Farmer suicides in India, climate refugees and internally displaced due to the devastation of monsoon-related flooding and landslides in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India, hungry farmers leading the civil unrest of Syria and Northern Africa displacing millions and empowering the ISIS – many of the world’s security issues seem to stem from a skewed climate! Thus adaptation strategies that re-engage the disenfranchised be it with employment guarantee schemes that involve the greening of highways (Green Highways [Plantation and Maintenance] Policy, 2015) or the move to conserve our forests while empowering the state and local communities (Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill of 2015) will help eliminate poverty while creating massive carbon sinks. For just one tree sequesters about 1 ton of carbon and processes enough oxygen for two people’s requirements in its life-time! Think of the good a whole forest of them would do. To mix metaphors it definitely past time to see the forest instead of the wood!

Similarly with flood-prone yet fertile farms the benefits of organic farming and mixed intensive culture is multi-fold. As proponent of organic farmer Vandana Shiva puts it, the greater the intensive organic cultivation of a land the greater the nutrition in the produce, mixing legumes, with livestock and fruits-bearing native plant species with the usual grains, vegetables, and cash crops brings in more income and diversifies the produce so that in case of failure at least one income stream remains. Also as a organic farmer farming near flooded waterways in Morappakkam near Madurantakam during the Chennai Floods of December 2015 showed, it is possible to have a good yield of rice even after the field floods! His use of organic manure in the 3-acre farm and a flood-resistant variety of paddy with strong roots and long stalks prevented the washing away of the fertile soil while yielding a rich harvest. Planting deep-rooting perennials and trees alongside farms further eliminate destruction during flooding. 

Organic farms, living soil, and forests as well as empowered women head the fight to control climate change. When the power and dependability of organic culture and mixed intensive agriculture is demonstrated and promoted at the village level it is made the popular choice. Guna Van Panchayat (forest conservation council) leader, organic farmer and 2012 Green Ambassador Award winner Almora district, Uttarakhand’s Sudha Gunwant thus leads by example. The soil has the natural ability to sequester massive amounts of carbon. By moving from chemical and industrial farming practices to regenerative farming in just smallholding across the world it is possible not just to arrest global warming but fixing 100% of present-day carbon emission trends in just three years. Sikkim, which has been prone to landslides during cloudbursts during the monsoon, has shown great thought leadership by going 100% organic.

Decoupling the economy slowly from fossil fuels and agriculture from petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides while encouraging afforestation and preserving flood plains, wetlands, mangroves, and reviving temple tanks, community ponds and lakes can significantly mitigate from the worst effects of climate change while bringing prosperity and peace back into the community as one renews one’s communion with nature, the elements and the life-giving earth. Thus by integrating it’s possible achieve many of the sustainable development goals (preserve the environment, combat hunger and poverty, empower women and the marginalized) and address human insecurity while ensuring peaceful co-existence. A win for the planet, a win for its peoples! 
Rose Alley has a small but motivated team of individuals who work tirelessly towards our goal to be the “go to” magazine for game changing content. Speaking about their story is Vidhi R Chandra.

Let's start with your story. Could you talk about your work, education and motivations to do the work that you're doing?

My story is still work in progress but it’s been interesting so far. My name is Vidhi R Chandra and I was born to a Gujarati family and raised in North India. I am the annoying younger sister to my brother and enjoy painting, singing, writing and reading. I started working in outsourcing (BPOs) when I was 22 due to personal constraints and have been in the industry for over 10 years.

However, I always felt there was a missing link and started blogging in 2005 about women’s issues in India. This topic is close to my heart as I have witnessed violence against women. I was also raised by a single parent and in our house, there were no gender based roles – like cooking for girls and sports for boys. My own upbringing and experience has been the cornerstone of my feminism.

What is Rose Alley all about? When and how did it all begin?

Rose Alley is an online Asian women’s magazine, which talks about living wisely and healthily, and is founded in 2015. Leslie Chen (Editor & Founder based in New York) thought of a magazine for pan Asian women community as there is little representation of Asian Women aside from some stereotypes we see around us.  Leslie reached out to me after reading my personal blogs online and after a very inspiring discussion, I decided to join forces and write for the magazine. It’s a lot of work and sleepless nights but I couldn’t be happier and I feel the same is true for the team. We are an extended family spread across continents.

