A Contemplation on ‘Sultana’s Dream

Main Article Content

Priyanka Chakrabarty


Sultana’s Dream is a piece written by the most prolific Muslim woman intellectual Begum Rokeya Shekhawat, published in the Ladies Magazine in 1905, from Madras. She spoke against patriarchy in Muslim community. Her Sultana’s Dream depicts a dream sequence but it is not simply a sequence for entert ainment. It rather speaks for a transformation in society to bring women out of the boundaries of four walls of home and to work in the public sphere without interference of men at all. Through a dream, she challenges the dogmas, associated with Muslim women. Her own life is an example of many such practices, like confinement in a j
enana system, etc. This piece attempts to review as to how beautifully the text is written and how radically forceful it is that encourages the readers to think of the degraded condition of women and how women particularly, never question the same. She brings about certain unbelievable sequences of those days
through her writing. At that time, women’s education itself was a taboo. However, some consensus were developed by the reformers in both Hindu and Muslim communities—for them education for women was essential so that she become a good companion for her husband and a good mother. An idea that women need education for her individual growth was very rare. In spite of living and growing in such a society, it is contemplative as to how Begum Rokeya Shekhawat could manage to be so radical in her thoughts to challenge the patriarchal culture itself. She had managed to bring women into politics and scientific world, both traditionally male-dominated bastions. She had pronounced certain scientific marvels, which is relevant even today. Her idea of women’s’ participation in politics is simply ahead of her time but relevant in contemporary Indian politics. Here, an attempt has been made to review her pioneering work. Towards the end, there is
also an effort to see the condition of Muslim women in contemporary India.



Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Chakrabarty, P. (2014). A Contemplation on ‘Sultana’s Dream. Space and Culture, India, 2(1), 33-39. https://doi.org/10.20896/saci.v2i1.57


Basant, Rakesh, (2012). Education and Employment among Muslims in India: An Analysis of Patterns and Trends, W.P. No. 2012-09-03, Research and Publications, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

Basu, Srimati (2001). Secluded Scholars: Women’s Education and Muslim Social Reform in Colonial India by Gail, The Journal of Asian Studies, 60 (3), 903-905.

Bhattacharyya, R. (2013). Are We Empowered? Stories of Young Indian Working Women, Saarbrücken, Germany: Lap Lambert Academic Publishing, ISBN: 978-3-659-20580-4.

Bhattacharyya, R. (2009). Examining the Changing Status and Role of Middle Class Assamese Women: Lessons from the Lives of University Students, PhD thesis, Newcastle University, UK.

Bhattacharyya, R. (forthcoming). Understanding the Spatialities of Sexual Assault against Indian Women in India, Journal Gender, Place and Culture.

Bhattacharya, P. and R. Borah (2014). Drinking Water in Guwahati City: Its Past, Present Status and Associated Problems, Journal Space and Culture, India, 1(3), 65-78.

De Souza, Eunice (2006). Recovering a Tradition: Forgotten Women's Voices, Economic and Political Weekly, 41(17) 1642-1645.

Hossain, Begum, Rokeya, Sakha (2005). Sultana’s Dream, Tara Publishing, UK.

Hossain, Rokeya, Sakhawat (1988). Sultana’s Dream: A Feminist Utopia and Selections from the Secluded Ones, edited and translated by Roushan Jahan, Feminist Press, New York.

Kaushik, Poonam and Monica Munjial (2013). Muslim Women and Minority Rights in India, Mainstream, LI (12), available at: http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article4045.html (accessed on 5 May 2014)

Mohammed, Aariz (2013). Demographic Dividend and Indian Muslims - i, The Milli Gazette, available at: http://www.milligazette.com/news/6953-demographic-dividend-and-indian-muslims-i (accessed 03 April 2014)

Rastogi, Sonya (2007). Indian Muslim Women’s Education and Employment in the Context of Modernisation, Religious Discrimination and Disadvantage, and the Rise of Hindu Fundamentalism and Muslim Identity Politics, Dissertation, Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Maryland, College Park, USA.

Rampton, M. (2008). The Three Waves of Feminism, Pacific, Pacific University, http://www.pacificu.edu/magazine_archives/2008/fall/echoes/feminism.cfm (accessed on 5 May 2014).

Sanghi, Sunita and A. Srija (2014). Employment Trends among Religious Communities of India, Economic and Political Weekly, XLIX (17), 22-24.

Shinde, S.V. and Annie John (2012). Educational Status of Muslim Women in India, Review of Research, 1(VI), 1-4.

Siwach, Sukhbir (2010, April 2). Brutality of Honour Killing Shocks Court, The Times of India, available at:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/Brutality-of-honour-killing-shocks-court/articleshow/5753302.cms (accessed 03 April 2012).

Subramanian, Aishwarya (2013). Sultana's Dream by Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain, Strange Horizons, available at: http://www.strangehorizons.com/reviews/2013/09/sultanas_dream_.shtml (accessed 03 April 2014).

Sur, Esita (2014). Revisiting the Marginal Locations of Muslim Women on Various Sites in India, Journal Space and Culture, India, 1(3), 44-52.

Tong, Rosemary (2014, 4th Edition). Feminist Thought- A More Comprehensive Introduction, Westview Press, USA.

Zaretsky, Eli (1988).What Is Feminism? by Juliet Mitchell; Ann Oakley, Labour/Le Travail, 22, 259-266.