Maharashtra textbook shocks with dowry comments

Blames 'ugly, handicapped' girls for the evil practice

Maharashtra textbook shocks with dowry comments
A Class XII textbook in Maharashtra has come up with a bizarre theory for the prevalence of dowry. It states that girls who are “ugly” or “handicapped” face difficulty in getting married, their prospective grooms and their family demand dowry, which the helpless parents of the bride agree to pay. 

Unit 3 in sociology textbook, Major Social Problems in India, states under the sub-heading “Ugliness”: “If a girl is ugly and handicapped, then it becomes very difficult for her to get married...To marry such girls, the bridegroom and his family demand more dowry. Parents of such girls become helpless and pay dowry as per the demands of the bridegroom’s family. It leads to a rise in the practice of dowry system (sic)”.

The chapter then goes on to deal with the problems of the dowry system. The book, which has been used by lakhs of students to prepare for their Higher Secondary Certificate board examinations, has come under severe criticism. What is more shocking is that no one has questioned the content for the last three years. As soon as the matter came to light, School Education Minister Vinod Tawde spoke to Gangadhar Mamane, chairman of the Maharashtra State Board for Secondary and Higher Secondary Education.

Tawde said, “Appropriate instructions have been issued,” while promptly shifting the blame on the previous Congress-NCP Democratic Alliance government as the chapter has been there for the last three years. Besides, the chapter has listed other factors like religion, caste, social prestige and compensation principle as factors that further perpetuates the dowry system, and said that “generally all people give and take dowry”. Tawde said the matter would be taken up with the Board of Studies concerned, which prepares and approves the syllabus.
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