Could you talk a bit about the work that you do at Rose Alley? What are some of your key activities?

I am a cofounder at Rose Alley magazine along with Leslie Chen, Qin Qin and Frank Yan.  I also write under a penname for our magazine. Aside from this, I am also involved in developing the content, vision, theme, and focus of the magazine along with Leslie, and build a network of amazing writers to bring inspiring stories and articles each month.

What are your challenges in the work that you do? How do you overcome them?

Well I have a full time job and also work with Rose Alley and also pursuing a course in journalism– so time is of critical importance and managing that can be tricky.  But, more than that we face the challenge of bringing meaningful content for audience. Rose Watch is one critical piece where we analyze the diversity and inclusion programs at large US firms. Another tricky situation we face is building content, which people will want to discuss and interact with. Our March content was strongly focused on Domestic violence to mark international women’s day, it’s always a difficult topic for people to discuss, and many times these issues are avoided and lost in a sea of statistics.

What inspires you to keep going?

To be able to write about issues close to my heart and bring real discussion in my own small way keeps me inspired. In addition, to work with the wonderful team on Rose Alley and navigating through our cultures to find so many similarities is an adventure. My inspiration doesn’t end here because through our campaign to end domestic violence I have been fortunate enough to collaborate with Dr. Henriette Jansen of UNFPA -leading researcher on domestic violence and sexual violence. Her Interview brought about mixed emotions, as the insights are raw and true. Also we got support from Casar Jacobson (Miss Canada 2013), Yael Markovich (Miss International Israel 2012), Ashpal Bhogal, Safecity and Sayfty team.  It is also an honour to feature multitalented personalities like Kimberly Kong & Haisu Tian and we are looking forward to some more mind-blowing collaborations in the future.

Would you like to share any anecdotes of success from your work so far?
There is always something funny going on- for instance at times due to timezone difference we have to conduct a call or interview at very late night India time or really early India time. In such instances I literally fall out of bed in my PJ’s and have kept the phone/laptop elevated  or faked network issues so the person on skype doesn’t feel I am underdressed for the occasion.  I should get a wrinkle free pantsuit and sleep in those for such occasions J

What do you envisage for the future of your work? 

I have grand dreams of Rose Alley’s future and hope that we grow to be a cutting edge magazine with an office space. Women’s magazines mostly are more of an international flavor and we need to bring the focus back to the rich cultural diversity of Asia and its strong and amazing women. I shall in the meantime continue to read, write, study, work and squeeze in some painting or learning an instrument and travel if I have the time.

Rose Alley is on Twitter (@rose_alley) and Facebook ( and have also curated a WeChat subscription account, which is aimed at Chinese Audience who are WeChats biggest users.

By Anam Zakaria

   “There’s nothing special about India. It’s our enemy!” yelled one child. “It’s full of those Hindus. They aren’t good people,” added another. The rest of the children either laughed along and slapped each other on the back or were too busy cracking jokes and gossiping with friends to care about this so called ‘enemy state.’ This was 2011, and we were sitting in an upper-middle class school in Lahore, the heart of Punjab.

     A couple of years later, as I spoke to students of a similar age-group, seated in a school in Mumbai, I asked them to tell me about the first thought that came to their mind when I said Pakistan. A hush fell on the class. Students looked from one side to the other, presumably wondering how much they could share. To put them at ease, I told them to share openly. I told them I wouldn’t be offended. One of them hesitatingly said “war.” Taking the lead, another responded, “some people say you should never trust a Pakistani, they always betray you.” “Yes, we have heard it’s a place full of terrorists,” added a student at the back. When I asked the children how many of them had ever interacted with a Pakistani or Indian (depending on which country they belonged to), hardly one or two hands were raised. Yet the opinions they seemed to hold about the ‘other’ seemed firm, rooted, almost like an intrinsic belief.

