I looked at women in the Rohingya community, and their children, to understand how their lives have been distorted beyond recognition by displacement. This is important in the light of the often uncritical accounts of refugees that are brought about, which pay very little attention to the differentiated lived experiences of men and women. Being gender blind in this regard serves to homogenize the narratives of a community which is hardly uniform in terms of how they experience conflict, displacement and migration.
They have tried to make it their own. The Tibetan Refugee Colony in Aruna Nagar, New Delhi, is something of a 'Mini Tibet' with Buddhist temples, prayer wheels and people in traditional Tibetan dress milling about. Yet, many of the people, quick as they are to express their appreciation of India, continue to yearn for their homeland.
A few years ago, I remember naively telling a hijab-wearing classmate that the headscarf should not be necessary for women if they're not necessary for men. In those days, I used to think of myself as a "modern", "liberal", "emancipated" feminist. I was like a scavenger, looking for traces of oppression everywhere.