Khana

800 – 1200

Khana was the first female poet, astrologer and mathematician in Bengali history between the 9th and 12th centuries AD. She was known for her exceptional perception, foresight and observational skills regarding the weather, astrology, agriculture et cetera; her wise saying regarding the mundane and extraordinar, Khanar Bachan, eventually circulated all throughout Bengal, having become synonymous with her legendary wit. However, along with her meteoric rise in popularity, much sorrow came in the...

Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain

1880-1932

Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain was a pioneering educationist who secured the right to education for Muslim girls in Bengal. She was a prolific writer of essays and stories; her feminist science-fiction novel Sultana’s Dream has inspired many women to defend their rights and pursue their ambitions. Born into a wealthy zamindar family, Rokeya was well provided for but she was not content. Her biggest grievance was that she felt unjustly deprived of basic human rights, as she did not agree to the co...

Chandrabati

1550 – 1600

Chandrabati stands out as one of the most extraordinary female figures of 15th century Bengal. She was the daughter of a renowned and loved Hindu Brahmin bard, Bansidas. Her father taught her to read and write as well as the rules of poetics, which she mastered at a young age. Raised to view herself as an equal in all things to men, Chandrabati was vocal and bold. An important turning point in her life and career was the marriage of her first and only sweetheart, Joychandra to another girl. The...

Pritilata Waddedar

1911 – 1932

Pritilata Waddedar is remembered for her fiery spirit and her heroic death at the age of 21. Fiery and enaged in the struggle for freedom from British rule, Pritilata was a key figure in the Chittagong revolutionary group led by Surya Sen. She is one of a small number of women who took up arms against British oppression and colonialism. The one image that we have of her is the same one that was used on WANTED posters by the British colonialists, procaliming her as an unethical, violent, mennace....