Sultana's Dream

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  • Paperback Edition
  • ISBN: 978-0-935312-83-6
  • Publication Date: 08-01-1988
  • Page Count: 90

ROKEYA SAKHAWAT HOSSAIN (1880-1932) was a Bengali Muslim writer and feminist activist who founded the first Muslim girls' school in Calcutta in 1911.

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Sultana's Dream

A Feminist Utopia and Selections from The Secluded One's
Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain

Translated by Roushan Jahan. Afterword by Hanna Papanek.

Sultana’s Dream, first published in 1905 in a Madras English newspaper, is a witty feminist utopia—a tale of reverse purdah that posits a world in which men are confined indoors and women have taken over the public sphere, ending a war nonviolently and restoring health and beauty to the world. "The Secluded Ones" is a selection of short sketches, first published in Bengali newspapers, illuminating the cruel and comic realities of life in purdah.

"A clever and appealing story of reversed purdah (seclusion of women) in Ladyland, where women overpower men through brains rather than brawn. Accompanying this story are selections from The Secluded Ones (1928), a factual account of extreme cases of purdah. Commentaries by scholars put the works of the little-known Hossain in a global and historical context. An interesting and informative work for Asian studies and women's studies collections."

—Library Journal

"This short book is a window opened too briefly onto a world whose exoticism is overshadowed only by its oppressiveness. Particularly chilling is Hossain's work's relevance to our times, as pointed out in the afterword when purdah and its variants are being revived in different social and religious movements."

—Publishers Weekly