Begum Rokeya

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Begum Rokeya

Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain (9 December 1880 – 9 December 1932), was a Bengali writer, educationist, social activist, and advocate of women's rights.


  • Although I am grateful to you for the respect that you have expressed towards me by inviting me to preside over the conference, I am forced to say that you have not made the right choice. I have been locked up in the socially oppressive iron casket of 'porda' for all my life. I have not been able to mix very well with people – as a matter of fact, I do not even know what is expected of a chairperson. I do not know if one is supposed to laugh, or to cry.
    • When she was asked, in 1926, to chair the Bengal women's educational conference.[1]
  • The opponents of the female education say that women will be unruly...fie ! They call themselves muslims and yet go against the basic tenet of islam which gives equal right to education. If men are not led astray once educated, why should women?
    • In 1926, when she addressed the bengal women's education conference[2]
  • Your kitchen is not inferior to a queen's boudoir!' I replied with a pleasant smile, 'but we must leave it now; for the gentlemen may be cursing me for keeping them away from their duties in the kitchen so long.' We both laughed heartily.
  • If today I get back with you, our conservative grandmothers will say to other women rebelling against gender injustices, Look, even a rebel like Jainab has also surrendered. I don't believe that only married life can be the ultimate success for women.
    • Padmarag (1924)[3]
  • Had God Himself intended women to be inferior, He would have ordained it so that mothers would have given birth to daughters at the end of the fifth month of pregnancy. The supply of mother’s milk would naturally have been half of that in case of a son. But that is not the case. How can it be? Is not God just and most merciful?
    • On God Gives, Man Robs , 1927.[4]
  • 'Why do you allow yourselves to be shut up?' 'Because it cannot be helped as they are stronger than women.' 'A lion is stronger than a man, but it does not enable him to dominate the human race. You have neglected the duty you owe to yourselves and you have lost your natural rights by shutting your eyes to your own interests.

Quote about Begum Rokeya[edit]

  • Begum Rokeya had dreamt of a society where women would be magistrates, judges and barristers and that has come true as many women are already there in such posts.
  • She was much ahead of her time and society in understanding the causes of its degradation and in setting up a correct approach to address them. She rightly realised that without empowering women, a society can never flourish. Hence, the thematic thread that runs through all her intellectual efforts is a concern for equitable gender relations – feminism.

External links[edit]

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