While browsing through Labyrinth books the other day, I came across Sultana’s Dream A Feminist Utopia and selections from the secluded ones by Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain (1880-1932), edited and translated by Roushan Jahan, afterword by Hanna Papanek.
The book looks at purdah-the seclusion and segregation of women from three women’s perspectives. The first an early twentieth century Muslim writer Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain, the second by a modern Bangladeshi literary scholar and feminist activist and third by a modern North American feminist social scientist familiar with South Asia and the purdah, she provides a global contextual analysis.
Sultana’s dream was written by the author to impress her husband with her newly learnt ability in English, “to pass the time, I wrote the story” she mentions. The book is a utopian work with a lot of cleaver satire. The book ridicules Indian stereotypes and customs.
In Ladyland men are part of society but shorn of power. They live in seclusion and look afte…