    I was not surprised. Since 2010, I have been involved in student exchange programs and initiatives between India and Pakistan, trying to bring the stereotypes held against the ‘other’ to the forefront and help students challenge them through greater access to each other. The India-Pakistan narrative in both countries, and the understanding of the ‘other,’ is marred with suspicion, biases and mistrust. And this only seems to get worse with time. The more and more Indians and Pakistanis move away from the bloody divide of 1947, the more entrenched the prejudices tend to become.

    In a country like Pakistan where most Pakistanis spend an entire lifetime without ever coming across a Hindu or Sikh, the ‘other’ then becomes a figment of the imagination, an imagination fuelled by filtered oral histories, biased textbooks and media propaganda. In the following paragraphs, I hope to analyze the impact of each of these on perceptions and mindsets about the ‘other.’

      The first is the role that oral histories play in sustaining a collective memory of the past, one that is often impacted by macro level narratives and prejudices. In Pakistan, especially in Punjab, the Two-Nation theory is overtly and tacitly propagated at all levels. This means that over and over again, the State reinforces the need for the creation of Pakistan and the need for separation from the ‘infidel other.’ In order to do this, stories of bloodshed and of Muslims being killed at the hands of the ‘other’ religion, a religion that ‘we’ could not co-exist with, are constantly put forward. This reinforcement at the macro level has an impact on private, personal memories. The traumatic images of blood-strewn trains, massacred bodies, displaced refugees and bewildered children become etched in the minds Partition survivors. Earlier memories of co-existence, of friendship, of joint festivities like Diwali, Baisakhi and Eid, seemed to become absorbed by these more tragic and violent memories. Often, I found in my interviews with Partition survivors that even if one had not lost a single family member, they had come to internalize other people’s stories of trauma and loss and continued to see the past through that lens. Urvashi Butalia sums this up best when she states, “Partition refugees often personalize stories of general violence and trauma, telling and feeling them to be their own, and marking the shifts in political climate, location, as felt, personal things.”[1]

     As a result, the oral histories received by many of the children I worked with had also been coloured by these bloody memories. The stories these children heard were of the violence, the divide and the brutality. Softer memories, fonder episodes of cordial co-existence and harmony seemed to have no place amidst the linear, black and white master narratives. It is not like Partition survivors had forgotten the less tragic memories. Whenever, probed, whenever asked a different set of questions, which moved beyond the narrow framework of recording Partition atrocities, many Partition survivors would unfold a magnitude of other stories. They would speak for hours about their neighbours, about childhood games, school events and festivities, and many would tell me that they were in fact rescued by people from the ‘other’ religion. In these moments, this ‘other’ would transform from a brutal savage monster into a mere human being. Political psychologist Ashis Nandy’s work further corroborates these accounts. Out of 1500 interviews with Partition survivors, he found that “40 per cent of his sample called up stories of themselves and others being helped through the orgy of blood and death by somebody from the other side.”[2] 

However, in the majority of the cases that I witnessed, such stories had not trickled down into the youth. Instead, the filtered oral histories they received were only exacerbated by the bloody news about Kashmir conflict, Indo-Pak wars and terrorism. What this meant was that for many of them, the ‘other’ had transformed into a looming monster, waiting for them beyond the border. What point was there then to travel across, or to even want to write a simple letter to this villain? Most children refused to do any such thing as part of the exchange programs I was associated with. An intergenerational shift had taken place, which instead of softening opinions was only hardening them. In Nandy’s words, “those who had actually faced the violence, those who are direct victims, the first generation of victims, those who have been subject to the violence, those who have seen it first-hand, mostly were those who had lesser prejudice and lesser bitterness about their experience than their own children and their grandchildren because they lived in communities where the other side was the majority…they have lived with them and they have very warm memories of that experience. Many of them have said that those were the best days of their lives, whereas the children have a packaged view mostly of those violent days and how the family survived…so they carry more bitterness, more hostility.”[3]

