Tariqa Tandon

Tariqa Tandon, Master of Arts, Political Science

Growing up in India, Tariqa Tandon learned about the Tibetan nationalist movement from friends at school. As she considered a subject for her master’s thesis, that childhood experience came back to her.

“I thought about how I related to my country versus their sense of nationalism. I wanted to explore that more, especially because Tibetan issues don’t get much space in academic circles,” she explains.

Tariqa saw her master’s degree as an opportunity to challenge her own thinking, as well as the status quo in academia, which she describes as the “Eurocentric ways of knowledge production.”

She decided to explore how Tibetan nationalism is sustained in exile by interviewing Tibetan women who live in the Parkdale neighbourhood of Toronto.

“The population is small and the movement is quiet because people are reluctant to speak out against China,” says Tariqa, who met with a diverse group of 14 women. “I learned that they are challenging not just China, but the way nationalism has been imagined by the elites.”

Tariqa also discovered that these women relate to Canada differently than she does.

“For me, being here is a choice: for them, it’s a necessity,” she explains. “For them, this is a stepping stone to going back. So they need support from Canadian society for their movement. It would be humbling if this research helped their cause.”

Tariqa’s next step will be to share her findings with the women she interviewed, as well as the Tibetan community back home in India. At the same time, she has a new research project—looking into PhD programs.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019 in
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