Educating Women, (Not) Serving the Nation: The Interface of Feminism and Nationalism in the Works of Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain

Authors

  • Md. Rezaul Haque, Islamic University, Kushtia, Bangladesh

Abstract

Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain (1880-1932) wrote at a transitional time in the history of India. It was a time when Indian society was fast changing under the leadership of a new patriarchy, formed by the English-educated middle class. The emerging middle  class also led the anti-colonial nationalist movement. It is, therefore, important to read  Rokeya not only in terms of how she approached patriarchy but also in terms of its then newer manifestation in the form of nationalism. In her early works, Rokeya  appears to merge the national and woman question, regarding the liberation of the Indian women as part and parcel of the larger venture of national emancipation. The feminist agenda is actually conceptualised within a wider framework of nationalism. But midway in her writing and activist career, a shift seems to have taken place in relation to her engagement with the feminist agenda she has long been fighting to implement. For reasons elaborated in the main body of the present essay, she now came to consider the interests of Indian women as meriting independent treatment, initiating in the process a delinking of the two projects: feminist and nationalist. The separation of the two programmes finally enables her, I argue, to critique Indian nationalism in her later works. 

 

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Author Biography

Md. Rezaul Haque, Islamic University, Kushtia, Bangladesh

Dr. Md. Rezaul Haque is an Associate Professor in the Department of English, Islamic  University, Kushtia, Bangladesh. He has recently completed his PhD in the Department of  English, Creative Writing and Australian Studies, Flinders University, South Australia. His recent publications include “The Nation and One of Its Fragments in Kanthapura,†Transnational Literature 4: 1 (Nov. 2011) and The Shadow of the Precursor, co-edited with Diana Glenn, Ben Kooyman and Nena Bierbaum (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012). He is Translations, and History, Theory and Criticism Reviews Editor for Transnational Literature, and also a poet.

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Published

2013-06-15

How to Cite

Haque, Islamic University, Kushtia, Bangladesh, M. R. (2013). Educating Women, (Not) Serving the Nation: The Interface of Feminism and Nationalism in the Works of Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain. Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature, 7(2), 95–113. Retrieved from https://journals.iium.edu.my/asiatic/index.php/ajell/article/view/372

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Section

Articles on Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain

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