    This situation is only compounded by the mainstream propaganda in society. Not only do many media reports promote a slanted and misinformed opinion of the ‘other,’ labeling all Pakistanis as terrorists and all Indians as treacherous infidels wanting to destabilize Pakistan, state textbooks only worsen this issue. Textbooks in Pakistan blatantly call Hindus enemies and claim that they can never be friends. Tariq Rahman, an established Pakistani professor and researcher writes, “Pakistani textbooks cannot mention Hindus without calling them cunning, scheming, deceptive or something equally insulting.”[4] Meanwhile, textbooks in India have often referred to all Muslims as barbarians and depicted them as savage forces. Teachers, who study from the same textbooks, only exacerbate the issue with prejudiced teaching practices, further spewing hatred. Though Indian textbooks have been revised over the years, they too face several issues. Books, published by the National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT, India), have been reformed to eliminate hate sentiment but a closer look reveals several loopholes. There are jumps between different historical events, for instance between the Quit India movement and Partition itself, keeping important information away from children, which could help them understand how Partition and other significant events unfolded. Information about Kashmir, 1965 and 1971 war are also missing from the mainstream textbooks until Class X. While it is a relief to not read about violent and prejudiced narratives, these omissions only confuse children further and encourage them to learn about historical events through other sources. With social media being available in every household, most children end up learning from uninformed blog posts and subjective, often biased commentary. And since the majority of children never come across a Pakistani or Indian in their respective countries, such texts and words became the truth, a truth that shapes their opinions and to which they cling onto as fact through out their adulthood. It is then perhaps no wonder that while most children in India have asked me whether I hang out with Hafiz Saeed or if I know Ajmal Kasab, children in Pakistan seem to blame every bomb blast on the ‘Hindu infidel’ from across the border. In such a bleak scenario, is there any way to move forward?

    Exchange programmes between young children and dialogue between all age-groups has been seen as a vital component in bridging gaps. For most children, especially those below the age group of 17-18 years, opinions are yet not hardline. They are curious, keen to learn, and merely require the platform to ask questions. As part of my work with the Citizens Archive of Pakistan (CAP), a local non-profit organization dedicated to historic and cultural preservation, I was leading the Exchange-for-Change (EFC) program between 2010-2013. The program connected thousands of children through a series of letters, postcards, oral histories and a final physical exchange. Through the 12-month lifeline of the project, I witnessed student opinions drastically alter. One child approached me a month into the project and said, “But these Indians are just like us!” The pleasant surprise on her face was mirrored by many other children across different income-brackets. Later as I took a delegation of students with me to India, one of them commented upon our return, “In my class 5 book, I had read about Sikhs slaughtering little Muslim children. When we crossed the Wagah Border and entered Amritsar, I half expected them to be holding daggers. But when I saw they were holding garlands to welcome me instead, that image shattered in front of my eyes.”  

   My experience with children in India both for the EFC program and otherwise was no different. In 2012, while visiting a school in Mumbai, I was surrounded by young children who held up my visitors tag and tried to guess where I was from. When no one in the audience could guess correctly, I finally told them I was from Pakistan. While many of the children began to squeal, inquiring why I wasn’t wearing a burqa, whether Pakistan had ATMs and if I had ever eaten Pizza, a young child of no more than six years of age began to run away. When I asked him why he was running, he told me he was afraid of Ajmal Kasab. He continued to run away until I called after him and said, “I’m scared of him too!” He stopped in his tracks and slowly began to walk back. A couple of years later, in 2016, I held a Skype talk with a school in Mumbai. After an hour worth of conversation, one of the children remarked, “now I know all Pakistanis are not murderers, now I can think of going to Pakistan too.” That is what an hour worth of conversation between Indians and Pakistanis can do, that is the power of dialogue, of connection.

      If such dialogue is allowed, the mainstream narratives and discourse in society will also begin to change. Media channels will be keener on programs like Aman ki Asha- also headed by two of the largest media groups of India and Pakistan- and conspiracy theories and propaganda will begin to lose their audience. However, in order for the media to alter its approach, structural changes are important in society. Peace needs to become a priority. Textbooks need to be revised, hate sentiment challenged. Pakistan and India are also both at the verge of losing their Partition generation. It is most important that archives are set up and oral histories are recorded. For though many in this generation remember and retell stories of bloodshed, they are the only ones who have witnessed a society when the ‘other’ was not the ‘other,’ when co-dependence was a reality and violence and brutality was not the only marker of people from another religion. These narratives will prove to be essential in countering the prejudices prevalent in India and Pakistan today and will be a crucial way forward in building peace in the region.

