A Feminist Foremother: Critical Essays on Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain
Mohammad A. Quayum and Md. Mahmudul Hasan (Eds.)
140 x 216 mm
Year of Publishing
Territorial Rights
Orient BlackSwan

This volume looks at the life and works of Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain (1880–1932), arguably Bengal’s earliest and boldest feminist, revered as a crusader for the emancipation and advancement of women, in particular Bengali Muslim women. Through her spirited writings and her activism, Rokeya challenged the two pillars of patriarchy – hierarchical family structures and religious dogma. She demanded that the ‘family’ be restructured on the basis of gender equality. A devout Muslim, she asked that women be recognised as human beings in their own right within practices of Islam.

Born into an orthodox Muslim family, for Rokeya, the most vital way in which women could empower themselves was through education. The Sakhawat Memorial Girls’ School in Kolkata, started by Rokeya in 1911, still stands as an enduring testament to that belief.

This collection of biographical and critical essays places Rokeya within the socio-cultural and historical context of her times to better appreciate her literary and social contributions in the face of the formidable challenges she faced as a Bengali Muslim woman. The essays also aim to understand why the extraordinary vision she had, not just for women but for an ideal, more gender-just society, continues to be as radical, powerful and relevant today, almost a century after her death.

This volume will be a valuable asset to students and scholars of women’s and gender studies, as also of South Asian literature and culture.

Mohammad A. Quayum is Professor of English at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), and Adjunct Professor of English and Creative Writing at Flinders University, Australia.

Md. Mahmudul Hasan is Associate Professor of English at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM).

Publisher’s Acknowledgements
by Mohammad A. Quayum and Md. Mahmudul Hasan
1. Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain: A Biographical Essay
Mohammad A. Quayum
2. Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain and the Gender Debate among Muslim Intellectuals in Late Colonial Bengal
Mahua Sarkar
3. Inspired by the Bengal Renaissance: Rokeya’s Role in the Education and Emancipation of Bengali (Muslim) Women
Mohammad A. Quayum
4. From Sakhawat Memorial School to Rokeya Hall: A Journey Towards Language as Self-Respect
Sarmistha Dutta Gupta
5. Contextualising Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain’s Work in South Asian Muslim Feminism
Md. Mahmudul Hasan
6. A Feminist Critique of Patriarchy: Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain
Bharati Ray
7. A Not So Banal Evil: Rokeya in Confrontation with Patriarchy
Srimati Mukherjee
8. The Private-Public Dichotomy in Rokeya’s Work
Md. Mahmudul Hasan
9. Educating Women, (Not) Serving the Nation: The Interface of Feminism and Nationalism in the Works of Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain
Md. Rezaul Haque
10. Marginalisation of Muslim Writers in South Asian Literature: Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain’s English Works
Md. Mahmudul Hasan
11. Sultana’s Utopian Awakening: An Ecocritical Reading of Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain’s Sultana’s Dream
Fayeza Hasanat
12. Crossing Borders: Hindu-Muslim Relations in the Works of Rabindranath Tagore and Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain
Mohammad A. Quayum
13. Entertainer-Educators: Humour, Gender and Education in Selected Writings of Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain, Lila Majumdar and Nabaneeta Dev Sen
Barnita Bagchi
Notes on Contributors

1. Critical Review of A Feminist Foremother Critical Essays on Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain, Edited by Mohammad A. Quayum and Md. Mahmudul Hasan | Published Intellectual Discourse.
2. Book Extract | Published in Indian Cultural Forum, December 2016.
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