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Sultana's Dream is a classic work of Bengali science fiction and one of the first examples of feminist science fiction. This short story was written in 1905 by Rokeya Sakhawat Hussain, a Muslim feminist, writer and social reformer who lived in British India, in what is now Bangladesh. The word sultana here means a female sultan, a Muslim ruler.
"Sultana's Dream" was originally published in English in The Indian Ladies Magazine of Madras, and is considered part of Bengali literature. It depicts a feminist utopia in which women run everything and men are secluded, in a mirror-image of the traditional practice of purdah. The women are aided by science fiction-esque "electrical" technology which enables labourless farming and flying cars; the female scientists have discovered how to trap solar power and control the weather. This results in "a sort of gender-based Planet of the Apes where the roles are reversed and the men are locked away in a technologically advanced future."
Crime is eliminated, since men were considered responsible for all of it. The workday is only two hours long, since men used to waste six hours of each day in smoking. The religion is one of love and truth. Purity is held above all, such that the list of "sacred relations" (mahram) is widely extended.
- Indian English literature
- Social reformers of India
- The Begum's Fortune, an 1879 utopian science fiction novel by Jules Verne
- D. Bandyopadhyay. "স্বপনচারিনী: চিনিতে পারিনি? (Dream-Lady: Can't I Re-Cognize? (Begum Rokeya's Sultana's Dream))". academia.edu.
- Nesrine Malik (30 July 2009). "What happened to Arab science fiction?". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-01-30.