Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chairperson Swati Maliwal has written to Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan demanding strict action against the author of a book for “glorifying the dowry system”.
The Textbook of Sociology for Nurses is written by T K Indrani and published by the New Delhi-based Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers. Chapter 6 of the book, under the heading ‘The Merits of Dowry’ has a suggestion that getting a share of parental property as dowry is one of the merits of the regressive practice.
Taking cognisance of media reports, DCW wrote to Pradhan seeking strict action against the author “for glorifying the dowry system”. The publishers have said they will remove the offensive sections in future editions of the textbook.
Maliwal sought penal action against the concerned officials involved in approving the textbook for nursing students. She also gave recommendations to the minister for making the curriculum “gender inclusive” and “gender sensitive”.
“This disturbing development completely defeats the Government of India’s Beti Bachao Beti Padhao agenda,” she said. Maliwal, through her letter, also highlighted that the incident was not an isolated one. The letter also went on to express grave concern regarding the effects of such passages glorifying dowry in books upon the minds of the young students.
While the cover of the textbook says that it is written according to the Indian Nursing Council (INC) syllabus, the INC has issued a notification stating it strongly condemns any derogatory content which is against the prevailing law of the land. “It is clarified that INC prescribes syllabus for various nursing programs which is placed on its website”, the nursing body said.
Further, the notification issued stated, “Indian Nursing Council, as a policy, does not endorse any author or publication, nor has allowed any author to use the name of Indian Nursing Council for their publications.”
In the recommendations, Maliwal has asked the Centre to set up a national task force with a specific mandate to come up with sector and domain-specific interventions to achieve the objective of making all curriculum gender inclusive and sensitive.
One of the lines from the book highlighted, “Ugly-looking girls can be married off with attractive dowry with well or ugly-looking boys”. According to the textbook, dowry has an indirect advantage which is mentioned in the lines, “Because of the burden of dowry, many parents have started educating their girls. When the girls are educated or employed, the demand of dowry will be less”.
Rajya Sabha MP Priyanka Chaturvedi has also written to the Union Education Minister to stop the circulation of the book. In her letter, she said that “It is appalling how such derogatory and problematic text remains in circulation”. She also stated that it is a “shame for the nation and its Constitution” that a textbook elaborating on the merits of dowry exists in our curriculum.