Siobhan Lambert-Hurley puts forward the importance for early Muslim female activists to balance continuity and innovation. By operating within the framework of Islam, these women built on traditional norms in order to introduce incremental change in terms of veiling, female education, marriage, motherhood and women's political rights. For the first time, this book analyzes the role of the ‘daughters of reform', the first generation of Muslim women who contributed to the reformist discourse, particularly at the regional level.
Based on numerous primary sources in Urdu, including the tracts, books, reports, letters and journal articles of Sultan Jahan Begam and the other women of Bhopal along with official records such as the reports of early organizations and institutions in the Bhopal State, the author sheds light on an important part of India’s history.
Drawing upon extensive life history interviews, this book contests the view that mobilizing women into the workplace brought about their liberation. Instead, the gendered redundancy they experienced was the culmination of a lifetime’s experiences of gender inequalities. Setting their life stories against a backdrop of great social-political upheaval in China, the book suggests that the women of this ‘unlucky generation’ have borne the brunt of sufferings caused by sacrifices they made for the development of socialist China.