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Sultana’s Dream by Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain

The short story Sultana’s Dream by Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain reflects the ideas about gender equality and emphasizes on the role of women in modern India. It is about a Sultana who is dreaming of a place called LadyLand where there is no crime and violence and where women are much superior to men. Men in this society are just staying inside of their houses and just doing what they are supposed to do in the house, which is the work done by women in the India (Hossein, 1905).

It gives a picture of a feminist utopia, and in this world men are kept away in isolation, in a way that corresponds or is in relation with the traditional practice of Muslim of purdah which is intended for women. As an effect, women here run almost everything, which becomes possible by the science fictional equipments and machineries that make labourless farming and flying cars possible. Crime here has been eliminated, since almost all of them are done by men.

The length of work everyday is only two hours, given that men used to throw away the six hours of each and every day just by smoking. Religion in this world is synonymous to truth and love, more accurately than any time-honored devotion with a history of disagreeing with the rights of the women. This story of the Sultana’s Dream shows the realistic stature of women in India and almost in any other nations where women are usually kept inside the houses to do nothing but the household chores then take care of her family.

This is what women see in the real world and life in India particularly in the Bengali Muslim society. Women here are like being confined most of the time in their homes and are required to wear a sort of scarf always to hide their faces and hair. In India women are kept in this status for the reason that they should keep away from the public as a way of providing them protection. Women tend to have an effect that makes the women in the society of Bengali Muslim’s view it as if they are deprived of the rights and privileges that men can enjoy.

In the British Empire women were usually outnumbered by men, and they were usually encouraged to travel to the different sites of the British Empire to find the opportunities and establish their lives which they can not do in Britain. During the Age of New Imperialism which was in the late 19th century the number of women grew larger than men in Britain because of the ever-increasing concern of the connections between indigenous women and British men.

And these encouraged women to travel to the colonies to protect the social hierarchy of the colonial world and to preserve racial purity of the British since they ought to believe that men should dominate the social system and power should also be passed on from father to son (Bayly, 1988). And in the period of the British colonization in China, the Chinese elite and the colonial government have preserved the status quo and it was accomplished however by the authentic protection of women and in the early 1880’s they established the Society for the Protection of Women and Children.

And also in India in the late 19th century women of the colonial government which was Britain were also protected and enjoyed a way of life of luxury with a large number of servants, and these women felt the prestige and superiority of the colonial race where they belong. This opportunity was given to women because they needed to be protected by white men from what was supposed to be the uncontrolled obsession of colonized men and also because the arrival of white women in the colonies stopped the sexual relationships between indigenous women and British men (Bayly, 1988).

The story of Sultana’s Dream runs challenges the view of the British men to women during the British colonial system in the late 19th century because the short story made by Hossein gives focus on the equal rights that should be given to men and women and also the leveling up of the importance or significance of women in the society which was depicted in the part of the story where Sultana was dreaming of a place where women are definitely superior to men and men are those who are not allowed to stay at home.

In the British colonial view of the protection of women, it seems that women were only given the chance to live a life of luxury in the different sites of the British colony for the reason that it is necessary because in this places there is women trafficking and the British women would be the means to end the relationships of British men and indigenous women. That is why in this view it seems that women are only used and only given importance because they are the only way that they think that can preserve the racial purity of the British colonizers and the social hierarchy of the colonial world.

And in the story of Sultana’s Dream there was a part that told showed the very importance of women in their society and what roles have they accomplished for the men and the nation for them to be given high importance. Because there was a part were all the women defended the whole nation from the colonizers, because the men were already wounded and just staying in the zenanas and couldn’t do anything more to fight for the nation (Hossein, 1905).

And also in the short story of Hossein, since it is written in a manner corresponding to the Muslim’s traditional practice of purdah (the practice of preventing men from seeing women by physical segregation and women hiding all the parts of their body) to women, the women of LadyLand ran everthing with the use of science-fiction-esque electronic technology which creates them the chance to farm without that much effort, and to travel without any hassle with the use of flying cars.

In this aspect of the story, it showed that the women since they are more superior to men can also work by using their technological equipments to lessen the physical work that is required and mostly can only be done by men. This part of the story tries to tell that, the women want to be given the chance to be viewed as with equal capabilities with men, that they can work, they can fight that is why they should exist more significantly.

In the view of the whole story, Hossein as one of the women who experiences these sort of inequality between men and women at that time, worked with his writings and fresh knowledge of English to present to the whole world her challenges to the different views which were all similar in the manner of how they look at women in the society.

In the Sultana’s perfect state where women are more important than men, it can be derived that women really possess the want and probably the capability of thinking like men, but only they lack a bit in the level of physical exertion where men are superior. So in the story in order to eliminate that inefficiency of women, Hossein used the existence of scientific technology to be used in the fields of work that needed high levels of physical exertion (Hossein, 1905). And also in that way it is showed and wants to be given importance that women can also think efficiently as men do.

Women have the ability to think of ways in order to live that is why women should not be kept only in the houses to do nothing and waste the potentials each woman have that can help in the improvement of the life in any society (Bose, 2004).

References:

BAYLY, C. A. (1988) Indian Society and the Making of the British Empire, University of Cambridge. BOSE, A. J. S. (2004 ) Modern South Asia: History, Culture, Political Economy. HOSSAIN, R. S. (1905) The Sultana’s Dream, The Indian Ladies Magazine

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