The World of Muslim Women in Colonial Bengal, 1876-1939
Sonia Nishat Amin
This highly interesting book studies the cultural context of modernisation of middle-class Muslim women in late 19th- and 20th-century Bengal. Its frames of reference are the Bengal 'Awakening', the Reform Movements -- Brahmo/Hindi and Muslim -- and the Women's Question as articulated in material and ideological terms throughout the period. Tracing the emergence of the modern Muslim gentlewomen, the bhadramahilā, starting in 1876 when Nawab Faizunnesa Chaudhurani published her first book and ending with the foundation in 1939 of The Lady Brabourne College, the book gives an excellent analysis of the rise of a Muslim woman's public sphere and broadens our knowledge of Bengali social history in the colonial period.