Home (‘Griha’) Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain

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This essay was first published in a Bengali magazine, Nabanur, in October 1904
(Bengali calendar: Ashwin 1311). It was republished in Antapur in January 1905, and included in Rokeya’s first collection of essays, Motichur (Sweet Globules), Vol. I, in 1907. The essay expresses the same sentiment as in Rokeya’s earlier essays, such as ‘Istrijatir Abanati’ (Woman’s Downfall) and ‘Ardhangi’ (The Female-half). In these previous essays she fiercely criticises the Indian patriarchal system for depriving women of all their rights and opportunities in society, and for wilfully subjugating them to a law of male primacy. In this essay, she carries the argument further to suggest that women’s subjugation has also rendered them homeless. Home is a place, Rokeya argues, where one finds rest, happiness and peace. But because Indian women have to constantly depend on the mercy and vagary of men, and have to spend their life in humouring their ‘masters’ and ‘keepers’ rather than in finding their own happiness, they can never be truly at home. To them, home is a like a ‘prison’. ‘For those who live
in subjugation and do not have the right to consider the house of their “keeper” as their own residence, home is like a prison. For one who is not happy in family life, and dares not to consider herself a member of the family, home cannot be a place of peace,’ Rokeya proffers in a blistering argument
Original languageEnglish
JournalTransnational Literature
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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