Estb. 1882

University of the Punjab

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PU lecture on women, colonialism and freedom movement in Subcontinent
PU lecture on women, colonialism and freedom movement in Subcontinent


LAHORE: (Friday, March 25, 2016): Punjab University’s Pakistan Study Centre organized a special lecture on Women, Colonialism and Freedom Movement in Indian Subcontinent. Prof. Dr. Pritpal Virdee of School of Humanities, De Montfort University Leicester, UK was the keynote speaker. Prof. Dr. Massarrat Abid, Director, Pakistan Study Centre welcomed the guests and gave a brief overview of the topic. In her keynote speech, Dr. Virdee explored the role of women in colonial India and the problems the Muslim women faced during the freedom movement. She said in 19th century reforms movement in colonial India demanded for rights for women and similarly Brahmo-samaj movement also called for reforms in religion and women rights. She said Muslim women remain isolated because of veil and low literacy. She said intermixing of males and females was forbidden. She said Quaid-i-Azam supported and encouraged women’s role in politics. She said women wing was established in Muslim League in 1938. She said initially, "Begums", the Muslim ladies of elite class came on the front and those ladies later on brought the middle class women in the active political arena during the Pakistan movement. She said they succeeded in making inroads in Muslim traditional society. She said literacy rate in Muslim women was lower than other communities which became hurdle in their mobilization. Dr. Virdee also lauded the efforts of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan for the cause of education in the Muslims of India. She said similarly, Begum of Bhopal was instrumental in promoting female education in Indian Muslim society. She said first half of 20th century brought emancipation for women on the whole and they contributed to the national movements in various parts of the world. During her lecture, Dr. Pippa specially threw light on the significance of a short story "Sultana's Dream" written by a Bengali Muslim woman called Roica in 1905. She had written about women's emancipation from oppression. Dr. Virdee also referred to a Pakistani film made in 1979 called "Aurat Raj." The concept of the film was about woman's right and it had special significance that it was made during Gen. Zia's dictatorial period. Faculty members, researchers and PhD scholars of the Centre were present on the event and enthusiastically participated in the question-answer session.