Authors: Dr. Humaira M. Afridi
Muslim women have rarely been written about, and if they are ever talked about, it is veiled by a distance; which makes the presentation either too exotic or too pathetic. This paper gives a brief outline of Indian Muslim women’s portrayal in literature and how some visionaries from different walks of life made efforts to give them a humane treatment and bestowed on them places of prominence in their literary works. Writers like Altaf Husain Háli and Ruqaiyah Sikhawat Hossain, two literary figures of repute of the last century, dreamt of bringing changes in the status of women in Indian society and produced some excellent literary pieces with women as the focus. The difference between the two writers centered round their gender. While Háli could present his aspirations in realistic terms for being a male writer; but Hossain, a lady, was still hiding behind the shroud of social strictures. Thus, her stories are only utopian dreams, visions that were too imaginary in character, unachievable aspirations resting on foundations of bitter truth. However, her writings were no less significant as they attacked the prevailing male dominance in the Indian society and were discourses on the desirability of bringing changes in every sphere of life in order to create a balance to ‘make the mother earth turn into heaven’ for the two genders.
Keywords: Majalisun Nisa, Sultana’s Dream, education, enlightenment, society, independence.