We both admire Begum Rokeya as a person and for her pioneering role in the emancipation of women, especially Muslim women. We first read her Sultanas Dream and loved it as one of the best written books on woman’s position in the human family. The second book Aborodhbasini (Secluded Women) consisted of hauntingly truthful stories of women in purdah and how they have been secluded from the mainstream of life by men for ages in all societies – the worst being in Rokeya’s homeland Bengal especially by the Muslims. Padmarag was her novel that we read and admired her courage for portraying the awakening and uprising of some Bengali women belonging to all religions by establishing an institution where they could live a good life. For over fifty years together we have acquired and read most of the works on her life and work. In November 2010 in consultation with Dr. Najma Chowdhury, Maleka Begum, and Dr. Rabia Bhuiyan of the Department of Women and Gender Studies (DWGS), University of Dhaka, and Professor Sirajul Islam, President of the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh we decided to write a book on Begum Rokeya’s life and work within the larger framework of international movement for women’s rights and emancipation. We focused our attention on works available in English even though we have consulted a number of books in Bengali, Urdu, and other languages. The present book is the first result of our work so far that we believe is worth publishing in spite of its limitations of not covering a number of other important works and projects both nationally and internationally. It is important to add here that Bangladesh is an exemplary nation-state for the study of the changing position of women in all societies. The range of themes covered here by national and international scholars over the years should serve as a good starting point for more rewarding studies, research and publications. Anwar Dil and Afia Dil Anwar Dil was born in Jullundur, Punjab, and raised in Abbottabad in the North-West Frontier Province. Educated at Government College, Lahore; Islamia College, Peshawar; University of Michigan; and Indiana University. He was Professor of Language Science and Communication at United States International University in San Diego, California (1973-2003). In Pakistan he served for sixteen years as Lecturer in English Literature at a number of colleges, and as Professor and Language Specialist at the West Pakistan Education Extension Centre, Lahore. He is the author and editor of over forty books including nineteen volumes in the distinguished Language Science and National Development Series published by Stanford University Press. His internationally acclaimed books include: Humans in Universe (1983), Norman Borlaug on World Hunger (1997) and Bengali Language Movement and Creation of Bangladesh (with Afia Dil, 2000, 2011) and six books on Intercultural Bangladesh (sixth book: An Intercultural Collage, 2012). Afia Dil was born and raised in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Educated at the University of Dhaka; University of New Zealand; University of Michigan; and Stanford University. She was Professor of English at Eden Girls’ College, Dhaka (1954-61) and Professor and Language Specialist at the East Pakistan Education Extension Centre, Dhaka (1961-62) and at the West Pakistan Education Extension Centre, Lahore (1962-65). She has taught at the Centre for South Asian Languages and Literature at the University of Missouri, Columbia, and in the Department of Linguistics at the San Diego State University. She was Professor of Linguistics and Communication at United States International University until 2003. Her books in Bengali include, among others, her acclaimed travelogue Je desh mone pare and Bengali version of Helen Keller‘s My Teacher. Her books in English: Two Traditions of the Bengali Language (Cambridge, 1991) and Bengali Nursery Rhymes (2010) have been internationally acclaimed.
Womens Changing Position in Bangladesh Tribute to Begum Rokeya