An image of an excerpt from a textbook, listing the “advantages of dowry”, is viral on social media with the claim that it’s a part of the syllabus under Gujarat Board of Education. The official Twitter account of All India Mahila Congress was among those who shared the image and wrote, “Ugly display of Gujarat Model …..Teaching kids “Advantages of dowry” Social science textbook excerpt is BJP’s idea of women empowerment. We want to remind @CMOGuj about Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 and by IPC 498a, the offence is Cognizable, non-compoundable and non-bailable.” The tweet is now deleted but an archived version can be accessed here.
The list of advantages in the paper include the marriage of ugly girls, attracting handsome and unwilling boys, affects the love and affection a husband shares for his wife, among others.
Another Twitter account @kunfaaya also shared a photograph of the excerpt.
The Gujarat Board of Education teaching students “The advantages of the Dowry system”. Cannot get more misogynistic than this. pic.twitter.com/zSKsqaVVjh
— LEENA (@kunfaaya) July 15, 2019
The claim has also been circulated on Facebook.
This is from a Social Science textbook approved by the Gujarat Education Board.
This is why the Indian education system is a failure.
A variant of the claim also suggests that the chapter on advantages of dowry was in a Maharashtra textbook.
The paper is not a part of Gujarat Education Board syllabus but was in news in 2017 when the excerpt was reported to be found in the sociology study material of Bangalore’s St Josephs College. As reported by The Times of India in an October 21, 2017 report, the college had come under fire for distribution of the study material listing misogynistic ‘advantages’ of the dowry system.
In an earlier report, The News Minute had said that the issue was brought to light by a young woman who claimed that “students of Bachelor of Arts in St Joseph’s College of Arts and Science in Bengaluru were given study material which endorses the system of dowry.” The college had initially refuted that the paper was a part of the syllabus and later added that an investigation is being carried out to find the root cause of the problem as the college was unsupportive of oppressive views. Students of St Josephs maintained that the paper was handed out to them while the college claimed to have not distributed the paper.
Professors of St Josephs, Shanti Nagar, issued a statement on October 21, 2017, in solidarity with the sociology department of the college and lashed out at an “irresponsible” citizen journalist. The head of the department of English, Professor Cheriyan Alexander, stated that a “citizen-journalist-cum-engineering-student from Vellore” got her hands on one page out of 60 odd pages and placed it out of context on social media. “She underlines selected sentences which obviously look politically incorrect to any educated Indian because they reiterate the old patriarchal ideology favouring dowry – obnoxious views, no doubt. What she doesn’t underline are the beginning and ending sentences on the same page, the first saying that these are the views of a certain section of society, the second the author’s warning that these arguments should not be left unquestioned,” said Professor Alexander. Claiming that the paper meant to provide a perspective on dowry, he said that it is common for educators to list ideologies from different spectrums for students to compare, analyse and critique.
The Department of English stands in solidarity with the Department of Sociology in the wake of the irresponsible attack…
The college’s statement was also reported by The Times of India.
An excerpt from the study material issued to students of St Josephs, Bangalore, which the college claimed was placed out of context, has resurfaced on social media as “advantages of dowry” being taught to students of Gujarat state board.
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