Ashis Nandy, Pakistan’s latent ‘potentialities, Radio Open Source. Web: http:/ /
National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP). Education Vs Fanatic Literacy, Sanjh Publications, March 2013
Sanhati, A Psychological Study of India’s Partition,
Urvashi Butalia, Memory, Lived and Forgotten, The Financial Express, 2007

[1] Butalia, Urvashi (2007), ‘Memory, Lived and Forgotten,’ The Financial Express.
[2] Nandy, Ashis, Pakistan’s latent ‘potentialities’, Radio Open Source. Web: http:/ / (Last accessed: 24 November 2014).  
[3] A Psychological Study of India’s Partition’, Sanhati, 21 March 2009,
[4] National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP). Education Vs Fanatic Literacy. (Sanjh Publications, March 2013), p.7.

Anam Zakaria is an author, development professional and educationist based in Islamabad, Pakistan. Her first book, The Footprints of Partition: Narratives of four generations of Pakistanis and Indians, was published by HarperCollins in 2015. Anam has previously worked with The Citizens Archive of Pakistan (CAP) heading their Oral History project and Exchange-for-Change project, collecting narratives of the first and second generation of Pakistanis and opening communication channels between school children in India and Pakistan. She currently works for the Association for the Development of Pakistan (ADP), heading their education sector. Anam is also a teacher of Development Studies and a student of Psychotherapy, with a special interest in trauma and healing in conflict zones. 
By Asma Masood
“In societies where men are truly confident of their own worth, women are not merely tolerated but valued."

Aung San Suu Kyi
(From a speech read on video on August 31, 1995 before the NGO Forum on Women, Beijing, China)[1] 

 Aung San Suu Kyi is a woman who values the worth of the fairer gender. However, given her political concerns in Myanmar, she remains taciturn on the plight of the Rohingya women. When the US Secretary of State John Kerry called on her in May 2016 and raised the subject of Rohingyas, Aung Saan Syu Kyi evaded the issue by giving a diplomatic answer: “All that we are asking is that people should be aware of the difficulties we are facing and to give us enough space to solve our problems”.[2]

The roots of the Rohingya crisis must be understood before studying the plight of the women of this ethnic group:

The Rohingya were early settlers from Bangladesh in Myanmar, largely in Rakhine (Arakan) province. The British colonizers at the time ensured greater migration of the Rohingya from Bangladesh, to contribute to Myanmar’s economy. They did contribute in a significant way, be it as farmers, soldiers or civil servants. However their status in society took a beating when Myanmar gained independence in 1948 and the government began systematically marginalizing them. The resulting demand by some of the Rohingya political leaders for a separate state did not help to improve the situation. It was worsened when the military junta took power in 1962 and launched an onslaught against the Rohingya. The most significant aspect was the government denying them even their identity. They were not referred to as ‘Rohingya’, but as ‘illegal Bengali migrants’. Fuel was added to the fire when in 1982, a new Citizenship Act was introduced. It required that a citizen can only be he/she belonging to one of the 135 national races whose ancestors lived in Myanmar before 1823. The Rohingya, unable to show documentary proof for this rule, became mired in a Catch-22 situation. They were not recognized as citizens by the government, which led to their being denied political representation, religious freedom, education, employment, free movement and healthcare. They even had to apply for a permit to get married, which involved a long wait. They had no choice but to do unpaid manual labour for the military forces. Violence became a common affair. The large-scale 2012 riots brought international spotlight on the crisis. Many have chosen to leave for Bangladesh, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Philippines, Australia and Saudi Arabia.[3] The Rohingya women are especially subject to dangers of migration, such as trafficking, rape or death during the hazardous journeys.

