Sultana’s Utopian Awakening: An Ecocritical Reading of Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain’s <i>Sultana’s Dream<i>
The essay examines Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain’s seminal work in context of Utopian fiction, science fiction and ecofeminism. With Sultana’s Dream, Begum Rokeya invites women of her society to have an illusory experience of freedom that exists outside purdah and beyond the four walls of the zenana. Centring its focus on the woman question in context of the Bengali Muslim society of her time, the satiric narrative of Sulatana’s Dream (1905) takes into consideration the issues of gender, science, education and religion, and as the story proceeds, the concept of restriction as a master tool is set in reverse in such a provocative manner that the apparently simple writing of a “veiled” Muslim woman unveils a path of discourse that challenges the very foundation of Muslim patriarchal systemisation. Needless to say, such an audacious attempt raises more questions than it can answer, especially when the questions that are raised are yet to be asked by her fellow contemporary women.
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