God Gives Man Robs Analysis

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“God Gives, Man Robs”
While Sultana’s Dream speaks about Rokeya’s educational philosophy, her ‘God Gives, Man Robs’ (Hossain, 2006 [1927]) explains the most important aspect of her feminist philosophy, Islamic feminism. (Hasan, “Marginalisation” 189) Struggling for women’s education and engagement in public life and for an enlarged political role for women, she did not go against her religion or cultural values, however (189). Hossain (1992: 4) notes: ‘When Rokeya looked for role models to show that emancipation was possible, she turned not to Western women but those of the subcontinent or the Muslim world’. In her denigration of the oppressive patriarchal social structure, she critiques a host of Indian socio-cultural inflections mixed with Islam, not religion itself. She promotes ‘idealised Islamic values’ (Hossain, 1992: 8) and highlights Islam’s emancipatory aspects by looking at Qur’an and Hadith through
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Her foregrounding of feminist ideas in indigenous culture reflects, among other things, the nationalist fervour of her time. She was against the adoption of Western culture without understanding its value in a different social setting (190). She compares a person who relinquishes her own cultural belonging and houses elements of different cultures within herself with a disfigured, strange animal (Hossain, 2006 [1931]: 249). She wants women to be educated at par with men, yet at the same time does not want them to be divorced from their native cultural values. She argues that Western education and feminist ideas must be acknowledged for the good and harm they can potentially bring to the people of India (190). Rokeya (Hossain, 2006 [1931]: 494–95)
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