Crossing Borders: Hindu-Muslim Relations in the Works of Rabindranath Tagore and Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain

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Abstract

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), Asia's first Nobel Laureate, and Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain (1880-1932), one of India's earliest Muslim feminist writers, were contemporaries in Bengali literature and two of the most acclaimed writers in the era of the Bengal Renaissance. Yet, somehow, critics have not often enough discussed them in a comparative light, emphasising their similarities in circumstances as well as in outlook. This could be because of the many obvious differences they have in their style, scope and nature of writing. For example, tagore was primarily a poet, although he wrote in other genres as well; Rokeya excelled in polemical prose, although she too wrote poetry and fiction. Tagore was more of a Romantic writer and idealist who saw reality through the eyes of a visionary, and though social reform was an important aspect of his writing, he never compromised his art for the sake of being 'a teacher' or giving 'moral lessons' (Das 1996: 737, 741). Rokeya, on the other hand, was a practical thinker and saw the edification of readers as the primary function of her writing; to her, literature was essentially a tool for reforming and improving society.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Feminist Foremother
Subtitle of host publicationCritical Essays on Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain
EditorsMohammad A. Quayum , Md Mahmudul Hasan
Place of PublicationHyderabad, India
PublisherOrient BlackSwan
Chapter12
Pages237-257
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9789386296009
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • India - Bengal
  • Authors - Bengali
  • Feminists
  • Feminism
  • Women social reformers
  • Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain

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