Chapter

Sarala and Rokeya: Brief Biographical Sketches

Bharathi Ray

in Early Feminists of Colonial India

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780198083818
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199082186 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198083818.003.0001
Sarala and Rokeya: Brief Biographical Sketches

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This chapter briefly reviews the lives of the two women, Sarala Devi Chaudhurani and Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain. Sarala and Rokeya were contemporaries, and were both concerned with the condition and status of women and their advancement. Sarala grew up in a happy, free, and culturally rich environment. She became a great leader of women. On the other hand, Rokeya’s childhood was not as happy as it might have been since her life was governed by forced seclusion from the outside world. The principal characteristic of her compositions was sarcasm and rebellion, and her primary theme was protest against the degenerate anti-women customs of her community. Her Sultana’s Dream was symbolic of that protest. The passion and work of both these women arose from within their families, in interaction with the tumultuous environments. They acutely sensed that the position of women in Bengal, whether Hindu or Muslim, was unbearable. In addition, they shared the view that the most effective recipe for enhancing women’s lives was education and building women’s organizations.

Keywords: Sarala Devi Chaudhurani; Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain; Sultana’s Dream; status of women; anti-women customs; Indian nationalism; traditional families; nineteenth century Bengal; Hindu families; Muslim families; Hindu patriarchs; Muslim men; Women’s education; women’s organizations

Chapter.  11968 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literature

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