L’amnésie généralisée lorsqu’il s’agit de replacer les femmes dans l’histoire fait partie intégrante de notre réalité. Pourtant, elles sont nombreuses à avoir bouleversé les normes sociétales, à avoir repoussé les frontières de l’acceptable, à avoir déconstruit les esprits. Ainsi, en 1905, l’autrice bengalie Rokeya Sakhawat Hussain (1880-1932) publiait en anglais un rêve aux aspects d’utopie féministe. Ce rêve est celui de Sultana, qui, le temps d’une nuit, découvre Ladyland, une société gérée par les femmes et où les hommes sont gardés dans des mardana (équivalent des zenanas, la partie de la maison réservée aux femmes dans certains pays d’Asie). Ce texte est incroyable par sa modernité et sa vision intersectionnelle. Elle y aborde tour à tour la condition des femmes, des animaux (à n’en pas douter, elle partage une vision antispéciste) et des solutions pour une société basée sur l’échange, l’équilibre et l’harmonie, et non sur la poursuite du capital et des biens. La vertu des femmes réside dans l’accès à la connaissance qui est, plus qu’une opportunité enfin offerte ici, le bien-fondé de leur société. Il n’existe malheureusement pas de traduction en français du texte, alors nous partagerons ici un extrait en anglais. Mais ne perdez pas espoir, nous avons en tête chez Deuxième Page de pallier ce manque.

 

Sultana’s Dream

‘You need not be afraid of coming across a man here. This is Ladyland, free from sin and harm. Virtue herself reigns here.’
By and by I was enjoying the scenery. Really it was very grand. I mistook a patch of green grass for a velvet cushion. Feeling as if I were walking on a soft carpet, I looked down and found the path covered with moss and flowers.
‘How nice it is,’ said I.
‘Do you like it?’ asked Sister Sara. (I continued calling her ‘Sister Sara,’ and she kept calling me by my name).
‘Yes, very much; but I do not like to tread on the tender and sweet flowers.’
‘Never mind, dear Sultana; your treading will not harm them; they are street flowers.’
‘The whole place looks like a garden,’ said I admiringly. ‘You have arranged every plant so skillfully.’
‘Your Calcutta could become a nicer garden than this if only your countrymen wanted to make it so.’
‘They would think it useless to give so much attention to horticulture, while they have so many other things to do.’
‘They could not find a better excuse,’ said she with smile.
I became very curious to know where the men were. I met more than a hundred women while walking there, but not a single man.
‘Where are the men?’ I asked her.
‘In their proper places, where they ought to be.’
‘Pray let me know what you mean by “their proper places”.’
‘O, I see my mistake, you cannot know our customs, as you were never here before. We shut our men indoors.’
‘Just as we are kept in the zenana?’
‘Exactly so.’
‘How funny,’ I burst into a laugh. Sister Sara laughed too.
‘But dear Sultana, how unfair it is to shut in the harmless women and let loose the men.’
‘Why? It is not safe for us to come out of the zenana, as we are naturally weak.’
‘Yes, it is not safe so long as there are men about the streets, nor is it so when a wild animal enters a marketplace.’
‘Of course not.’
‘Suppose, some lunatics escape from the asylum and begin to do all sorts of mischief to men, horses and other creatures; in that case what will your countrymen do?’
‘They will try to capture them and put them back into their asylum.’
‘Thank you! And you do not think it wise to keep sane people inside an asylum and let loose the insane?’
‘Of course not!’ said I laughing lightly.
‘As a matter of fact, in your country this very thing is done! Men, who do or at least are capable of doing no end of mischief, are let loose and the innocent women, shut up in the zenana! How can you trust those untrained men out of doors?’
‘We have no hand or voice in the management of our social affairs. In India man is lord and master, he has taken to himself all powers and privileges and shut up the women in the zenana.’
‘Why do you allow yourselves to be shut up?’
‘Because it cannot be helped as they are stronger than women.’
‘A lion is stronger than a man, but it does not enable him to dominate the human race. You have neglected the duty you owe to yourselves and you have lost your natural rights by shutting your eyes to your own interests.’

Extrait de Sultana’s Dream, écrit par Rokeya Sakhawat Hussain et publié pour la première fois
en anglais dans le magazine The Indian Ladies en 1905.
Éditition traduite par Barnita Bagchi, New Delhi (Inde), Penguin, 2005.

 


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  3. Nicki Minaj, Drake, Lil Wayne — No Frauds
  4. S.Maharba — W.I.G.T.S.
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  6. Carla dal Forno — Fast Moving Cars
  7. Kaytranada — Hot Jazzybelle
  8. Four Tet — Daughter
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  10. Sandunes — DASHIGA

 


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