Trapped in a vicious cycle of statelessness, detention, migration and poverty, these Rohingya ladies
are desperate for a lamp of hope. Hope is an ironical word for some lucky ones, who have accompanied their husbands, sons or fathers to a refugee settlement in Kelambakkam, near Chennai in South India. Here they reside in a building granted to them by the local government, in tandem with the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR). “We are happy here”, say the women to this author in an interview with this author. Surrounding them are the suspended cloths which divide the settlement into small spaces measuring 5’ by 5’, for the 14 families occupying them. Besides, there is only one toilet for the 64 refugees here. Their men work as rag pickers, earning upto Rs. 250 per day. The children hardly go to school, either whiling away the time or joining their fathers or brothers in their occupation.

While they do complain of occasional stress, the women insist they are content. This is not surprising, given that they are far from the crowds of violence back home in Myanmar. There, they knew little of dignity in life. Evicted from their lands with their families they became Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and linger in a matrix of statelessness. The Myanmar government claims that they belong in Bangladesh. Dhaka refuses to recognize this verdict. Instead it struggles to contain the steady stream of asylum seekers trickling in across the porous border, settling those who get through in already over-crowded camps.

One young girl among the Bangladeshi camps is the daughter of 40 year old Salma*[4]. Salma is a refugee at the Kelambakkam camp (near Chennai, India). She explains with eyes as wide as saucers that she too once stayed in the same camp as her daughter in Bangladesh. After marrying her off to a Rohingya refugee, she took the difficult journey with her husband and other children of travelling to India via the Northeast, then to Jammu and Kashmir, and finally to South India.

Here, along with the other Rohingya asylum seekers, she was granted a refugee card by UNHCR. This piece of paper is literally a golden ticket for the Rohingya. Without it, they face the risk of being denied refugee benefits by UNHCR, or being sold by trafficking rings.

Human trafficking is a major concern for the Rohingya escaping the turmoil they face in Myanmar. Some men agree to become labourers, and are trafficked. However, as in the case of Robi Alam whose story appeared in the New York Times[5], they are then held hostage by the traffickers who demand a ransom from their wives back home in Myanmar’s detention camps. These women, like 30 year old Robi Alom’s wife Jano Begum, are forced to choose between saving their husband’s life and keeping their meager earnings for feeding their starving child. Decision-making is demanded as a basic right by women in this day and age. But in this case, the Rohingya women are seen getting into murkier waters by having to choose. Jano Begum told Robi’s kidnappers that she could send no more money. Soon after, she received news of her husband’s death in the jungle. Another pressing choice Rohingya women face is to either give in to sex traffickers or marry off their daughters to ageing men from Malaysia, who are ready to pay a hefty price to smugglers for the brides’ journey.[6] The latter is generally the norm, to save the women and girls from brothels.

The situation resounds of the similar plight of ethnic Kachin women in northern Myanmar, who are often sold as brides to Chinese men or trafficked to brothels. [7] The high demand for the ‘fair-skinned’ Kachin brides is to offset the imbalance because of China’s one child policy. However there is no demand for the Muslim Rohingya brides in Yunnan province. Besides the Sino-Myanmar border is not as porous as the one between Bangladesh-Myanmar. In addition, China does not welcome Rohingya asylum-seekers, despite public statements for an “Asian solution”[8] to the crisis. Indonesia too turns a blind eye to the ‘boat-people”.[9]

On the other hand, India is silently refraining from turning back Rohingya asylum seekers entering
the country. They have the luxury of freedom of movement here. It is obvious as seen in their journeys from Northeast to North to South India.

Having a means to a livelihood, no matter what nature, is another luxury. But these means are restricted to the men folk. When the Rohingya refugees were asked by this author why the women were not working, for instance as domestic help, the reply given was that they will not permit their women to leave home for employment, as it is “unIslamic”. This led to this author querying whether the women there are ready to learn skills such as sewing and dress-making, in order to make a living from home. They seemed eager to develop such talents. However, they point at the empty corridors, where no sewing machine awaits them. Besides the women stand their small daughters. Tiny gold studs glisten from their earlobes. The women, surprisingly, are adorned with a little jewelry. This author wonders if this is how the refugee men ‘value’ their women.

