EXPLORING THE INTERSECTIONALITY OF BEGUM ROKEYA'S FEMINIST IDEAS: A HOLISTIC ANALYSIS OF WOMEN'S EMPOWERMENT, NATIONALISM, AND COLONIALISM IN BENGAL
Abstract : The term "Begum" refers to a title used in South Asia to address a Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain, a prominent feminist figure in the Indian subcontinent, first advocated for women's empowerment within the region. She also conducted an analysis of the factors contributing to the subjugation of women, highlighting the restrictive role imposed by patriarchal norms that confined women to domestic service and caregiving duties. Building upon the concept of justice and fairness, Rokeya used radical, liberal, and Marxist feminist ideologies to elucidate the systemic exploitation perpetuated by the patriarchal structure. The author further stated that the origins of poverty among women may be attributed mostly to inheritance discrimination and social marginalisation. These factors give rise to several obstacles that perpetuate injustice and economic disparity, as well as undermine women's self-worth, both before to and after marriage. In this study, Rokeya's work on the moral foundation of social justice is examined. Her thoughts are categorised into four fundamental frameworks of social justice, including redistribution, acknowledgment, affirmation, and transformation, which align with Fraser's conceptualization of social justice. Rokeya's work suggests a focus on using diverse feminist methodologies that are tailored to the specific socio-economic framework of a given community. The objective is to dismantle societal limitations by addressing discrimination via the implementation of justice, acknowledgment within the social sphere, and the redistribution of inheritance. Rokeya posits that the acquisition of education by women is necessary in order to confront prevailing societal prejudice, as well as to foster economic empowerment that aligns with the development of individual capabilities. Rokeya advocated for the acknowledgment of society in public spaces and the equitable redistribution of inheritance and ownership rights across all aspects of social formation, highlighting radical, liberal, and Marxist feminist ideologies. She said that economic empowerment, along with education, may serve as a catalyst for achieving justice for women. Hence, a comprehensive understanding of Rokeya's work necessitates acknowledging her radical, liberal, and Marxist feminist concepts, which serve as a partial elucidation. This is due to the fact that her pursuit of justice encompasses several feminist viewpoints, with a particular emphasis on fostering capacity development via economic empowerment.
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Methodology of the Study: This analysis integrates the unique perspectives of many authors on Rokeya's feminist ideals, as derived from secondary literature including a journal article, a newspaper story, and a fortnightly Bengali magazine. In order to develop a comprehensive analysis of Rokeya's feminist ideology, the scholars have recognised and examined the liberal, radical, and Marxist critiques of patriarchal structures present in her writings. In the second phase, the authors undertake a comparative analysis of the user's notion and Fraser's Social Justice framework, with the primary objective of elucidating and examining the intricate arguments in order to mitigate the potential conflicts arising from other interpretations put out by other scholars. The act of centralising Rokeya's thoughts on social justice, which include the principles of redistribution and acknowledgment, tends to be beneficial for the writers. Conclusion : The primary focus for scholars should not lie in categorising Rokeya as a liberal, radical, or Marxist, but rather in prioritising an understanding of the realisations that motivated her to write against prejudice. The existence of social and economic inequality contributes to the development of an inhospitable atmosphere for those engaged in caregiving and service provision specifically targeting women. Through the attainment of economic empowerment and the cultivation of awareness facilitated by education, women are able to confront the challenges of life on equal footing with men. Rokeya, an influential feminist intellectual, advocated for the recognition of women as fully realised human beings and positioned them as the primary agents in challenging patriarchal power structures, with the aim of achieving justice. If the focus is directed towards the themes of justice and equality in Rokeya's literary works pertaining to economic empowerment, the prevailing discussion over her ideological classification as a liberal, radical, or Marxist thinker will be resolved. The modern significance of her concept is focused on the pursuit of social justice for women by means of economic empowerment and social acknowledgment, so fostering a more egalitarian society for women.