Rohingya Refugees in South Asia: An Exploration of Social Borders and the Margins

  • Rachel Irene D'Silva Phd Candidate


By reviewing the case of the Rohingya, a marginalized community in the postcolonial state of Myanmar, this article (as part of a special section on South Asian border studies) explores the perspective of Rohingya refugees and conceptualizes social borders from the voices of the refugees. Juxtaposing postcolonial borders with narrations of Rohingya in India brings out the politics of the marginalized communities in the country’s borderlands. The article shows how borderscapes are shaped for refugees that articulate ideas of social justice and recognition. Building on international studies of the Rohingya, I conducted fieldwork into the situation of the Rohingya in India. The resulting interviews add to our understanding of Rohingya refugees and address a scarcity of literature on the Rohingya in border studies. Through the analysis, I discover the history of the Rohingya identity in Myanmar, which contextualizes their statelessness. Social borders and state legislation reinforce barriers to citizenship and sharpen the exclusion of migrants, refugees, and other stateless peoples in South Asia. 

Keywords: South Asia, Refugees, Rohingya, post-colonial states, boundaries, borders, margins, Southeast Asia, marginal communities.


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How to Cite
D’Silva, R. I. (2021). Rohingya Refugees in South Asia: An Exploration of Social Borders and the Margins. Borders in Globalization Review, 3(1), 35-45.