Similar to the picture back home in Myanmar, female Rohingya IDPs or asylum seekers/refugees have no economic rights. The men seem to want to cover this up. For instance, Sultan*, a Kelambakkam Rohingya refugee says with a glint of pride in his eyes of how he once owned acres of land in his Myanmar village. When asked in a second interview whether their women back home owned land, he says, “How could they? When we men ourselves were not permitted to be land-owners.” They also claim to not pay ‘mahar’, the Islamic tradition of payment made by the newly married groom to the bride.

The extremely conservative nature of the poor Rohingya is also reflected in lack of education, not only among girls but also boys. The term ‘learning’, for the Rohingya, largely refers to madrasa schooling, or religious education. Madrasas were banned in Myanmar, and here at Kelambakkam one of the parents’ biggest worry is that there is no channel for Islamic learning for their children. While a Government-run school functions nearby, the principal describes in an interview with this author how the Rohingya children hardly attend classes. They are given tremendous leeway in light of their pitiful state, yet there is no enthusiasm among either child or elder to progress. The excuse given by the Rohingya is that they will not stay here indefinitely, so why should they educate their children in a Tamil-medium school.

Indeed, they still cling to hope of returning to Myanmar, on the condition that they are given statehood and allowed to name themselves as ‘Rohingya’. In the meantime, for Kelambakkam refugees the near future involves scrimping enough to get by and eventually marry off their daughters as soon the girls attend puberty. However, this outlook sees a remarkable exception, in the hues of Ayesha*, a 12 year old Rohingya refugee girl at the Kelambakkam settlement. Her father has done the unthinkable among his brethren, by permitting and encouraging his daughter to continue her studies.

The move has come with a price. Ayesha’s family is being ignored by the other refugees. They show their displeasure by hinting that she ought to be at the settlement and have a groom found for her. Ayesha’s father Khan* brushes their comments aside. Truly, he has long term plans for his children’s future.

Nevertheless, the letdown remains that his community of Rohingya are denied conventional education at all levels back in Myanmar. Madrasa schooling is banned as well. Besides, the lucky few Muslims in Myanmar who are educated, be it the Rohingya or other ethnic groups, are unable to find employment relevant to their qualifications. The Rohingya especially are ostracized to detention camps.

Adding salt to the wound is the whisper among some academic circles that the Rohingya are rejected by other countries because they “have no skills”. While it is true that the Rohingya historically have little interest in education[10], the blanket statement about lack of skills is a mark of stereotyping. There is evidence to show there are some Rohingya people, even young women and girls, who have defied political prejudices. Wai Wai Nu is a shining example. In fact she has been dubbed the ‘Rohingya Princess’ by the media. Wai Wai was 18 and studying law when she was arrested in 2005; her crime was to be the daughter of Kyaw Min, a Rohingya who was elected as member of parliament in the 1990 elections, the results of which were ignored by Myanmar's military rulers.[11] After being held as a political prisoner for seven years, she was released with her family when Thein Sein took power as President and introduced political reforms. She now runs a community organization, Women Peace Network Arakan[12]. It is a small ray of light amidst the darkness that pervades the Rohingya landscape. Wai Wai has been recognized by the international community for her efforts to better the situation for Rohingya women. She had even attended a dinner at the White House.

Ayesha, like Wai Wai, has let go of the comfort zone of societal prejudice against education and paved a way for herself. One cannot help thinking that the Rohingya women need to bring about a change in themselves to see a change in their future.

While it is not being denied that they are being subject to harsh circumstances, it is not recommended that they live a complacent life in asylum shelters/refugee camps. The outlook of sheltering young girls and women must be converted into one of true worthiness of the female gender. Their status as care-givers and nurturers of the family should transcend traditional beliefs. When one girl in the family is educated, the entire group benefits. They can learn about their rights, get better access to facilities such as the ID card required to be carried by them back in Myanmar, and be assertive when standing up for their civil liberties. They can be better informed about the need for maintaining personal health and hygiene, an aspect being ignored by Rohingya women at the Kelambakkam camp. According to a government-run clinic nearby, they do not bring their newborns or children for vaccinations. In fact, they do not come for regular check-ups themselves when pregnant. Another pressing problem among the Rohingya is that they desire a large number of children. This is despite their political, economic and social problems. They believe that family planning is against their religion Islam. Indeed, a change is needed among their orthodox views.

