Interpreting India
Interpreting India
Mar 24, 2022
Understanding the Rohingya Crisis with Jayita Sarkar
Play • 32 min

In this episode of Interpreting India, Jayita Sarkar joins Shibani Mehta to take a step back and understand the history of the Rohingya Crisis. Who are the Rohingya people? What does their story tell us about Myanmar’s political history? When did the polarization between the communities begin?

In Myanmar, the Rohingya people have been subjected to decades of brutality, prejudice, and persecution. After a tremendous wave of violence erupted in August 2017, more than 7,00,000 people, half of them children, were forced to flee to Bangladesh, India, Thailand, and other Southeast Asian countries. Entire villages were set ablaze, thousands of people were slaughtered or separated from their families, and widespread human rights violations were documented. A military onslaught, later condemned as an “example of ethnic cleansing" by the UN, forced millions to flee by ship or on foot. Nearly one million people are still stranded in Cox's Bazar, the world's largest refugee camp. The recent catastrophic burning in the camp, which forced 50,000 people to flee, served as a sobering warning that not just disease but also rapid-moving fires are common.

In this episode of Interpreting India, we take a step back and understand the history of the Rohingya Crisis. Who are the Rohingya people? What does their story tell us about Myanmar’s political history? When did the polarization between the communities begin?

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Episode Contributors

Jayita Sarkar will be Associate Professor in Economic and Social History at the University of Glasgow from July 2022. She is a tenure-track Assistant Professor at Boston University’s Pardee School of Global Studies until June 2022. Her research areas of specialization include connected partitions. decolonization, global histories of capitalism, and nuclear infrastructures.

Shibani Mehta is a research analyst with the Security Studies Program at Carnegie India. Her research focuses on India’s security and foreign policies. She has a keen interest in understanding foreign policy decision-making and the role of institutions and personalities in diplomacy.

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Additional Reading:

1. Jayita Sarkar: How World War II shaped the crisis in Myanmar 

2. Rohingyas and the Unfinished Business of Partition by Jayita Sarkar

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