University of South Asia, Bangladesh
The nineteenth century was a period of darkness, gloom and despair for the Muslim women of Bengal together with the Muslim women of the whole Indian subcontinent. Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain, the pioneer Bengali Muslim feminist, was a prominent writer on women’s issues, the lady with the lamp in the rights, education and modernization of women in Colonial Bengal. In her society, she was the herald of a new age when Muslim women would be fully vindicated as human beings. She found misinterpretation of Islam and social backwardness to cling to patriarchal tradition to be the root causes behind women’s unspeakable misery. Now women are looking forward to shaping their own lives, households, communities, and nations despite the restrictive gender ideologies and practices. Most of her writings are in Bengali but a few works of her are written in English. This article explores the world of women in South Asia, especially in Bangladesh, in light of Begum Rokeya’s Sultana’s Dream. In her society, she was the herald of a new age when Muslim women would be fully vindicated as human beings.
Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain, Muslim women, colonial Bengal, patriarchy