One cannot help comparing the Rohingya refugees near Chennai, to the Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu (a South Indian state, of which Chennai is the capital city). They are known for their commitment to their children’s education, even for girls. In fact, the author attended a World Refugee Day event organized by UNHCR at Stella Maris College, Chennai, which some refugees from various countries residing in and near Tamil Nadu attended. It was heartening to observe a young Sri Lankan Tamil refugee speaking of her experiences. She regretted that she had to discontinue her higher secondary school education back home because of the violence. However she has taken it upon herself to ensure her small daughter is not denied access to a full education. Likewise, the Rohingya women will do well by dedicating greater attention to their own and their children’s education.

Nevertheless, change is not a one-way street. There must be action on the Myanmar government’s part to ensure the safety of Rohingya girls and women. The Rohingya women at the Kelambakkam camp are secure in their environment. They fill their evenings with joint prayers, seeking solace for their people. They also attend Friday prayers at a mosque nearby. When asked if they sing to amuse themselves, a look of mock horror is given. They believe that singing is a “sin” and would rather just pray. One cannot help thinking that this was not the case even during Prophet Muhammad’s time when women would sing at special occasions. The Rohingya women may be silent when asked to sing, but even more deafening is the silence of Aung San Suu Kyi. She too must galvanize her people to change their attitude against the Rohingya, instead of letting their actions dictate her policies.

Until then, prayer is not enough. As the Islamic saying goes, “One must tie the camel up, then pray for it to not be stolen.” In other words, an effort must be made for one’s prayer to be answered. The Muslim community in and around Chennai can also catalyze efforts to help the Rohingya by talking to them about the importance of education and healthcare, helping the Rohingya refugees, including the women find means to a better livelihood, and their overall well-being. The Government of Tamil Nadu can also expand its goodwill measures to these refugees.

In the meantime, the Rohingya, especially those from rural areas and those against girls’ education must realize that learning will empower their women, and not expose their vulnerability. If they choose to ensure that their daughters regularly attend school when in the refugee camps, a silver lining is not far off.

One cannot help being taken aback when Ayesha’s father Khan says in a low voice in Urdu, “When the iman (faith in God) is good, then all aspects, even education, fall into place.” Indeed, the Rohingya must start ‘tying up their camels’, parallel to the Myanmar government providing the ropes. These are the threads of dignity, citizenship, education and employment. Together, they can weave a beautiful tapestry of harmony and justice in Myanmar.

(Asma Masood is a Research Officer with the Chennai Centre for China Studies, India. She can be contacted at Twitter:@asmamasood11)

[2] Prof. V. Suryanarayan, “ Refugees from Myanmar: Rohingyas in Kelambakkam”, Chennai Centre for China Studies, July 1 2016,
[3] Ibid 2
[4]* Names marked in asterisk are changed to protect privacy.

[5] Nicholas Kristof, “In Myanmar, a Wife’s Wrenching Decision”, New York Times, January 16 2016,

[6]  Chris Buckley and Ellen Barry, “Rohingya Women Flee Violence Only to Be Sold Into Marriage”, New York Times, August 2 2015,

[7] Asma Masood, “Myanmar: The Economics of Trafficking”, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, July 1 2013,
[8] Asma Masood, “From Rice to Rights: Potential for India and China to Resolve the Rohingya crisis”, Mizzima Weekly, Issue 36, Vol. 4, September 3, 2015,

[9] “Indonesia to 'turn back Rohingya' boats”, Al Jazeera, May 12 2015,  

[10] Asma Masood, “Myanmar: FDI, Local Economy and the Rohingya Conflict”, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, July 10 2013,

[11]Young Rohingya woman chases dream of peace and justice in Myanmar”, Reuters, September 1 2014,

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