The Chin people of Burma are a group of tribal minorities in west Burma, who have been greatly oppressed since the military junta rule in 1962. The suppressed pro-democracy movement in 1988 and the Saffron Revolution due to steep hike in fuel price in 2007 further worsened their situation. Due to immense afflictions by the military junta, religious oppression and poor economy, many left their homeland in search of a better livelihood. For many Chins, India is a destination for refuge. After finding their way to New Delhi, they seek protection from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) with hopes of getting resettled to the developed western countries like USA, Australia and United Kingdom. Even though the Burmese democratic reform is in process, many who have fled/ left the country are still skeptical about the current government and are not yet ready to return to their homeland.
The capital city of India has granted them a temporary home but life is still harsh and difficult. As they do not have work permits and citizen rights, they take up low wage jobs and many a time, they are cheated and exploited. This project shows the portraits and homes of some the Burmese Chin refugees and asylum seekers who have landed in New Delhi. They crossed the international boundaries with a hope that one day they will have a better livelihood. They have found a temporary home, but their hearts do not belong there. They dream of ‘a home where the heart belongs’.
As humans, we all strife for survival; we have certain goals set in our minds. Each one follows his own path. Dreams, goals, ambitions etc. differ from person to person, but what most of us look for is that place where we feel accepted and at home. The search for belonging and acceptance is ceaseless. I hope each individual and family whom I have met during this project will one day find the ‘Home’ they have been aspiring for.
My name is Laldintluangi Tochhawng, known to many as Didini. I did my graduation in Bsc. Visual Communication from Madras Christian College, Chennai (2007-2010). I went on to pursue a Post Graduate Diploma in Photography Design from National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad and was awarded MFA (Photogragphy) by University of Creative Arts, UK (2012). I now work as a freelance photographer in Aizawl, Mizoram.