Rohingya refugees in India can now document their life stories in a comic book, thanks to a collaborative effort by two non-government organisations based in the capital New Delhi.
The comic titled Rendered Stateless Not Voiceless was put together by World Comics India, a collective that promotes comics as a communication and empowerment tool for the marginalised section of society.
The idea was formed as a collaboration between the Rohingya Human Rights Initiative (RHRI) and World Comics India, driven by the idea that a “comic book can be used as a medium to give a voice to the voiceless”.
“There are almost 70 stories narrated and sketched by participants themselves including myself. The idea is to create awareness of our life stories with first-hand stories shared by the participants,” Ali Johar, education coordinator at RHRI, told Al Jazeera.
“As most of the Rohingya refugees have no way of sharing their stories, the book gives them a platform to share them, as well as have ownership of their own stories in the book,” Johar, 25, told Al Jazeera.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are currently 17,500 Rohingya registered as refugees in India. However, the real figure could be higher, with Indian media putting the figure at about 40,000.
Threat of deportation
India’s Hindu nationalist government, which views Muslim-majority Rohingya as “illegal immigrants” and a security threat, has pledged to deport them back to Myanmar where they faced persecution. New Delhi maintains good relations with Naypyidaw.