I am Heena, and currently living in the cougar town of Pullman, Washington, USA. Originally from the northern quarters of Gorakhpur, India, I am a PhD student at Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, Washington State University, USA.
I study the Oriental and Occidental assumptions about the veiled Muslim women and is particularly interested in the Muslim women’s perceptions of the nature and role of fashion in their communities and the extent to which women use the hijab to assert or reframe their gender and Muslim identities.
I am basically a writer masquerading as a researcher for quite some time now. Previously, I was a print journalist based out of India with over five years of reporting/writing experience and have published with Indian national dailies such as The Hindu Business Line, India Today, Platform Magazine, DailyO, and Hindustan Times, among others.
Within the niche of words, I don multiple hats having written from something as cryptic as business to something as earthly as books. At Hindustan Times, New Delhi, I was the books editor for their entertainment and lifestyle supplement.
I was also a part of the inaugural cohort of nine-month long seminar, Muslim Women, and the Media Training Institute, organized by University of California, Davis towards which I completed a journalistic project chronicling the voice of Muslim women of India. The Institute is funded by the Henry Luce Foundation.
Back in India, I completed my undergraduate degree (English Literature, Political Science and Economics) from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, followed by a Master of Business Economics from University of Delhi, a post-graduate diploma from Asian College of Journalism, Chennai, and a Master of Arts in English from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.
I have a certain love for literal word. In the summer of 2017, I completed an online certificate course by Iowa State University on ‘Writing Identities and Social Issues in Poetry and Plays’. I have also found print space in various international literary journals such as Ordinary Madness by Weasel Press, Tweet Lit, and Counterclock, among others. This love finds an echo in a blog I maintain for poetic prose (https://hkpoetrypan.wordpress.com/). I am also a member of International Women’s Writing Guild.
Not surprisingly then, my dream job is to become a full-time writer, more like a modern-day Jane Austen minus the regrets. Like her, I have not travelled a whole lot, but have managed escape into the deepest psyche of human fiber through the musty old paperbacks bought and borrowed from tiny bookshops and elderly libraries. Although born to a military man, I have little of his practical sensibility in me and whole dollop of dream visions running in my blood.
My favorite museum is National Crafts Museum and Hastkala Academy on the bend around Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, India. Conceived as a timeless Indian village, the twilight air here smells of sepia and history. There is much in the chatter of the moment even as odd ball crafts from unheard nook of my country find home under its thatched roof and hay walls. There is much to rock in this quaint corner of bamboo leaves over a kulhad of chai and charcha.
The biggest issue facing girls is the increasing crime against them and lack of safe spaces for their wholesomeness to bloom and become. This world requires a refurbish in terms of design and geography to provide safe havens for little women on their march to become good wives and more.
I am excited to be a part of Girl Museum team! I could not have found a warmer hearth for my girl cells to flourish.
Girl Museum Inc.