'Sultana's Dream And Padmarag' are boldly provocative works, particularly in the context of the era that spawned them.
Written in English in 1905, 'Sultana's Dream' is a delightful satirical work set in Ladyland, where men are in purdah and women firmly in charge of home and government.
Published in 1924 and translated here for the first time, 'Padmarag' complements 'Sultana's Dream' in its espousal of women's personal journeys towards emancipation. Resonant with autobiographical undertones, the novella is both a powerful indictment of male oppression and a celebration of Rokeya's faith in a universalist society where women, regardless of race, class, creed and religion, reject the diktat of a tyrannical patriarchal society in favour of a life devoted to improving their lot.
Playful, fascinating and intelligent, these novellas offer a keen insight into the psyche of a largely self-taught social activist who has, more than seventy years after her death, come to acquire near-iconic status in South Asia.