Similar yet Distinct-Analogies between Tagore’s and Iqbal’s Feminism

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Irfan Muhammad
Mahvish Kanwal Khaskhely
Abdul Kahlaiqe Aboya


This study explores the feminist philosophies of Rabindranath Tagore and Muhammad Iqbal, who were the poet philosophers of the subcontinent in the 19th and 20th centuries. Their acquaintance with western thought and civilization during their higher education led them to question patriarchal domination, male chauvinism, and women’s inferiority and despondency in Indian society. They both presented their versions of feminism; Iqbal stood for Islamic feminism with freedom of education. He was in favor of the cautious adaptation of liberalism with a priority on gender roles. Similarly, Tagore explicated the plight of women in great depth and was a torch bearer for giving women freedom over their bodies, education, professions and lives. However, his appraisal of social feminism is not straightforward since it occasionally emitted wafts of hidden patriarchy as he depicted women as well-educated and intelligent; yet the ideal ones were multi-taskers spending their lives in the trivialities of domestic lives. Therefore, this qualitative research with Hermeneutics approach contrasts the stances of feminism regarding the subcontinent’s two thought-provoking literary figures. Their feminist ideas are crucial from the historical perspective and should be developed further to strengthen contemporary feminist discourse in South Asia.

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Author Biographies

Irfan Muhammad, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Karachi, Pakistan



Mahvish Kanwal Khaskhely, Faculty, Mehran University, Institute of Science, Technology and Development, MUET, Jamshoro,



Abdul Kahlaiqe Aboya, Ph.D, Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Karachi, Pakistan