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Begum Rokeya: The Sci-Fi Satirist

Begum Rokeya

The Sci-Fi Satirist

(1880–1932, India)

Begum Rokeya (also known as Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain) was an accomplished Muslim feminist, writer, activist and educator.

As usual, though, here at Scribblewits we’re going to talk about her HUMOR.

In particular, her story "Sultana’s Dream."

Published in 1908, it was ahead of its time!

It’s a sci-fi satire that depicts a futuristic utopia called LADYLAND where men’s and women’s roles are reversed.

So, what’s going on in LADYLAND?

Well, masculine traits are considered bad and feminine traits are considered good. Here's an excerpt:

CAN YOU IMAGINE??

In Ladyland, men are confined to their homes while the women work and run the city.

The queen of Ladyland is scientifically minded, and women invent solar heating and drive flying cars.

FLYING CARS, YOU GUYS

IN 1908

In her article "Two Dystopian Fantasies," Nilanjana Bhattacharya explains how Begum Royeka’s satire invites us to laugh at our world and open our minds to better possibilities:

“The humour appeals not only to our heart but to our intellect. After laughing at our heart’s content, we suddenly pause to ponder what we are laughing at. If it is the hierarchical structure we are laughing at, then we ought to laugh at the existing hierarchy, too.”

LAUGH! LAUGH WE SHALL!

Eff the hierarchy and the patriarchy and all the other archys.

Begum Rokeya Day is still celebrated in India every December 9, the anniversary of her death.

There is so much more to know about the satirical force that is Begum Rokeya, including her other writings and the school for girls that she ran for 24 years.

Read more:

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