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Sultana's Dream: And Selections from The Secluded Ones written by Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain

 

Sultana's Dream: And Selections from The Secluded Ones written by Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain

Overview:

Sultana’s Dream, first published in 1905 in a Madras English newspaper, is a witty feminist utopia—a tale of reverse purdah that posits a world in which men are confined indoors and women have taken over the public sphere, ending a war nonviolently and restoring health and beauty to the world.

"The Secluded Ones" is a selection of short sketches, first published in Bengali newspapers, illuminating the cruel and comic realities of life in purdah.

Suggested for course use in:
History Indian Literature South Asian Studies Utopian Fiction Women’s Studies

Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain (1880 - 1932) was a Bengali Muslim writer and feminist activist who founded the first Muslim girls’ school in Calcutta in 1911.

Synopsis:

Sultana’s Dream, first published in 1905 in a Madras English newspaper, is a witty feminist utopia—a tale of reverse purdah that posits a world in which men are confined indoors and women have taken over the public sphere, ending a war nonviolently and restoring health and beauty to the world.

"The Secluded Ones" is a selection of short sketches, first published in Bengali newspapers, illuminating the cruel and comic realities of life in purdah.

Suggested for course use in:
History Indian Literature South Asian Studies Utopian Fiction Women’s Studies

Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain (1880 - 1932) was a Bengali Muslim writer and feminist activist who founded the first Muslim girls’ school in Calcutta in 1911.

Publishers Weekly

Hossain, born in north India (now Bangladesh) in 1880, was raised under the constraints of purdah, the Indian tradition that physically and spiritually isolates women, and devoted her life to writing about female oppression under purdah and to attempting to break through the stifling seclusion. The ironic ``Sultana's Dream,'' first published in 1905, is a short story that reverses purdah: the narrator dreams she travels to the utopian Ladyland, a peaceful and technologically advanced state ruled by women, where men are docile, quarantined servants trained to cook and clean. ``The Secluded Ones,'' published in 1928, is a collection of nonfiction reports on the incredible behavior that purdah demands from both women and men. Hossain tells, for example, of the matron who fell onto railway tracks but could not be rescued because of taboos against contact between the sexes. This short book is a window openedtoo brieflyonto a world whose exoticism is overshadowed only by its oppressiveness. Particularly chilling is Hossain's work's relevance to our timesas pointed out in the afterwordwhen purdah and its variants are being revived in different social and religious movements. (August)

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Title: Sultana's Dream: And Selections from The Secluded Ones

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